As a side vegetable, last evening, I did up the Sweet Dumpling squash that came in our organic Fresh Box last week. Oh my. Easily the sweetest and tastiest squash I’ve ever eaten … and I’ve eaten a lot of it in my lifetime, and a lot of different kinds. They’re rather pretty little creatures, too, I must say. I’ve seen them in autumn displays for their visual quality, but had never actually eaten them until last evening. I was ready to do the maple syrup thing with them, as squash is often a bit blah and needs something to spark it up. But luckily I tasted them before I ruined them with any additional ingredients. Nothing extra needed, apart from the usual butter, salt and pepper. Mmm. So, if you like squash at all, see if you can find some of these little treasures. Just cut ’em in half, scoop out the seeds and pulp, and bake ’em. Easy peasy.
The Fresh Box people also like to throw in some weird and unusual offerings quite regularly, and this week was no exception. The knobbly species pictured above was looking at me when I opened the box this time. Actually, it’s not all that weird as it’s native to this part of the world. But it’s something that has lost favour over time as a widely used veg option. I remember them growing “wild” at the farm back when I was really short, and Dad talked about how good they were. But my mom wanted no part of them and never used them. So, it was only last evening that I got my first proper introduction to jerusalem artichokes, or sunchokes, as some call them, since the plant belongs to the sunflower family. They’re somewhat similar to a potato and can be used in the same manner. I’d say that they’re a bit sweeter than a potato and more the consistency of a water chestnut, but yeah, they worked well as a potato substitute and were very tasty. We also received some lovely baby leeks this week, so I made a somewhat improvised version of cheesey scalloped potatoes, or potatoes au gratin, if you prefer, with the ‘chokes and leeks. Very nice, if I do say so myself.
Just one slight problem, though. If you read through the article that I’ve linked to, you’ll see a warning about a possible problem with digesting ‘chokes for some people. It’s the unusual kind of sugar in them. Great for diabetics in that it’s not converted to glucose, but a bit gaseous for certain digestive systems … including mine. The other two were perfectly fine, though, so it’s a hit and miss thing. But the discomfort later was a small price to pay for the pleasure in the eating process. Honest!