One Arm Behind My Back

Wouldn’t you know, the minute I get back in the kitchen (newly stained floor looking good), another challenge arises. This week’s task: learning to cook with one arm tied behind my back. Actually, with my left arm in a splint, then a sling, after fracturing my elbow in a bike accident. (So much for trying to be good and exercise.) But  a cook who can’t bear the thought of wasting good produce won’t be kept down for long, and I’d just filled the fridge with greenmarket finds. 

Good squash, bad hand

Tested out my capacity on Day One by roasting the Muang squash, a Thai variety, that I’d cut up and prepped the day before, by chance. Added a few leaves of fresh sage and a quarter of an onion found in the fridge.  Roasting has proven to be my new best friend. Produce needs only a rough chop, if any, and lots of things can be cooked together.  Pile up the veggies and use them to support cuts of meat.

The Muang squash, as my local farmer promised, has a lovely smooth texture with a somewhat sweet, somewhat nutty taste under its ugly, bumpy exterior. It’s richer and more buttery than something like butternut squash and a nice alternative to pumpkin.  It almost melted into the chicken stock used for a soup base the next day, thinned with a little apple cider and kicked up a bit with a little Aleppo pepper. A quick puree, a dollop of yogurt, and done.  Served up with a side dish of the fresh cranberry beans that I’d also luckily shelled and prepped, cooked with some more fresh sage. A satisfying fall lunch, and not just because it tasted so good.

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