Friday, October 23, 2009

Some squash, like the acorn squash, are a tricky shape, what's the best way to process these for cooking?

Some pumpkins come in very funny shapes. They are tough skinned, bumpy, divoted and tricky to prepare for cooking.
If you do have to hack through a winter squash for a recipe there are a few go to techniques to cut through this trouble. (for a how-to on butternut squash go here)
I'm slicing up a muang squash here, a varietal from thailand, it's a little different from the acorn squash, but the principle is the same.
First half the vegetable, and scoop out the seeds.
From here you have two avenues to choose from.

1. Peeling with a paring knife: it requires a little more skill, but is maybe a little quicker for the adept.
Quarter the squash. Gripping the paring knife in your hand, use your thumb to push the squash gently over your knife. (not pulling the knife towards your finger, that can lead to problems) I find it works best to remove the "peeks" first, then go back to remove the "valleys" by making an incision on each side and wedging you knife under to pop it out.

2. Peeling each segment with a vegetable peeler: This takes a little more time, but is better suited to the less experienced hand.
Start by breaking down the squash into its own wedges, cutting out half moons where ever the indentations dictate. Then peel each wedge with a peeler. Another perk to this method is you might actually loose a little less meat from the squash, something that's more of an issue with smaller squash.(like the acorn squash)
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