Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Chow Chow and Squash

No, I don't mean the dog food.  I'm fixin' to give you all a little edification.

I do the CSA (community supported agriculture) box.  It's less time consuming than going to the farmer's market and better tasting than going to Safeway.  The box gives me season fruit and veg which gives me veg that I wouldn't normally buy myself.  We are drowning in apples.  I think I've made everything I can make with them: apple sauce, apple pie filling for the freezer, baked apples, apple/banana bread, apple donuts, apple cider, poached apples for pork chops...  The apple sauce my kids snarf up on a regular basis so that's not  so bad since we need it all the time.  Luckily, we have a chest freezer so whatever I make I can jar and freeze.  Last week we got some guavas in the box that turned into some tasty guava jam.  We also were getting delicata and butternut squash. We kept getting cabbage which was fine with me because we were also getting padron peppers so I prepped it all and froze it so I could make some Chow Chow when the tomato season here stopped for the green tomatoes.  Hey all y'all, it's chow chow time!

Chow Chow is so super tasty.  It's my favorite relish and I use it on all beans, cooked greens, soups, sausage and hot dogs.  For the uninitiated,  chow chow or 'piccalilli is a relish made from the end of summer vegetables so nothing from the garden gets wasted.  Because I lived in North Carolina and half my family is from there and lives there, I favor two specific kinds.   It's a chow chow you can get hot or not and it has cabbage, green tomatoes and mustard seed.  My other favorite has fennel instead of cabbage but all the other ingredients are the same.  To make the hot version, jalapeños are added.  I had a favorite brand too and my mom used to send it to me once I moved out here to California because I couldn't get that brand or version of it anywhere.  I tried looking online and nobody had that type of Chow Chow.  It's just like North Carolina barbecue, there were many chefs and restaurants here in the Bay Area that claimed to have it on their menu, but it wasn't really North Carolina barbecue.

So, I am about to settle in and make mine that I've been making for 4 years now.  I have some jalapenos  that came in the box last week; I scavenged mine and my neighbor's green tomatoes since the plants are done for the season.  I make both cabbage or fennel (not both in the same batch) with brown mustard seed, jalapenos and padron peppers and green tomatoes.  Then I jar it and eat it!


Now then, on to the squash.  I love butternut squash and delicata squash, not to make soup (although that's good too), but, because I love to make stuffing and chili with them.  Both can be roasted, but I like the delicata squash most because you can eat the peel.  If you roast it until it's just carmelized you can slice it and eat it just like that.

The lovely delicata has a peel that can be eaten so it's not quite the labor intensive squash that butternuts are.  You can deseed them and roast them, then dig out the flesh and mix it with cooked rice or lentils, sauteed veg and sausage.  Stuff all of that back into the already baked shell and put it back into the oven to heat it all up again.  It's so good, just typing about it makes me drool.

You can do the same with a butternut, but you can't eat the peel so it's way more labor intensive if you want to make soup or anything with it.  Still worth it though.  Soup is the least of things this squash can do.  I like to make black bean and butternut squash chili with it.  Oh! and my favorite, also good for Thanksgiving, butternut squash, blue cornbread, jalapeño, chorizo stuffing.  

peace out


  1. Chow chow? That's a new one for me...I've always wondered what to make with fennel.

    Thank you for the idea! :D

    1. I guess I should specify that I meant fennel root. You can do way more than just make chow chow with fennel. You can shave it for salads; and my personal favorite, making steamed clams with fennel root and italian sausage in a white wine broth.