Tag Archives: square

Gold in them there Gourds

Because,

if you’re house-sitting the week of Halloween and have already been displaced so you’re at your ancestral home but 2/3’s of your stuff is at your former dwelling where the fire was AND you’ll be moving in November….did I mention it was the day before HALLOWEEN…..then you should definitely give into the temptation to buy, not one, but 2 giant and rather unattractive ‘decorative gourds’.

But they were substantial and hefty and the price was right – and they had the promise of being tasty culinary gold.

And after Halloween ALL the Gourds and Pumpkins  will be

GONE

Gone gone gone. As if they had never been here at all; as if there was no need for a Pumpkin or a Gourd in Winter. Winter is for Squash, alone.

Poor squash. Alone, poor lonely squash.

pumpkin 2015

They actually looked quite a bit like this, a Speckled Hound variety, but there were more warts.

amygoldmancompleat squash

SOMEWHERE I have a copy of this book, which has everything you could want to know about squash and pumpkins between it’s covers.  But think I learned well. Thank you, Amy G.!

The upside is that not only have they been decorative, but once I had time to hack, seed, peel and cook one……I have over 10 pounds of delicious golden squash/pumpkin/gourd (because they’re different names for essentially the same thing) .

You can’t freeze squash or pumpkin without cooking it first (consider the water content – you’ve seen this on front steps everywhere you look every year around a Halloween frost). Keep them indoors where the frost doesn’t go and you have much more lee-way. When the weather is cool  – and this week has been downright cold, and windy and rainy/snowy/sleety – it’s a perfect excuse to keep the oven going, as you roast it up to store in the freezer.

My excuse to keep the oven on and the kitchen toasty on an otherwise far too gray a day . Like John Alden, I shall speak for myself.

In typical fashion, the first quarter of the pumpkin took more  (or at least as much) time as the last three quarters.  I weighed the seeds and peelings when done – a little over 5 pounds. I wasn’t particularly wasteful; it really was that big.

I did have the option of roasting it whole, which I did once several years ago to a giant Blue Hubbard, Hubbard being my Dad’s favorite. That squash had been used for decorative purpose, and I saved it from the Dumpster. It was a carry in both arms /bigger then a big baby big.

Hubbard_squash

Blue Hubbard

I actually brought it to the ancestral home, poked it with an ice pick (evidently the real reason that that was still hanging around. Even though we called it an ‘ice box’ it was an up to date Frigidaire, frost free and everything) and put Baby Blue on the biggest baking sheet in the house and put it in the oven for a couple of hours until it was all  schlumpy. When it was cool enough, we used the stainless steel serving spoons to break in, separate the gold from the skin and the seeds and packed the gold  into baggies. Lots and lots of baggies. Which we stored in the freezer until there was need for gold. And it got us both through the better part of the winter.

But if you roast a squash or pumpkin whole, you end up with pulpy pulp, and I wanted to hold onto a little more structure/texture.

My new kitchen has 4 windows, so I set my cutting board on the table and was able to watch the dogs walking their people on the green, and cars coming and going at the street corner and the sun moving on the  horizon….I was also paying attention to the big knife that is necessary to cut a big squash…and my knives are home! Knives are sharp. No wounds to report.

Cut the giant in half.

Seed with the ice cream scoop. Seriously the right tool for the job.

Ice+Cream+Scoop

Ice cream scoop/pumpkin seed scoop – a multi-tasker!

Cut into whatever shapes make it possible to peel, peel, peel.

Toss with a little oil, sprinkle with a little salt, spread out on a baking sheet and pop into a 375° oven until it’s done…..20-40 minutes – poke it with a fork, you’ll know.

pumpkinNimono_of_japanese_pumpkin_2014

This is what it looks like coming out of the oven. You can eat it just like this. While humming happy food songs.

Some I ate off the roasting pan as it came out of the oven….lunch.

  • I kept  three of the chopped pounds to add to an equal amount of potatoes for slow cooker  for Squash and Potato with Rosemary that I’ve made before.

