What’s more depressing than a dripping bag of brown lettuce? Perhaps a bunch of limp yellowed collards? Or maybe a wrinkly tomato with white spots of mould?
As much as I like fresh vegetables, they go bad quickly. That’s why my favorite time of year for produce is winter. Winter vegetables; like cabbage, turnips, squash, and canned tomatoes, are hardy. When was the last time you needed to throw out a head of cabbage? You may have wanted to throw it out, but I bet you didn’t need to.
Last Spring I discovered a trove of forgotten – but sound – massive squashes from the previous year’s harvest stowed away in a dark distant cabinet in my kitchen. A lot of people don’t like squash, and the name itself connotes baby food (squash is a synonym for mush). But it don’t have to be like that.
My preferred recipe for Butternut Squash is adapted from an accidental preparation. I was late for dinner at a friend’s house and while she waited the squash was sitting in the warm oven for an extra 45 minutes. So, instead of being soft and mushy, the squash that came out was sweet, firm, and chewy. She was annoyed, but I found the preparation a revelation.
Here’s the recipe. Slice the squash into thinnish rounds, sprinkle them lightly with salt, and then bake them on a cookie sheet for about 25 minutes, turn down the oven to low and just forget about them until they (for another hour or so until the discs) turn dry and golden; crisp on the edges but pliable in the center. They don’t even need to be peeled.