Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Winter Squash & Roasted Seeds

Fall gently ushers in Halloween with silken whispers of rustling leaves.

As a kid one of my favorite things about this time of year was fresh roasted pumpkin seeds.  Now it's fresh roasted squash seeds. I love the smaller seeds and thinner shells. The problem is cleaning the guts off all those little seeds. I figured out a little trick this year to speed up the process.  It's so blatantly obvious after the fact, it feels like a stretch to call it a trick.  But if I've been doing it wrong all these years, I'm sure I'm not the only one and hopefully someone finds this useful. The trick is to scoop out the seeds first.  Just the seeds. Leave the stringy guts intact.  You can kind of pop them out with your finger pressing at the base of the seeds to disconnect it from the guts.  This is so much faster and cleaner than scooping them out together and then trying to separate seeds from guts.

Squash with seeds removed, guts still intact.

To roast them; I rinse them off, toss them with a bit of olive oil, spread them out on a sheet and sprinkle them with salt.  Lately I've been using this chipotle sea salt grinder for all of my savory salting needs.  It's great on roasted veggies and popcorn too. Since they are smaller they roast up pretty fast compared to pumpkin seeds. I roast them at 275 for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.

My favorite winter squashes are the Carnival, Delicata and Sweet Dumpling varieties picture above. They are all very similar in taste and texture, with mottled orange, green and cream colors on the outside. Small, sweet and creamy, I don't do anything fancy with these.  I cut them in half, scoop out the guts, bake them cut side down on a baking sheet (covered in parchment or aluminum foil for easy cleanup) at 350 about 40 minutes until tender.  Once they are cool enough to handle, I scoop out the squash add a bit of butter, salt (chipotle salt blend for a kick) and pepper. No brown sugar, like I grew up with on acorn squash, these are so deliciously sweet on their own.

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