How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Local Endowment

Wikimedia image of butternut squash
We ended our farm box season with a few squash on hand, and turned to Jane Brody for guidance on something new to do with the butternut -- that large, sweet, vaguely obscene member. Of the squash family. In searching for an image, I learned the local geography of the butternut's most common variety, the Waltham butternut, which was developed in Stow, Massachusetts and then introduced at the Waltham Field Station.

Looking in Brody's Good Food Book, we found "winter squash stuffed with apples and cheese" on page 401 -- these were all good ingredients we had on hand. (See all of our Jane Brody posts.) The recipe calls for two small acorn or two small butternut squashes, but we had one large butternut that was enough to feed us both.

I split it in two (as in the photo above) and scooped out the seedy part. I lightly oiled a baking sheet and placed the halves on it, flesh side down, in a 350 oven for 30 minutes. Then I sauteed a chopped apple and onion in butter. I then mixed these with ricotta cheese (replacing cottage cheese in the recipe) and some very good cheddar from Cabot. To this I added dried cranberries in place of raisins or currants. I pressed this filling into the pockets of the squash and baked another 20 minutes, flesh side up.

Pam liked this better than I did. I could see room for improvement. First, I did not cut the squash quite evenly, so taking the larger side meant that I took the somewhat half-baked side.More importantly, I do not think the ricotta cheese worked for me. It would have been better to use just the cheddar, or perhaps a mix of cheddar and Monterrey Jack. Most importantly, I used a red onion when I should have used yellow, and I should have cooked it a bit longer to caramelize and sweeten a bit.

I will definitely try this again -- either waiting for next year's harvest or perhaps with a store-bought squash. The meal fits in a good spot on the nutritious-delicious-easy-cheap trade-off matrix.

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