If you’ve seen this month’s newsletter, then you’ve likely seen what’s posted here. If so, take a second look. If not, here you go.
September in Central Texas does not mean that actual fall is nearly here. It does mean days getting shorter, still-gorgeous sunsets, big red and orange harvest moons, new crops of veggies at the farmers' markets along with students back in school and football in full bloom. And just like summer, we need lots of water - inside and out - because it's still hot! Stay hydrated. Visit your favorite swimming hole.
Make one last before-the-cool-comes trip to the beach…
Now. The best way to ready our insides for fall and the coming cooler (we hope) weather is a slow shift in the foods we eat every day. We can head to the farmers' market now to check out the fall veggies. Yum.
Winter squash …
If these don't look like a feast in the making to you now, let's get to working on those chef skills!
Here's one simple recipe for roasting winter squash ...
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half top to bottom. Scrape out seeds. (You can clean and roast the seeds too.) Oil a baking sheet. Oil the squash all around Salt the top. Place squash open side down onto pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until tender. (You can test with a fork for softness.)
Sound simple? It should be! Cooking should (can) be easy and understandable.
These three ingredients are the BASICS. This preparation is BASIC. I'm a big fan of Learning How To Cook first and foremost even before learning how to follow recipes. Although I am giving you one recipe here, it is in the style of Learning How To Cook. Gather ingredients and tools, understand, explore, experiment, taste - with the BASICS. Then, build and blossom from there.
So. You may ask: which squash? what oil? and salt? My favorite answer is: Experiment! There are many winter squashes of course: acorn, butternut, buttercup, carnival, kuri, kabocha. Oil? I love olive and sesame personally and the most when it comes to their flavor profiles and cook-ability. Test them out. Other varieties too! As for salt, sea salt, good quality. Fine or coarse. Your choice. Your preference.
With this one recipe under your belt, you can embellish and explore, in order to learn more (about cooking) and taste more (delicious versions of foods):
Roast winter squash skin down, cut side up.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds, crushed nuts.
Mix herbs with salt for a fragrant 'rub'. Add cumin, thyme, coriander, pepper, cayenne.
Try the different oils for their subtle flavor changes.
Cut the halves into 1 inch or 2 inch thick rounds. Oil, salt and bake.
Add a sweetener to top: honey, maple syrup, agave.
Roast skin down and 'stuff' with a spoonful of cooked grain plain or mixed with veggies.