Episode 2: Winter Squash

Winter squash is a big, scary vegetable. Matthew is scared of its sweet taste. Molly is scared of its thick skin. Can they put their fears to rest? What is the “throwdown method”? And is squash-licking fatal? Recipe: Warm Butternut and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Sauce.

35 thoughts on “Episode 2: Winter Squash

  1. mamster Post author

    I like how this paper says, ambiguously, “We find only one report in the history of squash-related reactions.” It makes it sound like there’s a fat book called The History of Squash-Related Reactions.

  2. est

    cool episode two! the way i treat butternut when I meet one: I put the whole thing in the oven on 300°C without even cutting it into bits or removing the seeds, until it’s soft enough to cut it/peel it.

  3. Charr

    Thanks for the fun and great recipes. I use a cleaver or a hatchet on really thick skinned roundish squash and pumpkins – you have to sort of hi’ karate them with the tool -but it works well. I grew these Australian blue squash that were really huge – like 20 or more pounds and my method worked and I am a Grandma.

  4. Heidi

    Great episode! About the peeling issue, sometimes I put the entire squash into the microwave for a couple of minutes, turning every 30 seconds or so. This seems to start the cooking process and makes it a bit easier to peel. Just let it cool down for a few minutes before attempting it!

    I’ve also had a squash curry, but it was at a South Indian restaurant. It was completely amazing – maybe I should try to replicate it at home sometime soon!

  5. victoria

    Loved the second one just as much – Molly’s soup sounded great. I usually make our pumpkin soup by frying off an onion or two with a rew rashers of smoky bason and throwing in a few (only a few) carraway seeds. Throw in butternut pumpkin chunks (using your de-peeling method Matt rather than yours Molly), I usually throw in a potato too, although not sure why… Cover with stock, usually chicken, cook till soft, puree – eat!

    I will definitely try the pear and cider version, just a little cider?

  6. sheila

    Brutal honesty time: I so miss your writing, I find podcasts not very interesting and missing visuals. I wish you would go back to your strength of writing interesting food stories that are wrapped with life tales. I will not check in on podcasts, boo hoo.

    1. molly

      Sheila, I’m having a lot of fun with this podcast, and I hope one day you’ll come around!

      Have a great week.

  7. Dormi

    Thanks for the podcast! Made us laugh out loud on a grey day. Also for the inspiration of your blogs and books.

    I cut butternut squash a bit like pineapple – lop stalk end to form a flat base then cut in two from top down with a large, sharp, firm-bladed chef’s knife, wider than the squash. Holding the handle and for extra force pressing the blade with flat palm and fingers curved away from the cutting edge (obviously!) can do the trick. Scoop out seeds, lay cut sides down, chop into wedges and cut or peel off skin. I can do this with quite knobbly Turk’s Turban but would probably stuff n roast small and knobbly squash whole. Skin off before cooking is better for our recipes as we oven roast squash wedges with oil and spices before making curry or spiced pumpkin soup. Would love Molly’s soup recipe – sounds great. Really glad you flagged up Casa Moro for your recipe. It’s one of my favourite cookbooks. Also love Moro for recipes like beetroot with cecina and sherry, almond, caper sauce – wonderful.

    Have done a coconut slamdown but following good advice from Sunil Vijayakar’s 30-minute Indian did this in a plastic bag. Might be good with squash to avoid a dirty squash or a squashy sidewalk?
    I sound very prim giving these tips but my kitchen when cooking is like a Julian Schnabel plate painting tho’ I do clean up after!

    Thanks again and greetings from UK, Dormi

  8. Beth

    The sap, the icky hands — yes! It’s like having glue dried to your skin but you can’t peel or wash it off. This butternut/chickpea/tahini recipe has become one of my from-memory, go-to dinners since Molly first posted it, and I’m (oddly?) glad to hear you guys address the less pleasant side of preparing it. In an I’m-not-alone sort of way, it makes me happy to know I’m one of many in a whole history of squash-related reactions.

  9. Karen Stone

    I’m laughing so hard. No offense meant at all. Mollie Katzen’s “Microwave Gourmet” tells how to make Bechamel that is soooo easy – no fear involved. Thoroughly enjoyed the podcast.

  10. Gary from WV

    Hi Molly, listened to your podcast about winter squash while walking to work today. Ran across a recipe in Gourmet (shed a tear)(Nov 2006 issue)for Butternut Squash and Spinach Gratin a few years ago and it has become a winter “go to” dish. Almost like a lasagna in that it is layers of squash (instead of pasta) with creamed spinach in between with a dusting of parmigiano on top. Gotta try it if you like winter squash………….

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  12. Iris

    I want weekly episodes…please? I love your (plural) laughter! It feels like we are hanging out in the kitchen together.

    Molly, as per the wonderful squash soup with pear and vanilla bean, I made that soup last May and adored it. I adore most kinds of squash soup, to the chagrin of the rest of the people I share my home and cook with.

    Wonderful! More! More!

  13. Laura.

    i think the podcast is a GREAT new dimension to add to the blogging/photographing/book-writing. after reading orangette and your book, it was so great to hear your voice! and, since i work at home alone, i am in constant need of good listening material.
    the comments are pretty entertaining and helpful as well. i’m hooked, yay! keep up the good work! also, did you know that you are both credited with the same nyt best selling book on your ‘about’ page? just checking.

  14. Heather

    I finally tried this salad recipe, after reading about it on your blog, Molly. Somehow, hearing you talk about it was what brought me to action. The only problem is that it seems to make only one serving rather than four. Okay, okay, I didn’t really eat the whole thing all by myself–but I could have. It was that delicious.

  15. Limax

    We use squash for quite a few things. Not the least of which is pancakes. Since we’re gluten-free, the squash when blended makes a nice base for pancakes.

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  17. Ashley English

    i absolutely ADORE these podcasts. the information. the exquisite articulation of food properties. the candor. the wit. the out-takes at the end. you had me at “pumpkin muffin.” keep ‘em coming.

  18. FoodTherapy

    I absolutely wished I had heard this BEFORE attempting my first ‘stab’ at butternut squash! Molly, I’m right with you on the pealing and cutting haha. I used a veggie peeler to get the skin off (in the sink) and then failed at the stab/slam approach…my Hubs so kindly showed me cutting it the short way would be safer.


    Thanks for the tips and salad idea, I really enjoy these podcasts!

  19. 12th Man Training Table

    Best foodie podcast, period.

    From the get-go, you two have the banter that the Car Talk boys only wish they could replicate, after their billion years in the biz.

    My only concern is that you’re going to burn out your “which sounds like a good rap / rock band name” shtick. (Our running bad joke has always been, “Fluffy White Bottom? I saw the open for Toad the Wet Sprocket at the Paladium back in ’85.”)

    Keep up the great work!

  20. Gemma

    I must have squash proof hands though because it was the first I had heard of this particular issue – maybe some people are immune to the squash sap…

    Anyway my favourite way with butternut squash is to peel it (using Matthew’s method), chunk it, roast it with some beets and then mix it all up with chickpeas, feta, olive oil, sumac, and dried mint.

    Long may the podcasts continue!

  21. Nora

    Apparently no one has commented that you don’t have to go through the hassle AT ALL – just DON’T PEEL THE SQUASH! Albeit I haven’t cooked butternut for a long time, I prefer Delicata, and the various green skinned ones, but with any of them, and I suspect Butternut as well, just cook them, anyway, bake, steam, saute, with the skins on, and they become as soft and as fine to eat as the interior. And, I suspect, is healthier, and certainly, less dangerous and time-consuming.

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