Baked Acorn Squash with Maple and Walnut Oil

2 acorn squash
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons walnut oil
Freshly ground nutmeg
Ground walnuts


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the squash on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, until soft enough to easily cut in half. Cut in half, and scoop out the seeds and membranes.

Cover a baking sheet with foil. Stir the maple syrup and walnut oil together in a bowl, then brush over the cut surfaces of the squash. Sprinkle with a very small amount of ground nutmeg. Place in the oven and bake one hour, brushing every 10 minutes with more oil and maple syrup. When the squash is tender, brush once more, then spoon a tablespoonful of finely chopped walnuts into each cavity and return to the oven for five to 10 minutes, until the walnuts are toasty. Remove from the heat. Serve hot or warm.

Sweet Potato, Pumpkin, and Apple Puree

2 small butternut squash (about 2 pounds each)
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 thyme sprigs
Salt and pepper
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/4 cup currants
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes


Heat oven to 450 degrees. Cut the squash in two at the base of the neck, discarding the hollow bulb end or reserving for another use. Peel the rest and slice into 1/2-inch disks. Toss the squash in a large roasting pan with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, thyme and salt and pepper to taste, and arrange in a single layer. Roast the squash, turning once halfway through, until tender and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, combine garlic and one tablespoon of the remaining olive oil. Saut? until fragrant and tender, about one minute. Add pecans and sugar, and toss until the sugar has melted and the pecans are lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Whisk the vinegar into the remaining olive oil. Add the pecan mixture, currants and chili flakes. Mix well, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange the squash on a warm platter and top with some or all of the dressing.

Sweet Potato and Apple Puree

2 pounds sweet potatoes, scrubbed
2 tart apples, such as Granny Smith or Braeburn
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (to taste)
1 tablespoon mild flavored honey, such as clover
Pinch of salt


Preheat the oven to 425 F. Scrub sweet potatoes and pierce in several places with a sharp knife. Pierce the apples in a few places. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the potatoes and apples on top. Bake for 40 minutes and remove the apples. Continue to bake the sweet potatoes until thoroughly soft and beginning to ooze, 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the size. Remove from the heat and allow to cool until cool enough to handle.

Turn the oven down to 350F. Remove the skins from the potatoes. Peel and core the apples, scraping all the flesh from just inside the skins. Chop the potatoes and apples coarsely and place in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Puree until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and blend well. Transfer to a lightly buttered 2- or 3-quart baking dish.

Heat the puree in the 350F oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until steaming. Serve hot.

Butternut Squash with Pecans and Currants

2 small butternut squash (about 2 pounds each)
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 thyme sprigs
Salt and pepper
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/4 cup currants
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes


Heat oven to 450 degrees. Cut the squash in two at the base of the neck, discarding the hollow bulb end or reserving for another use. Peel the rest and slice into 1/2-inch disks. Toss the squash in a large roasting pan with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, thyme and salt and pepper to taste, and arrange in a single layer. Roast the squash, turning once halfway through, until tender and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, combine garlic and one tablespoon of the remaining olive oil. Saut? until fragrant and tender, about one minute. Add pecans and sugar, and toss until the sugar has melted and the pecans are lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Whisk the vinegar into the remaining olive oil. Add the pecan mixture, currants and chili flakes. Mix well, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange the squash on a warm platter and top with some or all of the dressing.

Butternut Squash Pudding

Butternutscotch Pudding

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
1 cup roasted butternut squash pur?e*
2 cups half and half
pinch of salt
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces


In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar and corn starch. In the container of a blender, combine the squash pur?e, half and half, brown sugar mixture, pinch of salt, and egg yolks. Blend until very smooth then strain through a fine mesh sieve into a medium-sized saucepan (rinse sieve because you will need it again later).

Cook the squash mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Turn heat to low, and continue cooking and stirring (now with a wooden spoon or spatula) for another minute or two ? pudding should be thick but still pourable. Immediately strain pudding through the sieve into a bowl, pushing it through with a spatula or wooden spoon. Stir vanilla extract and butter pieces into the hot pudding until completely incorporated.

Let pudding cool to warm then either divide into individual containers or leave in bowl. Cover and refrigerate until cold. If you?re concerned about a skin from forming on top of the pudding, press plastic wrap to the surface before refrigerating. Serve plain or with lightly sweetened whipped cream and chopped pecans.

Yield: 3 cups of pudding (four 3/4-cup or six 1/2-cup servings).

