Every week, your challenge is to create an eye-opening dish within our capricious themes and parameters. Blog your submission on Open Salon by Monday 10 a.m. EST -- with photos and your story behind the dish -- and we'll republish the winners on Salon on Tuesday. (It takes only 30 seconds to start a blog.) Please note that by participating, you're giving Salon permission to re-post your entry if it's chosen as a winner, and acknowledging that all words and images in your post are your own, unless explicitly stated. And yes, mashed potato sculpture counts as a dish. Emphatically.
This week, we asked for your best pumpkin and squash dishes.
THIS WEEK'S WINNER:
Curry chicken pumpkin pot pie by Grace Hwang Lynch: Fall is the busiest season for many of us, and like many busy moms, Grace finds herself shuffling to and fro and ordering takeout in between. But, creatively inspired by her two favorite new restaurants -- one Burmese, the other British -- she's come up with this hybrid of the two cuisines in, as she says, "a slightly ambitious, yet realistic, weeknight family dinner. It may be more Rachael Ray than Julia Child, but hey -- at least it's not Ronald McDonald!"
THIS WEEK'S CATEGORY WINNERS:
In the Simple and Classic category:
Pumpkin curry soup by Lisa Barlow: The soup itself is a classic treatment -- roast pumpkin or butternut squash until tender, purée with sautéed aromatics and hot broth, and voilà. Delicious. But it's the introductory story that's really amazing: "Who is the idiot that would put a REAL PUMPKIN on their kid’s head for a Halloween costume?"
In the Unexpected Dessert category:
Pumpkin meringue tarts with fall fruit by Nikki Stern: The meringue is one of the most underheralded desserts known to humanity, as anyone who's ever had a great Pavlova will tell you. Nikki is doing her part to rectify the situation this week with a version that folds in puréed pumpkin for extra flavor and chew, and serving it with stewed fall fruits.
In the Bread and Butter category:
Chedder pecan scones with butternut squash butter by Bellwether Vance: I mean, aren't you itching to taste these just based on the name alone?
In the Feed Me Now category:
Pumpkin gnocchi with maple-sausage gravy by Felicia Lee: Who is going to make a bowl of this immediately? Please raise your hands, and we will be friends. Also, the Halloween-themed story involves running off a bunch of kids with firecrackers, which is always worth hearing about.
PLUS, ALSO, TOO: THE EXCELLENT HONORABLE MENTIONS:
The adventures of Squash and Pumpkin by Susan Loper: OK, so this has hardly anything to do with the kitchen, but Squash and Pumpkin sure do have some adorable adventures. "Squash and Pumpkin do some light cleaning," is sheer genius. This absolutely made our week.
Stuffed kabocha squash with quinoa and chickpeas by Cathy Elton: Quinoa and squash get a bad rap for being too healthy, but as, respectively, one of the only grains with complete proteins and one of the perfect flavors of autumn, it's time to rewrite the script. Here, Cathy matches quinoa's nutty flavor with the rich, sweet, buttery flesh of kabocha squash for a healthful and delicious meal. It might not make you forget about hamburgers, but it will remind you of what season we're in.
Pumpkin flan by Linda Shiue: Smooth, silky, earthy and topped with crisp pumpkin seeds, this flan is a tribute to Mexico's festive Day of the Dead celebration.
The minimalist's take on squash soup and salad by Lucy Mercer: Channeling everyone's friend Mark Bittman, Lucy offers some super-simple, super-clean ways of turning butternut squash into soup and salad. Of course, if the minimalist thing is not your style, here, too, are her pumpkin custards with pillowy meringue.
Pasta with chicken and pumpkin cream sauce by Fusun Atalay: But, an ambassador of the squash world, Fusun is not content only with this dish. Click through, too, for her pumpkin pound cake, or here for her butternut squash muffins.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
AND NOW FOR THIS WEEK'S CHALLENGE:
Thanksgiving is, of course, one of our most-loved holidays, but it inevitably includes one of our least-loved experiences: getting stuck in planes, trains and automobiles (and airports and bus terminals and all the rest of them) while trying to get home to our families. And what's more dejecting than staring at stale muffins at the airport gate with only little bags of peanuts to look forward to on the long plane ride home?
So this week, let's all help each other out and share our favorite snacks or meals to make and bring while we travel. Of course, it'll have to pass through airport security, so no thermoses of your most comforting chicken noodle soup. But cold fried chicken? Why yes, we'd fly with you any time!
Be sure to tag your posts: SKC travel snacks (Please note that by participating, you're giving Salon permission to re-post your entry if it's chosen as a winner, and acknowledging that all words and images in your post are your own, unless explicitly stated. Adaptations of existing recipes are fine, but please let us know where the original comes from. And if you'd like to participate but not have your post considered for republication on Salon, please note it in the post itself. Thanks!)
Scoring and winning
Scores will be very scientific, given for appealing photos, interesting stories behind your submissions, creativity and execution.