Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Kuri Squash Deliciousness!

Kuri before baking - such a beautiful veggie!

Kuri after the bake
In September of 2010, daughter Remy went to MO to stay with her grandparents while she finished her last year of college. On so many levels, it was one of the best years the three of them had, and when it came to food, a true match made in heaven! Mom is one of the best cooks out there - just ask any of her family or friends- and Rem isn't far behind. They both love ~good food~ and neither will settle for junk of any kind. 
Shortly after Rem arrived, she and mom went to Columbia's Farmer's Market, (it's huge and one of the finest farmers markets I've ever seen.). There, they discovered a vendor that had a squash mom, let alone Rem, had never heard of. So, of course, they bought one! Coincidentally, one of my mother's favorite food bloggers, David Lebovitz had a post dedicated to kuri and other squash, so in very short order, they both went from knowing nothing about kuri to deciding it was their very favorite of all the winter squashes! 
Fast forward a year and a half and Rem is on the way back to Connecticut. With her kuri squash seeds in hand. And when she accepted a teaching position at Hand-In-Hand for Haiti Foundation's school, Lycee Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable (in Pont Leocan, St. Marc, Haiti), yup, the seeds went with her!  In April she gave the seed to the school's gardener to plant, but as she told me, the soil in Haiti is awful so she didn't have much hope they would actually sprout and grow, (though water melon grow in abundance everywhere - about the only thing that does). 
Fast forward again to this September 1st when Remy was back in Haiti after spending the summer here. She told her grandmother she walked by the garden and thought she saw peeks of kuri orange through all the green foliage. A short time later, Rem saw the school's gardener walking toward her with a huge grin on his face carrying the school's first ever kuri harvest to her. A Haitian garden success! 
Mom and Rem used Mr. Levovitz's post as their guide (he pointed out you don't need to remove skin on a kuri, it just sort of melts away during baking and you can't tell any difference between the skin and the flesh) as did I last night. Hands down, this is one of the most delicious squashes I've ever eaten! One word of caution, though. Be very careful when cutting it open and then into the wedges. There is a liklihood you could lose a finger because, before it's baked, the squash is super firm and very unwieldy. I managed to escape unscathed. Which rather surprises me...
If you're curious, go here  or here for more info on kuri squash.

The T'nG:

a kuri squash (Whole Foods has them right now), size based on how many you're feeding
a medium onion (I used a red onion)
4 - 6 garlic cloves
rosemary, fresh (or fresh thyme, or sage)
extra virgin olive oil
fresh ground black pepper (I always use tellicherry peppercorns - love their flavor best!)
sea salt

parchment paper (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400ยบ. Cut a bit off the top and bottom of your squash so it sits squarely on your cutting board while you cut it in half. Once cut in half, scoop out the seeds and all the stringy innards. (I didn't scrape all the stringy stuff out enough, and my cut wedges had a layer of greyish stuff that I then had to cut off.) Place the pieces in a ziploc bag. Peel onion and then cut in half from the top to the root. Cut the onion from top to the root in 1/4" or so strips and add to the ziploc bag. Pour in a good amount of your EVOO, seal the bag and toss well to coat all. Divide evenly between 1 or 2 baking sheets that are covered with parchment (parchment is optional - makes clean-up easier). Make sure the wedges are placed as above so they don't touch. That allows them to caramelize and not steam. Be sure the onion is evenly spread if using more than one tray. Add halved garlic cloves to your tray(s). Chop up a handful of rosemary (what I used) and scatter evenly over all. Add your pepper and salt. Put in the oven and roast for 20 - 30 minutes, until the squash is done. Serve. Take your first bite and be transported to that lovely place where food is like a little bite of heaven.

The Remy daughter's T'nG:

"Lately, I have been tossing mine [kuri squash] with olive oil, diced garlic, a diced habenero pepper, a coating of coriander, a touch of cumin and salt to taste, baked at 420 for 30 - 40 minutes. The roomies love it!"



YUM!

till we feast again! 
T'nGG