Friday, November 19, 2010

What to Do with Red Kuri Squash

Six different farmers and a shareholder provided today's bounty. Here's what was available at the Silver Lake pick-up this evening:

From Underwood Family Farms, there were valencia oranges, spaghetti squash, romaine lettuce, fennel, kale, and boy choy or boy toy or bok choi (depending on where you're at in life)

Tierra Miguel Foundation provided red kuri squash, horehound mint (native to California), cilantro, dill, beets, chard and carrots.

From Weiser Farms there Russian banana potatoes, brown onions.

Winnetka Farms provided salad greens.

Rancho Santa Cecilia in Carpenteria provided limes, Satsuma tangerines, and Hass avocados.

Shareholder Brian Lee provided beautiful and fragrant guavas from his garden. Thank you Brian!

Silver Lake Farms provided delicious microgreens: arugula and pak choi.

Also this week, there were 2 special items: Sriracha sauce "made with jalapeno peppers exclusively grown by Underwood Ranch" and cured, smoked and carmelized pork belly from the fabulous Rashida Purifoy, chef/owner of Cast Iron Gourmet.

I'm fine with the swine, so I couldn't wait to get home to open my container of carmelized pork belly. In fact, I had to exercise extraordinary will-power not to eat the entire container before pulling into my driveway!

I met Rashida Purifoy, chef/owner of Cast Iron Gourmet, at the Eagle Rock Brewery recently where I tasted (and purchased) her fine pork products. In fact, I had some delicious Cast Iron Gourmet bacon for breakfast this morning. I cooked the thick slices crisp and served them with fresh eggs I got from my chickens. Earlier this week, I served her divine bacon chutney on crackers to a visiting friend. What a treat!

Red Kuri Squash

If you're wondering about red kuri squash, so was I. I've seen it in stores, but never cooked with it. So, the first thing I did when I got home was cut it in half, seeded it (compost those seeds) and roasted it in the oven (along with an acorn squash I had in my fridge) until it was soft, about an hour.

My roasted kuri squash had a rich and slightly nutty flavor. It was less sweet and more starchy than the acorn squash. It reminded me a lot in texture of potato, so I mashed it with butter and a little milk and seasoned it with salt, pepper and freshly-ground nutmeg. It turned out to be a wonderful alternative to ordinary mashed potatoes and would make a deliciously different addition to the Thanksgiving table.

Red kuri squash is a variety of winter squash, so called because unlike summer squash, you can store it for many months. Most winter squashes can be used interchangeably, so you can certainly substitute red kuri squash for the butternut squash in the recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash Soup I posted on October 15; and you can probably use red kuri in shareholder Christina's Butternut Squash Lasagna recipe that was posted on January 11, 2010.

More Thanksgiving Sides: Sauteed Kale and Orange Fennel Salad

Sauteed kale and/or chard make a wonderful side dish for Thanksgiving. Here's a quick recipe using several of today's CSA products:

Chop 1/4 onion finely and saute in a heavy skillet with a lid on low heat in 1 T olive oil or bacon grease. Add 1/4 to 1/2 C chopped carmelized pork belly. Cook until onion is translucent and pork belly is as soft or crisp as desired. While onions are cooking, chop the kale and/or chard (leaf and stem) cross-wise into 1/2 to 3/4" slices. Add to skillet and cook slowly on low heat, covered, until desired doneness. I like my kale to be soft, but some folks like it with a little bite. It's up to you. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

If you're looking for a tasty salad, try this Orange Fennel Salad:

2 bunches arugula
extra virgin olive oil
white balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2-3 fresh oranges, peeled and sliced crosswise, save juice
chopped walnuts or pinenuts (optional)

1. Wash arugula, spin dry, remove stems and compost them. Put dry arugula in a large bowl.

2. Mix together 2-3 T olive oil, 1-2 t white balsamic and 1 T reserved orange juice. Drizzle over greens, reserving 1-2 t dresseing. Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss to coat.

3. Arrange greens on a platter. Arrange orange and fennel slices over dressed greens.

4. Drizzle remaining dressing over salad and sprinkle with chopped nuts, if desired.



1 comment:

  1. would love to see photos - growing, harvesting and cooking it.