Slow Food for Thought...

“Defending the earth means safeguarding biodiversity, the landscape and farming. Those who haven’t seen the importance of farming haven’t understood anything!”
Carlo Petrini, Founder of Slow Food

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Winter Squash Tasting at Countryside Farmers' Market

Fall in Northeast Ohio is a beautiful time! The leaves are turning, and the flavors of autumn are all around us.

Don't miss your chance to taste the season's bounty this Saturday at the Countryside Farmers' Market in Peninsula. Chef Larkin Rogers will be sampling the diverse flavors of winter squash, and helping to answer any questions you may have. You'll have an opportunity to try them plain, as well as in various dishes.

Join us at Howe Meadow
Saturday, October 24th from 9a-noon
4040 Riverside Rd, Peninsula

Pick up some winter squash from local farmers, and try a delicious recipe at home.

Winter Squash Gratin

2 TBS olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp thyme or 4 to 6 thyme branches
1 bay leaf
1/2 C dry white wine
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or 1/2 tsp paprika
1 LB tomatoes, fresh or canned, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
sugar, if necessary

1 winter squash, weighing 2 1/2 to 3 LBS
oil for frying
4 oz Fontina or Gruyere cheese, sliced
Fresh herbs: parsley or marjoram, thyme, finely chopped

Heat the olive oil and add the onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and a little salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft; then add the wine and let it reduce by half. Add the cayenne or paprika and the tomatoes. Cook slowly for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick. Taste, add a pinch of sugar if the tomatoes are tart, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

While the tomatoes are cooking, prepare the squash. Cut it open, scoop out the seeds and strings, and then, with the flat cut surface resting on the counter, shave off the skin. (Butternut squash can be easily peeled with a vegetable peeler before it is cut in half.)

Slice the peeled squash into large pieces about 3 inches long and 1/4 inch thick. Heat enough oil to generously coat the bottom of a large skillet, and fry the squash on both sides, so that is is browned and just tender. Remove it to some toweling to drain; then season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

(At this point, you can add the spinach to the tomato sauce. Turn off the heat and press it down until it's covered by the thick sauce. The heat from the sauce will cook it, in addition to it's trip to the oven.)

Preheat the oven to 375 F. To form the gratin, put a few spoonfuls of the tomato sauce on the bottom of individual gratin dishes, or us it all to cover the bottom of one large dish. Lay the squash on top in overlapping layers with slices of the cheese interspersed between the layers. Bake until the cheese is melted and the gratin is hot, about 15 minutes, and serve with the fresh herbs scattered over the surface.

Recipe from The Greens Cookbook, by Deborah Madison and Edward Epse Brown

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