There's a little something that happens in Canadian Farmers Markets in the fall and winter: slowly... produce...dwindles...
The good news is that we're still in a decent season to get kale, carrots, apples, beets, potatoes, brussel sprouts, cabbages and squash. The bad news is that when all this holiday season hoopla comes to an end, we'll find sparsely stocked veggie stands lacking even a hint of chlorophyll infused veggies. But, more good news! With enough creativity, this doesn't have to be a bad thing.
While visiting New Zealand, my brother-in-law, Will, introduced me to a magical way to prepare onions that are bursting with flavour and, in my opinion, could make a meal out of anything. I first enjoyed them piled on top of a pizza crust along with rosemary pesto and asparagus- a vegan pizza to die for. And here I've nestled them into a baked fall squash, topped with pumpkin seeds and umboshi vinegar-soaked coconut flakes. Yum!
(time may vary- use your chef's intuition)
For this meal with one squash, I used 2 purple onions and about 4 cloves of garlic. Adjust amount for your recipe or use. Along with a delicious pizza, these onions could be used for appetizers- topped on toasted bread, in phylo cups, or in a main on top of a quiche or pot pie, in a pasta or as a sandwich layer. Just use your imagination, account for a bit of a vinegar taste and you're off!
-Slice onions thinly and add to a medium heat non-stick or cast iron, oiled pan. When onions begin to change colour, turn heat down to low and let them sautee for about 15-20 minutes, stirring often. They shouldn't stick to the bottom so adjust your heat and oil accordingly.
-Peel and mince your garlic and add it to the onions after about 15 minutes. Continue cooking for 5 more minutes.
-When garlic and onions are nicely softened, add about 1/4-1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar. Allow time for vinegar to simmer off and reduce- about 10 minutes. Add some salt if desired (I do), and you're done!
After washing, cutting, de-seeding and quartering my squash, I baked it for about an hour (or until very soft) in a 400 oF preheated oven. Meanwhile, I dry roasted some nuts (I used pumpkin seeds) and found some leftover toasted umboshi (Japanese plum vinegar) coconut flakes to sprinkle on top. Pictured below is the final creation. It was warm, and cozy, but energizing and exciting from the different flavours. I give it two thumbs up.
With the winter holidays coming our way, this would be a lovely way to have squash at your festive dinner. Otherwise, this would be a great meal with a side green salad and some toasted bread with olive oil. Enjoy!