what to do w/ organic yams / butternut squash
i bought some organic yams at the market the other day - i tried steaming it in the microwave (my quick fix) -- they looked awful. The crows ate them
we are trying to stay away from too much salt (sodium), fat, etc
i just don't know what to do with these things
ps - i also have a few butternut squash from a farm owned by our friends - what a nice gift - but what do i do w/ them?
i bought some organic yams at the market the other day - i tried steaming it in the microwave (my quick fix) -- they looked awful. The crows ate them.
They "looked awful"? Who cares. How did they taste?
From what I know crows have very discerning palates.
But whatever. Try again. Steaming, baking, are great for yams of all kins, and even julienning them raw and then marinating over night with some rice wine vinegar, minced garlic and sugar is a great way to use them.
Simple oven roasting of either yam or squash will bring out the natural sweetness and nuttiness. Grab a rimmed cookie sheet or large open pan for the job. Heat the oven to 375.
To prepare for roasting:
Butternut : Cut in half lengthwise. The skin and flesh are very hard, so you'll need a stout knife with a long blade and handle, like a chef's knife. Cutting open hard-skinned and -fleshed winter squash can be tricky if all you're used to is soft summer squash like zuchini. (You might remember how tough a pumpkin is) Brace the squash firmly with one hand and hold your knife firmly in the other.
Holding firmly near the small stem end, use your dominant hand to get a firm grip on the knife at the top of the handle so you'll have control. Hold the knife vertically, point down, and pierce the skin near the top of the squash (but away from your gripping hand) with the very tip of the knife, then using some muscle, continue straight down to the cutting board. Now, holding tight onto the squash, rock the knife handle down firmly (it takes more strength than cutting a zuccini) till the blade cuts along the length of the squash. It should start to split a bit on its own, but finish it off with the knife. Remove any seeds from the cavity with a spoon.
Lay the two halves cut side up on the sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then roast in oven about 20-30 minutes, depending on how large the squash was. Test with a fork--you want it soft and squishy. Scoop the flesh out of the skin with a stout spoon to serve.
For a yam or sweet potato, just scrub the skin well (edible, and good roughage) and prick the skin in a few spots with a fork, then place on the sheet and bake at 350 till the skin starts to wrinkle a little bit, and the flesh is softened. Serve whole, halved, or cubed, with butter, s&p or however you like. It has a rich concentrated flavor, so you don't need much of anything,
I find a great herb with both winter squash and sweet potatoes is BASIL. Most excellent!
This might sound weird, but I just used a cup of mashed butternut squash in my turkey meatloaf today. Seasoned it with Thanksgiving in mind -- sage, thyme, garlic gold nuggets, etc. and served with cranberry sauce. The squash made the meatloaf super moist and a little sweet. I'd recommend it!
Tonight I am roasting a butternut squash, after peeling and cubing. I will probably toss the cubes with a bit of olive oil, salt and fresh sage. We will eat half that squash tonight as a side dish, and then tomorrow I will make a butternut squash soup with the rest. I don't use cream in the soup, but I do love to top it with roasted sunflower seeds.
The roasted squash was delicious, so delicious that there really wasn't quite enough to make soup for two. Using eatyourbooks.com, I found a recipe in the Silver Palate for a squash soup with the additional ingredients of chicken stock and apples. This curried Sqash Soup is just the type of recipe I never make, but I needed more stuff fo extend my ingredients.
This was actually really good. You don't taste the apple, but the apple makes the squash more "squashy." to paraphrase, sautee some shallots and curry powder for 10 minutes, add stock and apples, simmer until tender. Add sqash, simmer a bit more. Throw it into the food processor and server.
I'm not crazy about sweet squash, so I'm on a savory roasted butternut kick. My two favorites involve roughly cubing the peeled squash (rough being the operative word, they require a bit of elbow grease) while heating a large oven-safe pan over high heat. Hit the pan with olive oil, add squash, and give a quick saute. Preheat oven to either 350 or 375, depending on what else you might be cooking, then add either whole, chopped or smashed garlic cloves, about a T of butter and salt to taste.
From there, I add a little chipotle powder (how did I cook without chipotle powder?) if I want heat or a sprig of rosemary (I have an ugly - but tasty! - bag of frozen rosemary in my freezer from my dad's garden). Roast, stirring once or twice to evenly brown, and if I've gone the garlic/rosemary route I sometimes finish with a bit of parmesan and let it brown, testing for done-ness at about the 20 minute range - it's quicker than it seems it should be.
You could make a warm/hot salad. It works better in an acorn squash half, but basically just add baby arugula and goat cheese to the cavity after roasting. then toss with vinaigrette.
I made this for my Argentine Global Table Adventure (I'm cooking one meal for every country in the world, going alphabetically... I usually do about 4 dishes per country).
Here's the link to that recipe (with more photos)
Here's a recipe that will work with either yams or butternut squash.
2 medium butternut squash (4 to 5 pounds total)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (or to your taste)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Discard the ends of the butternut squash. Peel, cut in half lengthwise, remove the seeds of the squash. Slice into 1 1/4 - 1 1/2" cubes and place on a baking sheet. Add the melted butter, brown sugar, salt, pepper. Toss all the ingredients together and spread in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes - 1 hour, till the squash (or yams) is tender and the glaze begins to caramelize. During the roast turn the vegetables a few times with a spatula, to be certain they brown evenly. Taste for seasonings and adjust if necessary. Serve.
Sometimes I include ground cumin and/or cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes. This recipe is easily halved, which is what I usually do since there's only two of us here...