Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Identity Unknown

We are all aware that Kathryn does not know her way around a kitchen, no? I mean, ask me where the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc section is at the liquor store and I’m there before you can finish asking…but the kitchen?? Not so much.

I have a few core things that I’ve made so many times, I can pretty much not screw them up…but they’re awful inedible rare. I’ve often commented to da boys that no-one’s good at everything and I’d almost convinced Connor (13) that pizza was technically a balanced meal until Taylor (18) declared it a slight exaggeration. I do believe what he actually said was, “Don’t listen to her. She’ll try to convince you that the crust is the bread and the sauce is from tomatoes, so that makes it a fruit and the cheese is dairy and the pepperoni is your meat but it’s lies, man. It’s ALL LIES. She’s been making it up as she goes along.” And then he proceeded to inform Connor that it also wasn’t true that playing video games for more than two hours a day would lead to premature gum disease, tinnitus and the real possibility of early onset male pattern baldness.

Stupid college kids….they think they know everything. I do believe my mom-cred has been severely compromised.

So now, Connor doesn’t know what to believe…but he sure as hell believes that his mother is bewildered and bamboozled when it comes to food. Case in point: My neighbor…a nice retired gentleman, has a small garden. My neighbor does not realize that I’m clueless in the kitchen.

Connor and I come home and find these outside the front door:


Me: “What the hell?”

Connor: “I have no idea. They look diseased. Are they misshapen pumpkins?”

Me: “I’m not sure…but I don’t think so. Where did they come from?"

Connor: "Again...no idea, Mom. Perhaps the grocery store?"

Me: (Rolls eyes) "And what? They walked over to our door? They don't look dirty.What do you think we're supposed to do with them? Are they edible? Or like, for decoration? Are we supposed to leave them here?"

Connor: (Eyes suspiciously)“What do you mean, 'They don't look dirty'? Do you think they came out of the ground?? Whatever they are, I'm not eating them. I probably wouldn't like them anyway.”

So I decided that first I’d have to look them up. I didn't even know what to call them, but I did a search:


Um. No. Nice try though, Google. It’s a shame you can’t read my mind. So, I tried again:



Don’t even get me started on the pipe cleaner images. WTF?? So, I'm all ready to tell Connor that it's of questionable origin and we'd better not risk trying to eat it, lest it's meant to be a festive, non-edible autumnal decoration.

But WAIT! THERE’S SOMETHING!


The description reads, “Pumpkin….butternut. Pear-shaped fruit with light orange skin.” Okay, so I described the shape “light-bulb-like” but still….SCORE!!

After that, I did the only thing I could think to do: I put them in the vegetable crisper…now that I know they’re a vegetable. What I’ll do from there is anyone’s guess....but I felt I'd tackled enough for one day.

But I can promise you that I won’t be planting any of those seeds.

Straight Guy said...

These are a gift from a thoughtful neighbor. They either bought them or harvested them. You'd probably prefer a note, but maybe your secret admirer is so shy that he's/she'd prefer to speak through gourds.

Dreamfarm Girl said...

oh kathryn, hahaha....you crack me up! Luckily I am here to help you b/c these butternut squashes are yummy and best of all, very easy to cook! Slice them in half with a big knife (that is the hardest part) scoop out the seeds (OK, you don't have to plant them) and put them face down in a dish with about a 1/4 inch of water, cover with tin foil and bake at 350 for about 40 min to an hour (depending on how big they are), till soft. Then to eat, put a pat of butter in the squash's clever "butter holder" cup, salt and pepper -- and if you want a little cinnamon & nutmeg is good, and eat. They are like a sweet potato. you can also mash them.
ps Nice neighbor!

Climb2Nowhere said...

That's hilarious! I can cook and I had no idea what the hell they were. I can't believe someone grew that in their garden. The burbs, man. Amazing!

Christiejolu said...

I wouldn't have known what they were either...I am the worst in the kitchen...If it isn't frozen I can not cook it...Sad but true!

Christopher said...

i thought they were alien eggs, one might jump out and latch onto your face so be careful

injaynesworld said...

