I am finding every opportunity I can to not look at my term paper, which is silently berating me for all the hours I didn't spend on it during the semester. I'm sorry! There were other things, like competitions, and reading, and recuperation from sleep deprivation.
Well, as long as we're talking about pain avoidance, I might as well share these photos. They're not the most beautiful shots, but oh well. If you're feeling mired in a malaise, squash may just lift you out and plop you back into a warm, fuzzy reality.
Acorn squash, carefully cut in half. Seeds removed.
Baked squash is one of those things you see in far too many a cookbook and food magazine. It ranks up there with "comforting lasagna," "decadent chocolate lava cake," and other dish names that, by relentless repetition, sound less and less appetizing with each read.
For my mom: Pats of butter spread on the edge and in the cavity. Honey poured liberally. Cinnamon sprinkled. Some salt.
No real measurements here.
For that reason, I've always ignored baked squash. Zucchini isn't really my thing, and butternut squash ravioli is not my cup of tea, either.
Into a 400 degree oven it goes. About an hour total, covered with foil for the first half. You can add some water to the pan if you want, though I'm not sure about the necessity or utility of that step. When done, fhe flesh gives at the slightest touch, and the honey and butter turn into a spreadable nectar.
But I have to say. This is pretty good. Baked squash is your supporting friend, the one who's equally adept at going to see the opera with you as she is watching a bad chick flick. With its smooth texture and versatility, squash is less the star actress and more the foil to flavors you want to accentuate. For my mom, it was honey and butter. For me, it was balsamic vinegar and garlic.
Kabocha squash with balsamic vinegar, copious amounts of garlic, and a liberal sprinkling of kosher salt. The smell is tempting.
Whatever your preference, squash is there for you. No matter what you think of its taste on its own, you might find that paired with flavors YOU like, squash is no longer the boring recipe pulled from that dusty cookbook and instead the comforting pat on your back on those nights when you could really use some encouragement.