Welcome to Mise en Place, a journey of culinary delight where anything can happen. Based on the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s list of food by month, KRCC takes a look at farmers, chefs, and fodder, all with a Centennial State bent.

Each month, the state’s agriculture department highlights a commodity and provides a recipe using that product. We take it a step further.

[slideshow id=33]

No doubt you’ve seen the recent arrival of winter squash at the grocery, and may have recently had zucchini coming out of your gardening ears. Squash is November’s food selection. This month I visited with Colorado State University-Pueblo history professor Fawn Amber Montoya to get a glimpse into the rich history of the squash, and certified holistic health and garden counselor Michele Mukatis of Cultivate Health came by the KRCC Test Kitchen to cook up a tasty pumpkin coffee cake.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Hear Fawn Amber Montoya describe calabasitas:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The legend of the “Three Sisters” differs from culture to culture, but the ideas are similar. Here’s one example of the legend, from the North Carolina Museum of history: The Legend of the Three Sisters.

See below for the Pumpkin Coffee Cake recipe from Michele Mukatis of Cultivate Health, and for the Department of Agriculture’s recipe for Butternut Squash Soup. As a special bonus, we also have a recipe from Fawn Amber Montoya for calabacitas.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake
Michele Mukatis, Cultivate Health
This streusel-topped treat is full of healthy ingredients such as oats and molasses.
Serves 12

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/3 cup black strap molasses
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 3/4 cups fresh or canned pumpkin purée

Streusel Topping
1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
4 Tbs. butter, melted


To make coffeecake: Preheat oven to 350F. Coat 10-inch square pan with nonstick spray.

Combine flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Beat butter and sugar in separate bowl until fluffy. Mix eggs and pumpkin into butter mixture. Gradually stir flour mixture into pumpkin mixture. Spread in pan.

To make Streusel Topping: Mix all ingredients together until crumbly. Spread on coffee cake. Bake 1 hour, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool at least 10 minutes, then slice into squares, and serve.

Fawn Amber Montoya, CSU-Pueblo history professor

1 clove of garlic- chopped
1 medium white onion 
1/2 lb of hamburger
3 medium sized zucchini or summer squash
1 cob of corn- kernels only
1 medium tomato
Salt and pepper
Cheese (optional)
Sauté onion and garlic. Set aside. Brown hamburger, add zucchini and summer squash cook until tender, add onion, garlic, and corn. Cook for 1-2 minutes, add tomato and cook for an additional 2 minutes. 
Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with favorite cheese and  warm corn or flour tortillas on the side.

Recipe from the Colorado Department of Agriculture

Butternut Squash Soup
Chef Jason K. Morse, C.E.C., Valley Country Club, Aurora, Colo.
ACF Colorado Chefs Association President

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1-1/2 ea. Yellow Onion, diced small
2 Stalks Celery, with leaves, diced small
2 ea. Carrots, diced small
3 ea. Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 ea. Butternut Squash, seeded, roasted, chilled and peeled
48 fl. oz. Chicken Broth
1 tsp. Herbs de Provence
Kosher Salt to taste
Ground Black Pepper to taste
Pumpkin Pie Spice to taste
1-1/2 cups Whipping Cream

Heat large sauté pan, add oil and heat, then add the onions and cook until caramelized. Add the celery, carrot and potato and cook until the celery is translucent. Add herbs and spices, squash and broth, then bring mixture to a boil, turn down and simmer until all vegetables are soft. Using a hand blender puree the mixture until smooth. Finish with the heavy cream and adjust seasonings as needed. Great served with pumpkin spice bread.


3 Responses to Mise en Place: Squash

  1. Wendy says:

    Who has a 10-inch square pan for the coffeecake?? I don’t believe I’ve ever seen such a pan. Eight-inch square, yes. Nine-inch square, yes. Ten-inch, no.

    Does anyone have a better alternative than using one of the smaller, commonly available square pans and putting the excess in a small loaf pan??


  2. […] AdvertisingHenrik Eiriksson on Researching Electromagnetic RadiationAndrea Chalfin, News Dir. on Mise en Place: SquashWendy on Mise en Place: SquashKen Micklich on Citizen Report: ‘Me and Lloyd’Matt Blur on […]


March 23, 2018 | NPR · Opponents of the administration’s ban on transgender troops say they will be back in court early next week seeking a permanent injunction to block implementation of the plan

March 23, 2018 | NPR · Former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski stepped aside amid allegations of corruption and vote-buying. Meanwhile, his successor and ally, pledges to take up “head on” fight against government graft.

March 23, 2018 | NPR · British investigators are reported to be looking at whether personal data was obtained in an unauthorized manner.

Arts & Life

March 23, 2018 | NPR · Wes Anderson returns to stop action animation — a technique that won him an Oscar nomination for Fantastic Mr. Fox— in his latest film, Isle of Dogs.

March 23, 2018 | NPR · One bunny — Marlon Bundo Pence — is the subject of two very different books. A day before the Pence family released their’s, comedian John Oliver released a parody.

March 23, 2018 | FA · Wes Anderson’s new animated feature centers on canines living on a garbage dump off the coast of Japan. David Edelstein says the film will make you laugh — even as you gasp at its visual brilliance.


March 23, 2018 | WXPN-FM · This three piece band has already been crowned by many as the hardest working band in New York.

March 23, 2018 | FA · Growing up in Aledo, Ill., Price longed to live somewhere “more romantic.” When she moved away, her outlook changed: “Now, when I go back, I see the beauty in it.” Originally broadcast Nov. 22, 2017.

Getty Images
March 23, 2018 | NPR · The Internet has a great way of merging pieces of pop culture that may seem disparate — to wit, one Kanye West fan is using scenes from the hit NBC comedy to review the Chicago rapper’s discography.

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac