Roasting, or How I learned to Love the Squash

One thing is for sure.  To be on this crazy diet you have to like your vegetables.  Scratch that, you have to love your vegetables.  And believe me, you get pretty sick of the standard veggies after you’re eating them three times a day, every day.

I’m lucky.  I like most vegetables.  I’m also lucky to live in Northern California where we probably have the best produce year-round in the US.  One of my favorite things to do on the weekends is go to my local farmer’s market and get the best produce around.  And for cheap!  This isn’t an inexpensive diet to be on, and being able to buy directly from the farmers makes a HUGE difference as far as cost.  I also like that I’m able to support my local farmers, ensuring that they are able to make a living and continue to provide good produce for the masses.  There are lots of other benefits to buying local.  Many local farmers (at least in Nor Cal) are organic, ensuring that we don’t get any added pesticides in our diet.  This is really important for anyone, but especially for those of us coping with compromised digestive systems.  Buying local also puts much less stress on the environment.

You can get just about anything at my local farmer’s market — olive oil, dried fruit, almond butter, flowers, chicken, rabbit, lamb, beef, honey, and my new favorite purchase, oysters.  Last Sunday I came back with a TON of food for about $20.  I bought:

leeks

carrots

raddichio

beets

broccoli

purple broccoli

navel oranges

apples

clementines

collard greens

3 squash – delicata, acorn, and something that looks like the delicata and the acorn had a baby

1/2 dozen raw oysters

I’m pretty comfortable cooking all these vegetables, with the exception of the beets and the squash.  You see, for all my “I’ll eat anything” there are two things I really don’t want to eat… squash and beets.  And no, I don’t really know why.  Other than they’re icky.

But squash fills you up, is kind of sweet, and nicely rounds out a meal.  I had to overcome the squash.

For the past week or so I’ve been doing the standard thing that I think my mom (was it my mom?  I don’t even remember anymore.) taught me ages ago – cut the squash in half, scoop out the innards, put in a baking dish skin side up with some water in the bottom, throw in the oven.  This was working for me.  It was basic, but good.  Really made a good breakfast, and an edible bowl for things like my Garam Masala scented pork and apples (recipe to come).  But you know what annoyed me?  There was all kinds of squash stuck to the rind that I couldn’t get to!

And then my mom taught me something else brilliant.  You can eat the rinds!  WHA??

So, here’s my tip for you.  Don’t ditch the rind.  Here’s what I did: Wash the outside of the squash (I used the delicata).  Cut in half lengthwise (this obviously wouldn’t matter for round squash), scoop out the innards, and slice into about 1/2 inch pieces.  Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast.  I used a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.  Super, super delicious!  Nutty, savory, slightly sweet, and YUMMY!  My mom suggested doing this for the delicata, but according the Women’s Day magazine, you can do it for acorn as well.  I’m assuming it will work for the baby of these two also.

My life has changed forever.  I no longer fear the squash.

Next challenge… beets.  Wish me luck.

To learn more about eating local, check out my friend Amber’s blog Awake at the Whisk.

(There would be pictures, but my computer is not cooperating with me.  Maybe I can get them up tomorrow at work.)