Sesame Squash Moons

28 Dec

The moon is food.
The moon revolves around us, and we revolve around food.

What I want to know is, “if the moon were made of acorn squash, would you eat it?”
I would.

For Christmas dinner, I decided I wanted to make something with acorn squash. This is an ingredient I always viewed as a centerpiece decoration, not a side item.

If only you could bast candelabras with curry butter to make them edible.

These squash brought a little Asian flavor to the table. I toasted two teaspoons of sesame seeds that gave some extra nutty tones.

Now, for the curry.

But wait, there's more

Does your spice cabinet look like that? Care to reduce it by a fourth (extreme exaggeration) without a single-use kitchen appliance?

Introducing….curry from scratch!

So, based on a recipe of Thomas Keller’s, I made a yellow curry powder for the squash moons.

Short of the knobs, I pretty much dumped everything my family has in its spice cabinet. There were all kinds of outlandish oddities I haven’t used in a while or at all in dishes. Mustard seeds, turmeric, whole cloves, anise stars, anise seeds:the curry was an index of the spice bible. Kind of like an Apocrypha, there were some spices I did not include. Mace, fenugreek, and brown mustard did not make the final fall-shaded blend, but I don’t think there was too much of a flavor compromise.

It had a harsh anise overtone at first, so if I can ever get rid of all of this batch, my next one would be more scanty on the fennel and anise seeds.

I could not get the mustard or fennel seeds to grind all the way down in this particular processor, but with the help of another kitchen appliance, the ancient mortar & pestle, I ground the spice enough for the four teaspoons the squash butter needed.

The remaining 3/4 cup of spice mix, they say, is for gifting.

These mushy squash took on a different deliciousness with the toasty crunch of sesame seeds, sprinkled on top after roasting the squash at 350 °F. I think a thicker crust of seeds would have made the whole side dish take on the crispy on the outside, smooth on the inside relationship that’s made ice cream sandwiches and R&B music so classic.

After 35 minutes, I covered the dish with tin foil and poured in some water to the recommendations of my aunt Patti, who stood and watched this foray. Though the holidays are about the sentimental side of family, I think applying her cooking experience brings some pragmatism to reunions. After another 10 minutes, the tips get brown, and you can scoop out the innards like a sweet potato.

Now, the curry.

I melted a stick of butter and watched it foam in a skillet. Once the froth reduced, I added the curry and whisked. The less desirable solids ended up on the bottom of the skillet, which I took as a fortunate accident. I put about 3/4 of the spiced butter on before roasting, and the remaining right before serving.

When I make something for a holiday spread, I always check levels, a little bit like an audio mixer. How is this going over? Is there enough? Will it feedback?

I saw Patti grab 2, 3 moons, and that’s when I know it wasn’t a polite sampling. These little crescents are set to be a classic.

“Goodnight, Squash Moons.”

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