Eat Well: My Little Butternut... Squash.

The following post was written by my mom, WWW. Thanks, mom!
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I think of butternut squash as a fall/winter vegetable, but today when I went to buy one to cook for this week’s post, I was struck by the fact that there were DOZENS of them in the store, all locally grown. And all of them weighed about 3 lbs, which is R & B’s weight this week. I held two of them in my arms and marveled at the fact that my daughter has two baby girls that size inside of her body. MY granddaughters. So there I was, crying in the produce aisle, rocking the squashes in my arms—until I noticed a few odd stares and quickly put them in my cart.

Butternut squash is one of the most versatile of vegetables and is power-packed with vitamins. It is amazing in soups (here is the one I posted last Thanksgiving), roasted either alone or with other root vegetables, and makes a delicious puree. I love it in mole enchiladas or in any recipe that calls for pumpkin.

Today I was feeling adventurous and decided to make a butternut squash salad and flan, two new recipes for me. And although I almost peeled off my entire fingernail with my potato peeler (and sprayed the entire kitchen with the salad dressing after my blender exploded), I am quite amazed at these two recipes. I also think they would be quicker to cook on a less accident-prone day.
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Both recipes call for peeled squash but often you can save your fingers by cutting the squash in half and laying it cut side down on an oiled baking dish (use parchment paper if you want to have an easier clean up) and baking the squash at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until soft. If you need to peel the squash, I peel the whole thing first and then split it and take out the seeds. This seems easier (it also makes it easier to cut in half since the skin is really tough).
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The butternut squash salad is really extraordinary and came, once again, from Vegetarian Traditions. It would make a great dish to bring to a summer pot-luck. If you want an easier salad dressing, simply make a Dijon mustard vinaigrette with garlic. The potatoes and squash, when combined, make an exciting flavor explosion, but each would also be delicious on their own.

Roasted Butternut Salad
(from Vegetarian Traditions by George Vutetakis)

Potatoes
4 cups Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into ½ inch cubes
2 t Dijon mustard
1 T extra virgin olive oil
2 t fresh dill weed, chopped fine
½ t fresh tarragon, minced
½ t sea salt
½ t garlic, minced

Squash
4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
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½ t ground cinnamon
½ t minced fresh roseary
½ t tamari
½ t balsamic vinegar
2 t extra virgin olive oil
½ t sea salt

Preheat oven to 375. Mix potato ingredients together and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
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Mix squash ingredients together and transfer to another parchment-lined baking sheet.
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Bake for 25 minutes or until the potatoes and squash are soft inside. Let cool and combine potatoes and squash in a bowl. Set aside.

Dressing
½ t garlic, minced extra fine
½ cup roasted red bell pepper
¼ cup olive oil
2 ½ t Dijon mustard
3 T fresh lemon juice
2 t balsamic vinegar
1 T cider vinegar

Puree all ingredients until smooth in a blender. Mix with potatoes and squash. Mince a carrot, a stick of celery and some fresh chives and combine together.
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***

This flan is light and delicious. I used milk (Clover brand from humanely raised cows), but if you want to use soymilk instead of milk, just cook it a little longer. I boiled the peeled and cubed squash until tender, drained it, and pureed it. You can make extra squash and use it for soup or puree it and serve it savory (butter, garlic, salt and herbs) or sweet (maple syrup, cinnamon or nutmeg and a little butter and salt).

Butternut Squash Flan

1/3 cup plus ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
3 T fresh orange juice
3 cups milk (or soymilk)
4 extra-large eggs
¾ cup cooked pureed butternut squash
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1 t ground cinnamon
1 t vanilla extract
finely grated zest of 1 orange

