It was a dark and stormy night.
Amidst the raging wind, and while I sat cosily knitting on the couch, The Norwegian Artist and the Son and Heir brought in the last of the garden’s harvest. (Those of you who enjoy a comfortable, long-time relationship with the other half of your soul recognize that, sometimes you’re doing cruddy things and he’s not; but other times he’s doing them, and you’re knitting.)
Aside from two sopped yet triumphant males, the evening resulted in three overflowing wheelbarrows of winter squash, something that I had no idea of what to do with. I mentioned this culinary lack on my part to the Son and Heir last winter when he was ordering seeds, but he loftily informed me that there are lots of things that one can do with winter squash, and he would duly provide me with recipes.
The only recipe I knew was the one my parents used: whack the squash in half, stick it in the oven til it’s mushy, mash it like potatoes, and slather butter and brown sugar on top.
There’s a reason why I was adamantly opposed to the over enthusiastic planting of this stuff.
But, I must concede to the Son and Heir, there’s a lot of it, it’s cheap, it’s nutritious, and it lasts a long time, especially when you don’t use it, but that latter, I’m told, is not an option.
I might take this moment to mention, incidentally, that the promised recipes are not forthcoming and don’t look like they ever will be, but not to matter — I am creating them myself. Not only that, but I am slowly discovering that there are lot of things you can do with winter squash other than overcook and pulverize it into something that the dogs delicately sniff before giving you that look, “You don’t expect me to eat this, do you?”
(As I recall, that question, while being in the forefront of my mind as a child, is one I would never have dared to utter aloud. How things change.)
With the notable exception of what to do with winter squash, my parents taught me a lot of cool things, not the least of which was how to use the resources I had to the best of their advantage, and I am now on the challenge of the chase — mind whirling with ideas of how to transform massive amounts of slightly sweet, starchy material into something that I, the rest of the family, and the dogs, will eat.
You, my friends, will reap the largesse of this activity, beginning with today’s lunch, Chicken Quinoa Soup with Cubed Delicata Squash. If you don’t know what Delicata Squash looks like, follow the link, but please make sure to come back, because we’re not done yet. (Actually, you can use pretty much any variety of winter squash for this soup; I’m using Delicata because 1) I have an overflowing wheelbarrow of it and 2) it’s small, sweet, and easy to handle.)
If you can’t pronounce Quinoa (keen-wa), much less know what it is, don’t panic — you can use rice, barley, or some other grain.
Whether you make the soup or not, think on this:
We all have resources, and they’re all different. Some people have boxes and boxes of bananas, roasted coffee, and chocolate, and it’s tempting for others of us, faced with wheelbarrowfuls of winter squash, to look upon them with envy, but we lose something when we do that:
And now, in case you missed (accidentally or on purpose) the link to the recipe above, let’s talk about Chicken Quinoa Soup with Cubed Delicata Squash.