Growing up, I always loved when my mom made squash. Comforting and creamy, it was the perfect addition to any cold weather meal. For some reason though, squash of any variety never makes it's way into my shopping basket. This year, my mom dropped off some acorn squash from my grandpa's farm, along with the regular delivery of potatoes. I opted to cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, score the flesh and doctor it up. I misted it with olive oil (Earth Balance is also a good choice) and then covered it with a mixture of two spoons of sugar and one spoon of five spice. I placed in my roasting dish of choice, with an inch of water at the bottom to prevent burned skin, I roasted it at 400°F until the flesh was tender enough to mash with a fork (about an hour). When it was done, the sugar and five spice had caramelized into a crunchy outer layer, while the squash underneath was soft and tender. I mashed it all together with a fork and enjoyed the spicy, sweet, creamy squash.
As a bonus, I also roasted the seeds of the acorn squash. Home roasted seeds are one of my favorite foods and I wasn't about to let these go to waste. Making them is super easy- simply clean the seeds off, coat them with salt and olive, spread them on a foil-covered baking sheet and cook at 275°F for 15 minutes or until you hear them start popping. Be sure to keep an eye on them though- I burned the heck out my batch! Crunchy, salty, savory, these are a fantastic snack or garnish, but I prefer to eat them off the tray as soon as they are cool enough to touch.