 

Italian slow cooker book

  • I’m going to use some of the leftovers of this to make a version of the squash and potato soup. I’ll puree the already cooked veg mix with the broth, and since I’ve already seasoned with rosemary I might leave the sage out. Note to self: Next time cook squash and potato with sage instead of rosemary.
  • Some of the squash/potato mixture will be mixed with eggs and fried in olive oil, a golden and easy fritatta. I fried a chopped shallot in some olive oil, added a little more oil, put the egg/potato/pumpkin in. When the bottom was browned, lowered the heat, put a lid on it and waited impatiently for it to be done.I had thought to sprinkle a little cheese over, but I forget and it was LOVELY.A glass of pear cider and a greens salad with pecans and blue cheese dressing made up the rest of that supper.
  • Some will be thinned with a little broth (or wine) and mixed with some hot macaroni, I’m thinking some hot pepper to season that…

Smoke & Pickles by Edward Lee has another version of Squash Mac and Cheese that I’ll be trying with freezer gold.

Gold updates  as they occur.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under squash, winter

World Upside Down Chocolate Cake

When the weather gets really cold and the ponds freeze over – which doesn’t happen every winter – it’s time to think of post-skating snacks.

One year when I lived on a pond there was an early deep freeze and the pond stayed frozen most of the winter. And everyone came to skate. Which was great fun….except

I’m  no Peggy Fleming

Peggy Fleming

Peggy Fleming

nor I am I ever mistaken for Dorothy Hamill

Dorothy Hamill

Dorothy Hamill

and certainly no Michele Kwan.

Michelle Kwan

Michelle Kwan

No, there are no Blades of Glory in my story

Will Ferrell and Jon Heder

Will Ferrell and Jon Heder

I spend a whole lot of time on the ice…ON the ice.

This is pretty much my best skating figure..OK, Maybe not quite this graceful

This is pretty much my best skating figure, The World Upside Down. OK, Maybe not quite this graceful

The end result of all the time demonstrating gravity is that I would get really cold and tired very quickly…and then retreat to the warm kitchen to make snacks for everyone else. And what better to fortify and recover and generally make a good day/night of it all then something chocolate?

Long before there was chocolate lava cakes, there was chocolate upside down cake.

Pyrex Baking pan in Fireside - this color was introduced in 1977 and I have lots of it. There was a discount store in Cordage Park for cut rate Pyrex and Corelle

Pyrex Baking pan in Fireside – this color was introduced in 1977 and I have lots of it. There was a discount store in Cordage Park for cut rate Pyrex and Corelle

UPSIDE-DOWN CHOCOLATE CAKE

1 cup sifted flour*

¼ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 ¼ cups granulated sugar**(divided)

7 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa***(divided)

¾ cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons melted butter

½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans****(optional)

½ cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup water

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease an 8” square baking pan.
  2. Sift the flour, salt, baking powder, ¾ cup granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons in a bowl.
  3. Mix in the milk and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the melted butter (add nuts)
  4. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
  5. In a saucepan, mix the brown sugar, water and remaining granulated sugar and cocoa.
  6. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugars dissolve. Pour over the batter in the pan.
  7. Pop the whole thing – without a last little stir – into the hot oven.
  8. Go about your business for a little while. Smile and start humming little snatches of favorite songs as the smell sugar and chocolate start to fill the air.
  9. Since I usually use a glass (Pyrex) pan I start checking at ½ hour, (theoretically, you could lower the temp by 25°, but I’m a little bit impatient!)and of course the actual timing will vary with your oven.   The original recipe says 40 minutes, but 30-35 has been more my history with it, and that’s with multiple ovens. A cake tester should come out clean.
  10. Cool on a cake rack for 20 minutes, then turn out, bottoms up and the fudgy sauce will now be on the top.
  11. The original recipe says cool and then cut into 2 inch pieces, but I have never once done that. Start serving, warm, at the 20 minute mark. Sometimes I just spooned it out of the pan into bowls, not pretty, but pretty darn good.

