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Archive | August 14th, 2011

Ask a Foodie: Is Butternut a Summer or Winter Squash?

Ask a Foodie: Is Butternut a Summer or Winter Squash?

 

Q. I thought butternut was a winter squash but I have two in my CSA share this week and it is certainly not winter.  I’m confused. — A.B.

A.
Good question. Because most squashes are available year-round we find out from whatscookingamerica.com that it has become a matter of usage, or common nomenclature, that the terms “summer” and “winter” are still used.

” ‘Summer’ types are on the market all winter; and ‘winter’ types are on the markets in the late summer and fall, as well as winter, according to this source. This terminology was never meant to confuse — it just dates back to a time when the seasons were more crucial to man’s survival than they are now. ‘Good keepers’ became known as winter vegetables if they would ‘keep’ until December.

Steam cubes of butternut squash, then add to cooked greens such as spinach or beet greens for a colorful side dish.

“Winter squash comes in shapes round and elongated, scalloped and pear-shaped with flesh that ranges from golden-yellow to brilliant orange. Most winter squashes are vine-type plants whose fruits are harvested when fully mature. They take longer to mature than summer squash (3 months or more) and are best harvested once the cool weather of fall sets in. They can be stored for months in a cool basement-hence the name “winter” squash.”

We also read that butternut squash has eclipsed acorn squash as our most popular squash type.
Butternut can be baked or steamed. To steam, you can cut the squash in half and take out the seeds and fiber. Then, cut into small chunks and put in a steamer. The flesh will be easy to take off the peel when it is tender. Or, you can peel the squash and cut the flesh into dice and steam it that way. To bake, cut squash in half and clean out the seeds and fiber. You can lightly oil it and place it flesh-side down or up on a baking sheet and cover with foil. Or, use a stuffing you like in the center of the squash, wrap in foil and bake.

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Totally Mexi-Cali Carnitas, But Without the Extra Fat

Totally Mexi-Cali Carnitas, But Without the Extra Fat

Carnitas

“Slow-roasted pork tacos are the best street-food-turned-everyday-food ever!” former model-turned-chef Candice Kumai writes in her new cookbook, “Pretty Delicious” (Rodale, $30). “Making them yourself takes a little time, but a pork loin feeds a ton of people, making these excellent bites for when you need to feed many mouths. This homemade version is leaner than the traditional taco truck pork shoulder — 13 1/2 grams of fat per 3 ounces versus 4 grams of fat for 3 ounces of pork loin!”

Totally Mexi-Cali Carnitas

3 1/2 pounds boneless pork loin roast, external fat trimmed off
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon canola oil or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chipotle chile powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
16 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1/4 head red or green cabbage, thinly sliced

Topping Bar (all are optional — offer as many or few as you like):
1 Hass avocado, thinly sliced
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1/2 cup shredded Cotija cheese
Store-bought salsa

Rub the entire surface of the pork loin with the salt. heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed deep pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the pork and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes per side. pour in 1 cup water and add the onion, chipotle powder, oregano and cumin and bring to a boil over high heat. boil for 4 minutes, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the meat is incredibly tender and falls apart easily, about 2 hours, turning a few times while cooking. Turn off the heat and let the roast rest in the pot until it is cool enough to handle, about 30 minutes. Transfer the roast to a cutting board and shred the meat with your fingers or two forks, then return it to the juices in the pan so the lean meat stays nice and moist.

Soak a clean kitchen towel in warm water and wring it dry. Stack the tortillas and place them in the center of the towel. Wrap the towel around the tortillas and place them on a microwaveable plate. Microwave the tortillas in 10-second intervals until the tortillas are warm, fragrant and very soft.

To assemble, place about 2 tablespoons of the meat in the center of 1 warmed tortilla and cover with some cabbage. Add your choice of toppings. Serve warm.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutritional value per 2-taco serving without topping: 481 calories, 12 g fat, 43 g protein, 7 g fiber, 3 g sugars, 843 mg sodium, 47 g carbohydrates, 15 mg cholesterol.

From “Pretty Delicious” by Candice Kumai

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