Monday, October 22, 2012

Change of Season at Mealtime

I always look to contributor Jim Dixon of Real Good Food for the heads-up on seasonal eating. Here he's switching up tomatoes for eggplant, peppers for squash.

I’m cooking fewer of the really delicious peppers, tomatoes and the special things available only during their too-short season and eating more of the “hearty” vegetable staples. Cabbage, collards, cavalo nero (lacinato or Tuscan kale), eggplant (fleeting locally, but always grown somewhere; the long distance stuff just tastes better than winter tomatoes), winter squash, potatoes, green bell peppers. More rice and beans, but I eat that all the time so maybe it just seems like it.

Speaking of rice and beans, a New Orleans style bowl of them would go real well this squash. Bottle of Crystal hot sauce, too.

Cajun Butternut Squash

Chop an onion and start cooking it in extra virgin olive oil. Add a couple of stalks of diced celery and a diced green pepper. If you like a little heat, add a diced jalapeno, too. Toss in a little salt and cook for abut 10 minutes.

While that’s cooking, peel, seed and cube a butternut squash. You want pieces about a half inch, but don’t worry about perfection. I split the squash lengthwise, scoop put the seeds, then lay it cut side down and slice; I find it easier to cut the peel off the slices, but you can use a swivel peeler to take it off before you cit it up. Cut the slices into roughly half-inch chunks.

Add the squash to pan and sprinkle with a generous dose of your favorite Cajun spice blend (we like Slap Ya’ Mama and Tony Cachere’s).Or make one with roughly equal parts of black pepper and paprika, about half as much thyme, and red pepper to your heat tolerance. Cook this for about 5 minutes over medium heat, then pour in some Katz Gravenstein apple cider vinegar (maybe 2 tablespoons). Cover, reduce the heat, and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until the squash is tender.

Top photo by George Chernilevsky for Wikimedia Commons.

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