Recipe Notes: *To roast a butternut squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. With a big sharp knife, cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and place squash halves, cut side up, in a baking dish. Cover with foil and roast for 40-50 minutes in a 400 degree oven until the squash is very tender (can be pierced easily with a fork). When squash is cool enough to handle, scoop flesh from skin. Mash it lightly and place in a strainer for a minute to let any excess liquid drain off. Measure out 1 cup of squash for pudding recipe and reserve the rest for another use.

Butternut Squash Apple Soup

1 yellow onion, chopped
1 rib of celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 Tbsp butter
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, chopped
1 tart green apple, peeled, cored, chopped (squash and apple should be at a 3 to 1 ratio)
3 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth if vegetarian)*
Pinches of nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and pepper


Combine butter, onion, celery, and carrot in large saucepan. Cook for 5 minutes. Add squash, apple, and broth. Bring to boil. Simmer for 10 minutes or until squash is soft. Puree. Add spices to taste.

Butternut Squash with Walnuts and Vanilla

1 butternut squash, about 2 pounds, peeled, seeds removed, flesh cut into 1-inch cubes (see how to cut and peel a butternut squash)
3 bay leaves (if boiling the squash)
Salt
1 heaping cup of walnuts (can substitute pecans or pine nuts)
2-3 Tbsp butter
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Black pepper to taste


If roasting: preheat oven to 400?F. Coat the cubed squash with a little vegetable oil and spread out onto a baking tray. Sprinkle with salt and roast until the cubes begin to brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven.

If boiling: Put 4 cups of water into a medium-sized pot and add the bay leaves. Bring to a simmer. Add the squash to the pot. Boil, covered for 10 minutes. Drain.

Heat a large saut? pan over medium-high heat and toast the walnuts. Stir frequently or they will burn. Once they they start to brown, and you can smell the aroma of toasted walnuts, remove from heat.

Melt the butter in the pan with the walnuts over medium-high heat. Toss the walnuts to coat with butter, then add the squash. Toss them to coat with butter.

Add the grated ginger, vanilla extract, black pepper, a little salt and dried thyme and toss once more. Turn off the heat and squeeze some lemon juice over everything. Taste for salt and lemon and add more to taste. If you want this to be a bit more luxurious, mix in another tablespoon of butter or two before serving.

Serves 4.

Curried Squash and Pear Soup

1 butternut squash (about 2 3/4 pounds)
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups chopped peeled Bartlett pear (about 1 pound)
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
2 1/3 cups water
1 cup pear nectar
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans vegetable broth*
2 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 small Bartlett pear, cored and thinly sliced


Preheat oven to 375?.

Cut squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membrane. Place squash halves, cut sides down, on a baking sheet; bake at 375? for 45 minutes or until tender. Cool. Peel squash; mash pulp. Set aside 3 1/2 cups pulp, reserving remaining squash for another use.

Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chopped pear and onion; saut? 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Add squash pulp, water, and next 5 ingredients (water through pepper). Bring to a boil; partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes.

Place one-third of squash mixture in a blender; process until smooth. Pour pur?ed mixture into a large bowl; repeat procedure with remaining squash mixture.

Return squash mixture to pan; stir in half-and-half. Cook over low heat 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Ladle soup into bowls, and garnish with pear slices.

Serves 8 (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

1 2-lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, diced into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch cubes, yielding about 6 cups of cubed squash (see how to cut and peel a butternut squash)
Olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
Salt
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds (if you substitute ground mustard, only use 1/4 teaspoon)
A dash of ground cumin
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream (can substitute plain yogurt)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (can substitute parsley)


Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large, thick-bottomed stock pot on medium heat. Add a dab of butter to the olive oil. Working in two batches so as not to crowd the pan, add the cubed butternut squash to the pan. Toss to coat all sides with oil. Sprinkle a little salt over the squash. Then spread out in an even layer and let cook, stirring only occasionally, so that the edges and sides get lightly browned. You may need to adjust the heat up to ensure browning, or down to prevent burning or drying out. Add more oil and butter for the additional batches. Remove from pan and set aside.

Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in the pot, on medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook, stirring now and then, until softened. Add the curry powder, mustard seeds, cumin, and fresh ginger, and cook for a minute or so longer. Use a flat bottomed wooden or metal spatula to scrape up any browned bits.

Return the butternut squash to the pot. Add the chicken stock and a teaspoon of salt. Increase the heat to bring to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain a low simmer, cover the pot. Cook for 40 minutes until squash is completely tender. Use an immersion blender (or a stand up blender in which case work in batches) to blend the soup smooth. Add more salt to taste if needed.

