My mother asked a boy I once dated, what his favorite dish was, so she might make it for him next time I brought him to dinner. He said it was squash casserole. My mother smiled as he went on and on about how he adored this dish when so many other kids did not like such vegetables. He also told her very smugly, the woman he married would have to like it and make it for him, because he wanted to eat it at least once a week for the rest of his life. She looked over at me and we began to laugh. Why? Because I hated squash, and she never made it. No one in my family ate it. I never had thought about it before.
Slowly I began to make squash part of my diet as I did other things 'good' for me. I did not care for certain vegetables, but knew I needed to feed my own children healthier diets- Out of sight, out of mind! I hide them in soups, casseroles, and pretended I did not just feel its undesirable soft texture as I bit down. Now, I love squash casserole. I have not made it in a few years, and not sure why. My favorite way to cook it- to grill squash and make quesadillas.
Okay, so this is not about quesadillas, but about how hubby once again (gotta love those husbands trying to help) went to the market and brought home potatoes, squash, and salad but no main protein. What am I going to do with him? Returning from our mini-vaca we had little ingredients, but there sat a huge amount of cheese I had received free from Black Star Gourmet.
Preheating the oven to 400 degrees- I chopped up the squash and potatoes into two individual non stick paella dishes (small pieces); added fresh herbs (yep, he bought those?), olive oil, and a dab of butter. Roast them for thirty minutes (until begins to soften), and then I 'squashed' the ingredients up together. Another fifteen minutes in the oven after adding cheese- Caprifeuille Saint Mauew, a delicate French goat cheese to brown them up. Then I topped it off with a few slices from the wheel of Soureliette du Fedou – sheep’s milk raw. Serve with a mixed green salad to make it a complete meal.
In hubby's defense he said there were no antibiotic free or free range poultry or meats in site at the market he stopped at, so he opted for a vegetarian dinner. I am glad he was thinking of our better well being. A good decision turned into a tasty experience. We had it two days in a row, because it was so good.
Gary, if you find yourself reading this one day, 'Your Loss'! Why? because squash rocks my world now- although I am sure my mother is still smiling...
"I experiment with Flavors"...
Elizabeth Stelling, hails from her home state of Texas and has been involved in the food industry via institutional, fast food, B&B's, ethnic eateries and other restaurants since she was fourteen. Now living n New Jersey she has ran her own cafe, teaches culinary classes, runs a small boutique catering and staffing business, restaurant consulting for NJWBO, is a personal chef and shares her love of cooking with local, organic, healthy, and natural ingredients with the community.
Chef E is a member of Slow Food and the American Wine Society, Princeton, New Jersey. She has published written works of poetry and media pieces, as well as ran Open Mics in the Princeton, NJ area.
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