Recently at a farmers market I was reminded — too soon — that fall was on its way when I saw gourds, squash and both mini and full-size pumpkins being displayed. I thought it was too soon for me to buy the minis to put on the fireplace mantle and give to a few friends, a tradition I began years ago. It’s frustrating to me when, in mid-summer, I see all of the pumpkin spice products, and some strange ones, too (really? pumpkin spice Spam?), already available. The list continues with, of course, pumpkin spice coffee, KitKats, Cheerios, Jell-O, English muffins, coffee creamers, yogurt, tea, hot chocolate and kettle corn, among a plethora of both edible and non-edible items.
I just need a couple of more weeks to give in, and admit colder weather is to arrive, and make the purchase of those minis. Walking away from the fall crops, I wondered as many do, is a squash a pumpkin or is a pumpkin a type of squash? Well ... pumpkin is a type of squash. Squash refers to one of a few species of genus cucurbita (Latin for gourd), including the species to which pumpkin is a member.
There are hundreds of varieties of squash; however, squash is divided into two broad categories: winter and summer. Summer squash includes zucchini, yellow straightneck and crookneck, and Chayote. Winter squash includes acorn, buttercup, butternut, Calabaza, delicata spaghetti, sweet dumpling and, of course, pumpkin.
People love squash because the flavor connects them to holidays, special occasions and shared family dinners. Perhaps this is why people were flocking to the farmers stand to purchase their pumpkins, squash and gourds.
The mild flavor is a blank canvas to create soups and salads, appetizers, casseroles and, most importantly, dessert. I enjoyed reading Julia Rutland’s apple book, featured in last week’s column, so I wanted to check out her book, “Squash: 50 Tried & True Recipes” (2019, Adventure Publications, $16.95).
Rutland’s recipes will become instant family favorites, especially for the holiday season. The book’s full-color photography adds to the enjoyment of cooking. I found her pointers on buying and cooking squash, along with practical tips for cutting tough-skinned winter varieties, features that make the book a must for squash lovers. And if you grow squash in your garden and it produces more than you can eat, you’ll find simple and delicious ways to preserve your crop.
I think I will give in this weekend and buy those mini-pumpkins and some squash. My mouth has been watering since reading these recipes.
For the recipes for Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Streusel Muffins and Butternut Squash-and-Quinoa Salad, visit https://bit.ly/3kF6RwL.
Note: Allow the cream, egg and butter to reach room temperature before mixing together because cold ingredients will slow down the rising process.
Melt 4 tablespoons butter. In the bowl of a stand-up electric mixer, beat 4 tablespoons melted butter, pumpkin puree, cream, 1 egg, sugar, flour, yeast and salt, mixing until a dough forms. Knead on a lightly floured surface (or in mixing bowl with a dough hook) about 5 minutes or until smooth. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat surface. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Brush a 9-inch-by-9-inch baking dish lightly with some of the melted butter. Set aside.
Punch dough down and divide into 18 pieces on a floured surface. Roll into balls, and place in prepared baking dish. Brush tops with remaining melted butter. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes or until puffed (but not doubled in size).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk remaining egg and brush over tops of rolls. Sprinkle with desired amount of pepitas and sea salt. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 11/2 dozen
The headnote says, “There are lots of hummus flavors in stores and you can easily make this unique fresh version anytime with ingredients kept in the pantry. The pumpkin flavor is a fun riff you can serve at Halloween parties and through the rest of the fall holidays.”
Combine pumpkin, beans, lemon zest and juice, tahini, garlic, oil, cumin, salt, and paprika in a food processor; process until smooth. Spoon into a serving bowl; garnish, if desired. Serve with pita chips. Makes 3 cups
The headnote says, “Risotto is a creamy rice dish made specifically with a medium-grain Italian rice called Arborio. Arborio contains a good bit of starch that, when cooked slowly with small amounts of broth, creates a silky, saucy texture. Make sure the squash pieces are cut to the same size for even cooking.”
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until tender.
Add Arborio rice and squash; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 to 2 minutes or until wine evaporates.
Add 1 cup broth to risotto mixture and cook, stirring constantly or very frequently, until liquid is absorbed. Repeat with remaining broth, 1 cup at a time, until liquid is absorbed after each addition.
Remove from heat and stir in cheese, rosemary, salt and pepper. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
The headnote says, “Put this recipe on your to-do list after Thanksgiving because it’s great for leftover turkey (and the rest of that package of celery!). I tend to use shortcuts like refrigerated piecrusts after a big food-filled holiday, but you can substitute your favorite homemade double-crust pastry.”
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add celery and onion. Cook, stirring frequently, 5 minutes. Add squash. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until vegetables are almost tender.
Stir in flour, poultry seasoning and salt. Cook 1 minute.
Add broth and half-and-half, stirring until well blended. Bring to a simmer; simmer 5 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Stir in turkey.
Place one piecrust in bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. Add filling, and cover with remaining crust. Fold over edges and crimp to seal. Make several slits in top. Brush with egg. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Makes 6 servings.
BeerTasting in the Corn Maze, Sept. 25, 5-7 p.m. (last entry to maze at 6:30 p.m.) Lyman Orchards, 32 Reeds Gap Road, Middlefield. Wander through the maze to taste brews from Alvarium, Black Hog and Stony Creek; $30 includes six 4-ounce beer samples, corn maze ticket and a $5 voucher to be used at 1741 Pub & Grill that night. Music by Southern Voice Band outdoors at the pub from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets and detailseventbrite.com.
New Haven Restaurant week continues until Sept 26. More than two-dozen of downtown New Haven’s award-winning and internationally diverse restaurants are featuring $19 lunch and $36 dinner fixed price menus along with $60 to-go options. Participating restaurants and details at https://bit.ly/2FY38uS.
BASTA Trattoria, 1006 Chapel St., New Haven, 203-772-1715, Pasta Trio, menu at bit.ly/2WPnmwy, choose three different pastas and three different sauces for $20 per person. Served for lunch (noon- 3 p.m.) Saturdays and Sundays for dining indoor or outdoor. bastatrattoria.com
Geronimo Tequila Bar and Southwest Grill, 271 Crown St. New Haven, 203-777-7700, happy hour from noon to 4 p.m., with $1 sliders, $1 drafts and $2 cans and bottles. These specials are available for dine-in only (indoor or outdoor). bit.ly/2ZW5cek
Shell and Bones, 100 S. Water St., New Haven, 203-787-3466, re-introduces happy hour, Monday through Thursday from noon to 4 p.m, offering $1 oysters, half-price bottles of wine and $1 drafts. Specials available for dine-in only (indoor or outdoor). shellandbones.com
Worth Tasting, culinary walking tour of downtown New Haven, Oct. 24, 10:30 a.m., reservations required, 203-415-3519, $68. Enjoy tasty samplings from several of New Haven’s favorites.Tickets at bit.ly/2FjiwMP.