* I stopped sifting flour for all but the finest of baking projects sometime during the Ford administration. This cake doesn’t really require sifting with most commercial flours.

**I’m pretty sure I’ve cut back in this sugar, but since I didn’t write it down…it just seems awfully sugary.

***Hershey’s  will do. They’ll be cold and it the warmth (and butter) that will make the difference.

****Nuts are optional – and almonds are nice, too. Or a little grated orange rind. Or some very finely cut candied ginger or dried apricots. When I made this cake a lot, I made it A LOT and was always looking for something interesting to toss in.

Myra Waldo. Cakes, Cookies, and Pastries. Galahad Books, NYC reprinted with permission from Crowell-Collier Publishing. 1962. Third printing 1970. p. 19.

There is a similar upside down chocolate cake in the King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cook Book, too

I’m not at all sure when or why I got this cookbook – except that it was before 1982 and survived my cookbook purge.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Recipe, The 1980's

(Pizza) Pie Are Square

 \pi r^2 is the mathematical formula for the radius of a circle.

The old joke is

Pi R square.

No – Pie are round, cornbread are square

But real pizza are square.

Real pizza being the pizza I was raised on, made by my aunt at the crack of dawn and available when we went to visit. So, Italian pizza are square and American pizza are round.

Punch, or Puncilla with a a pizza - I know it's round, he's Neapolitan

Punch, or Puncinella with a a pizza – I know it’s round, he’s Neapolitan

I’m not sure when I got my favorite pizza pan, but this is the pan I have made LOTS of pizza in.

It's ceramic , so it's like a baking it in a pizza stone

It’s ceramic , so it’s like a baking it in a pizza stone  – I got this from the Pampered Chef

In 2007 I finally found a pizza dough recipe that approaches my aunts. It was in a story in the Boston Globe. I have the clipping, so I know the exact date: December 12, 2007.

In this story, family members compete for the best pizza, in a Pizza face-off. Between the the two dough recipes, I found my best, most reminiscent of my childhood  dough.

Big Pan Square Pizza

Dough

4 cups  flour  – it’s really better if part of it is whole wheat – anywhere from 1/2 cup to 2 cups as part of the total 4 cups.

4 1/2 teaspoons  dry yeast (don’t sweat the details) that’s 2 packets

1 cup warm water with 3/4 cup warm milk

2 teaspoons salt

1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning*

6 Tablespoons (or more) Olive oil

Toppings:

sauce/cheese/etc – you know the drill

  1. In a large bowl mix the flours together. Add the yeast and mix some more. Add the salt, you’re seeing the pattern. Add the herbs and mix it up one more time.
  2. Add the water and milk mixture and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Mix until you can’t mix anymore, then turn it out and knead it until it’s all smooth and and when you poke it with your thumb, it springs back at you.
  3. Add a little more olive oil to a bowl (wash out the one you started with if you want to use that – no rough ragged bits in the side to slow you and complicate things later). Cover. Refrigerate overnight or up to 72 hours.
  4. Oh, you want pizza TODAY??? Then leave out of the fridge and let rise until doubled 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  5. If you’ve refrigerated the dough, let it come to room temp, about 2 hours.
  6. Set oven to 500 and if you have a pizza stone, put it in the oven now.
  7. Put 2 Tablespoons olive oil in your cookie sheet/ large four cornered baking pan.  Press the dough into the pan, dimple the top with your fingers (it’s no really necessary, but it’s lots of fun). Put sauce on (not too much). Because this is going to bake for a while, you’re going to put the cheese on later.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes.
  9. Take out of the oven and put on the rest of your toppings. Put back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes, until everything is hot and melty and just right .
  10. Let it cool a little before before slicing and serving.
  11. Mangia!

