What’s your favorite late summer food?
Kabocha squash, squashed, souped, sliced. Hands down.
When I first encountered this squash, it was a volunteer in the garden of the house I was renting from a Japanese family. Volunteer plants set seeds from previous years and what they grow up into is anyone’s guess. It helps to guess right. For the first part of summer, I thought I had a round zucchini-like summer squash. I picked hundreds of them 2-3 inches in diameter and gave them away to friends. They looked just like Roly Poly or Orbit varieties. It wasn’t until I left one on the counter too long, that the skin began to firm up and the flesh inside turned a deep orange color.
One of the ways to tell a winter squash is ripe and ready to harvest, I learned later, is to try to pierce the skin with a fingernail. If it leaves a crescent, it isn’t ready. Once the skin is firm enough to resist your scratches, it is ready. The seeds of this squash are delicious roasted and salted in the oven, just like other varieties of pumpkin seeds.
I love this squash slow roasted in the oven, face down in about an inch of water. It also purees into a delicious soup spiced with curry or ginger. Tonight, I sliced it into crescents, simmered in some Trader Joe’s Miso Ginger broth and served it with some handmade rosemary linguini from the farmers market.
Some remaining tomatoes from our CSA veggie box combined with fresh basil and lemon thyme from the garden, rounded up the store bought sauce.
Of course, we had homemade vegan ice cream for dessert, thanks to a generous birthday gift from my in-laws. Pecan cacao nib chocolate in the making.