My father-in-law and a group from the stores recently got back from a trip to Ireland. I haven’t had a chance to catch up with them yet but it sounds like it was the trip of a lifetime. I did see a few photos and it looks like the weather held up for them, and they were kept busy traveling around the country, seeing the sights and partaking in the local fare. Jealous as I am of their adventures, it’s tough not to enjoy the summer in Chicago, especially with little kids who are so full of spirit and energy. The rainy weather put a damper on our outdoor cooking plans for a few days so we improvised with some salads other easy to throw together meals.
Are you familiar with Kabocha squash? It’s a delicious Japanese squash that is similar to a Butternut but sweeter with a creamier texture. I usually pick one up from the Korean grocery store by my house but I've seen them at all kinds of stores, even Trader Joe's. Perhaps the best thing about Kabocha is that you can eat the skin. Even Japanese people eat it – which is a big deal because compared to Americans, the Japanese peel everything! Kids usually love Kabocha because it’s sweet and mild tasting. Like Butternut squash, the Kabocha is a very versatile vegetable. Sometimes I make a Kabocha cheesecake pie instead of a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. It’s also good in Thai-style curries, but the most common way we eat it at my house is simply roasted.
Roasted Kabocha with Thyme and Honey
1 Kabocha squash, sliced with skin left on
2 tbs fresh thyme, chopped
2 tbs honey
2 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400F.
Place the Kabocha slices on a large baking sheet.
Drizzle oil and honey over the Kabocha slices and sprinkle with fresh thyme, salt and pepper.
Gently mix with your hands until all of the pieces are evenly coated.
Place baking sheet in the oven and cook for 12 minutes. Flip Kabocha slices and cook for another 12 to 20 minutes until Kabocha has softened (there should be very little resistance when poked with a toothpick or fork) and begun to caramelize.
If you are not eating this right away you can store it in the refrigerator for up to a week.
There are so many ways to serve this. Here are some ideas:
Crostini - on brown bread with goat cheese, a drizzle of honey and sprinkled with sea salt
Breakfast - with granola, nuts or muesli and greek yogurt
Salad - with feta, arugula, Dijon vinaigrette and lentils or chicken
Dessert - as a topping for vanilla ice cream with miso caramel sauce
Enjoy! And enjoy your Holiday weekend!