Saturday, January 27, 2007

Healthy Snacks in a Curry

What’s especially difficult about eating locally at this time of the year is how my stores of vegetables are dwindling while the markets have very little local produce to offer.

It’s been wonderful to use dried, canned, and frozen vegetables in soups and such, and I’ve been going through my stash of potatoes like crazy. But I’ve also been craving fresh vegetables that just look like they’re loaded with vitamins and minerals.

Normally, I’d reach for broccoli or kale, and though I haven’t found any good kale at the market lately, I’ve been eating lots of broccoli.

On the other hand, I also want some of those vivid orange vegetables to balance the greens, and so I went through my pantry this weekend and pulled out the remaining squash to remind myself to use them up.

But how? Should I bake or steam them, using the pulp in recipes later? Just bake and eat them? What?

Finally, I decided to take a small butternut squash, cut off the end showing the beginning of rot, peel the rest, and cut it into thick sticks, like fries, to roast them.

And as I prepared the squash, I realized that I was craving something simple with Indian spices, so I tossed the “fries” with olive oil, curry powder, and chili powder before tossing the pan in a 350 F oven and baking them for 45 minutes.

They turned out tender and soft inside with a spicy crisp outside, with just enough heat to warm me up. And I ate them all. That’s right, I ate an entire squash (a small one, granted) and I enjoyed it.

And that’s a snack I’ll be happy to enjoy again soon!

Curried Squash “Fries”

This is so easy that you shouldn’t need a recipe. Quantities will vary based on how much you have of the squash. Besides, you can do this with sweet potatoes or regular potatoes, too. But just to make it absolutely clear, here’s what I did:

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into thick sticks
Extra-virgin olive oil
Curry powder
Chili powder

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place squash “fries” in a square baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with curry and chili powders. Toss to coat evenly.

Bake for 45 minutes at 350 F. Allow to cool slightly before eating. If desired, serve with chutney or raita.

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