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Archive for October, 2009

Endangered Squash

Happy Fall! My favorite season of the year!

I discovered a new type of squash this season that I think is my favorite of all the winter squashes (and there is quite a long list)- the Boston Marrow squash.

It is actually not new at all, but a very old and rare form of winter squash native to New England. We got two of them while stopping for pumpkins at a farm stand in PA. Unfortunately, they are apparently really hard to find. They don’t sell them at your local Whole Foods or any of the Farmer’s Markets in my area. If I only knew this at the time I would have bought a dozen of them- not just two!

The squash has a really tough red-orange skin that requires an extra-sharp knife (and very strong husband) to crack into!

It is worth the effort! It has a smooth, buttery, sweet and nutty taste. It is sort of like a combination of pumpkin and sweet potato, but really has a unique taste all to itself.

I’m glad we didn’t try to do anything fancy with it the first time around. In fact, next time I make this I am going to leave out the pasta altogether. It just gets in the way!

Boston Marrow Squash Pasta

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Slice the squash in half and scoop out the seeds (save seeds for later). Season squash with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and place cut-side down on a baking sheet lined with tin foil. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the skin with fork.
  • Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, add 1/2 lb. rigatoni and cook until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan on medium heat. Add 1/2 cup of chopped onion. Saute until onion is translucent (about 4 minutes). Add a 1/4 cup of brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Next, add 1/2 cup of pecans and cook until lightly toasted, about 4 minutes.
  • When the squash is roasted, remove from oven and cut into cubes (the skin should easily peel away with a knife). Add cubed squash to the pan along with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of thyme. Add a few tablespoons of pasta water if sauce is too dry. Stir until incorporated, about 4-5 minutes. Spoon on top of pasta and serve with fresh grated parm!
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Au Revoir Gourmet!

The country’s oldest food magazine is going out of business. Publisher, Conde Nast announced this week that it is shutting down Gourmet magazine after 68 years! According to Conde Nast’s CEO, it will continue to provide online and television content, but will cease monthly publication.


With nearly daily media reports of various print magazines getting the ax you would think I wouldn’t be surprised. Yet, for some reason this one really struck a cord. What does it say about our country, the economy, and society that one of America’s most venerable publications is no longer relevant?


I remember growing up there were always piles of Gourmet magazines in our house (in a sophisticated, non-hoarder kind of way of course). Eventually my mother started to have them bound in dark blue leather volumes embossed with the signature gold Gourmet script. Decades of volumes now line the bookcase in the study. Will her subscription be canceled now or replaced with a user name and password?

The current demise of print media reminds me of a short story I recently read by Kevin Brockmeier called The Year of Silence. A cleverly written tale of a world where people are all of sudden exposed to small, mysterious bouts of complete silence. These unpredictable moments of silence lead society to crave them and eventually impose a ban on (man-made) noise altogether. Devices are invented and employed to silence all machines, cars, etc. in an effort to achieve that moment of complete silence indefinitely. Ironically, once they succeed and silence dominates, small, inexplicable bouts of noise begin to occur at varying intervals of time. Predictably, people begin to eventually crave the noise, meeting in secret to listen to recordings of car horns, factory whistles, crowds at baseball games. Finally the world comes full circle and the return of man-made noise prevails, leaving many to forget the brief period of time where silence ruled. I can’t help but see the scary parallels between this fictional story and what is happening in real life. Albeit, there was more to the story than my simplistic summary suggests, the same eerie feeling resonates with me when I think about how more and more print publications are going out of business whereas more and more content is being provide solely online.

I realize the hypocrisy of this statement as I sit here and write/type these words on my very own blog. Maybe that is why I don’t “blog” as much as I feel I should? I’m not sure what prompted me to start a blog to being with. I suppose as my old-fashioned recipe binder stared at me from the kitchen shelf bursting with papers and covered in dried crumbs, I liked the simple, organized way my recipes and words were kept in cyberspace. Yet, I don’t get the same satisfaction from typing on a computer as I feel putting pen to paper. It’s the same reason why I prefer to read the real, clumsy newspaper as opposed to the online edition. And don’t even get me started on those Kindle contraptions! The day those replace real books I am going move to the country and live “off the grid.” I suppose the lesson (solution?) is moderation. All of one thing (silence/noise; electronic/print; ice cream/veggies) is never good. I just think we shouldn’t forget the word “multi” in multi-media, lest we find ourselves living in a world where the printing press is obsolete and I am forced to meet in secret to read real books and write with a real pen… although I bet those bound volumes of Gourmet will be worth a bundle on Ebay!

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