You’re Out of Your Gourd*

This time of year has the BEST produce displays in the grocery store if you ask me, and no one did by the way. All the gorgeous colors and HUGE vegetables and fruits. It’s the time of the harvest and it is evident in every aspect of the produce department. You also see the ornamental gourds. You know, the bumpy, somewhat ugly and thoroughly entertaining shapes of twisted squash that you can’t eat, but yet show up in the produce department. And yes, I did say squash. In case you didn’t know, pumpkins, squash and cucumbers are all members of the gourd family. As a kid I completely understood this and often wondered why you would put something you can’t eat in the produce section.

Inedible gourds are among the earliest cultivated plants. Their hard shells were used for decoration, water tight vessels to carry or consume food and of course we all know they make great biodegradable baby rattles. Most of us are familiar with edible squash (is the plural of squash, squashes, or is that only a verb?). We all eat pumpkin pie, bread, muffins, but did you know that pumpkin can be used for savory dishes as well. If you like butternut or acorn squash, you will probably like pumpkin. Right now my fevered little brain is concocting pumpkin gnocchi and rosemary in browned butter with pickled cranberries. I mentioned this to Chef Friend Stephen Hopcraft (STK Las Vegas) and he said he was stealing my idea. That’s fine, as long as he calls them “Aunt LeAnne’s Pumpkin Gnocchi”. The issue is that I have been so busy that I haven’t had time to really play with my food. I think that is changing TODAY!

I have been obsessed with gourds lately. I made curried roasted butternut squash soup. I have a lovely spaghetti squash sitting on my counter waiting for me to be inspired (I did see a spaghetti squash Alfredo…and John saw a recipe for it baked, like ziti). And of course the pumpkins for the gnocchi. Truth be told, spaghetti squash is not one of my faves, but I like it better than acorn squash. It wasn’t until recently that I would actually eat butternut squash. You see, growing up in Upstate New York, there were PLENTY of squash to eat because they grow really well in that environment. You have all heard the jokes about the people who planted too many zucchini and couldn’t give it away? Yeah, that was us. The entire damn squash family grew really well on our property and so we had them to eat. All. The. Time. I think Sisters Nancy and Janece STILL won’t eat zucchini, whereas I love it.

I love the fall, it has really special GOOD memories for me of a really crappy childhood, however, it also makes me remember roasted acorn squash. A NOT so good memory of my crappy childhood and I still can’t stand it!

Enjoy the fall, enjoy the gourds and above all, go play with your food. FYI – if you want the recipe for my roasted butternut squash soup, you can find it on my FB page Good for Spooning. Look in the “notes” section. And while you are there be sure to LIKE the page!

*That title, spelled correctly should make all of the spelling and grammar police out there very happy (Including Sister Nancy).