I love it when our challenge brings us a food that’s new to all of us. It’s happened a few times in the past year, such as rambutan and mangosteen. Cherimoya squash is a little less exotic, and although I’ve heard of it (and have likely eaten it unknowingly) this was my first time preparing it at home. Cherimoya squash is like kohlrabi, beets, and other vegetables that tend to be cooked but are equally wonderful in their raw state. Thinly sliced, they’ll add a crispness to any salad. But figuring that my kids would probably prefer it cooked, I gave the squash a toss in the sautee pan, which led to all kinds of unhappiness. But we’ll get this vegetable again – it’s a winner, at least for me.
ME: Ok, guys. We’re going to eat something called —
LAUREN: That’s a no-no.
ME: — cherimoya squash. Can you sit on your stool, please? I don’t want you falling off the table. You’re going to fall down.
ME: Look at what it looks like. What kind of fruit or vegetable does it look like?
LAUREN: A splash of no-no.
ME: I think it looks like a green apple.
ME: Who’s going to smell it first?
SAM: Me, me, me.
LAUREN: Me, me, me.
ME: No, Sam wanted to smell it first.
SAM: It smells like a cucumber.
ME: Yes it does. That is true. It smells just like a cucumber. What do you think Lauren?
SAM: Is it salad?
LAUREN: I think it smells like cucumber and lettuce.
ME: It smells a bit like lettuce, too. So I had to look online for instructions on how to cook it because I’ve actually never had this squash before; people online said that you’ve got to chop it into pieces and then you sauté it. So that’s what I did.
LAUREN: Could I have a bite of it?
ME: It’s not too hot. So why don’t you guys each take a piece.
EMMA: Oh, hot.
ME: You guys can each pick your own piece. Lauren’s going to pick first.
SAM: What is this piece?
ME: That piece is raw. I didn’t cook that one.
SAM: Will you cook this one?
ME: Well, I’m not going to cook it yet because I cooked all of these other pieces.
LAUREN: This is good.
ME: Yeah. So what does it taste like?
EMMA: It is cu-numbers?
SAM: Can you cut the brown stuff off?
ME: I know you don’t like the brown stuff, but that’s the best part really, those are the crispy bits from the pan. (For the record, Sam doesn’t like anything to be cooked until golden brown)
LAUREN: Yeah it is. It’s the best part.
SAM: The burned is the best?
ME: You’ll understand that one day Mister… the crispy pieces are the best. Here’s one that has no brown spots. And the correct term is caramelized.
EMMA: I want some [yelling].
SAM: I found this… [points to caramelized piece]
LAUREN: What’s caramelized, mom?
SAM: …in here… [starting to stress]
ME: Caramelized means that the sugars inside of the vegetable — there are sugars inside that make it a little bit sweet and starchy — those get brown when you put them on the hot pan. That’s called caramelizing. They turn to caramel.
ME: Like the candy that you eat.
ME: It’s good, right? What do you think, Sam?
SAM: Oops – brown spot.
ME: What does it taste like? This piece has no brown on it. There, I took it off.
SAM: You took it off for me.
ME: I know. I ate it off.
EMMA: Brown spot on mine.
ME: Oh, no you like — don’t start saying that just because Sam is saying that.
EMMA: It has a brown spot [whining].
LAUREN: Emma, it doesn’t taste different!
EMMA: [crying because of brown spot]
LAUREN: I don’t taste it.
ME: There, I got it off.
EMMA: Thank you.
ME: You’re welcome.
SAM: She licked it off.
ME: I bit off the little brown piece. All right, should we get this again?
ME: Three thumbs up? Awesome. Let’s do it.
EMMA: Three thumbs up, down.
ME: No, Emma did a thumbs up. She liked it. Yeah, she gave me a big thumbs up, right?
SAM: I’m like this.
ME: A sideways? Really?
LAUREN: A sideways.
ME: Feet off the table, please. That was fun guys. I liked that.