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All About Winter Squash

October5

All About Winter Squash - They may look weird, but they're wonderful!

Winter squash reminds me of football players. Not just because they’re both in season right now, but because they’re low in fat, usually large and have really tough skins (yet somehow manage to be pretty sweet on the inside!).

These vegetables are  also incredibly versatile and can be substituted for each other. They’re also high in vitamins and antioxidants… and they’ll keep for weeks if you store them in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place (I’m not sure football players would like that).

When choosing winter squash, here’s what to look for:
• Firm, hard skin
• Deep rich color (lots of beta-carotene)
• Heavy for it’s size

These are some of the more popular winter squash and a few links to delicious recipes from other fantastic food bloggers:

All About Winter Squash. Acorn Squash - One of the most popular in America. It’s a little bland, which may be why it’s used in so many recipes.

Acorn Squash

One of the most popular in America. It’s a little bland, which may be why it’s used in so many recipes.

All About Winter Squash. Banana Squash: When you see cut up slabs of squash in the supermarket, it’s probably one of these. Thanks Melissa's Produce!

Image from Melissa’s Produce

Banana Squash

These are the huge… really, really huge. Halloween pumpkins can get big and round… these get big and long. When you see cut up slabs of squash in the supermarket, it’s probably one of these.

All About Winter Squash. Buttercup Squash - Dark green, dense and squat, sometimes with a turban on top, these squash are amazingly sweet.Buttercup Squash

Dark green, dense and squat, sometimes with a turban on top, these squash are amazingly sweet.

All About Winter Squash. Butternut Squash - Amazing flavor and versatility makes this the perfect all-purpose squash.Butternut Squash

A very distinctive squash with a buff-skin and long, straight solid neck and round bottom. Amazing flavor and versatility makes this the perfect all-purpose squash.

All About Winter Squash. Carnival Squash - The party animal in the squash family, these pumpkin-shaped squash are splashed with fall colors and have a sweet potato-like flavor.Carnival Squash

The party animal in the squash family, these pumpkin-shaped squash are splashed with fall colors and have a sweet potato-like flavor.

All About Winter Squash. Delicata Squash - Yellow or cream colored with dark green strips running down their oblong shape, these squash are easy to peel and are great for filling.Delicata Squash

Yellow or cream colored with dark green strips running down their oblong shape, these squash are easy to peel and are great for filling.

All About Squash. Hubbard Squash - Don’t let the “wart” covered skin keep you from trying this delicious squash in any of its color combinations (orange, blue or slate)!

Hubbard Squash

Don’t let the “wart” covered skin keep you from trying this delicious squash in any of its color combinations (orange, blue or slate)!

All About Winter Squash: Kabocha - Also known as Japanese pumpkin, the green, almost square-shaped Kabocha is similar to buttercup squash with a nice sweet flavor.Kabocha Squash

Also known as Japanese pumpkin, the green, almost square-shaped Kabocha is similar to buttercup squash with a nice sweet flavor.

All About Winter Squash. Spaghetti Squash: Substitute this lovely yellow squash for whole-wheat spaghetti and you’ll save 75-percent of the calories! Available year-round put peaks from early fall through winter.Spaghetti Squash

Substitute this lovely yellow squash for whole-wheat spaghetti and you’ll save 75-percent of the calories! Available year-round put peaks from early fall through winter.


Ginger Garlic Fish in Banana Leaves

January20

Steaming Ginger Garlic Fish in Banana Leaves is a great way to eat healthy without adding extra fat or calories. The leaves add a subtle, exotic flavor! Who said that healthy eating means boring same-old-same-old eating? No! 

Here’s a great way to eat healthy without piling on extra fat or calories: steam your fish in banana leaves!

Wait… you’ve never heard of cooking with banana leaves? In many parts of Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, food is wrapped in banana leaves and then barbecued, baked or steamed. The leaves add a subtle, exotic flavor, unlike parchment paper or foil. Banana leaves are also known as plantain leaves.

Banana leaves are particularly handy when it comes to steaming fish because fillets often fall apart in a steamer. Using the banana leaves not only helps the fillets keep their shape, but if you add vegetables, you’ve got a meal in a packet. Handy-dandy, wouldn’t you say? Click here for the recipe.

You can find banana leaves in ethnic markets or large supermarkets and they are usually frozen. You can also  order online here.

Ginger Garlic Fish in Banana Leaves is a great “first recipe” if  you’ve never cooked with banana leaves. Get creative! Substitute chopped chicken, beef or pork for the fish and add whatever veggies you have on hand. The cooking time will change, so adjust the recipe as needed.

Steaming Ginger Garlic Fish in Banana Leaves is a great way to eat healthy without adding extra fat or calories. The leaves add a subtle, exotic flavor!

How to Make Drawn Butter (Tutorial)

December26

King Crab Legs: http://mom.me/food/16627-king-crab-legs-drawn-butter/If you’re having a small New Year’s gathering (or if it’s just the two of you), I’ve got a great suggestion: King Crab Legs with Drawn Butter.King Crab Legs: http://mom.me/food/16627-king-crab-legs-drawn-butter/

Easy. Elegant. Oh, yes, a bit expensive (which makes it extra special!).

King Crab is sweet and delicious, and unless you live in Alaska or further up north, it’s already cooked (and frozen) when you buy it. All you have to do is thaw, reheat and eat!

There are several ways to prepare King Crab, but I like to steam-reheat them in the oven. For a step-by-step tutorial on how to do it, click here.

Because this is a special night, I like to serve them with drawn butter (also called clarified butter). Drawn butter is butter that has been melted with the milk solids removed. You can also season it with herbs or lemon juice if you like. Drawn butter is also great to drizzle onto steamed vegetables.

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial for How To Make Drawn Butter:

Clarified Butter

prep: 5 minutes
cook: 15 minutes

serves 6, 2 tablespoons each

you’ll need… 

½ pound butter

let’s get to it…

1. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan on low heat.

How To Make Drawn Butter... a step-by-step tutorial! http://mamashighstrung.com/blog/?p=11073

2. Milk solids (in the form of white foam) will cloud the top: DO NOT STIR.

How To Make Drawn Butter... a step-by-step tutorial! http://mamashighstrung.com/blog/?p=11073

3. When butter is completely melted and small bubbles  begin to form around the edge, turn off heat. Let stand 3 minutes.

How To Make Drawn Butter... a step-by-step tutorial! http://mamashighstrung.com/blog/?p=11073

4. With a small ladle or spoon, skim off the milk solids.

How To Make Drawn Butter... a step-by-step tutorial! http://mamashighstrung.com/blog/?p=11073

5. You’ve made drawn butter! Try not to disturb any milk solids remaining on the bottom of the saucepan when you pour it bowls for dipping the crab.

How To Make Drawn Butter... a step-by-step tutorial! http://mamashighstrung.com/blog/?p=11073

 

For more Kitchen How-To and Tips, Check out my Extra Helpings Tab!

 


How to Make Chermoula

November21

How to Make Chermoula -  Mama's High Strung

 

Chermoula is the most delicious sauce you’ve never tasted.

Born in Morocco, this somewhat spicy, lemony sauce goes well with everything: fish, chicken, grilled meats… even veggies. Learn more about this delicious condiment and, of course, how to make Chermoula. Click here to get the recipe!

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Hi…
I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: mamashighstrung@gmail.com