I hate, no, I loathe cold weather. Crisp weather as some people call it is just not for me. But what I do like about the Fall and Winter seasons are my 3 F's. Fall Fashion & Food. Bundling up in my favorite mod pea-coat and inhaling winter nabe meals (Japanese clay hot pot) and winter vegetables make the season pass so gracefully. It's the fashion and meals combined that make me forget about my irritating hangnails and ashy legs. In eating my way through the cold months, I thought it would be fun to finally cook with a kabocha squash since I've always been in love with the intense fall colors that a kabocha exudes.
This week I present two Kabocha recipes to help you ease your way through the cold months. My kabocha soup was creamy and thick, a perfect soup for a cold rainy day. The Roasted Kabocha with Brown Butter turned out great. But boo to Roasted Kabocha. It's just a bit too dense for me. But carmelized brown butter + maple syrup, now that's heaven. I heart brown butter.
1 cup milk
2 cubes chicken bouillon
2 1/3 cups water
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to season
Slice onion thinly. Take out kabocha seeds and cut kabocha into large blocks. Place kabocha on a plate and microwave for 4 minutes. Take off skin and slice kabocha thinly. Saute onion slices with butter in a pan. Add kabocha slices in the pan and saute together. Add chicken bouillon and water. Simmer onion and kabocha until soften. Puree soup. Put back in the pan and add milk. Heat the soup over low heat and season with salt and pepper. (original recipe from japanesefood.about.com)
Roasted Kabocha with Brown Butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup pecan halves
1/4 cup butter
6 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Fleur de sel
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Scoop out seeds and cut the squash into 1/8's. Brush the cut surfaces with oil. Put kabocha cut-side down on a foil-lined baking pan. Roast until the squash is fork tender, about 60 minutes. Toast pecans on a large baking pan until lightly browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside.
Brown Butter Melt unsalted butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat, cooking it until the water cooks off, then turn down the heat and continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the solids turn golden brown. The whisking ensures even browning. If you have a light-colored pan, that's the one to use, as it makes it easy to see the browning.
Mix the pecans with 1 teaspoon of the browned butter and the sea salt.
Turn on broiler. Turn the kabocha upright with the skin side down. Drizzle each baked kabocha with maple syrup. Put the kabocha under the broiler until the edges are slightly charred and the syrup has a nice glaze, 3 to 4 minutes.
Go crazy with the browned butter over each kabocha, then sprinkle the nutmeg, toasted pecans and a little fleur de sel on each kabocha and serve with vanilla ice-cream. (original recipe from Los Angeles Times)