This lovely little squash is the squash which has greeted you for a few weeks when you visit my website. I received him in my CSA basket a few weeks ago, and placed him on the counter as a decoration. Fortunately for me, a kind reader and CSA helper wrote to inform me that I should actually be eating, and not merely admiring what I thought was a little pumpkin. I'm so glad she did. This might be the most delicious squash I have ever eaten; my only regret is I have only one left, and who knows if they will still be available at the market on Saturday? This squash, which, after a little research, I have identified as a Carnival Squash, is absolutely divine with nothing on it - I promise. Of course, to celebrate the season, I thought a smattering of pumpkin seeds and the like wouldn't hurt. And who wouldn't be delighted to be served this little guy as a starter, perhaps filled with soup or served alongside some nice pork? or duck, rabbit or chicken? As the farmer who grew it said, "it's just the perfect size for one, and it bakes right up in the oven." True words, I tell you. And now for the recipe - this would work with any sort of squash, of course, and you don't have to use pumpkinseed oil, although if you can find it, I think you'll discover it adds the warmth of autumnal memories to anything, especially anything containing squash anord pumpkin (which are the same thing, those of you from the land down under and elsewhere). Pumpkinseed oil is meant as a flavoring agent, and should not be used for cooking; add it just prior to serving, wherever you plan to use it. Pumpkin seeds are a natural pairing with squash of all sorts and add a nice crunch to the sometimes baby-food soft texture.
Carnival Squash with Pumpkin Seeds, etc - serves one, especially nice when it is cold, raining, and hailing golf balls outside, as it was last night, when I was eating it.
1 small squash such as carnival, dumpling, kobacha, delicata, or butternut (which will, of course, be bigger.)
1 tbsp really good butter
1/2 tbsp golden syrup (or brown sugar)
pinch good cinnamon
tiny pinch salt
1/8 tsp, or just few drops pumpkinseed oil
1 drop vanilla extract - just a tiny, tiny bit from a toothpick
1 tbsp roasted, salted pumpkinseeds
This is my method for cooking any kind of squash - preheat oven to 350 degrees. Depending on your type of squash, cut either lengthwise (for delicate, butternut, or any long squash) or horizontally (for dumpling, acorn, carnival, etc) and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Place in a shallow baking dish (such as a cake pan), cut side down, and fill with about 1/2" water (one fingertip length or so). Bake for 20 minutes, and then check on it; some squash take up to 40 minutes - this carnival squash did, but the same method used for sweet dumpling took only 25 minutes.
While the squash is baking, melt the butter, salt, cinnamon and golden syrup or brown sugar over low heat in a small sauce pan (or in the microwave). Remove the squash from the oven, carefully place it in a bowl and place the butter mixture in the cavity, then add the pumpkinseed oil and vanilla. Sprinkle with pumpkinseeds and enjoy. Of course, you can skip the melting part and just put all of the ingredients inside the squash cavity, cover it up and wait for it to melt on its own. This makes it an almost effortless dish.
Did you know? 1 cup of squash provides over 200% of your daily vitamin A, over 30% Vitamin C, and 37% of your daily potassium? (source)
1 ounce of pumpkinseeds provides 23% of your daily iron along with 9 grams of protein, 22% of Vitamin K, and is a great source of other minerals. (source) This is why some foods, although high in fat, should still be consumed - such as nuts, olive oil, and avocados.