Sunday, June 25, 2006

Winter Squash for a Summer Day

I was excited to try this new recipe, Butternut Squash and Noodles with coconut, lime, and cilantro sauce, cause it seemed very thai, and I love all of those thai flavors. Plus, I hardly ever cook with winter squash, and winter squash reminds me of, well, winter. And how nice and cold winter is! Oh, to wrap myself in a scarf and get cozy...

Let's talk about my peeler first. It's quite good. I don't know what the brand of it is cause I think my parents picked it up at a fair or something (in fact, all my peelers come from them=strange), but if you see anything like it, you need to get it cause it really makes peeling quite dreamy. Just zen out and peel. How nice.

I used a grapefruit spoon for getting the seeds and other gook out.

Then I chopped it. Since we needed 4 1/2 cups, I only ended up using about 1 1/2 of the squash. The other half of the squash is in my fridge, and I'm probably going to end up giving it away or throwing it out. You'll find out why.

Ok, here's where I go slightly off topic. If you want to skip something slightly unpleasant, feel free to do so, and skip everything in between the asterisks. That will bring you right back to the cooking...

*****
After I finished chopping, I noticed a tingling sensation in the fingertips of my left hand. Then my fingers, and the palm of my hand, became numb. The skin on the fingers and palm was taut. Then the skin started to break and harden. I had very little feeling in my hand.

I started to panic, wondering how far this allergic reaction was going to go. I used to carry an epipen but I don't anymore, and I was wondering if this was gonna be serious or no big deal, and I tried to calm down. What was bugging me was that AA wasn't taking it seriously, blaming all kinds of other things (airconditioning, drain opener) other than what I knew to be the case. (Take a look at the first two pictures -- each part of that hand that is touching the squash was affected).

So I walked to the store to get the cilantro (I was out), but I also just needed some air. When I came back, AA had come to the conclusion that yes, that was what happened, and he was a lot more concerned. And he kept stopping me to look more closely at it. But now it looked like it was starting to heal. So an hour or so later, it looked like this (we had trouble photographing it, so not sure how clear it is):

and when the skin peeled off, it looked fine underneath, like nothing had happened. Aaron cleaned up the butternut squash, and my board and knife. Took a break and did other stuff. So with about two hours passing since chopping the butternut squash, I felt more relaxed, and I continued on with the cooking.

*****

ream ream! Any of you have the electric kind? I like how this one stores the juice in a container below. I also have one of the retro plastic kinds, but this works a little better (though it's not as pretty). You can see the chopped jalapeno in the foreground, the chopped garlic in the background, and some unrelated dishes from sandwiches we ate in the interim two hours.

I used 1 tbsp vogue vege base added to 1 cup water for the broth, and I used maesri brand for the thai curry paste. Chopped the cilantro with my wimpy knife, and I was ready to cook.

cooked in 2tbs olive oil first (cause 1 seemed like too little), then with broth, jalapeno, and garlic. look how deceptively innocent and orange it looks.

cooking up with coconut milk, lime juice, curry paste, and a celtic sea salt, it's kinda soupy so far, but I'm not worried yet.

Cooked the noodles (i mixed kamut udon and soba together) in boiling salt water

and added them to the dish with the chopped cilantro

mix it up! gotta love my new(ish) spaghetti tongs!

It was yummy, but the comments on the recipe were right. It needed more spice and more salt. So more were added: double the jalapeno, triple the curry paste, added black pepper, cayenne, thai chili powder. Then more lime juice, some lemon (ran out of lime), and some extra thai spices: lemongrass, galangal, and holy basil. That, my friends, did the trick. Hooray!

*And my fingers and hand are all better.*

18 Comments:

At June 25, 2006 9:03 PM, Anonymous Vegan Knitting said...

Hang on - why on earth would you eat it after you had an allergic reaction to it?!?!?!

Is it just raw things rather than cooked?

I just posted about a peanut reaction with another curry last night. I wouldn't even use the same plate or fork.

 
At June 25, 2006 10:25 PM, Blogger michelleknits said...

It must have been the raw squash or squash skin against my hands. Cause I didn't have any reaction to eating it (and I eat it at restaurants a lot, that's why I didn't know I had a problem with it). Now I can't remember when the last time I cut a butternut squash was before this...but I know if I ever buy it again, I either won't be the one preparing it, I'll wear gloves, or I'll get the already peeled and cut kind.

Sorry to hear about your allergy. That sounds more serious than what happened to me.

 
At June 25, 2006 11:05 PM, Blogger vania said...

Yeah, food allergies are scary things. Too bad J's reaction to cilantro is merely a hate-on otherwise i would feel for him whenever i use it. I could bathe myself in it! So, we'll see how this one works for us...

 
At June 26, 2006 9:10 AM, Blogger michelleknits said...

Hmmm, the way the cilantro works in this recipe, I bet you could chop some, add some to your personal bowl, and then save the rest for later servings. It's not really cooked in this dish, just tossed before serving. Or perhaps you want to push through J's "hate-on" (love that expression!) to the other side? I'm in love with cilantro, but not in large doses (I once had to work with a whole lot of it at the coop) so cilantro-baths are out for me. But still, I hope J "sees the light" soon!

