butternut squash

Top 9 Reasons the Ninth Month is Not My Favorite

by Anne Maxfield on September 2, 2019

Accidental Locavore Gala Apples

It’s Labor Day and I didn’t feel like laboring so please enjoy this post from a few years ago.

Those of you who know me, know September is not my favorite month and here’s why:

  1. It’s the end of summer! If it wasn’t apparent enough by the days getting shorter, back-to-school ads (yeah, ok, those start in July) and everything with “end of summer clearance”, the words “Labor Day” seemingly cannot be uttered without adding “the last weekend of the summer”. It’s really like rubbing your nose in it.
  2. Just because it’s September, doesn’t mean it’s time to pack up the grill. Even in New York, we generally grill until the food would get cold coming the short distance from the grill to the house, or we have to dig a path to the grill, (i.e. January).
  3. Therefore, I’m not ready to start braising anything! My theory: it’s not braising weather until there are no tomatoes or corn left at the farmers markets. When butternut squash is all you can find, it’s time for slow-cookers and Dutch ovens. After all, how many recipes for grilled butternut squash do you know?Accidental Locavore Moroccan Squash Soup
  4. Food I haven’t cooked. At the end of every summer, there’s always a huge list of things I wanted to try and didn’t. That’s not to say I wasn’t cooking, the blog (and my waistline) will vouch for that. It’s just that there’s so much you can do with all the great summer foods! And maybe because the gap from the last of the tomatoes to the first of the asparagus is a long one.
  5. I will park the white pants, shoes and bags, but that’s more a matter of upbringing than anything else. Wearing white after Labor Day never feels right to me, and, as we all know, if you don’t feel good, you don’t look good.
  6. When the temperature is above 80 degrees, cashmere, down, knee-high boots and everything else in the stores are nothing I want to come in contact with. Save them for the other ___ber and ___ary months. God knows they last long enough!
  7. I hate fall! There, I’ve said it. To me there is nothing intrinsically good or valuable in days getting shorter and watching things die. To the editor of Hudson Valley Magazine, you are wrong, wrong, wrong about fall being most people’s favorite season. Got it? Wrong!
  8. Even the music is depressing. See You in September, Wake me up When September Ends. September Song, September in the Rain, The September of my Years, not an upbeat tune among them!Accidental Locavore Dog and Football
  9. Football…enough said.

And what I like about September? Oh, just give me a while, I’m sure I can come up with something…

 

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Spring vs. Fall: Guilty of Seasonal Profiling?

by Anne Maxfield on April 11, 2016

Accidental Locavore Red Hook ApplesWhile wandering the golf course on a beautiful October day last fall and picking apples off the trees, it occurred to the Accidental Locavore that maybe, just maybe, it’s not really a dislike of fall produce, but possibly I’m guilty of seasonal profiling.

Accidental Locavore Nice MarketWhile I’ll happily gorge on asparagus, ramps, morels and strawberries the minute they start to appear, apples, and any form of winter squash generally get the cold shoulder from me. I’m always so ho-hum about them – cooking them and enjoying them on an as-needed basis, but never really embracing them.

Accidental Locavore Butternut Squash With SaucesHowever, this winter, I made a recipe for butternut squash from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More that was wonderful and could make me a believer. And when I feel like they’ve been sitting around too long, there’s always dehydrating them for the dog (or unsuspecting guests). Like most fruits and vegetables, a fresh-picked crisp apple has a lot going for it, great flavor and texture, that you don’t get later in the year. But the days get shorter, leaves fall off trees and you know it’s going to be progressively colder. Not good.

Accidental Locavore DaffodilsSpring on the other hand, brings all sorts of young greens. There are morels and ramps to be foraged for, or bought at a farmers’ market – which are back in business. Asparagus hit the stores, getting bigger (my favorites, yes, I’m a size queen) as the season progresses. Artichokes, another favorite, arrive from the other coast and strawberries introduce months of berries and cherries. There are all my favorite flowers – daffodils, tulips, peonies and lilacs. The days get longer and warmer and sorry, you can’t begin to argue that anything in October beats that!

Accidental Locavore Huge SquashEven though I might be a candidate for fall tolerance training (butternut squash matter?), I love a day where it’s light past 5:00, I can dust off the barbecue and save Frank from washing a pile of pots and pans. Give me spring lamb, asparagus any way, and a bunch of daffodils from the garden and I’m happy! What about you? Any arguments for squash and apples?

