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Delicious Delicata

The delicata squash – I first encountered it at my farmer’s market, where I picked it up at random because I was tired of the reliable standby butternut squash and recently disappointed by the acorn squash as well. It has a friendly look to it – striped, thin-skinned,  and on the smallish side, its shaped a bit like a zucchini or eggplant.

It is, as far as I can tell, the unknown squash – so far, no one I have mentioned this delicious squash to has heard of it. After I picked in an experimental frame of mind, I searched the food blogs for inspiration on how to deal with it. The Kitchn had this recipe for dip and I went with it because it seemed easy. Once I tried it, I never looked for another delicata squash recipe idea because it was so very delicious. In December, I made this at least five times in as many weeks. If you can find a delicata, make this now. Bring it to your next pot-luck party.

Apart from using it as a dip, this works wonderfully as a pasta sauce.

If you find yourself without milk, cream, and Gruyère, take heart. One variation I found to be very successful was to use a bit of butter instead of the milk, and then to add a triangle of the Laughing Cow Creamy Swiss Original spreadable cheese (one triangle for a smallish squash, two won’t go amiss here). An excellent, smoothly creamy cheesy dip that works excellently on crostini as well as penne pasta or farfalle or even elbow mac.

Make the delicata squash your new friend if you haven’t met before. It is well worth it.

Dinner Improv: Home-Made “Nachos”

Dinner doesn’t have to be a complete meal. This is especially true if you’re cooking just for yourself. On certain nights, the right dinner is the snack/appetizer you put together just because.

Dinner improv project: Nachos.

Your materials: 4 small corn tortillas; a bunch of late summer tomatoes (about 1 qt); half an onion, diced; one garlic clove, finely diced; cheddar cheese. Continue reading

Quick Hit: Cold Kitchen

Try this when you don’t feel like cooking: get acquainted with kohlrabi in the raw.

Per person you should go with about 1 or 2 kohlrabi bulbs, depending on the size of the bulbs and whether this is your main dish or more of a snack. Peel the bulbs and cut the kohlrabi into slices or sticks – whatever shape you’d most prefer to nibble on. Grind some sea salt over the kohlrabi sticks.

Dipping sauce (amounts will be variable depending on how much kohlrabi you have; adjust as needed): Start with about 2 Tbs plain yogurt. Mix with about 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard and a splash of Tamari sauce. Add in some sea salt (just a pinch). Stir together until smooth. Taste to see if you like the balance, adjust as needed.

Dip raw kohlrabi pieces into sauce and crunch away.

Late Summer Meal

Onion Bruschetta and Cherry Tomato Pasta

Caramelize some onions in butter. Do what you like with them, or keep them around for the bruschetta. Caramelized onions are good for so many things and are delicious in their own right. Do not clean the pan that you caramelized the onions in. Be sure to remove only the onions themselves, leaving as much of the butter as possible behind in the pan.

Cut 3 -4 slices of baguette, or maybe a small Italian loaf or something similar. The baguette makes small enough slices that you can fit all of them in the pan at once. Heat the pan (or it’s still hot from the onions), lay the bread slices in the melted onion butter, flip them so that each side gets coated in butter. Let the slices crisp until slightly browned. Serve as is, or with caramelized onion piled on. Makes a wonderful accompaniment to a good late summer drink like the Rosita.This bruschetta tastes like more.

Cherry tomato pasta: I ended up with an impulse buy of a pint of mixed cherry tomatoes from the farmers’ market – some red ones and a smattering of orange and yellow, but mostly dark green, near purple. Taste tests revealed less sweetness and more bitterness in this crop of late summer tomatoes, so I opted for pan cooking over a raw application. Continue reading