Editor's Note: America's Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe. America’s Test Kitchen's online cooking school is based on nearly 20 years of test kitchen work in our own facility, on the recipes created for Cook’s Illustrated magazine, and on our two public television cooking shows.
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.
Editor's note: The Southern Foodways Alliance delves deep in the history, tradition, heroes and plain old deliciousness of Southern food. Today's contributor, Virginia Willis, is the author of cookbooks "Bon Appétit, Y’all" and "Basic to Brilliant, Y’all." She is a contributing editor to Southern Living and a frequent contributor to Taste of the South. She also wrote Eatocracy's most-commented post of all time.
In this series for the Southern Foodways Alliance, I am examining iconic Southern foods that so completely belong to summer that if you haven’t relished them before Labor Day, you should consider yourself deprived of the entire season. My plan is to share a little history and a few recipes that I hope you will enjoy.
This week is all about summer squash.
A long, hot summer with just the right amount of rain is bound to create a situation of disastrous consequences: way too much summer squash in the garden. Zucchini and yellow squash are prolific. You and your family can eat it every night. You can leave bags at the front doors of all your neighbors. You can give it away to strangers. But the plants relentlessly continue to produce more and more. At a certain point in midsummer, you will notice your neighbors crossing to the other side of the street when they see you, and the postman conspicuously looking the other way as he deposits your mail, worrying you might try to foist more summer squash upon them.
While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.
Can you smell the excitement stirring? January is National Soup Month.
The cold weather that seems to grip most of the country at this time of year has a way of seeping into your bones to the point where nothing seems to help. And as the winter months wear on, and resolutions are made and broken, it gets harder and harder to find something that’s both warm and nutritious and easy to make. Fear not! I have the perfect solution: soup.
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.
As fall turns into winter, the produce aisle tends to mimic the slate gray sky - everything's a bit darker, duller and more somber. Knotted parsnips take over where crisp, red radishes once sat; tart cranberries replace sweet strawberries.
Yet, despite the season's best efforts, squash shines even brighter this time of year in a cornucopia of shapes, sizes and colors.
Justin Woodward of Castagna Restaurant in Portland, Oregon, wants to quash your notions of the winter doldrums. Behold the squash.
Five Fall Squashes Worth Trying: Justin Woodward
Stacy Cowley is CNNMoney's tech editor. She's in a complicated relationship with her CSA and explores the odd vegetables that show up in her haul in CSI: CSA. Previously, she fell in love with the weirdness of kohlrabi.
I have a zucchini the size of a baseball bat lurking on my fridge’s bottom shelf. It has a pack of cousins jammed into the veggie drawer, and my freezer is stuffed with roughly seventeen zillion pounds of squash creations.
It’s the problem every CSA subscriber or veggie gardener faces all summer long: The zucchini explosion.
These things are the rabbits of the plant world. During a long, dry July stretch when practically nothing else was coming up at my CSA’s farm, the zucchini merrily ran rampant. We got massive hauls of it each week; the leftover squash took to leaping off the vines and accosting those who wandered past. I’ve known home gardeners who become like drug pushers: “Oh, you have to take some of my zucchini home with you! No really, take some damn zucchini.”
Vegetarians are (mostly) not here just to ruin your good time. Really. I swear. I was one, myself for seven years and all I wanted at a cookout was to hang out with my friends, and not have to worry that the omnivores would gobble up all the meat-free sides before I got to the table.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to celebrate the bounty of the season and make sure all my guests leave full and satisfied - no matter how they choose to chow down.
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.