I have avoided writing about life on the farm for a few months, in part because I worry that the "I grew some vegetables" and the "yet another animal died" stories get redundant and dull. We suffered a particularly difficult loss of our beloved 7-year-old cat in early November and, as a result, we rehomed our youngest, most problematic, dog. It was all horrible and traumatic, but we have moved on. We now have two very well-behaved dogs, a lovely 8-month-old cat, and two adorable, rescued kittens. Life seems to be back in balance.
Our five chickens have been molting since October, so no eggs. Hopefully, they will begin again in January.
But, tonight, I'm thinking about winter squash. Since I've known Mike, he has had a passion for pumpkins. We rented a house from friends when we were first married, and he pushed hard to develop a pumpkin patch on the lot. When we moved out to our property, he made sure to allot a section of the garden to pumpkins. Over the years, we have become more interested in preserving heirloom varieties, so we now grow all sorts of unusual vegetables, including winter squash.
I can never remember the names of them all, but we grow Marina DiChioggia and Hubbard and Red Bumpy Things. We harvest and store these, and they comprise a large portion of our winter food supply.
However, I'm just not great at cooking these things and, furthermore, Mike doesn't even really care for the flavor of squash! I've done pumpkin soup, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin gnocchi, pumpkin cookies and breads, but I usually just puree it up with butter and maple syrup. Anouk refuses to eat any of it, as the texture makes her gag. I was just online yet again, searching for good, easy pumpkin recipes, to no avail. I'm not interested in super-complicated gourmet recipes, or those involving bacon or sausage. I'd like to be able to concoct something with what I have on hand and create some simple dishes, but with different spices or ingredients. If there's a simple, savory squash recipe, I have yet to find it.
A friend recently served a veggie lasagne with winter squash as one ingredient, and it was delicious, so I would like to try that myself. If anyone out there has good ideas for new ways to spice up squash, or even hide it in other dishes, please send them to me. I'll give them a whirl and post the results.
In the meantime, Happy Solstice to All, and to All a Good Night!