October 15, 2008

If only I had a hacksaw

This fall I've dived into an abnormal amount of squash recipes, each one leaving me with some near-fatality. Here, I'll just say it, IT'S REALLY HARD TO CUT AND PEEL SQUASH!

Some don'ts:
DON'T hold your squash with wet hands.
DON'T swing a butcher knife wildly at the squash with a karate Hi-ya!
DON'T use a peeler like a machete.

Now can someone help me with a list of DOs? Despite the squash shenanigans, last night I thoroughly enjoyed Heidi Swanson's Roasted Pumpkin Salad. These are not flavors I would have figured out on my own! And if you subtract the time I spent wrestling my pumpkin, the whole meal was relatively easy.

I found a gorgeous organic kobucha squash (japanese pumpkin) at the Farmer's Market that was perfect for this recipe. And instead of wild rice, I used Trader Joe's Brown Rice Medley. It had a great texture and cooked up in the same amount of time it took to roast the pumpkin and onions. All in all, a great, nutritious meal for the cooler weather months. Don't accidently lose a limb and it's even better!


Adam said...

I saw this on a cooking show once. The secret to cutting a squash is all in the equipment: a heavy chef's knife and a rubber mallet from the hardware store. Here's the how-to from another website:

1. Set squash on damp kitchen towel to hold it in place. Position knife on rind of squash.

2. Strike back of knife with rubber mallet to drive knife into squash. Continue to hit knife with mallet until knife cuts through squash.


Lori said...

Funny! I've noticed a lot of people saying this lately and I agree. I always get hand cramps by the time I'm finished.

Sometimes I think cutting it in half and roasting it for a while works well, then you can cube it after it has softened. Doesn't work for all recipes though. :)

Anonymous said...

i just put the whole thing in a crockpot with a little water for a couple hours, until it is a little softer. then i peel it with a vegetable peeler and cut it and scoop out the seeds. then i can finish cooking it however i want (if i haven't accidentally let it go too far...) probably a real cook would tell you why this isn't a good method, but i prefer to keep all my fingers. and i don't have a good knife anyway. or a rubber mallet.

Happy Herbivore! said...

so I've been leaving this same comment EVERY where lately -- raw squash is mean. I nearly stabbed myself trying to cut one once. In fact the only reason I even own a microwave now is because of squash! Now, to prevent another almost-fatality, from happening, I always cook my squash whole in my microwave, let it cool then slice it in half, scoop out the seeds then the "meat" -- I'll never try to peel or cut a raw squash again.

Michelle said...

adam--I'm not so sure i have a rubber mallet around here...but sounds like a good start to a horror flick!

lori--i much prefer the cut in half/roast method but i wasn't sure it would work for this recipe. in retrospect, it would have!

anon--i wish i had a crockpot. and i also would call you a real cook for inventing a method that works for you!

happy--that does sound easy. but i have this thing against using a microwave...

Lauren said...

I made this recipe too- but sadly my sauce did not look at all as creamy or delicious as yours. It was more of a sunflower seed nut butter. Is there something I missed?

Michelle said...

lauren--I totally freestyled the dressing, meaning no measuring spoons and some improv action using both sunflower AND sesame seeds. but yeah, it was pretty thick. I had to keep adding more oil and water until it loosened up!

Bix said...

Ah, you liked your kabocha.

I'll go back to it.

(I also do what happy herbivore does, except I use a conventional oven.)

Michelle said...

So now I'm thinking I did not use kabocha after all, despite the farmer's market sign. It looked like one, except bright gorgeous orange/red colored. But according to this link, they are definitely green. http://japanesefood.about.com/od/vegetable/p/japanesekabocha.htm

ttfn300 said...

hehe, i usually muscle through it, but i just realized that if you put the whole squash in the micro for a few min (2-4, depending on the size), it helps CONSIDERABLY!

Vegyogini said...

I had a very similar experience with a spaghetti squash recently (I believe that's what Happy Herbivore was referencing in her comment to you). It was the closest I've ever come to a fight for the death, but in the end, after at least 20 minutes, I got that darn thing open. :)