October 5, 2008

Greens and Squash and Beets, oh my!

Filed under: food — origamifreak @ 5:54 pm
Tags: , , , ,

It’s definitely autumn around here.

Several times a week we get those emails at work saying, “Come get your free XXX. Bring your own bag.” This week it was peaches (unripe, so I passed), Gala apples (only 3 rotten ones left, so I passed), Beets (nice, big fresh ones, so I took), and Macintosh apples (good size & quality, so I took).

Meanwhile, the CSA is providing lots of yummy tomatoes and greens in my weekly tote.

And the local Mennonite store has bins of winter squash (specifically Buttercup).

What this means is that on the weekend I have to cook things and store them so they won’t go bad. The winter squash and apples aren’t so much of an issue because they store pretty well in the basement. The tomatoes are fine at room temperature for a week or so, but the beets and greens tend to wilt and get bitter, so they need to be taken care of within days of acquisition.

Today I started by cleaning the kitchen while talking to Lisa on the phone, so there would be space to do all this. I began baking two buttercup squash brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt (I tried to whack them in half equatorially they way Toy Lady’s Peeps did, but I wasn’t strong enough and the cleaver wasn’t heavy enough, so I gave up and did them longitudinally as usual.)

After the squash were done (375F, cut side up, 1.5 hours), I washed the beets, cut their heads and tails off, and put them on the baking dishes with salt and a drizzling of olive oil, and left them in at the same temp for the same time. Then I scraped the insides of one of the squash into a 4-cup storage container and put it aside for cooling and eventual refridgeration. The other squash was breakfast and lunch. Mmm. I ate it just plain with a spoon and “help” from the orange cat who still likes squash, although he hasn’t eaten it since last year. The skins went into a pot to simmer for soup stock.

After an hour and a half I decided the beets weren’t done, poured a bit of vinegar in the bottom of the dish and stuck them back in for half an hour.

Next I prepared the greens, which was a very generous bunch each of kale and collard. I chopped off the stems, and chopped the greens into 1-inch squares or so. I dumped these into a pressure cooker with about an inch of water on the bottom and capped it, on high until I saw steam. Then I dropped the burner to low.

While those were going I washed and separated the squash seeds from the stringy stuff and prepared them for roasting.

When the squash seeds were mostly clean I turned off the greens and took off the lid to let them cool. I took the beets out of the oven and transferred all of them and their liquid to one dish to cool. I dropped a tablespoon of oil into the now empty Pyrex dish, added the squash seeds, and spread them around with a spatula. Then I sprinkled them with salt and stuck them in the oven at 275F.

Then I transferred the now cooler greens to two 4-cup storage containers and set them aside to continue cooling. The beet vinegar went into a container to use for salad dressing.

Now the beets are cooling, the seeds are still roasting, the stock is simmering, and I am exhausted! That’s a lot of work when you’re not used much to cooking, anymore. (I hardly ever cook on weeknights these days – no time!)

The good news is that I’ll have lots of components handy for fast soups and other things.



  1. Sounds good! I find either boiling or microwaving beets to be an easier option. But maybe not so tasty. I do not usually have my oven on for so long a time. Must get squash soon. I am partial to butternut. Mom M prefers Buttercup though. I have two pumpkins for cooking to be used soon.

    Comment by jpm14 — October 7, 2008 @ 9:02 pm | Reply

  2. Yeah it *was* a long time. At least I kept it at temperature, and slid things in and out, rather than having to reheat it up again, though. I was hoping that would help.

    Comment by origamifreak — October 7, 2008 @ 9:18 pm | Reply

  3. Some stuff about curry leaves for your enjoyment:

    Comment by Sofia T. Catt — October 13, 2008 @ 5:15 pm | Reply

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