Squash, squash, squash!

by Sherri Koehler on October 21, 2009

This is truly a “Nothing but food porn” kind of post. Immediately after the post that I’d be making all kinds of updates for Vegan MoFo 2009 I was diagnosed with an apparently months old sinus infection. Many days of antibiotics later I’m feeling a lot better and am having the energy to work on projects, writing, etc.

Did I happen to mention that Christie decided we should grow winter squash this year? The result is pounds and pounds of the stuff keeping cool down in the basement. I’ve not yet started on creative ways to cook the spaghetti squash, but I’ve been doing the Delicata and Hubbard styles a couple of different and successful ways.

First of all, a very homey, Japanese inspired stew of Hubbard squash, tomatoes, garlic, onions, Aduki beans, cooked with red miso and black sesame seeds (honestly because they look more dramatic with the squash). Everything but the beans go into the pressure cooker and 8 minutes on high-pressure later you have piping hot stew. Add the pre-cooked beans, some Nappa cabbage, and a good teaspoon or so of toasted sesame oil. Simmer until the cabbage has softened and serve with brown rice, bread, whatever. There’s very nearly a recipe for this one done since Christie’s mom got out her notebook and grilled me on what I’d done when the family was up here earlier this month.

The other winter squash winner has been a complete re-do of a recipe we tried last year. We had liked the casserole of squash, pinto beans and polenta but found it kind of uninspired. Great base ingredients, but lacking in a lot of places. The big thing we thought wasn’t right was the polenta being at the bottom of the casserole where it never really firms up right.

This afternoon I slow roasted 3 of the Delicata from the basement stash and let them cool. I also put on a pot of diced, unsalted tomatoes and pre-cooked pinto beans. We had chili recently, so I threw a little in as well as adding sweet, smoked paprika, chili powder and cumin powder. I let all the juice cook out of the beans until it was just the chunks of tomatoes & beans coated in the reduction of the juice.

In checking around for cooking times, ratios, etc. for the polenta I discovered it is another thing that can be made in the pressure cooker. Fried about a 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds (’cause that’s all that’s left in the house – yikes) in 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Added 3 large cloves of garlic, diced and two hot, dried chili pods (seeded). Then the polenta, water, sweet, smoked paprika, chili powder and cumin powder. 5 minutes on high-pressure then let sit to come down and release the lock (about 10 minutes). Perfect polenta!

The dish came together with the mashed squash in the bottom of a 9×12 baking dish, coated with spray oil (like soup/stew I can’t seem to make smaller quantities of casseroles). A generous sprinkle of nutritional yeast, add the bean/tomato mix, and top the whole thing with the polenta. Into a 350 oven for 30 minutes. Broil on high until the top is golden with a few toasty bits. Cool a bit and enjoy. Total redo of the recipe that we tried last year, absolutely what we wished it had been!

Real recipes for both dishes coming soon as well as my experiments with the spaghetti squash! We’ve also been experimenting with au gratin/scalloped potatoes and are on track with mucho yumminess in time for Thanksgiving!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kirsten October 22, 2009 at 10:50 am

Ooh, for spaghetti squash, the Spaghetti Squash Mexicana recipe from the Veganomicon is sooo yummy:http://is.gd/4w9jEI don't usually do the salsa part, to keep it simple, and it's still great.This week I made some vegan pizza with tomato sauce, pesto & cooked butternut squash on top, that also turned out good!Thanks for your recipes, I'd like to try them too.


Sherri - PDX Yogini October 22, 2009 at 5:25 pm

I'll look up that recipe suggestion. I hadn't even started looking at cookbooks yet. Thanks for the idea!


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