If you can't put it in the microwave or a George Foreman grill, I'm clueless.

Fierce said...

No really, what are they?! Vegetables, you say? I really don't trust them, I do declare. The weird webby patterns of the seeds scare me o_O I'll stick to the vegetables I'm sure of, thank you very much.

:)
xoxo

Kimberly said...

Baby steps. Gotta stick with baby steps. Maybe by this time next year, you'll be ready to take Dreamfarm Girl's suggestion on how to cook them.

:)

Lauren said...

If I were still at work Ed would probably try to make ice cream out of it. I think they've already done some form a squash though. Before you go thinking it's weird, they've done red bean and a black sesame seed ice creams too. It's actually pretty good Except the seeds get stuck in your teeth.

Is that a cotton ball creature in one of those pictures? -shudders- May my future children never bring those home from preschool.

Stephanie in Suburbia said...

LOL! I didn't know what those were until I started making baby food for Wee 'Burb. I highly recommend making a pasta dish with them.

Also? I love the pizza as a balanced meal. I don't know if you saw any of that Jamie Oliver show where he went into schools? They tried to make the case that pizza was balanced and that fries were a vegetable. So you have the FDA or whatever school oversight people on your side!

David L Macaulay said...

Excellent. I can't tell you how long I have spent looking for a funny blog on misshapen vegetables. Well not that long, actually, but this was well worth it.

Ingwa said...

Yes, those are butternut squashes. They are related to the pumpkin and zucchinis. Cut the skin off with a really sharp knife, but be careful for slips, much like you would a pumpkin, and cook exactly like a pumpkin--remove seeds, cut into half inch size cubes or there abouts. Boil until tender but still a bit firm, drain, and serve with a smidgin of butter, salt and pepper. You could also cook them a bit longer than the firm stage, then drain and mash together for a more creamy dish. Mmmmmm nom nom nom.

Oddyoddyo13 said...

Haha, I couldn't resist looking at what you put in for the searches...Eddie once told me to be "less specific", but detail seems to work for you!

(What?! Pizza isn't a balanced meal? But there ARE tomatoes...and bread...cheese...meat...Taylor's got it ALL WRONG. Tell him that if he's going to go around telling kids that, he might as well throw in that Santa Claus isn't real either.)

Alicia said...

Oh Kathryn. Truly a Foodie Blog this is not...lol. I think I would have carved a face and put a candle in it and displayed it on the front porch.

I've never eaten a butternut squash, which is what I believe these are...but the other day I read a recipe from The Pioneer Woman's Blog and it was for Butternut Squash soaked in like brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon and some other delicous, wonderful smelling stuff and she cut them in slices and baked them and I'm dying to try the recipe!

But as I don't have any butternut squash, maybe you could try it and let me know what you think?

And Pizza covers all the major food groups. I grew a man, strong and sturdy on frozen pizza!

Lynn said...

Be grateful. Squash is easy peasy lemon sqeazy to cook. Dreamgirl is spot on. Way easier than to cube them, although that would be great,too. But Dreamgirl's option has way less chance of execution error, with knives or boiling water or pots on stovetops. So yes. Be courageous and go with her recipe. Now I have butternut squash envy. OK. I've got it. I'll go to the store tomorrow and grab one. Then you call me an hour before your dinner and we'll prep together. Good. Besides, I want to see first hand how clueless you really are, because really, you're a smart cookie, and I KNOW you can do this!

Alicia said...

Oh heck...I had the wrong Foodie Blog. I told you The Pioneer Woman had a squash recipe, but I meant the Noble Pig blog...so sorry. Just to show you how sorry I am here's the link to the recipe itself. The photos alone are so yummy! True Foodie Porn!

http://noblepig.com/2010/10/11/spiced-squash-with-brown-butter-glaze.aspx

Vince said...

Honestly you're not missing much, for the best way to describe them is Blah. And while they have a flavour it isn't one that will have you awakening during the night with a craving. As with the best will in the world if someone said you could never have one again you wouldn't be exactly broken hearted.
Having said all that, they do have a function as fibrous bulk in new-age stews as they are a very good instead of high stoge like spuds or dumplings. But it is quite hard to kill that sweetness which has a element of cloyingness like peanut butter on chicken.