I've got the kabosh on onions, mustard, and other vinegary things to contend with around here...

 
At June 26, 2006 11:20 AM, Blogger Carla said...

mmm, I'm getting hungry just looking it. Sorry to hear about the allergic reaction!

 
At June 26, 2006 4:53 PM, Blogger mishka said...

Yeah, I'm surprised at how you're all "meh, maybe an allergic reaction - I'll continue cooking in a little bit" as your fingers are falling off. Okay, overdramatic there but I'd be tossing that offender into the garbage! I'm glad it actually worked out, which may prove how dramatic I really am that I would've missed a great meal. Thanks for all your tweaking updates - I'll be sure to spice it up real good.

I love your pasta tongs. They look much more useful than those spikey pasta scoopers.

 
At July 17, 2006 10:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't tried the recipe, but I have the same reaction on my hands when I peel any kind of squash. No problems eating it, just preparing it. I've just learned to deal with it or make my husband do the cooking. I've never had any allergies so I'm wondering if it doesn't have more to do with something on the peel and sensitive skin?

 
At March 20, 2007 2:16 PM, Blogger ABrice said...

My wife and I have both had this reaction to cutting raw butternut squash. We assumed it was some chemical in the raw squash, rather than an allergy. Do some people _not_ get it? Maybe it depends on the squash. I intent to use gloves in future.

 
At September 16, 2007 9:22 PM, Blogger Lauren said...

same thing just happened to me, had a reaction to peeling butternut squash. i googled and found this page...

it's just on the skin on my left hand where i was holding the squash while peeling with the other hand. and it's happened before, if i recall. (i dont peel raw squash too often, i usually cook it halved.)

anyway, the phone rang and i had put down the squash mid-peel, some parts having had only the first layer of thick skin removed; there was still some stripey green "rind" showing.

when i returned, there were beads of clear liquid oozing from the partly peeled skin, almost sap like. I'm betting it's what's causing the reactions people have experienced. It almost feels like a slightly caustic substance. Definitely wearing gloves or using a towel next time round!

Anyone know a good food scientist?

 
At October 06, 2007 7:50 PM, Blogger sylvia said...

Thank god for this blog! My husband just had the same reaction cutting squash so I did a google search and found this page. Now we can relax... thank you!

 
At November 21, 2007 7:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ditto the above comment...how weird! gotta love the internet...happy thanksgiving!

 
At November 22, 2007 12:24 AM, Anonymous Marti said...

ha ha. this is hysterical. my girlfriend and I just googled "squash skin hand" and found this little site, that seems to be so popular with the odd hand reaction. we were particular fond of the ooze coming out of the squash going ooo and awww - even taking pictures - but that seems to have triggered it. vaseline/lotion seems to be helping and now she is getting out of doing the dishes. Happy Thanksgiving!

 
At January 24, 2008 8:58 PM, Blogger Jurae said...

Looks like a great recipe - I love butternut squash, so I can't wait to try it! I just peeled my 2nd butternut squash tonight. The first time I did it, I didn't have a reaction. This time, however, I'm experiencing the same peeling/tingling reaction as everyone else. It's quite odd....
It appears to be an episode of Butternut Squash Dermatitis. Here's a research paper about it that I found using Google: Potter, T. S., & Hashimoto, K. (1994). Butternut squash (cucurbita moschata) dermatitis. Contact Dermatitis, 30(2), 123.

 
At October 08, 2008 7:18 PM, Anonymous Noa Connolly said...

I just had the same reaction - apparently it is the sap that the squah oozes that then dries on the hand -

I have been using vaseline too but read on the internet that the best thing to do is to keep washing your hand -

I found when washing my hand that I can actually peel off the sap -

Even though it looks like it's your skin peeling, it isn't - it's just the sap :)

 
At November 27, 2008 6:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just had the same reaction trying to peel butternut squash. My squash was really hard to peel so I gave up and baked it with the skin on. Then when I washed my hand it felt like I couldn't get them clean. I started to freak out when my left hand got scaly and looked puffy and yellow.
This is the first time I have had this happen and I have made it twice in the last 2 weeks, but always cut it in half and baked it in the oven. I thought maybe something was wrong with the squash since it was extra hard and slightly brown inside, but now I think it might be a chemical reaction. I am glad I found your site, I can relax while I wait for it go away...and wash it some more!

 
At February 20, 2009 11:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband had the same problem. We usually cut it in half and bake it...no real contact with the squash....Left Hand became tight and fingers peeling. He used a nail brush to scub and scrub with Dawn (merely washing your hands won't remove this scary sap) He finally got it all cleaned and applied BENADRYL gel. The puffiness has subsided and I'm finishing the squash..but he will definitely wear gloves next time.

 
At June 13, 2009 6:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have the same skin reaction to any raw squash, including zucchini. However, I can eat both raw and cooked squashes without incident.

 
At December 06, 2009 8:19 PM, Anonymous Carrie said...

It could be just part of the squash you are allergic to. I have a friend who is allergic to the fuzzy skin of kiwis but can eat the insides just fine.

 

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