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Home & Family: Squash vs. Gourd

It's decorative gourd season, that time of year when we clutter our counters with inedible (but extremely good looking) produce. But do you know the difference between a squash and a gourd? Have you ever considered where they come from?

Dairy Free, Dinner, Fall, Gluten Free, Side, Veggies, Winter


Do yourself a favor and scour Chinatown for veggies. You'll see things you never knew existed. Like this, Fu Gwa. It's known as Bitter Melon in America and the name is no joke. Be prepared for an intriguing taste at your table. The texture is close to zucchini, but firmer. Chop it up, stir fry it with some shitake mushrooms and put it on the table. It'll be gone in no time.


  • 2 cups Dried Shitake Mushrooms
  • Hot Water
  • 2 pounds Fu Gwa
  • 3 tablespoons Sesame Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Soy Sauce


  1. Soak the mushrooms in hot water for at least 30 minutes, until they're tender enough to cut. Cut them into bite sized pieces.
  2. Cut the Fu Gwa in half and scoop out the seeds, then chop it into rounds or cubes.
  3. Heat the sesame oil in the base of a wok and add the garlic when it's hot. Stir fry until garlic is browned.
  4. Add mushrooms and stir fry for 7-10 minutes.
  5. Add Fu Gwa and Soy Sauce, stir fry for 5-7 minutes, then serve.

Dinner, Fall, Side, Veggies, Winter


The most important ingredient in your risotto (and by far, the most often overlooked) is the stock. Go ahead and bicker over the rice (arborio or carnaroli?), the fat (olive oil or butter?), the acid (lemon juice or wine?), you’re just wasting time. No matter what combination of rice+fat+acid you settle on, if you use boxed vegetable or chicken stock your risotto will grow fat on that antiseptic flavor, the sanitized taste of cartoned stock.



  • 1 small Butternut Squash (about 1 pound)
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 3-4 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Arborio Rice
  • 1 glass White Wine (~3/4 cup)
  • 1 quart Squash Stock 
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Heat your oven to 450 degrees. Using a sharp knife, cut the rind off the squash, leaving bright orange all around. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and then cut the flesh into small cubes (less than a centimeter). Add the squash rind and seeds to a small sauce pan on the side. Cover them with water (or extra veggie stock) and heat it over a low flame.
  2. Thinly slice the yellow onion and sauté with the olive oil in a dutch oven or other heavy bottomed stock pot. Add salt.
  3. When the onion is translucent, add the rice to the dutch oven and sauté just until the rice grains look lightly toasted.
  4. Add the white wine to the dutch oven, deglazing the pan. Stir in the cubed squash and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Begin adding the warm stock one ladle at a time to the dutch oven.  Allow the rice to absorb the liquid slowly, when it looks like the liquid is gone, add another ladle full.
  6. Stir and continue to ladle in stock until all the stock is gone, this should take about 30-35 minutes. Remove the risotto from your stove and serve.