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Something Old, Something New

Posted Oct 11 2012 10:53pm

Pumpkin, Sweet Potato Squash, Turban Squash
I enjoy food. I like new recipes and prefer to visit restaurants with adventurous menus. But there are plenty of foods in markets and shops that are foreign to me. More than one aisle in the supermarket is devoted to ethnic foods from a number of regions in the world. So I decided to make an effort to learn about and try one new food a week. Here are a few of my recent "explorations".

My first purchase was from a local farm store. I buy pumpkins and butternut squash here but had not tried a turban or sweet potato squash.

Verdict: I cut the sweet potato squash in half, brushed it with olive oil and roasted it until tender. The flesh was sweet and the skin edible. I would buy it again.

The turban squash was the toughest gourd I have ever tried to cut open. I feared losing a finger in the process. Finally I just put the halves in a slow cooker and left it while I was at work. It was not as sweet as the sweet potato squash and due to the dangers in preparation, I will not get another one. They are pretty to look at though for a fall decoration.

We visited a farmers market in Carp, Ontario just outside Ottawa. I bought a fennel bulb and a small basket of patty pan squash. I don't recall seeing these tiny summer squash before.

Verdict: Fennel smells and tastes like licorice and I do not like that flavour. We cut it lengthwise in thin slices, brushed them with oil before roasted in a hot oven. The flavour is interesting in small amounts but I wouldn't buy it again.

We roasted the patty pan squash in a hot oven as well after cutting them in half. I popped one in my mouth when they were done and we ended up eating all of them right away. Delicious! They have sweet summer squash flavour but are not watery at all.

Fennel and Patty Pan Squash

Lyed corn is similar to Mexican nixtamal and the cornbread tastes like masa which is used to make corn tortillas. The Mohawk cornbread has added kidney beans and the round of dough is boiled in water until it floats to the top of the pot. While it may not win a blue ribbon for looks, it is surprisingly tasty when heated up.

The native American "three sisters" are corn, beans and squash and aboriginal people frequently planted them together. I served the Mohawk cornbread with turban squash and bean stew for a locally traditional meal.

Verdict: I would buy this again but would freeze half the loaf. I am interested in trying lyed corn soup which is much like Mexican posole.

All these foods were locally grown or produced. We have a few fall market days left before the snow comes and I will look for new local foods before trying some imported items.

Do you enjoy any unique or unusual foods?

Historic St. Paul's Anglican Church at Six Nations Reserve
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