Sunday, November 8, 2009

It's A Squash Party!!!

So, does that photo get you in the mood for a squash tasting or what? Totally part of Teri's plan, I'm sure. She sent this as a postcard all the way from Carmel, CA to remind us that squash was the superstar flavor of the month...and YES, that is her in the photo.

And THEN, she emailed us this beautiful fall-like photo of her loaded cart at Lynd's Fruit Farms just to raise the level of excitement!

Mission Accomplished!

With these Food Tasting Parties we have, each food we taste presents a different set of challenges. How one decides to go about setting up their party is completely the hostess's choice. Apples were easy because you just slice them up and take a bite - same with tomatoes - but squash wasn't going to be as cut and dry.


Because none of us were prepared to bring our own chainsaws and cut up each squash and eat it raw, which meant Teri had to roast them, steam them, or bake them. Of course, had men been invited to this swanky affair, they would have been more than happy to drop pumpkins off Teri's roof and eat the pulp with their bare hands - which is exactly why we leave them at home.

To be certain that each squash's unique flavor was tasted fairly from one squash to the next, Teri added just a teeny tiny pad of butter and a simple sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg to each bowl, so we could get a true taste of each one. With that said, let's get tasting, shall we?

The bowl taking center stage in the photo below, is the ever-popular Spaghetti Squash. As much as we all love using Spaghetti squash as a pasta impersonator, it most definitely got the least amount attention on this day - "Spaghetti who?" It's flavor is mucho-mild and brutally bland, which is how it disguises itself so well as pasta. Pasta's not bursting with flavor - it simply serves as a backdrop to whatever you're serving with it, on it, or tossed all up in it.

Today, the rich, earthy flavor of the other squashes overshadowed this simple, yet normally stellar vegetable. It's okay, Spaghetti, we still love you!!!

Then there was the Butternut Squash, which was a big winner among us girls - especially Teri, who blushed every time she even spoke of the fiery, orange mush - she had it bad. That's okay, we all loved the Butternut too - it was unanimous! We loved it even more, when Teri used it in a Polenta dish she served up later - YUM. MEE!

And then there was the Hubbard. Yeah, we've never heard of it either! But let me tell you this, Miss Carrie's world will never be the same after tasting this funky squash. We thought Teri loved the Butternut with enthusiasm, but our Carrie found True, True Love with the Hubbard. I've never seen her so happy about food....except for when she's eating cheese....we all look happy when we eat cheese though, right?

So, the deal with the Hubbard seemed to be that it kind of tasted like a sweet potato, which right away threatened to eliminate Jen and I as supporters, because we do NOT like sweet potatoes, (so don't go looking for any recipes for them on this blog...), but the taste was considerably milder than the sweet potato, and it actually, kind of, sort of tasted like an everyday white potato too. It was somewhat confusing, really. It had this gentle sweetness with a dense and starchy punch.

Anyway, we liked it. In fact, Teri put it in a pie, and made it face off against the All-American Pumpkin Pie.....we'll get to the results of that "pie-off" later.

And then there was my surprise favorite - the Delicata. I'm not a squash lover by nature - it's a texture thing...I can't help it - but I liked this squash. It had a mild, yet very pleasing flavor. I was very excited to discover the Delicata, and even more excited about it's supercool name, "Delicata". We all seriously liked this 'delicate' wonder!

Last but not least, was the Golden Acorn Squash, which Teri, being the hostess had already tasted and given it the two thumbs down, but Jen liked it. She doesn't like sweet vegetables, so she appreciated the mild flavor of the Golden Acorn, as did Patty. I don't know that any of us fell in love with the Acorn, but we most definitely respect him.

So, the squashes have been tasted so party over, right?


The party was just getting started. After all, there was more great wine to be sipped and slurped and we were going to stay until we were all slurped out!

So, now we move on AND start with a salad. I think it's safe to say, no one in the room had ever had a salad like this one. All I'll say is, roasted maple pumpkin bites, roasted pumpkin seeds, and feta on arugula, with lime dressing. Go ahead, take a peak - feta not included - and yes, the recipe will be coming.

OH! And then the Butternut Polenta was served and "Oh my!" heaven in a bowl! That first taste took us back to the best dressed Cream of Wheat we ever had! Can you say, "comfort food?" Jen knew for sure that her kids would inhale this in seconds, which makes it a double winner. And yes, the recipe will be coming.....

It was Patty's birthday the day before our party- I can't remember which one...probably because she paid me to forget, but she did NOT pay me to NOT post the pictures of us surprising her with a goofy birthday hat, bubbles, and banners, but I chose not to post them because she is my friend and the pictures were taken at less than flattering angles with a multitude of oddball expressions, so they'll be for her enjoyment only.

Anyway, Teri decided there must be Birthday Pie, which was a perfect opportunity to have a bake-off. The pie on the left is Pumpkin and the pie on the right is Hubbard. I would love to tell you there was a clear winner, but there was not. We know which pie Carrie chose - Hubba, Hubba! - and Jen liked the Pumpkin, but after that, it was pretty even. Personal taste is what this Pie bake-off came down to...personal taste.

Sidenote: Teri advises eating the Hubbard pie pronto, because if it sits a day or two, it tends to dry out a little bit, and no one likes dried up Hubbard. Just be prepared to eat the whole pie!

And of course, there was wine. Teri wowed us with her substantial wine collection, and being the friends we are, we offered to drink some of it. Jen and I started with a swig of the Azur, until Teri assured us the Hawley was a much better choice...and she was right.

Each wine we tasted was better than the last and each had it's own distinct flavor, so it was fantastic to enjoy all the squashes and entrees with the compliments of each new wine.

Sooooooo, Thank you Teri for a fabulous party, and Happy Birthday Patty!

Until next time!..........

Before we go though, I must tell you that when Jen went to this party, she thought she disliked squash - except for the spaghetti variety - but she happily went with hopeful optimism, as did I. ( I don't love squash myself) When the party was over and we got in the car to leave, the first thing Jen said to me was, "I am so excited. I thought I didn't like squash, but I really liked them all!"

"I. Like. Squash!"

And THAT is why we have these parties....... :)


Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for not posting the pics! But I'm equally grateful to have a friend that bothered to remember. :-)


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