A Three-Squash Day

October 22, 2008 at 9:53 PM | Posted in Musings, Recipe | 1 Comment

It’s definitely fall here in Boston. If you couldn’t tell from the pretty leaves, or the chilly nights (and, lately, chilly days), you can definitely tell from the farmer’s markets. Apples, squashes, dark green leafy vegetables, and tall stalks of Brussels sprouts have almost totally replaced the tomatoes, corn, and summer fruit. Last year was my first fall in New England in seven years, and although “autumnal” has been my favorite word for a long time, I had forgotten how wonderful it was to actually experience a real fall (no offense to St. Louis or DC).

Last week I picked up a big butternut squash at the Brookline farmer’s market, and last night I cut it up and roasted it. It was delicious. Bright yellow, tender skin (it’s edible), almost custardy if you are patient enough to let the pieces roast and get brown underneath. Today I had some of the leftovers for lunch. Then I went over to the Harvard Cambridge campus, where the campus was celebrating its environmental initiatives (there were banners everywhere that said “Green is the new crimson”) and Al Gore was speaking. It was cold and drizzly and pretty nasty outside, but the school had made a big effort to make everything eco-friendly and fall-like. They were serving delicata squash bisque, which was made from squash from local farmers, and tasted like it had some apples in it. It was pretty good, especially considering that it was prepared for several thousand people and served out of vats. Oh, and Al Gore was amazing. I get so sad every time I think about what a great President he could (should) have been. But then I look at all he’s done once he started following his true passion, and I am just so proud of him and awed at what he’s accomplished. However, I forgot that he can be a wee bit boring, even when he’s talking about climate change. He got in some good political jabs though.

The downside of this event is that it took place in Harvard Yard, and after sitting out in the cold and drizzle and wind for an hour and a half wearing a fleece and no hat or gloves, I was so cold. All I could think about was coming home, making tea, and having something cozy for dinner. Once I got home, I didn’t feel like going through the trouble of making soup, and I was NOT about to go outside again to get dinner supplies. I was about to start the cookbook flip-through when I remembered that I had half a can of pumpkin left over from a mediocre variation on pumpkin pasta that I made the other night. In a burst of inspiration, I played around with one of my favorite family recipes ever–butternut squash souffle–and came up with my own riff on it. It’s basically an excuse to eat pumpkin pie for dinner. I seared a few apple chicken sausages to go with it…mmm.

And that’s the story of how I got more beta carotene in one day than I have in probably the past month combined.

PUMPKIN SOUFFLE

Serves four as a side dish, easily doubled. Or eat half of it and call it dinner. Or breakfast. Or dessert.

1/2 can pumpkin puree (about a cup)
1/4 cup sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons maple syrup (Grade B is super maple-y and delicious)
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 eggs, beaten
Dash each of cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt
Splash of vanilla (optional)
3/4 cup 2% milk

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients except milk and beat well. Add milk slowly. Pour into greased 8×8 pan or small souffle dish. Bake for about 45-50 minutes, until center is set. Let cool a few minutes before serving.

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1 Comment »

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  1. as someone who can vouch for the sweet-nutty-scented outstandingness of the original souffle, i am very excited to try this variation.


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