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a small saucepan, combine 1/3 cup of the brown sugar and the orange juice, and cook over low heat until the sugar is melted and bubbles form across the surface of the syrup, about 3 minutes.
3. Divide the syrup evenly among six 6-ounce ramekins.
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4. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk and ¼ cup brown sugar. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, to dissolve the sugar. Set aside to cool.
5. In a bowl, whisk the eggs.
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...Add the squash, cinnamon, and vanilla. Stir in the cooled milk mixture. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any traces of the squash fiber.
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6. Add the orange zest.
7. Divide the custard evenly among the ramekins, filling to within ¼ inch of the rim.
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8. Place the ramekins in a rectangular baking pan with high sides and carefully pour 1 inch of boiling water into the pan. Cover each ramekin tightly with foil and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes, or until the custards are no longer jiggly in the center and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven, take off the foil, and let the custards cool in the water bath. Once they are cool, remove from the pan, cover, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
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9. To unmold, press gently around the edge of each flan to break the seal. Invert onto a dessert plate. If you prefer, the flan may be served right in the baking dish.
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Top with your favorite seasonal fruit.
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Enjoy!

Love,
WWW

P.S. A Woolf family favorite (referenced in the title) for your viewing pleasure:

13 comments:

Stef | 6:00 PM

Aww...that is so sweet, you rocking the butternut squash! In the photo, compared to your hand, they look rather large. Are the babes really that big already?

These recipes look yummy. I often see different squash varieties at the farmers market but am unsure what to do with them, so this is a good starting point.

Melissa K | 6:40 PM

Okay, this is going to sound a little weird and maybe even a bit crazy, but be careful when handling butternut squash. In my 29 years, I have never had a skin allergy, irritation, or even a poison ivy reaction. I don't even swell up with mosquito bites or bee stings.

However, last Thanksgiving I made a big batch of butternut squash soup and had a horrible allergic reaction on my hands. The skin on my palms began to peel and were EXTREMELY itchy and red. I consumed quite a bit of the soup throughout the week, and I think I had a secondary reaction on my face and scalp, but that could have been psychosomatic.

I suppose if I need to prepare a large batch of butternut squash again, I will wear gloves and be careful about how much of it I eat. It's sad, because I LOVE it!

Carrie | 6:57 PM

Hi Rebecca,

Is there an email where I could reach you regarding business?

Thanks so much!

Carrie
Higher Level Group

Ergonomic Chair | 1:07 AM

You created great recipes out of Butternut squash, I bet the kids will love it!

Rachel | 7:27 AM

Lurrrve this post! I love butternut squash. I love the Three Amigos. If I said "ess-mile" to my parents or siblings they would know exactly what I was talking about! Thank you!

boosmom10 | 8:47 AM

Although I do not cook I love to read your receipes. You write beautifully like your daughter. Different but still wonderful to read. I didn't realize the size of the girls until I looked at that squash. Poor Bec! I can so see you just standing in the store crying. From what your sweet girl has said y'all have cried often together over R&B. I'm sure other things as well. What a wonderfully made family. Y'all are all so blessed to have one another.

Glenda | 11:03 AM

I love the relationship you and Rebecca share. It's so real! Reminds me of my mom and I (she passed in 2004) I can see you standing in the produce section crying. How sweet!

OMG!!! I LOVE flan!!!

Johnsons Part Deux | 12:30 PM

What are the odds?! I JUST watched Tres Amigos this past weekend while I was home sick, and the hubby made butternut squash soup for me! True story! "Together, we trimmed dee hedges of many small villages!"

Flannery | 2:59 PM

Yessss! Three Amigos is one of our family favorites too! These recipes looks truly delish.

Margie | 7:06 PM

Yummm! I can't wait to try the recipes! I'm particularly excited to try the flan. Butternut squash is the best! Also, My Little Buttercup is the best!

ZDub | 12:09 AM

I adore your mother for referencing Three Amigos.

LOVE.

Penelope | 3:14 PM

Dear Wendy,

I never read food blogs, but your recipes here inspire me to cook things I never otherwise would. This week alone I cooked dishes with jicama, with quinoa, and with butternut squash. Keep 'em coming! My fridge is stocked with healthier food options thanks to you. You rock! :)

Wendy Woolf | 9:25 PM

Aww...Penelope! Thank you! <3