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Sweet Potato Dog Treats (or Vegan Jerky)

by Anne Maxfield on March 25, 2016

Accidental Locavore Sweet Potato TreatsThis was one of those too-good-to-be-true recipes, or, why didn’t I think of that? The Accidental Locavore was reading a blog post about making dog treats from sweet potatoes. Here’s how it works:

  • Preheat the oven to 175°.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper – figure one pan per potato, depending on their size.
  • Wash and dry 1-2 large sweet potatoes and slice very thinly the length of the potato. If you have a mandolin, this is the time to use it. If you’d rather practice your knife skills, slice a small piece off one side to give yourself a steady base.
  • Arrange the slices in one layer on the baking sheets (they can touch but not overlap).
  • Bake for 8 hours until they’re dehydrated.
  • Let cool overnight, serve or feed to the dog and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Sliced Sweet PotatoesMy verdict: Depending on how many sheet pans your oven will hold, as long as you’re running it that long, you might as do as much as you can fit. I did two large sweet potatoes because we’ve got a big dog, but you might want to use smaller potatoes if you’re eating them yourself or you have a small dog. Along with being low calorie (and knowing exactly what’s in them), these have the advantage of being really chewy so it takes a dog a little longer to wolf them down. After I did the sweet potatoes, the two butternut squash on my dining room table (since Thanksgiving) got peeled, sliced and dehydrated too. I took a bite and promptly spit it out, but my brave friend tried both and preferred the sweet potato. She thought they were both too chewy though.

Rif’s verdict: Woof, woof, woof! Worth sitting for. Nice and chewy and I’m a fan of sweet potatoes in any form. Not sure they replace a classic large Milk Bone and definitely no contest when it comes to a smoked pigs ear, but since the humans think they’re better for me, I seem to get a couple extra. Butternut squash was pretty good too, but not as chewy. Keep up the experiments, mom, but please no kale!Accidental Locavore Rif

 

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Butternut Squash With a Pair of Sauces

by Anne Maxfield on October 22, 2015

Accidental Locavore Butternut Squash Rear EndAlthough the Accidental Locavore generally needs to be talked into the autumnal pumpkin/winter squash frenzy kicking and complaining (but not screaming), we were given a beautiful butternut squash from a friend’s garden, so I went cruising for something interesting to do with it and found this great recipe from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More. It’s really simple and, depending on the size of your squash, feeds at least 4 as a side dish.

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup olive oil (divided use)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, leaves and stems
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds (or use the seeds from the squash)
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt, or labne
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Sriracha (more or less to taste)
  • Salt & pepper

Accidental Locavore Butternut Squash for RoastingPreheat the oven to 425°. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, peel and cut into 1/2” wedges about 3” long. If you’re going to use the squash seeds, rinse them well and set aside to dry. Put the squash in a large bowl with the cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, ¾ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Toss to coat the squash well. Put on two baking sheets and roast for 35-40 minutes until soft and starting to brown. Remove from the oven and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°.

For the cilantro sauce, put the cilantro (save a few sprigs to garnish) and garlic in a small food processor or mini-chopper. Pulse until chopped and then gradually add the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil until it makes a fine paste. Taste and add salt as needed.

Put the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 6-8 minutes, until they’re light and crispy. Remove and cool.

Accidental Locavore Butternut Squash With SaucesMix the yogurt and Sriracha together. To serve, lay the roasted squash on a large plate or platter, drizzle the yogurt mix and then add the cilantro sauce. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on top and garnish with the cilantro leaves. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: This might make a squash believer out of me! It was really good, with the creamy spiciness of the yogurt making a great contrast to the sweetness of the roasted squash. The cilantro sauce gave it a nice fresh taste, too – all together a great combination! If you’re a butternut squash fan, you’ll love it, and even if you’re a non-believer like me, you’ll still love it! The two sauces can be made while the squash is roasting and I just took the squash from the roasting pan, plated it and tossed the pumpkin seeds in the oven. They’re probably the one thing you could lose from the recipe, or replace with toasted pine nuts if you wanted the crunch. I like the dish warm, but it’s probably good at room temperature too.Accidental Locavore Butternut Squash With Pork Chop

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