About Our Squash – 06/10/2014

The quizzical looks we get from some of you during squash season have prompted us to provide the following clarification. We typically produce five squash varieties at Arlington Gardens, all of which demand a fertile soil, a little water to ensure the seedlings firmly take root, netting to protect the plants from the striped cucumber beetle during peak growing time…but that’s about it.

  1. Spaghetti squash, an early varietal, is usually the first squash in your baskets. It does not keep well, so must be used in the first week or two following delivery. You can prepare it in a number of different ways, but the easiest is to roast it (at 375 degrees for approximately 45 minutes) — halved, emptied of its seeds, face down in a roasting pan. Once cooked, scoop out the spaghetti-like flesh and serve as you will – au gratin, with tomato sauce, or simply sprinkled with oil and spices. We like the following recipe, as well as some others that you will find here.
  2. Delicata squash is small, yellow with green stripes…delicate. It is best when roasted in the oven like rösti potatoes. Do NOT remove the skin if you roast it – it is golden, crispy…delicious. You can see our recipe below (the very last one on this page).
  3. Butternut squash is a beige-coloured squash which is great in soups or roasted in the oven. To use it in a soup, peel it, remove its seeds and cook it with potatoes, onions and whatever spices you prefer (including a bit of ginger to offset the sweetness of its flesh). You can cut a butternut into quarters and roast it in the oven, with a bit of oil and your favourite spices.
  4. Acorn squash is usually dark green, occasionally streaked with a bit of orange. It can be prepared like the butternut squash above.
  5. Buttercup squash is probably the best soup squash. Halve it, scoop out the seeds and roast it first. The cooked flesh (purée) is a great addition to any soup stock.

Arlington Gardens Pumpkin Pie – 29/09/2011

This week we delivered small  pumpkins to our CSA members. With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, we thought it would be good to share a pumpkin pie recipe that has been in Claire’s family for at least 60 years. Claire’s mother, who hails from the Midwestern United States, is a pie-maker extraordinaire. Her specialties: apple pie, pecan pie and pumpkin pie. Every Thanksgiving, her sons-in-law put in their requests for their favourite pie – and invariably, every Thanksgiving meal includes all three. From the start, Nasser’s favourite has been the pumpkin pie. The original recipe is from a 1955 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine. In our opinion, it is the best pumpkin pie recipe ever: light and subtle, with a delicious blend of ‘sweet’ spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves).

You can cook the pumpkin in advance and store the puréed flesh in 1 ½ cup portions in freezer bags until you need them. The recipe is actually for a pumpkin “or squash” pie, but the pumpkin version is so good, no one here has ever bothered to try the squash one. If you do, let us know what it’s like.

Filling for one 9-inch unbaked pie shell

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 1 ml (1/4 tsp) nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 ½ cup puréed pumpkin (or squash)
  • 1 2/3 cup evaporated milk (1 can)
  • 2 eggs well beaten
  1. Heat oven to 425˚.
  2. Combine ingredients, pour into unbaked shell (see recipe below).
  3. Bake at 425˚ for 15 minutes, then at 350˚ for 35 minutes or until the custard is set.

 

Serve topped with whipping cream and enjoy.

Pie crust (9-inch shell)

This pie crust recipe has been in Claire’s family almost as long as the pumpkin pie recipe has. It is a traditional North American leaf lard crust. Toronto-based chef and cookbook author Jennifer McLagan, (Bones (2005), Fat (2007) and Odd Bits (2011)) extols the virtues of leaf lard, or what she calls “the crème de la crème of pork fat.” An Australian, McLagan says “I never made lard pastry for sweet pies until I came to North America…Lard pastry is easier to make and roll than an all-butter one and provides a more neutral background, allowing the flavour of the fruits to shine.” We couldn’t agree more.

