Good Keeper Squash Dinner Party

October 14th, 2009 / Comments 7

Gossip has it that Peter Peter the pumpkin eater, and his wife were having domestic difficulties.

Scare Crow 01 c egbert Good Keeper Squash Dinner Party

Perhaps Mrs. Peter would have been happier if Mr. Peter had been willing to expand his diet to include other squash rather than sticking to the somewhat dry, perhaps a bit boring, pumpkin. Don’t get me wrong. Pumpkins have an interesting past, after all Cinderella would have had to walk to the ball if there hadn’t been a pumpkin in her kitchen.

bowl of squash1 Good Keeper Squash Dinner Party

Pumpkins, like all winter squash, grow in the summer and are harvested when the fruit and seeds have matured fully and the skin has hardened into a tough rind. Summer squash is in the market all winter and winter squash is available in the late summer, fall and winter. It might be less confusing if winter squash were called Good Keeper Squash and summer squash were called Eat Soon Squash.

The assortment of Good Keeper Squash at the farmers’ market this week included varieties I’d never cooked. I bought carnival, acorn, buttercup, butternut, and Hubbard squash. The bag weighted twenty-three pounds!  That’s a lot of squash – dinner party time! I invited friends to a squash sampling dinner party, and began to consider how to include five varieties of squash in one meal. I set guidelines – there would be no baked or mashed squash topped with maple syrup, brown sugar and/or marshmallows. I decided to roast a pork loin to accompany the squash. With others bringing an appetizer, a salad and a dessert I had four hours to cook. Luckily, my range has two ovens.

Dinner was a success, a autumn harvest meal with friends and conversation interspersed with irreverent jokes including one whose punch line was “They’ll call us vegetables.” It’s not a stretch to say that each of our friends is a Good Keeper.

Here’s how I did it:>> Print This Post <<

Hubbard Squash Bread

I deseeded and peeled a chunk of squash, and cut it into one inch cubes, about one and half cups. I put it in a microwave safe bowl with two tablespoons of water, covered it with a damp paper towel and zapped it for four minutes. Then I drained and mashed it.

I dissolved one package of yeast in two tablespoons of warm water in a large mixing bowl. After the yeast had begun to bubble, I added one cup of the cooled, mashed squash, a third of a cup of milk, a quarter of a cup of soft butter, one egg, three tablespoons of brown sugar, half a teaspoon of ground cardamom, a quarter of a cup of finely diced crystallized ginger, and half a teaspoon of salt.

I added three and a half cups of all-purpose flour to the squash mixture, turned the dough onto a floured surface and kneaded for about seven minutes until it was smooth and elastic. The dough rested for about an hour in a buttered bowl set in a warm place. After it had risen, I punched it down, divided it into thirds and made three 18-inch ropes that I put onto a greased baking sheet. I braided the dough, pinched the ends together, covered it and left it to rise for thirty minutes.

To make a glaze, I beat together one egg and one tablespoon of water. I used a pastry brush to glaze the bread just before I baked it in a preheated, 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes until an instant read thermometer read 180 degrees and the bread was golden. It cooled for an hour before I sliced it.

note – The amount of flour you will need is dependent on the moisture content of the squash. When I used butternut squash I needed nearly four cups of flour to make the dough stiff enough to knead. The dough should be stiff but not dry. Making bread is an inexact science and the best way  to learn is by doing. It’s better to have dough that sticks to your hands a bit than to have a dough that is so dry your bread has the texture of adobe.

Gratin of Buttercup and Carnival Squash

I covered the bottom of a baking dish with one-inch cubes of buttercup and delicata squash. I covered the squash with a damp paper towel and zapped it for three minutes. I poured a cup and a half of heavy cream on to the squash, stirred in generous pinches of salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg, and put it into a 400 degree oven. After thirty minutes the cream had thickened and coated the tender squash.

Acorn Squash Rings Filled with Curried Pears

I sauteed half a cup of diced onions in a tablespoon of butter until it was translucent, and then stirred in one tablespoon of curry powder, two and a half cups of peeled bosc pear cut into half inch dice, half a cup of raisins, and two-thirds cup of cider.  I simmered this mixture for about eight minutes until the liquid had evaporated.  Seasoned with salt, pepper and a pinch of cayenne, the filling was ready.

To make curry butter, I melted four tablespoons of butter in a small pan, stirred in two teaspoons of curry powder and heated it until fragrant.  Using a pastry brush, I greased a baking sheet with the curry butter and then arranged eight one inch thick, unpeeled acorn squash rings in a single layer in the pan.  I filled the rings with the curried fruit, drizzled the remaining curry butter over the squash, and covered the pan with foil. After forty minutes in a 350 degree oven the rings were ready to serve.

I sensed that the fourth dish, a Butternut Souffle, was not up to my standards when Joby asked, “What are these little rocks I’m chewing?” When I perfect that recipe, I promise I’ll share it.  The recipe for roast pork will have to wait for another day.

I hope the next fall arrangement of good keeper squash you see inspires you to try something new.

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Hubbard Squash Bread List

  • Hubbard Squash
  • 1 package  yeast
  • 1/3 c milk
  • 1/4 c unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3 T brown sugar
  • 1/2 t ground cardamom
  • 1/4 c crystallized ginger
  • 1/2 t salt

Gratin of Buttercup and Carnival Squash List

  • buttercup squash
  • delicata squash
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt, pepper & nutmeg

Acorn Squash Rings Filled with Curried Pears

  • 1/2 c onion
  • 1 T unsalted butter
  • 1 T curry powder
  • 2 1/2 c bosc pear
  • 1/2 cup of raisins
  • 2/3 cup cider
  • salt, pepper & cayenne
  • 4 Tt butter
  • 2 t curry powder
  • 1 acorn squash
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