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Mackie’s Squash Dilemma

My friend, Mackie, is a natural cook, with the ability to put together whatever ingredients happen to be on hand, instinctively and without a recipe. Yesterday, knowing how I am welcoming reader ideas to this site, she was describing her squash dilemma to me in her off-hand and humorous way and I persuaded her to share it here. So, here is Mackie’s story and recipe, and a photograph of an array of squashes from the 2-acre permaculture garden of her son, Eli, and his partner, Christy, who live near Bellingham. More on Eli and Christy’s creative enterprise below.

“Yesterday I was given a large green and white squash, about the size of a small football, from a friend’s garden on Galiano Island. I was making dinner and thought I should really find some way to use the squash but in the past haven’t been impressed with my attempts to make squash interesting and tasty. I wasn’t sure what kind of squash it was but assumed it was an acorn type. I had a guest coming in about 30 minutes for dinner so didn’t have much time for roasting. My solution was to hack the squash in half and then in quarters, scoop out the seeds and put the pieces in a saucepan to steam. It took about 15-20 minutes for the squash to cook and get softened. I then wondered, now what…the instant recipe was sort of accidental and the result surprisingly delicious, so here are the ingredients and the process:

hard squash of any sort: acorn, butternut, spaghetti, etc.
salt, pepper, nutmeg
Sherry (or Madeira or Port) and honey mixed together with a fork (a tablespoon or so
of each…enough to drizzle some over each squash serving)

Cut squash in large serving pieces (seeds scooped out) and steam until soft (15-20 minutes). Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place steamed pieces in baking dish. Insert knife in the middle of each piece and push in a small pat of butter. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and grated nutmeg. Mix half Sherry and half honey to make enough glaze to drizzle over each piece. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes.

The squash turned out to be a spaghetti squash which I didn’t realize when I chopped into it. Although the sherry/honey glaze was invisible, all the flavours were drawn into the squash. I now have a far greater respect for the possibilities for squash consumption in the future!”

Eli and Christy have created an environmental model on their land, with green houses, water catchment systems, and solar hot water with an outdoor shower set in the cedar trees. They have built a berm about 10 metres long for growing squashes which is producing an impressive variety and volume. Along with the garden they have grown the community of chickens to 20, each with a name (mostly rescued, as well as a few volunteers who have shown up likely because they have learned that this is a vegetarian household). They can apply their varied skills to their other work, Eli doing additions and renovations including solar heating systems and Christy with organic gardening and garden design services. Christy is also active in the Western Washington Fruit Research Foundation which has a fruit garden in Mount Vernon, open to the public daily where you can explore acres of varieties of fruit trees and berry plants from all over the world.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sally #

    This is wonderful! I don’t think I know two BETTER cooks, nor two whose styles vary by such a margin. Fabulous to have you linked on this site 🙂

    November 12, 2011
    • Mackie #

      Wonderful that you are following this link from Munich, Sally. Eager to hear about food you encounter during your stay and especially reports of the Viktualienmarkt!

      November 12, 2011
  2. Mackie #

    Honoured to have my haphazard cooking approach and Eli and Christy’s garden included on this site! I am finding the site so helpful for getting inspirations for what to do with ingredients. The other day my husband came home with 2 pork chops, a dish I hadn’t cooked for a long time and I had just got the blog update with the slow roasted pork menu. In my usual last minute approach I didn’t have time for slow roasting but followed Diane’s herbs, onion, apple, garlic, wine ingredients and baked the chops for an hour. Though not falling off the bone, the meat was tender and had a lovely flavour.

    November 12, 2011

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