I’ll admit that I’m not above buying something because of the way it looks. I’m all about practicality, but if that great rain jacket looks like it’s leftover from the Cross Colours era (but without the social and political context), I ain’t gonna buy it. With food this is especially true. We eat with our eyes, the saying goes. As a public health dietitian I know my eyes are a little different than the average person so I find things like this irresistible:

Cuban squash. Apparently it is the most commonly eaten vegetable in Cuba! It’s a pumpkin/squash hybrid and is also called crapaudback. This is at the local grocery store in my East Hollywood neighborhood. We are surrounded by (and part of) Armenia, Russian, Thai, Korean and Salvodorean neighborhoods and the grocery stores reflect this. Here is my housemate laughing at what 16 pounds of pumpkin/squash/crapaudback feels like:

Upon cutting it open we found that the skin is not as tough as it looks and is closer to a butternut squash than pumpkin. It also has more ‘meat’ than pumpkin.

Despite cooking often, I’m not the most creative in the kitchen. My preference is to make simple, healthy meals taste good. My first thought with squash is always: roast it. Cut it up, leave on the skin, coat with olive oil, salt and pepper and cook until slightly brown. Delicious. This is what we did first and you can see how quickly it went:

Next we got a little creative and pulled out one of those books you see on people’s kitchen shelves that have recipes. We grabbed my friend Isa’s newest cookbook Vegan Brunch. We used the Pumpin Bran Muffins recipe as a guideline (though I hear some people follow recipes exactly) but by the time we sorted what we had on hand it ended up very different.

Crapaudback Interpretive Bread

2 cups pureed raw crapaudback
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup oats
2 T liquid sweetener
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup almond pieces

1. Mix dry ingredients in a big bowl
2. Mix wet ingredients in a small bowl
3. Add wet to dry and don’t over mix!
4. Bake for 20-25 min at 400 degrees.

Because we had eight freakin pounds of this stuff we steamed some for dinner. This is another favorite meal of mine, beans and rice. Here we have brown rice, dried black beans with haas avocado, cherry tomatoes and steamed crapaudback. The majority of the meal is from our buying co-op or the Hollywood farmers market.

Boom. One vegetable, three meals. And this is only half of it! As I type this I’ve the rest roasting in the oven (the creative folks aren’t around this morning so I’m resorting to my stand-by methods). I’d also like to try this oatcake recipe because I’m a sucker for anything pancake-like.

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