Potbellied pumpkins

By
November 26, 2007

The pickup: Some CSAs are predictable, offering lots of the tried-and-true, the tomatoes and lettuces and carrots recognizable to most Americans from any supermarket. (Some folks like this; it makes the concept of the CSA feel familiar.) Other CSAs like to go seed-catalog crazy, cultivating heirlooms and obscurities for their color, flavor, or fun factor.

My CSA this year, Dancing Roots, blends these two approaches to farming. So, yes, there have been many tomatoes and peppers and onions and carrots and squashes in the bins at my weekly pickup. But the variety can be literally overwhelming, spilling out of more than three huge cloth shopping bags.

Roasted kuri squash is bright orange outside and in.

Green tomatoes as well as red. Anaheim and poblano and paprika and frying peppers (called Jimmy Nardellos) as well as bell. Purple everywhere — on carrots, cauliflower, kohlrabi, basil, and amaranth leaves. There’s even a range of inedible produce, from the ubiquitous decorative Indian corn to strange little orange orbs that turned out to be Turkish eggplant.

The results: The latest funky twist on the familiar was a kuri squash, a smallish, reddish, roundish pumpkin with sweet orange flesh. Basically, it’s a pumpkin, so I treated it as such, toasting the seeds and roasting the flesh to use in Pumpkin Bread.

The Chicago Sun-Times also recently anointed the kuri squash its flavorful favorite; their suggestions for what to do with this winter squash include a sweet ravioli filling, a hearty soup, and curried stew.

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