A Taster's Journey is a newsletter on food, wine and travel. After 15 years of studying, tasting, teaching, and selling wine, I created this newsletter to not only share my passion about wine, but of food and travel as well. Each month I hope to share wines that I am drinking, food that is in season, restaurants that I have enjoyed, and places I have traveled. Enjoy!"

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What to Cook Now… Squash

November 23rd, 2003

As Thanksgiving approaches, pumpkins are everywhere. However there are a group of vegetables that grow along side pumpkins that demand your attentionÂ…the winter squash. There are dozens of winter squash varieties, and a few of the more common ones are acorn, butternut, delicata and hubbard.

Squash is a vegetable native to North America, and perhaps that’s why it is included in so many traditional Thanksgiving feasts. Squash is an excellent source of beta-carotene, potassium and vitamin c; but I suggest you try them because they taste good. Squash come in different shapes, sizes and colors, but they all have a hard exterior. In this case, the shell is an advantage since it extends the shelf life several months.

Wouldn’t you like an alternative to that potato you eat four days a week? Try an acorn squash. It’s as easy to cook as a potato. Split the squash in half and remove the seeds, then place flesh side down on aluminum foil and place in a 350 degree oven. After 25 minutes turn squash, flesh side up, add a little butter, sprinkle with cinnamon, and drizzle with a little honey. Return to the oven and bake until tender, about 20 – 30 minutes. Voila.

Squash can be much more versatile than the above recipe suggests. It can be baked, pureed, stuffed into a ravioli, added to a soup or incorporated into a risotto. You may be surprised to know that butternut squash is often substituted for the pumpkin in your pumpkin pie.

It’s inspiring how many ways you can prepare squash and pumpkin; but I found the best ever at a restaurant the other night: pumpkin pizza. It was spectacular, and my hats off to the chefs at Gonzo in NYC. I’ll ask for the recipe during my next visit.

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