* Italian seasoning – I never bought a premixed Durkee’s definition of Italian until I made this recipe. I have no idea what possessed me. I have actually made repeat purchases. One shaker jar V. pulling out several and making choices…..

The original also called for dry milk powder, which I bought and used for virtually nothing else, and when I ran out I started using just plain old milk, which I’m much more likely to have on hand.

The original story was Pizza face-off is a family holiday festivity by Nancy Shohet West in the Boston Globe, December 12, 2007 p. E4.

Durkee Italian Seasoning

Durkee Italian Seasoning

Leave a comment

Filed under Christmas, Pizza, Recipe

(Pizza) Pie Are Square

 \pi r^2 is the mathematical formula for the radius of a circle.

The old joke is

Pi R square.

No – Pie are round, cornbread are square

But real pizza are square.

Real pizza being the pizza I was raised on, made by my aunt at the crack of dawn and available when we went to visit. So, Italian pizza are square and American pizza are round.

Punch, or Puncilla with a a pizza - I know it's round, he's Neapolitan

Punch, or Puncinella with a a pizza – I know it’s round, he’s Neapolitan

I’m not sure when I got my favorite pizza pan, but this is the pan I have made LOTS of pizza in.

It's ceramic , so it's like a baking it in a pizza stone

It’s ceramic , so it’s like a baking it in a pizza stone  – I got this from the Pampered Chef

In 2007 I finally found a pizza dough recipe that approaches my aunts. It was in a story in the Boston Globe. I have the clipping, so I know the exact date: December 12, 2007.

In this story, family members compete for the best pizza, in a Pizza face-off. Between the the two dough recipes, I found my best, most reminiscent of my childhood  dough.

Big Pan Square Pizza

Dough

4 cups  flour  – it’s really better if part of it is whole wheat – anywhere from 1/2 cup to 2 cups as part of the total 4 cups.

4 1/2 teaspoons  dry yeast (don’t sweat the details) that’s 2 packets

1 cup warm water with 3/4 cup warm milk

2 teaspoons salt

1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning*

6 Tablespoons (or more) Olive oil

Toppings:

sauce/cheese/etc – you know the drill

  1. In a large bowl mix the flours together. Add the yeast and mix some more. Add the salt, you’re seeing the pattern. Add the herbs and mix it up one more time.
  2. Add the water and milk mixture and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Mix until you can’t mix anymore, then turn it out and knead it until it’s all smooth and and when you poke it with your thumb, it springs back at you.
  3. Add a little more olive oil to a bowl (wash out the one you started with if you want to use that – no rough ragged bits in the side to slow you and complicate things later). Cover. Refrigerate overnight or up to 72 hours.
  4. Oh, you want pizza TODAY??? Then leave out of the fridge and let rise until doubled 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  5. If you’ve refrigerated the dough, let it come to room temp, about 2 hours.
  6. Set oven to 500 and if you have a pizza stone, put it in the oven now.
  7. Put 2 Tablespoons olive oil in your cookie sheet/ large four cornered baking pan.  Press the dough into the pan, dimple the top with your fingers (it’s no really necessary, but it’s lots of fun). Put sauce on (not too much). Because this is going to bake for a while, you’re going to put the cheese on later.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes.
  9. Take out of the oven and put on the rest of your toppings. Put back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes, until everything is hot and melty and just right .
  10. Let it cool a little before before slicing and serving.
  11. Mangia!

* Italian seasoning – I never bought a premixed Durkee’s definition of Italian until I made this recipe. I have no idea what possessed me. I have actually made repeat purchases. One shaker jar V. pulling out several and making choices…..

The original also called for dry milk powder, which I bought and used for virtually nothing else, and when I ran out I started using just plain old milk, which I’m much more likely to have on hand.

The original story was Pizza face-off is a family holiday festivity by Nancy Shohet West in the Boston Globe, December 12, 2007 p. E4.

Durkee Italian Seasoning

Durkee Italian Seasoning

Leave a comment

Filed under Christmas, Pizza, Recipe