Runnergirl said...

One of my favourites and a weekly staple in our house. Try peeling it and chopping up into cubes, then put in a roasting dish with a sprinkling of salt, ground coriander and cumin...

Ot just roast it with a bit of salt - you don't need any oil to roast it really, so it's pretty healthy.

It also makes great soup! Try it with crispy bacon and soured cream stirred in.

Boonie S said...

How nice of your neighbour to leave his lovely veggies out for you. My neighbour doesn't have a big pair like that, and if he did I'm sure that he wouldn't share them.

Happy munching, fome Boonie

brite said...

Mmmmmmmm butternut squash...it really is very yummy.

Gigi said...

Holy cow - are they as large as they look? If so, how did you ever fit them in the vegetable crisper?

I would have had no idea what they were either. And then once I found out - I probably wouldn't eat it anyway. I don't believe I'm a fan.

I propose that you must now and go leave something as equally baffling on the neighbor's doorstep - you know, as a thank you.

Alan W. Davidson said...

I was looking for one of those bad-boys in the grocery store last weekend. My wife likes to make a soup out from it (ick). Sadly, they were all out...;)

ValleyWriter said...

Fresh butternut squash - yum! You are lucky!! I see you've gotten some tips for cooking them already. Just thought I'd let you know, there's no hurry on that. Butternut is a storage veggie, so it'll last a long time (months, we're talking!). You could even put it in the basement or another cool, dark place other than the fridge if you needed to clear out the veggie crisper. Save it for Thanksgiving and make some delicious baked butternut squash, a la Dreamgirl (a touch of maple syrup would be good on it, too!).

KellyGrrl said...

I would have no idea what to do with them either........ hahaha

sage said...

butternut squash makes the best soup. I had to buy mine--I got a dozen cause they'll keep for months and after 8 days of beans and rice, when I come home, I'll be ready for squash soup.

Gingerella said...

This made me giggle, and I severely needed it! :)

I'm new to the world of squash myself...I actually prepared AND ate acorn squash last week (those are the smaller round green ones, btw) and it was delish. I have yet to tackle a butternut but fear not, I will, oh yes, I will...

Google "butternut squash recipies" and have some fun experimentation in the kitchen. At least you'll have kitchen street cred for saying you made butternut squash!

j.m. neeb said...

So, I forgot that a lot of times your blog will make me LOL...

(Yes, I'm lazy -- uh, "effecient" -- and that was infinitely -- uh, "finitely" -- quicker than actually typing out "laugh out loud.")

(I'm an incredibly efficient guy when you get down to it.)

I'm sure my cubicle neighbors went "What is that crazy dude laughing at now?" after I read the first two sentences.

Thank you for that, because I like keeping them wondering!! ;)

Tia said...

I LOVE butternut squash! Fall is the best time for some butternut squash soup (super healthy) with delicious, buttery garlic bread (not so healthy) and some sort of hot drink. :) I may have to make a quick run to the natural grocer's now.

Good luck!

kathryn said...

Straight Guy: So, we're thinking he's a secret gourd speaker? 'Cause we all know that's the worst kind of speaker. Actually, I'd prefer cash, if I'm given the choice. In lieu of that, a nice note with identification and detailed preparation instructions is preferred. Although, I don't need them, 'cause I've got you guys.

Dreamfarm Girl: My heroine! We LOVE sweet potatoes! I do believe that with your detailed directions, I can actually do this! (Of course, I don't know if squash by itself is considered a meal but I don't care! One for him and one for ME! I'll keep you posted!)

Climb2Nowhere: I KNOW! There's amazing and magical powers in this here 'burb-soil, I tell ya! And they think everything is bigger in Texas....HA!

**Dear readers, please forgive me. I am freakin' exhausted and am going to sleep RIGHT NOW, like a little old lady. (I haven't even had a drink...that's how tired I am!) I'll be back tomorrow night to finish commenting and to visit everyone. Thanks for under......zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Anonymous said...

