Your mom probably never gave you better advice than when she said, "Eat your fruits and veggies."
But eating healthy may seem harder come fall, when favorite produce options dwindle and less familiar ones appear.
Never fear. Now that warm months are gone - and with them the berries, corn and other produce we find easier to incorporate into our diets - a new menu of foods is available to keep you healthy and happy.
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Sure, it saves prep time to buy pre-cut, peeled butternut squash, but we had to wonder: How does the flavor and texture of this timesaving squash stand up to a whole squash we cut up ourselves? Whole squash you peel and cube yourself can’t be beat in terms of flavor and texture.
(That said, most supermarkets sell butternut squash that has been completely or partially prepped. If you are truly strapped for time, we have found the peeled and halved squash is fine. We don’t like the butternut squash sold in chunks; while it’s a timesaver, the flavor is wan and the texture stringy.)
Read on for our guide to the easiest—and safest—way to prepare a butternut squash.
How fantastic are fall and winter squash? They're packed to the gills with antioxidants, dietary fiber, Vitamin A and carotenes, fill you up for just a few calories, and can be prepared in approximately seventy billion ways, from sweet to savory. Plus they're in season right this very second, generally cheap as the dickens, and add glorious color and fabulous flavor to your holiday feasts.
But how do you tackle the beast? Butternut squash can be unwieldy to butcher, some varieties like turban, hubbard and kabocha look all gnarled and knobbly and scary, and how the heck do you cook them?
Let's quash all those worries right this second, starting with selection.
We've long maintained that the very best thing about Thanksgiving is the side dishes, and smack dab in the middle of November, you can't do much better than vegetables. Nope - not just canned green beans en casserole (though that's seriously delicious and we'll delve into that soon), frozen creamed pearl onions (again...mmmm...) or corn pudding. We're talking fresh and in season, because that's the very best way to eat.
In addition to our in-depth guides on roasted broccoli, butternut squash, other varieties of fall squash and all the pumpkin you can shake a spatula at, here are a few quick, killer vegetable dishes you can feel excellent about heaping high on your plate.
Now's the time to heap your plate full of beets, broccoli, apples, chestnuts, kale, potatoes, pumpkin, winter squash, cabbage, citrus and artichokes while they're in peak season. Why? It's just more delicious that way.
Yup - we read the comments, and noted this while we were perusing yesterday's Five Tips on Cooking Fall Squash:
It is, indeed, and we're nothing if not helpful. As Chef Tony Conte says, "The heat brings out the natural sugars, makes the color more intense and makes the flesh much easier to work with or to make into a purée."
5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.
Despite this week’s climatic tomfoolery, we are indeed in the midst of autumn - and if the fall season means anything for food, it’s squash, and lots of it.
Chef Tony Conte is the executive chef of The Oval Room in Washington, D.C. Conte arrived on the capital city’s dining scene after a stint as executive sous chef at Jean-Georges Vongrichten's critically acclaimed, three-Michelin-starred Jean Georges restaurant in New York City. Since then, he’s been cranking out Mediterranean-influenced modern American cuisine to the District's power players and food lovers alike.
For Conte, the best way to celebrate autumn's most ubiquitous gourd is by squashing it into your usual culinary repertoire - and here's how.
Five Tips on Cooking Fall Squash: Tony Conte