The Orange Season – A Meditation on Red Turban Squash

The orange season is upon us. It’s a muted season this year—the foliage is turning, but without the vibrant color of some years. It’s tempting to see it as a reflection of the state of affairs—the economy, the debacle that is our nation’s politics, my own mood which is decidedly not sunny. But perhaps not. Driving back from a client meeting today, it splattered rain and hail and then, driving through fields and muted stands of color, the sky clearing to turquoise and, against the dark gray storm cloud, as good a rainbow as I’ve ever seen, each color distinct. I stared as much as possible without crashing or wandering lanes. Better excuse than texting, I suppose, but still no excuse.

The food of this season is orange, too. I bought a red turban squash at the farmer’s market last weekend, knobby red and the size of a half-empty basketball. I cut it in half and baked it, cut side down, for almost an hour. Lacking any specific recipes, I went for as simple cooking as possible so I could taste the squash as is.

It turned out sweet. So sweet, in fact, that I would make pumpkin pie out of it and not need much sweetener. Sweet enough to pair with ricotta, perhaps, in a layered dish of squash and ricotta. Or perhaps as a squash ravioli topped with Thomas Keller’s sage cream, a pastel green over the pale pasta and the orange of the squash. Something red, too, but not red peppers. Even roasted ones. Perhaps some oven dried tomatoes cut in small dice. There is still some sage in the garden and the tomatoes that are left are perfect for oven drying. I’ve got some sun gold cherries in the pot by our kitchen door. I’ll keep you posted.

I’ll stick with the orange season as long as possible. The dark season is coming up, November and December, and until the lights get gold and glittery, it’s not something to look forward to.


The Orange Season – A Meditation on Red Turban Squash — 2 Comments

  1. Glad you liked the Gill Tavern. Learning about squash just now, going beyond the mashed or baked.

  2. I just read a recipe for an orange Japanese squash (aka Brazilian abobora) which was curiously odd yet somehow appealing. Simmer it in a little water, sugar, and soy sauce. Eat with rice?
    P.S. We liked Gill Tavern, going back Sunday.

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