Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thankful for salad tables!

We had home-grown salad for Thanksgiving dinner this year, thanks to a salad table in a sheltered spot just outside the back door, a wood-and-chicken-wire cover to protect plants from squirrels, and an old sheet to throw over it on frosty nights.  When I remember to.

We also ate the last of the home-grown tomatoes, though I decided not to put them in the salad because after ripening from fully green they were still kind of hard inside, like winter supermarket tomatoes but without the perfect skin.  So I cut them up and stewed them and then added them to a side dish of mushrooms and onions.  They softened up fine, and added a rich flavor to the dish.

While cooking I snacked on the last of the roasted seeds from a Marina di Chioggia squash we got for a Halloween decoration (those little gourds? Vanished the next day for a squirrel's lunch) and later turned into soup.

It had the biggest seeds I've ever seen in a squash or pumpkin (pumpkins are squash, of course).  They took a long time to roast and were still very chewy, but tasty.  (My roasting method: clean the seeds as best you can, boil in salted water for about 10 minutes, then spread on a tray, mix with oil and seasonings, and bake at 375-400 (depending on seed size) for as long as it takes to get them crisp but not burnt.  Try 10 minutes to start and then check every 5 minutes, giving them a good stir.  When done, leave them in the cooling oven for a while and then turn out on a towel (one you can wash).  Do not store in plastic or they'll get soft again.)

We had what I think was a Red Kuri squash for Thanksgiving, cut up and steamed, then roasted with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey.  I roasted those seeds too, but they were too tough to eat - unusually thick for squash seeds, almost gourd-like except much bigger.

I'm thankful to be able to grow some of my own dinner and buy the rest (from farmer's markets in part).  Hope you enjoyed your holiday meal and have leftovers to munch on!

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