I like to eat. We know that, right? Cool. I’ve always liked eating and for a long time I was only really interested in how food got from the grocery store to my house and eventually into my mouth. In the past few years however, my interest has extended beyond consumption and into production. It began with hints of agricultural policy in my high school American Government class and continued with a class in my first year of university on globalization and climate change that was riddled with information about monoculture, genetically modified crops, and other agricultural business. By my third year of school I was taking a nutrition class and actively planning a future involving cooking, health, and some form of gardening/farming. I’m now taking a class on food economics and planning on somehow owning my own farm/restaurant combination someday. Luckily my cousin is also incredibly keen on the idea. We decided we’re going to be farmers and it is going to be AWESOME. We’ll grow a multitude of crops to use in our restaurant and maybe even have some livestock. So yeah. The future is going to be ballin. Still, until our farm becomes a reality I’m going to have to satisfy myself with produce from other peoples farms. Every time I visit the grocery store I try to stick with seasonal produce. This week I landed myself a Kabocha squash. Score!
Kabocha squash are the cute little guys that look like little green pumpkins. They’re pretty common around BC this time of year and quite cheap as well. Apparently they’re a Japanese variety of winter squash. Their flesh is soft and sweet. Wonderful. I bought mine right before a bout of intensive school work so he had to sit for longer than I had intended. Unfortunately, he developed a couple soft spots during his sit. I scooped them out and was happy to find the rest of him still nice and useful. Then I noticed his soft spots made a face! SO COOL!
Anyways, after we finished bonding I proceeded to chop him up so I could roast him. Sick, I know. Whatever. So Kabocha squash are really nice and soft once you roast them, but uncooked they are a different story. Cutting things in general can be dangerous but you should be extra careful with these guys. They are pretty solid so it takes a bit of muscle to get into them. I started by cutting mine in half. Make sure you have a big sharp knife. Hold it steady with one hand and ease your knife in slowly. Don’t try to power chop it in half. It’s not going to happen. Unless you’re Uma Thurman or Aragorn or some other crazy knife/sword wielding fictional character. So yeah, take it slow. Ease your knife in and work your way into it. It’ll be worth it. Once you’ve got your squash split its time to clean it out. It’s almost identical to a pumpkin, just a little less goopy. Scoop out the insides till its nice an hollow. After that I carefully cut it into about 1/2 inch thick slices. Again, be really really careful cutting your squash. It shot out of my hands a couple times when I got over confident. Take your time. Safety first!
After my squash was sliced I put it on a greased baking pan and roasted it at 400ºF for about 30 minutes/till I could poke it with a toothpick. I flipped it halfway through to ensure even roasting. This squash is awesome cause you can eat it straight, peel and all. It’s soft, slightly sweet, and stupid delicious. I also had a bunch of seeds left over so I decided to toast them. I gave them a good rinse and threw them in at 275ºF for about ten minutes to dry and then tossed them in some olive oil and salt and let them go for about ten more minutes. At that point they started popping. I pulled them out then ran away from a little while cause they legit popped up off the baking sheet. I had to rescue a few from the floor/counter but the rest stayed on the baking sheet. They taste a lot like pumpkin seeds but are a little bit more fibrous. Still tasty though.
I let my squash cool and sit over night. I needed about a cup of puree for my gingerbread so I decided I would wait to eat the roasted squash until after I’d made my bread. It was incredibly tempting. I could barely resist eating it myself and I had to fight off my roommate. It’s understandable. What is more desirable than a pile of freshly roasted delicious squash? Nothing. Thats what.
The next day I pulled out my huge tupperware of squash and started peeling and smashing. I didn’t feel like getting my food processor dirty so I just hand smashed my squash after removing the rind (which I ate by itself, it tasted geeewd). My mash was a bit chunky but whateves. It still did the job. I read a couple different recipes for squash breads and decided on a Kabocha gingerbread cake. I had all the ingredients and it sounded/looked lovely. I tweaked a few ingredients and quantites and got to baking. Like all quick breads it was, you guessed it, really quick to mix. Wet ingredients get a good mix, then add in your puree, and once they’re combined you add in your dry ingredients and voilaaa you gotta batter. Thank you quick breads for being easy and DELICIOUS.
The batter is really thick so make sure you smooth it out in your baking pan so it cooks evenly. I left mine in the over for about 40 minutes, turning it half way through. I used my thermometer to test doneness but you can use a toothpick or whatever you want. If your tester comes out clean or the temp registers at 200ºF in the middle then you’re good to go. Pull it out. Marvel at it. And let it cool for a while. I let mine sit overnight and had a couple pieces for breakfast. It was oh so delicious! Super moist with hints of ginger and molasses and juuuuust sweet enough. I ate a piece plain then warmed up with butter. It was divine both ways. Everyone. Make this CAKE!
Seriously this cake is so good. And it was so easy! I’m really really pleased with how it turned out. If you don’t feel like roasting your own squash then just substitute in canned pumpkin. Do it. It’s worth it. Also this bread is weird and kind of healthy. Butter is replaced with yogurt and squash. No butter is good right? Weird but good. So I’m going to deceive myself and say its good for me! Yaay! I’m great. So is this bread. Yaaaay squash!
Kabocha Gingerbread Cake
Adapted from Opera Girl
- 1 heaping cup Kabocha Puree, or canned pumpking puree
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup plain non-fat yogurt, I used Greek style but regular is fine too
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp powdered ginger
Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large mixing bowl combine eggs, yogurt, molasses, and water. Mix till smooth and well combined. Add in sugar and mix till smooth then mix in Kabocha puree. In a
separate bowl stir together dry ingredients. Add half of the dry ingredients mixture to wet ingredients and stir till combined. Add rest of dry ingredients and mix well. Grease an 8×8 baking pan.
Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth out with a spatula. Make sure batter is evenly distributed. Bake for about 40 minutes, turning halfway. Cake is done when tester comes out clean or
thermometer registers 200ºF.