November 6, 2013

Winter squash stars in sweet, savory recipes

Mary Ellen Chadd of Green Spark Farm shared these recipes for biscuits and cookies. Any kind of squash will work with them, she says; buttercup or butternut are the easiest to work with, unless you have leftovers.

SQUASH DROP BISCUITS

Adapted from James Beard’s “Beard on Bread.”

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ stick (1/4 cup) butter, cut into chunks

1 tablespoon sugar, honey or maple syrup

¾ to 1 cup milk, buttermilk or water

½ cup cooked and mashed squash

1 greased baking sheet

Preheat oven to 450. Put flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in a medium-large mixing bowl. Whisk together to incorporate. In a second, smaller bowl, mix squash, ¾ cup milk and sweetener, and set aside. Reserve ¼ to ½ cup milk to even out the dough (when mixing), set aside.

Toss the flour mixture into the chunks of butter. Then, using your fingers, two knives, a heavy fork or a pastry cutter, blend the butter and flour mixture together into very fine particles, until it resembles finely milled cornmeal. Add the milk/squash liquid and fold dry and wet ingredients together until just incorporated. The dough should be very thick, like sticky, heavy chocolate mousse, but all the flour is incorporated (excepting a few small pea-sized pockets). If needed, add ¼ to ½ cup more liquid to make a good sticky, wet dough.

Immediately drop dough from a spoon onto greased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. Serve piping hot with butter. This recipe usually makes four to six large biscuits (more if you drop them smaller).

SPICED SQUASH COOKIES

Adapted from Mary Ellen Chadd’s “Grandma D’s” persimmon cookie recipe.

½ cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 cup cooked and mashed squash

1 cup nuts, optional

1 cup raisins, optional

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease one to two cookie sheets. Mix together well with a whisk: flour, salt, baking soda and all spices. Set aside. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat egg and incorporate well into creamed butter/sugar. Fold mashed squash into creamed butter mixture. Mix together the wet and dry ingredients. Fold in raisins and nuts, if desired. Spoon out onto greased cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

STUFFED DELICATA SQUASH

Serves 4-6 as a main dish.

From “Always in Season: Twelve Months of Fresh Recipes from the Farmer’s Markets of New England” by Elise Richer, illustrated by Teresa Lagrange (Islandport Press, $26.95.

I was never a huge fan of stuffed squash – until I learned that if you roast the squash empty first, the whole thing tastes much better. Delicata is great for stuffing because the squash cooks quickly, and you can eat the skin. This recipe is flexible. You can leave out or add more things as you wish; I like having kale in there, but it does get kind of chewy after being baked. Try more mushrooms, quinoa, or even a chopped-up apple instead.

1 cup chopped pecans (or substitute another nut)

1 pound mushrooms, cleaned and sliced 1/4-inch thick

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing

Salt and pepper

1/4 to 1/2 cup minced parsley or other fresh herbs, if available

(Continued on page 2)

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