There are plenty of vegetable that I love to eat plain. How plain? Blanched, steamed, baked, cooked in microwave without any seasoning. I feel thankful that my tastebuds have not been too spoiled by years of sugar and salt. Being able to discern and appreciate the natural taste of vegetable have given me so much joy in eating.
With the onset of spring, it is time to say farewell to winter squash. Kabocha squash is one of my absolute favourites and I usually have a containers of them all chopped up in the fridge. After a long day of work and training, my typical winter dinner includes a big bowl of microwave steamed squash chunks. It never occurred to me to use these orange beauties in a dessert application until I bought Angela Cheng’s Shanghainese Homestyle Cooking. In the book, there is an attractive photo that accompanies the recipe for Kabocha Squash With Lily Bulb. Like many Chinese dessert, the preparation is simple to bring out the natural taste of the handful of ingredients.
This dessert is made with only three ingredients: kabocha squash, petals of lily bulb, and rock sugar. The squash is first steamed in syrup made with rock sugar and water. When it softens to desired doneness, you blanche the lily bulb petals and then quickly cook them in the same syrup before tossing gently with the squash. The slight crunch of the lily bulb contrasts nicely with the tender squash. The petals make me thing of spring and lightens up the dish. This is a wonderful dessert to serve at this time of year when we transition from winter to spring.
Speaking of transition, my racing season for inline speed skating has finally begun in earnest. The steady rhythm of winter training at the gym everyday now gives way to training sessions on trail, road, and track. I also have many travel plans coming up including Austin, Denmark, Chicago, Montreal, Minnesota, New York City, and possibly Atlanta before the weather gets cold again. These are all wonderful destinations for extraordinary dining yet I will not likely take advantage of them. Traveling for races means sensible eating that supplies me with plenty of energy to race at my best. Rest and sleep also play a more important role. After a long training session, I can hardly keep my eyes open at night. As much as I enjoy posting everyday to Dessert By Candy, I’ll likely scale back to two or three posts per week during summer. It has been a lot of fun keeping a daily record of things I cook and bake but the time demand does not seem feasible in the summer. I hope to continue to share with you all the goodies coming out of my kitchen. With any luck, perhaps a few ecstatic reports of race results too!