This reminded me of Monty Python and the Holy Grail - when they found the trojan horse. You're a pip. I cook it like someone else suggested: Cut in half the long way (VERY hard to cut), remove seeds, place face down in a baking dish with a little bit of water for an hour at 350 should do it, then scoop out and add butter and a little honey (and a little salt if you want). Grandma used to make it now and then and Cathy makes it. The girls wont eat it, so I dont have it that often. It can be kindof bland if not seasoned right. If the squash fairy has any more hanging around, send them my way :)
Love,
Laura

HulaBuns said...

You never disappoint when it comes to making me laugh! :D

I've only made butternut squash once and, it refused (I mean, REFUSED) to be cooked....since then, I haven't attempted it again (it was quite an exhausting ordeal). I say keep them out as decorations. Maybe paint scary faces on them and put little hats on them? Just an idea.

kathryn said...

Christiejolu: Well, then we're kindred spirits. I am so freakin' clueless...I think my family thinks I'm making it up sometimes. All my siblings can cook. That gene somehow skipped me.

Christopher: You are such a guy. You've had monsters jumping out of the woods and attacking me and now I'm about to eat alien eggs. I can't decide if it's your over-active imagination, or you simply want me to DIE!

injaynesworld: Is it terrible to say that I'm glad?! I like having the clueless-kitchen-company. No-one wants to be the only one who stands there...staring into the fridge and thinks, "What's the number of that takeout Chinese again?"

kathryn said...

Fierce: I know, sweetie. Don't worry...da boys feel the same as you do. I'm wary myself...but I figure if I bake the hell out of them, they can't possibly hurt us. Right??

Kimberly: HA! You know me too freakin' well. It's a tad scary. Although, I will make these...well, maybe not all of it...unless I can freeze the leftovers? I'm thinking Connor's gonna bail on this one.

Lauren: Sesame seed ice cream? Are you making this up?? Honey, look away from the cotton-ball creature. It can't hurt you...really! (I swear, I can't look at cotton balls without thinking of you!)

kathryn said...

Stephanie in Suburbia: Ha! I'm guessing the schools were not able to convince Jamie that pizza fit anywhere into the food pyramid?? Pizza is the only "fast food" we eat. No McDonalds, we drink water (or seltzer, which IS water...duh) and only have Chinese maybe 6 times a year. I figure that's not too bad, right?

David L. Macaulay: Ha! Gee. I guess I'd better get cracking on getting myself onto that Google search for light bulb-shaped veggies, right? Who knows how many people are just aimlessly searching...and never finding...well, ME?? Welcome!

Ingwa: Oh, Mark. If I cut off my thumb, will you do all my typing for me? You should be able to handle it, since you type at a mind-blowing 120wpm, which equals about two of me, anyway.

kathryn said...

Oddyoddyo13: I KNOW, right?? I thought the same thing about the whole Santa-thing. How dare Taylor spoil my perfect pizza-food pyramid-fantasy! And thank you for noticing my intensive effort in my Google search...but how amazing is it that I got a hit?? Pretty intuitive, don't you think?

Alicia: I like your idea of carving it and calling it a day! Of course, if that neighbor saw, he'd definitely think I was NUTS. That Pioneer Woman's (oops. I mean Noble Pig's) recipe sounds heavenly...how could something soaked in brown sugar and maple syrup not be yummy?? I'll keep you posted! "Foodie Porn"! HA!!

Lynn: Oh, honey...trust me. I somehow manage to swap out electrical fixtures...and I can program my phone (sort of) and I can change code on my blog (a little bit) but I'm absolutely clueless in the kitchen. I can just barely bake and that's only because they give exact directions...and you don't have to ask "how thick should the slices be?" or "do I peel the skin off or leave it on?" Seriously. I'm severely cuisine-challenged.

kathryn said...

Vince: Well, I'll admit...I'm a fan of "sweet", so who knows? Someone else had mentioned putting them in stew...that might be just the ticket to tricking (I mean, getting) Connor to give it a try!

Runnergirl: You guys are fabulous! You make it sound so simple...how can I not give it a try? I'll definitely give it a whirl...but I'm disconnecting the smoke alarms, just to play it safe.

