We host a book club at the library where everyone picks a recipe from a featured cookbook to make and bring to a potluck. It’s really fun and we’ve had all ages participate, including children and teens. I started and run the club, so I am the one who chooses the cookbooks each month. A member suggested that I select 3 cookbooks so that the group can preview and vote on the next selection. I try to choose cookbooks that have a lot of pictures, are appropriate for all cooking levels, and that would suit a potluck environment.
This month I chose from the Food Day suggested reading list: A Spoonful of Ginger, Comfort Food Fix, and How to Cook Everything: The Basics. The last title won and for good reason. It has simple recipes with descriptive instructions and step-by-step pictures. Mark Bittman authored 2 previous editions called How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. These are really great reference books that every home cook should own. The only drawback is that there are no pictures and only a few illustrations are sprinkled throughout. The Basics is a stripped down version of the two previous books that provides essential cooking lessons and starter recipes with much needed photographs.
I selected the curried butternut squash recipe to bring to the potluck because I love curry and I love squash. I also wanted to try a new cooking technique since I always roast butternut squash. I loved the recipe so much that I wanted to share it with you. It’s so easy and cooks quickly. If you don’t like butternut squash, I think cauliflower would be a great substitute. You could also use potatoes instead if you detest all vegetables. I added garbanzo beans for texture, flavor, and protein.
The only hard part is peeling and cutting the squash. I included a link to a how-to video below. I’m always scared that I’m going to cut my hand off or peel my skin instead. I also get an allergic reaction when my skin comes in contact with the flesh. It turns my hands orange and my skin cracks and feels tight. It doesn’t last too long, but I can’t stand the feeling, so I now wear gloves.
For more info on the Cook the Book Club at the Dorris Van Doren Library, visit their blog.
Curried Butternut Squash
Time 45-60 minutes
Makes 4 servings
1½pounds butternut squash
2 tablespoons butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 cup coconut milk
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1½ cups cooked garbanzo beans* or 1 can, rinsed & drained (optional)
¼ or more chopped fresh cilantro leaves
¼ cup chopped scallions for garnish (I omitted this)
1 lime quartered for serving (optional)
- Cut both ends off the squash and cut it into 2 sections: the cylindrical top and the bulbous bottom. Peel both sections, then cut the bottom in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut the flesh from both sections into 1-inch chunks or cubes. You should have about 5 cups. You can watch this video if the description is too wordy: How to Cut & Peel Butternut Squash Video
- Place the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When it melts, add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften and turn golden, 2-3 minutes. Add the curry powder and stir until it becomes fragrant, about a minute or so.
- Add the squash, season with salt & pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the coconut milk, raise the heat to high, bring to a boil, and then lower the heat to a gently bubble. Cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until the squash is tender, 15-20 minutes.
- Stir in the the garbanzo beans and raise the heat to medium high. Cook for about 5 more minutes or until the beans are heated through and the liquid has thickened a bit. Add the cilantro and season with more salt and pepper if needed. Garnish with scallions and more cilantro, and serve with lime wedges. I didn’t like the addition of the lime.
*I like to cook garbanzo beans in a slow cooker. I place 2 cups of dried garbanzo beans (picked over & rinsed) and 8 cups of boiling hot water to the slow cooker and cook for 2-4 hours over high heat. You can add salt at the end if you like.