Saturday, August 28, 2010

Crawling into Autumn.

I'm the first person to confess that this title is a little skewed. I mean, the seasons aren't crawling into Autumn - they're sprinting, through the almost non-existent Summer here. And I'm certainly not crawling into Autumn; I'm being dragged, kicking and screaming.

Except for one thing: Cucurbits. Like this gorgeous little crookneck.

Squash and pumpkins are something that I've missed sorely whilst living in Germany. I found Butternut Squash at Real (needlessly massive supermarket) once, and made the mistake of buying it (on the premise that it was Bio, or Organic). Needless to say, I couldn't eat it: the flesh was dried out, spongy even, as though it had been deep-frozen and someone had tried to resuscitate it. I had to throw it into the green-scraps. It never met with the same delicious fate as some of its bretheren: roasting.

That mix is potatoes, yellow crookneck squash, beetroot, parsley root, and the one carrot that was too long to fit in the roasting dish devoted to all the other carrots in that particular bunch. Kinda cute, hey?

So, really, the one advantage of the change in seasons, for me, in that my favourite Cucurbitae are finally beginning to be available. Ok, slight confession: cucumbers have been available for a long time, and they're some of my other favourites from this genus of vegetable. I eat at least two telegraph cucumbers a week, which is a fair amount for one woman. I've never been addicted to button squash or zucchini like that. They're the members of this family that I tend to ignore a little. Everyone else loves zucchini, but hey, I've got bigger squash to fry.

That guy is a spaghetti squash, and admittedly, will not be fried. I've never found a spaghetti squash in Australia, so I'm pretty exciting about having found it at the markets this morning - for only Euro 1.50! It's a good couple of kilos, and will be steamed in pieces. Then, using a fork, I'll carefully scrape the golden yellow, naturally-occuring spaghetti-like strands away from the shell. Then it'll be slathered in rich tomato sauce and strewn with basil leaves... but that's a post for another day.

I love roasted vegetables, and pumpkin is no exception. The yellow crookneck squash at the top of this post was also roasted, collapsing into a sweet and seedy mess, which was promptly devoured before I could think to take a photo. I'm also a big fan of roasting beets (in a covered dish, so that they don't dry out) and serving them with my roasted vegetables. Delicious. The leftovers look especially cute, because the beets turn everything a fantastic shade of magenta. These leftovers won't be golden for long, with that layer of beets there...

My addiction is such that I now have a dedicated space for my growing curbit collection. What you can see there are a few hokkaido squash, a butternut squash, and a spaghetti squash. I hate to confess to being such a simpleton, but this makes me incredibly happy. It really is the simple things in life that are the most important!

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