This posting is a meeting of two genetic stories. Legend has it that the intensely sweet and small butternut squash (named the honeynut) was the result of a challenge thrown by the Chef of Blue Hill to a plant geneticist at Cornell. Row 7 seed company is evidence of their success story. I really appreciate the challenge of concentrating flavor, since I myself have dabbled in the genetics of food sources (TED talk).
The second genetic story is that of me: I am genetically disposed to dentist visits. But my dentist does not get it- he constantly rebukes me for unhealthy habits like soda and sugar, though I entertain no such inclinations. Nevertheless, after one such dental procedure, I was resigned to soft bland food. After a day of mashed potatoes and yogurt, the honeynuts came to my rescue. Not a soup, a mousse: a high temperature roast intensifies the flavor even more. I call it a mousse but it is not a dessert, unless you want it to be one. In any case, the result was so delicious that my Pavlovian-self now even looks forward to the dentists’ eeky interventions!
A final note: yes, I am a “genetic” activist. I believe that indeed most of phenotype-of-the-living is explainable by its genetics alone.
- 3 honeynut squashes halved lengthwise and the internal pulp and seeds removed
- 3-4 pods of garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp EVOO
- 1-2 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
- liquid: 1/2 can of coconut milk + 1 cup almond milk
- Topping: blue cheese of your choice
Place the halved honeynut squash with the cut side up on a baking tray. Brush with EVOO. Add salt and pepper and the whole pods of garlic. Roast at 425 F for 30 mins.
With a pair of kitchen shears cut the squash into small pieces (with the skin on; but not the stem! ) directly into the blender. Peel the garlic by simply pressing gently to get the interior pulp out. To accentuate the sweetness, you can add the maple syrup. Add the liquid and run the blender till it turns into smooth thick paste. Serve with the cheese topping.
Notes, hints, tips:
- If the squash is hard to cut, microwave for 2 minutes or so till it just softens enough for the knife to run through.
- The immersion blender will not work here since I keep it very thick (albeit with the skin on) and a minimal amount of liquid. The shattered skin in the mousse gives an appealing texture.
- I believe the magical mainstay of this recipe is squash, coconut milk and blue cheese.
- To melt the cheese, you can place each serving bowl in the microwave for 20-25 secs.
- I used a Stilton style artisanal blue cheese (with Roquefort mold).