DISCOVERY: Acorn Squash

About 2 weeks ago I bought an acorn squash on a whim.  I wasn’t sure what to do with it, but the weather had just turned crisp, my big camping weekend had just passed, and I was ready to fully embrace the fall.  Of course, immediately after the purchase, the temperature shot up to the mid-80s for a week, segueing directly into a week of disgusting, muggy rain.  Cracking the squash open during any of that mess seemed disingenuous at best.  But now – 65 degrees with the sun shining – it seems like we’re finally back on track.  I celebrated the return of fall by revisiting my old friend (with a very sharp knife)…

The method was simple: cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, sprinkle some pumpkin spice and burnt orange powder* (the 1-2 punch of everything I make now), a dash of salt, a handful of raisins and throw it under the broiler.  (I also added a little bit of water in each cavity so the flesh wouldn’t dry out.)  In about half an hour, the squash was tender, the raisins were juicy, and the whole thing looked out of control good.

 

Half eaten and fully enjoyed.

 

Beaming, I took my creation to the Starbucks down the block and enjoyed it with a delicious iced coffee.  The joy of discovery.

Now, to anyone who’s even a little experienced with cooking for themselves, the “discovery” of acorn squash must seem pretty meaningless.  It’s by no means an exotic gourd, and I certainly didn’t reinvent the wheel with the recipe.  Still, to me, the whole process has been a source of excitement and revitalization.  Trying something new and finding success feels awesome.  What’s better is the fact that now I’ve got another great dish in my repertoire.  If you’ve never made yourself roasted acorn squash before, trust me – there’s no reason to wait.  Simple, healthy, and seasonal – it’s a reason to love the fall.

Here are some interesting looking variations on acorn squash online:

* Burnt orange powder is something I came up with recently and have put on everything ever since.  Again, simple method: peel an orange and, with a sharp knife, separate the orange zest from the white pith.  Put the seperated peels on a baking sheet and bake at around 300 degrees until they’re dried and just a little brown around the edges.  When the peels are cooled, powderize them using a blender or food processor (my Magic Bullet works perfectly).  Put the results in a spice shaker and use on cereal, squash, roasted carrots, tea, and more!

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