Boonie S: Yeah, I thought it was very thoughtful of him. I've no idea how many he had in total but it was nice to leave us that surprise to come home to. So, your neighbor is a squash-hoarder? That's not very neighborly.

kathryn said...

brite: That's what everyone keeps telling me! Honestly, it doesn't even feel like autumn here these last few days...we've been in the mid-70's and very sticky. Even *I* would like the temps to even out a bit!

Gigi: Ha! Equally baffling....I like this challenge! Maybe I could leave a ham & cheese sandwich on his doorstep? With a little mustard, of course...I'm not an animal.

Alan W. Davidson: Hey you! I've been meaning to check in with you. You sound devastated about not finding any squash in your store. Shall I pack up one of these babies and send it on over? I don't mind, really.

kathryn said...

ValleyWriter: Yummy. And GREAT to know I've bought myself some time...as I'm too distracted during the week to attempt something so complicated. Don't laugh. Okay, you can laugh.

KellyGrrl: I'm so glad I'm not alone! I don't know how ppl learn how to do this stuff...and they have NO FEAR. Just THROW stuff together! Like it's EASY! WTF??

sage: 8 days of beans and rice? Are you on some special diet? I'm kidding. Knowing you, Sage...you're on the road again. Doing one of your insane hikes. Am I right? Checking your place now...

kathryn said...

Gingerella: HA! Good point...I forgot about my bruised Mom-cred! I'd no idea there were little green squashes out there. (That makes me sound a little bit crazy, right??)

j.m.neeb: HA! Glad I was able to produce the ever-popular "LOL", my friend. And um...I don't know how efficient that LOL was, by the time you added all the explanation. I'm just saying...

tia: Yummy! The squash...the bread....the cocktail. You DID say something about alcohol in there, didn't you? I'm sure you did.

kathryn said...

Hey Sis! You're too funny....only YOU would think of Monty Python when I'm talking about squash. And you'd better believe you'll find one on your doorstep if any more show up on mine!

Hulabuns: Oh, I love the idea of the hats! Maybe I'll do that with one and try and cook the other. It's a win/win, right??

Dorn said...

Seriously, you have a great secret gift giver. Butternut squash soup (made some this week for my wife since she had her wisdom teeth out and is on a liquid diet) is fanfreakingtastic! When we used to make our own baby food (bout to start again with the second) Butternut Squash cubed and steamed or roasted was her FAVORITE. Enjoy em! (They're also a really expensive veggie comparatively)

Heather said...

Oh I love butternut squash! Especially as a soup! Yummmmmm!

Angelina said...

You are too funny. Love this post, I too would have done exactly as you did. Google rules!

I've walked pass them frequently at the store, look at them sideways and continued walking. But now I might just try what dreamfarm girl said. Mmmmm.

Jen said...

Those are yummy! Cook them up!

Jen said...

Okay, butternut squash is the best! I have an awesome recipe for butternut squash bread. It's really not too difficult. If you really want something easy to do with them, here's the scoop:

Cut off the hard outer skin and then dice into chunks. Cut up some leeks (you may have to look those up as well before you go to the store.) Only chop up the white parts. Place the squash and leeks on a baking sheet with sides and rub generously with olive oil and kosher salt. You could also chop up some rosemary and thyme if you are feeling crazy.

Bake in a 450 degree oven for about 15 minutes or so. Put a fork in the squash and if the pieces are squidgy, you're done.

Yummy! If you can handle that, I'll pass on the bread recipe.

Rambles'N'Shambles said...

I have been out of the blogging circuit for too long!

I missed reading your blogs!

Haha, too bad I wasn't there I would have been able to identify it as a butternut pumpkin straight away.

I remember I once tried to make a soup from it.

I failed.

Miserably.

Jenny said...

YUUUUMMMMM!!!! I loooove butternut squash. Had some for dinner tonight actually. DELISH. I've never had any show up on my doorstep before though. How sad for me? :(

It's the Great Butternut, Charlie Brown!

Okay, I'm going to bed before it's gets punny over here.

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