No one should have to wait that long. But it was worth it. The Long Island Cheese winter squash–which looks like a beige pumpkin–has been waiting for me since I got it at Pierce’s Pumpkin Patch in Chariton, Iowa, last October. I had no particular purpose in mind when I bought it, but I knew it would wait quietly for me to make up my mind, and then burst into a half-dozen dishes when the time was right.
Last Friday night a part of the Long island Cheese became squash bisque and the first course in our Riesling tasting dinner. A dollop of fresh cheese that I made the night before (the real thing from a cow, not a pumpkin) was the perfect little treat in the middle of the bright orange bowl of smooth squashy goodness. That last sentence will have to serve as your only visual cue. It’s hard to remember to take photos when you’re hosting a dinner party! I used a recipe from Jerry Traunfeld’s The Herbfarm Cookbook, tweaking it to suit me. I also adapted his recipe for Maple-and-Herb-Brined Pork Roast. There were green beans from my garden (frozen, but full of flavor) and the best scalloped potatoes EVER. I used the recipe from Cook’s Illustrated for Scalloped Potatoes, but added more thyme and some fresh creminis and an ounce of dried ‘wild’ mushrooms from Anything But Green Gardens. OMG. I could have eaten those potatoes until I busted. (Long pause here while I collect my wits again.)
Dessert was plain Greek yogurt topped with a spoonful of the ground cherry and vanilla bean compote I put up last summer. A very simple little cup, but so very good. It was perfect with the Washington Hills Late Harvest Riesling. Perfect. My friend Dawn brought some tropical fruit sorbets that she picked up at Costco–which are very good, by the way. So we all got two desserts. Good for us!
Want to see my notes on the Rieslings we tasted? Click here.
So where does the rest of that big beige pumpkin go? I’ll let you know later. I think some of it will get mixed up with a crowd of lively garlic, some very fresh thyme and a couple of leeks. Patience pays off.
Local food sources for this meal not linked above:
butter, cream, and milk from Picket Fence Creamery, Woodward, IA
fresh thyme from Mariposa Farms, Grinnell, IA
Maple syrup from Prairie Mill, 3825 Xavier Avenue, Auburn, IA 51433
organic seeds for Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherry from Seed Savers Exchange, Decorah, IA
many items are available year-round from Iowa Food Co-op