A little spicy, a little sweet and a lot of flavors are here to accompany this beautiful little acorn squash. This seems to be the right kind of recipe for now; acorn squash so well embodies autumn, in its texture, taste and colors. And being combined with the fresh mint and sumac, it tastes like the comfortable blissful sunshine we have.
It is Fall. Besides the craving to see some red and orange of the maple leaves in this vast horizon of Texas, wanting to roll in the rustling leaves and the fervor of deciding on Halloween costumes for the girls, we are living in a world far away from any signs of autumn.
But we do have the farms, the pumpkin patches and also the smiles they bring.
October is incomplete without making at visit at one of these. So we did; to a tiny little patch. But the spread and variety of the pumpkins in this patch was way more than a lot bigger ones; the kind that makes me think of a quilt with unique patches.
We also carved two pumpkins today. I will try to post the photographs sometimes later on. Here are some photographs from our weekend pumpkin patch trip.
The necking pumpkin swans.
A floral patch on the ground.
A few days back I heard Kalyn (of the delectable Kalyns Kitchen) tweet about her Roasted Summer Squash with Lemon and Mint. My attention perked at the sound of lemon and mint and I knew right away what I was going to make soon.
Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of winter squash, and nothing can beat a honey lemony mint combination.
No none will deny that making a dent in these winter squashes need a good muscle, and further slicing and peeling them is a challenge and takes me longer than actually cooking them. But the wholesome goodness that lies inside them is an inspiration enough for me to go ahead and make these quite often.
When roasting the squash, if you find it too difficult to peel, leave the peel on and just slice it. You can scoop out of the skin when it is cooked.
To slice a squash, slice off one part in the body of the squash so it can stay flat on the counter. Place it flat on the counter or cutting board, hold on strong to one end and use a good knife and your muscles to slice it onto half first. Then lay each half flat side on the counter and slice in into thinner ones.
Roasted Acorn Squash with Mint, Sumac and Sunflower Seeds
Ingredients: (serves 3, in small servings as a side)
- 1 medium acorn or butternut squash or pumpkin (about 1-1.5 lbs)
- 2.5 tablespoon olive oil + 1 teaspoon oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin, crushed
- 1-1.5 teaspoon sumac
- sea salt or any other coarse salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper
- crushed red pepper flakes, as much or as little as you want
- 2 teaspoon dried mint
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, torn
- 3-4 tablespoons shelled sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds or any small sized pepitas/squash or melon seeds
Carefully cut the squash into half . Scrape off seeds, pulp and strings with a spoon and discard. Slice them in to 1/2 inch thick wedges.Remove the skin in you want, or you may want to leave it in if you find difficult to peel. I usually peel them with a sharp knife before I cook.
Combine 2.5 tablespoon olive oil, honey, lemon juice, cumin,, sumac, salt, red and black pepper and dried mint leaves and whisk it.
Preheat oven to 375 F. In a baking tray, place the squash wedges, pour the whisked oil and lemon mix and toss well for the wedges to be well coated. Lay wedges on their sides, in a single layer on a baking tray. Roast, and carefully turn halfway through, until golden brown on both sides, about 30 – 40 minutes.
While the squash bakes, heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat and lightly roast/toast the seeds until they are light golden, for about 3-5 minutes. Remove seeds from skillet and set aside.
When the squash is done baking and is tender and golden brown, remove carefully from oven and toss the seeds and the chopped fresh mint leaves over the squash, toss the slices carefully to evenly spread the seeds and the mint, and bake at 300 F, for about 5 more minutes.
Serve warm, with a sprinkle of red crushed pepper, sumac and more mint if you want.
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