Thursday, December 1, 2011

Chayote Squash

I consider myself relatively knowledgeable in the areas of garden produce.  Of course this is relatively new knowledge, say the past ten years or so, because growing up we didn't have much exposure to fruits and vegetables.  I remember one of the first times I made a meal for Honey, who then asked me where the side dish or salad was. You mean you put more than one thing on your plate for dinner? Nonsense! But apparently that's the way most people work.  Now when I make a meal it tends to be balanced and I try to make it beautiful, like last night's dinner of crockpot chicken mole.

Nevertheless, there are times when I hear about a fruit or vegetable that is completely new to me.  Maybe it's something I've seen before and never paid attention because I've never thought about cooking it.  Whatever the reason for my ignorance, I'm always looking to try something new, so if I find a new fruit or vegetable, we're making least once.

Last week for Thanksgiving, we had blue hubbard squash for the first time -- I grew one in our garden (it wasn't a very good year for winter squash at our place this year) and we ate it as a gratin for our Thanksgiving meal.  Yum -- sweet, perfect compliment to potatoes in the gratin.  This week, Safeway was offering chayote 2/$1.  It sounded like a good price, so of course I had to figure out what this thing was.

I bought three of the best-looking chayote (although that's not saying much, since this Safeway doesn't always have the best produce), did a bit of searching, and finally decided to use two of them to make this recipe.  It called for the chayote to be a bit crunchier, perhaps like a salsa of sorts, to be eaten with tortillas.  I decided to make mine a bit more like a curry, adding coconut milk and letting it cook off so that the chayote was a bit softer (with just a bit of crunch)

Wikipedia says that some people think the chayote tastes like a cross between a potato and cucumber.  Honey thought it was akin to water chestnut or bamboo shoots.  I had no idea what to think.  It has a very mild flavor, so it seemed to adopt the ginger, garlic, and coconut milk and make a nice curry accompaniment to the chicken mole.
So if you get a chance, try it -- it's always fun to expand horizons. And if you come up with an amazing recipe for this veggie, please do share.  We can all learn from one another, right?

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