The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Life!

February 5, 2014

A taste embrace

Squash the boring out of winter eats

Ever been afraid to expand the “specials” menu at your home? Do you panic in the “organic” produce aisle? Have you eyeballed colorful eggplant, only to wimp away with a pasty head of iceberg lettuce instead?

 

Chef Devin Godbey, director of the UC-Beckley Culinary Program, challenges you to be bold and embrace a new taste.

Chef Devin has a few tricks up her professional sleeves to empower home-based foodies who typically shy away from unfamiliar ingredients. Or maybe you’re known as quite the cook, but feel a recipe rut coming on.

Devin and her culinary partners will tutor cooking newbie or ninja through lessons on techniques and not-so-common ingredients, as well as offer methods for those basics we might have missed along the way. She’ll also demonstrate each tip step-by-step at www.register-herald.com.

For her first challenge, Devin chose: the butternut squash.

This pumpkin-y ingredient (Aussies even call it “butternut pumpkin”) is considered the prima donna of pureed soups and a team player for stews, salads or even lasagna.

“Butternut squash gives a creamy texture and flavor to recipes,” says Chef Devin. “You would almost think you’re having cheese when you eat it.” Butternut can be spiced to extra sweetness with cinnamon or seasoned toward savory with chipotle powder or cayenne. It is also one of the most versatile superfoods, rich in vitamin A, vitamin B6, potassium and fiber.

Another advantage to the butternut is its prepping and storing potential.

“You can cut it up and freeze it, then thaw just before adding to recipes or roasting...” — a timely idea for squirreling away the goods for a savory salad (see recipe on Page 2B) before they’re out of season.

“You can also substitute it for pumpkin in pies or even make smoothies with it. It has the same flavor as a sweet potato or pumpkin in recipes,” Devin notes.

Unfortunately, the gourd-like goodie doesn’t arrive in perfect cubes and can be a rather hard “nut” to crack.

With a vegetable peeler, a sharpened knife and a little perseverance, however, you’ll tackle it like a pro. Now … Allez Cuisine!

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