November 04, 2006

post halloween

What's the best thing a cucurbitaceous plant can become? A jack-o'-lantern - or a nice squash curry? My vote is with the latter!

Today is the Saturday after Halloween and it is also the last outdoor farmers' market. Do you remember this dog? I regularly pass him on my way to the farmers' market. Does he look older than last year? He's still very friendly and attentive. I hope he didn't have to wear those wings on Halloween.

The squash you see here won't end up with a Jack-o-Lantern face. The ones I bought will go into a squash curry!

Butternut Squash Curry [from The New York Times]

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
* teaspoon lightly crushed cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3 cups baked, braised or mashed butternut squash
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 red chili
10 curry leaves
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and cook over medium-low heat until softened. Stir in the turmeric, cumin and cayenne and cook for 1 minute. Fold in the squash and warm gently.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a small sauté pan. Add the mustard seeds, chili and curry leaves. When the seeds begin to pop, stir in the coconut off the heat. Fold into the squash, and season with salt. Serves 4.
The small print: Squash, as you may have guessed, is a word from Native American languages. According to the OED, it's an abbreviation of Narragansett Indian asquutasquash (with -ash being a plural suffix). Curry (the dish) comes from the Tamil word "kari", which is a sauce or relish poured over rice. The OED also lists an interesting Australian idiom: "to give someone curry" meaning "to give someone hell".

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