  • 1/3 cup lard
  • 1 ¼ cup sifted flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4-6 tbsps water
  1. Cut lard into flour until like corn meal and small peas. Sprinkle water in a little at a time.  Mix with fork. Use minimum of water to avoid tough crust. Dry crumbs and lump appearance will change with kneading and ‘rest’ period.
  2. Turn dough onto wax paper and with hand under paper push and press dough together lightly. Don’t squeeze, but work dough into ball inside paper.
  3. Let dough rest 15-20 minutes, then roll out.
  4. Keep unbaked shell in fridge till baking.
  5. Fruit pies go into unbaked shells; baked shells are necessary for prepared puddings or gelatine desserts. For baked shell, bake at 450˚ for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Butternut and Apple Muffins – 18/09/2011

This recipe comes from a small gem of a cookbook called Cuisiner les légumes oubliés du Québec written by Anne Samson and published by Les Publications Modus Vivendi. Anne Samson states that the book is the combined result of a love of healthy eating (la bonne bouffe) and an interest in local québécois dishes. A geography and environmental studies graduate, she is an advocate of the buy-local movement which not only favours the local economy but also seeks to reduce carbon emissions related to long-distance food transport.

You’ll find a few other recipes from Cuisiner… on our website, but you should consider adding a copy of the book to your personal cookbook collection if you don’t already own it…the recipes are easy and delicious. In the introduction to her book, the author says her goal was to “revisit certain vegetables or varieties of vegetables forsaken, or altogether forgotten, by consumers in recent years […] that are nevertheless delicious, accessible and affordable” – an objective we share at Arlington Gardens. In fact, we can confirm that you will find most of the vegetables mentioned in her book in our baskets at one time or another during the growing season.
Makes 12* muffins

  • 310 ml (1 ¼ cup) all-purpose flour
  • 250 ml (1 cup) whole wheat flour
  • 250 ml (1 cup) sugar
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) ground cinnamon
  • 0,5 ml (1/8 tsp) ground cloves
  • 1 ml (1/4 tsp) nutmeg
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) baking powder
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) baking soda
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 250 ml (1 cup) butternut squash, mashed or puréed
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) apple sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) vegetable oil
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) milk
  • 250 ml (1 cup) diced apples
  1. Preheat oven to 160˚C (325˚F).
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine puréed squash, apple sauce, egg, oil and milk; mix well.
  3. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients, mix only to moisten. Add apples and pour batter into muffin tins either greased or lined with paper muffin cups.
  4. Bake 16 to 20* minutes. Let cool on rack.

 


* Arlington Gardens Note: test for doneness — we made 9 large muffins last week using this recipe; they were delicious, but baking time required was double, at 35 minutes

Roasted Delicata Squash – 18/09/2011

This is a simple recipe which can be used with other winter squash (butternut, acorn or buttercup), adjusting the salt and olive oil for quantities and weight. However, as these other squash are bigger and more difficult to cut, they are often cooked in halves, longer (~ 45-60 minutes) and at lower temperatures (350-400˚ F). Moreover, once roasted, they are more often served in large slices or alternatively, in a purée without their skins.

A candied version of this recipe is easy: simply sprinkle some brown sugar and/or dribble some maple syrup over the squash before putting them in the oven.
Serves 2-4 as a side dish

  • 2-4 delicata squash (~1.5 lbs)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 425˚F.
  2. Clean the delicata squash under warm running water to remove any dirt.
  3. With a sharp knife, cut delicata in half lengthwise. With a spoon scoop out the seeds and discard (or save and prepare them like pumpkin seeds if you wish). Cut each delicata half into 1/2 inch segments, creating moon-shaped pieces.
  4. Coat the pieces in 2 tbsp olive oil in a mixing bowl (too much oil can make the squash soggy). Arrange the pieces in a single layer in a metal baking pan. Salt gently. Try to maximize the surface area of the squash touching the pan. The browning only occurs where the squash and pan meet.
  5. Place in oven and roast 10 minutes. Using a spatula (delicata squash are easily squished and hold up better if you don’t pinch them) turn the squash in the pan so that the light sides are now touching the pan and the brown sides are facing upward.
  6. Continue roasting, turning every 7-10 minutes until both sides of the squash pieces are golden brown and the texture is creamy all the way through, about 25-30 minutes.