Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard

Most don't think of cooking squash in the spring time. But these were my last two squash. They had kept for 6-7 months with no signs of rot. One was a Black Futsu and the other a Waltham Butternut. The butternut was tiny. Only about 6" high. I wanted something special for the last of the squash. I had seen a squash lasagna recipe before and wanted to try it.


But there was a problem. I had trouble finding the mascarpone cheese. Mascarpone is just a farmer cheese. The whole world makes it in slightly different ways - queso fresco, fromage blanc, paneer. I'm sure the list goes on. They differ in texture based on the amount of milk fat that is in them and based on how they are drained. But they are basically the same thing. Milk that has been soured, often with lemon juice, and heated to make a curd. Then allowed to have the whey drain off. They are fresh cheeses that are pretty easy to make. I'd made paneer in the past. So I figured I'd make the marscapone. I got some light cream and went to it.

Draining the mascarpone

The cheese takes about 24 hours to drain in the fridge. So my project was put on hold for the day.

The next problem was the whole wheat lasagna noodles. I couldn't find any. So I brought out the pasta maker and made some. This took up so much time that I didn't have time to finish the lasagna.

The next day I finally got to cooking up the squash.

When they were done I assembled everything. Cooked the noodles and put it together. Lasagna takes so long to make. I breathed a huge sigh of relief that it was finally in the oven.

Then had the piles of dishes to wash. This project took so long to make.

But was it worth it? Nope. Not really. I found the result a bit bland. I probably would have been happier with black bean and squash tacos. I think the recipe would have been better if it has more sage and inside not just outside. It reminded me a bit of a riff on squash ravioli with sage brown butter. Now that is a yummy dish. But you will never learn what you like without trying things out. And don't get me wrong. It wasn't a bad dish, but not spectacular enough for all the work.

This is part of Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard. Join Robin to find out what others are cooking up from their garden produce.


  1. It's so true. Sometimes the extra effort is worth it to make a new recipe, sometimes not. I've got one butternut left and I need to use it while it's still good.

  2. I once read an article about two food critics discussing Italian food and how much they loved the simple dishes like lasagne. The Italian partner of one of them sat there listening to this and when she heard 'simple', she stood up and left exclaiming "simple, yeah so simple my mother got up at 5am to prepare this for you". I love lasagne - but it aint quick is it?

  3. The never ending dish to make! I had to laugh when I saw your pile of dishes. That's what our kitchen looks like when "The Italian" cooks!

    Sometimes new recipes are a hit and sometimes they aren't. It's always fun to try though.

  4. Darn. It's like watching a good movie with a bad ending. Maybe you can tweak the recipe into something wonderful. But at least you gave it a shot and now you know.

  5. Good for you for trying! It looks great!

  6. You are such a glutton for punishment ;-) I find the older I get, the easier I cook. Five ingredients and two hours is about my limit anymore, LOL!

  7. It looks yummy though! I hate when I spend that much time of something and it isn't worth it. Keep playing with it and you'll get it where you like it. YOu did remind me that I still have a small Waltham butternut that needs to be eaten. It will probably just be mashed with butter though.

  8. I used to do what you did, not anymore. I'm with granny, the older I get, the simpler I cook.

  9. Too bad your efforts did not pay off more. I'm with you on the squash ravioli and sage butter. I often make a riff on that with plain pasta.

    I'm curious about the squash. What did you think of the Black Futsu? I loved it, but it is always risky here with my shorter growing season.

    1. I like it. It is a tasty squash. It has a more grainy texture than a butternut. Which is sometimes good and sometimes bad depending on the dish. But I didn't get a good harvest and last year wasn't a particularly cool year. So this year I'm trying a different squash - Tetsukabuta. It is a strange hybrid between a C. maxima and a C. moschata. It requires a C. moschata for pollination. Since I grow butternuts too I'm covered.

  10. Those were excellent keeping squash for you and the recipe "sounded" like it would be delicious and certainly freshly made. Sorry it was not quite up to your expectations though. I have had that experience often where it all looked like it would be great but then the actual dish was less than exciting.

  11. Guess that's how we find out about a recipe, try it. Glad it was not a total loss. I do find making lasagne a time consuming dish to make.

  12. That sure looks like a lot of work! I'm very impressed you made the cheese AND noodles from scratch! Wish it turned out better.. that's always disappointing.

  13. That reminds me of when Denise and I cook together. I'm sorry it wasn't great. More butter would probably have helped ; )