Serve in individual bowls with a dollop of sour cream and some chopped cilantro.

Serves 4 to 6.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

4 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)
3 (15 oz) cans 100 percent pumpkin or 6 cups of chopped roasted pumpkin*
5 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option)**
2 cups of milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

*To make pumpkin pur?e, cut a sugar pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, lie face down on a tin-foil lined baking pan. Bake at 350?F until soft, about 45 min to an hour. Cool, scoop out the flesh. Freeze whatever you don’t use for future use.


Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add spices and stir for a minute more.

Add pumpkin and 5 cups of chicken broth; blend well. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer soup, in batches, to a blender or food processor. Cover tightly and blend until smooth. Return soup to saucepan.

With the soup on low heat, add brown sugar and mix. Slowly add milk while stirring to incorporate. Add cream. Adjust seasonings to taste. If a little too spicy, add more cream to cool it down. You might want to add a teaspoon of salt.

Serve in individual bowls. Sprinkle the top of each with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Serves 8.

Pumpkin Soup with Smoked Paprika

1 4-5 pound cooking pumpkin* to yield 6 cups roasted pumpkin OR 3 (15 ounce) cans of pumpkin puree
4 Tbsp butter
2 medium yellow onions, chopped, about 2 cups
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 large tart green apple (Granny Smith) peeled, cored, chopped (about 2 cups)
4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
1 cup water
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 sprig fresh sage or 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


To make pumpkin pur?e, cut a sugar or Kabocha pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds* and stringy stuff (an ice cream scoop works well for this purpose), lie face down on a foil or Silpat lined baking sheet. Bake at 350?F until soft, about 45 min to an hour. Cool, scoop out the flesh. Freeze whatever you don’t use for future use.

Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add smoked paprika, cayenne, and cumin and stir for a minute more.

Add chopped apple and pumpkin pur?e. Add broth, water. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Season with a little salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the apples are cooked through.

Working in batches, transfer soup to a blender or a food processor. Cover tightly and blend until smooth. If you want extra smooth soup, pass the pur?e through a food mill, after it’s been through the blender. Return the soup to the saucepan.

With soup on low heat, slowly add the milk and cream, stirring to incorporate. Add salt to taste. Adjust other seasonings to taste.

Can make a day ahead.

Serves 8.

Chipotle Pumpkin Soup

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1-2 chipotle peppers (canned in adobo, 1 for mild, 2 for spicy), chopped
8 cups chopped, cooked pumpkin* (1 7-8 pound cooking pumpkin to yield 8 cups cooked pumpkin, or 3 15-ounce cans of canned pumpkin)
4 to 6 cups chicken stock, depending on desired thickness and how thick your pumpkin pur?e is (use vegetable stock for vegetarian option, can sub water for some of the stock)
1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
2 teaspoons salt, more to taste
2 Tbsp lime juice

Garnishes:

Toasted, shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Cilantro
Creme fresca, creme fraiche or sour cream thinned with a little water so that it’s runny

*To cook fresh pumpkin, use a good cooking pumpkin (i.e. sugar pumpkin, fairytale pumpkin, hubbard, or kabocha pumpkin), cut in half, scoop out the seeds, place the pumpkin cut side down on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350?F for about an hour, or until soft. Scoop out the pumpkin flesh or cut away the skin. Let cool. Freeze for long term storage.


Heat oil in a large pot (8-quart) on medium high heat. Add the onions and cook for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, cumin, and chipotle, cook for 1 minute more.

Add the pumpkin, chicken stock, oregano, and salt. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, partially covered.

If you are working with raw pumpkin seeds, now would be a good time to toast them. (If your pumpkin seeds are already toasted, skip this step.) Just spread them out in an even layer in a frying pan on medium high heat. Stir with a wooden spoon while toasting, until the pumpkin seeds are fragrant and are lightly browned. Remove to a bowl.

Remove the soup from heat. Working in batches of 2 cups each, pur?e the soup in batches, holding down the lid the your blender tightly while pur?eing, and starting on a slow speed. Return the pur?ed soup to the pot.

Add lime juice. Adjust seasonings to taste, adding more salt, cumin, oregano, or chipotle to taste. If the soup is too thick, add more stock or water to desired consistency.

Serve with toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas), crema fresca drizzled over the top, and chopped cilantro.

Makes 2 to 2 1/2 quarts.