Tag Archives: squash

The Stuffed Squash Project

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Before my roommate took off on a 4-month Southeast Asian adventure, we were in our San Francisco apartment on a typical lazy Sunday. With no particular plans other than avoiding a rainy San Francisco day and the gnawing feeling that we needed to clean, we decided to make the most by being as domestic as we could, and incorporating as much pumpkin into the day as humanly possible. This left us with a clean apartment and a lot of food to write about. It became the day of our second annual Stuffed Squash Project. This is where we decide to get fancy and with no recipe in particular, hollow out a squash of some sort, and stuff it with something delicious. For those of you who watch Portlandia, stuffing anything into a squash is the “put a bird on it” of San Francisco. It’s pretty much a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, but sometimes it can end up flavorless or tiring. I have to say, our first annual attempt ended up this way. We had some mushy quinoa with sparce toppings, and it was a noble, but anticlimactic end result. Most hollowed out squashes are pretty big, so you risk ending up with mostly dry, flavorless grains. This is no good. You need to stay entertained for the full squash. The goal is to have a completely satisfying meal in one edible bowl.

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So instead of going with a recipe, we decided to pick what we liked. We bought some acorn squash, and a handful of other yummy things – a wild rice medley, sautéed mushrooms and onions, kale, pecans, parsley, and feta cheese. This is my favorite combo I’ve had yet. The wild rice holds up well and keeps from getting mushy. Browning the mushrooms beforehand gives them a rich flavor and color. The kale adds a little heft and makes you feel healthy. The crunch of the pecans and plenty of salty feta keeps things interesting the whole way through.

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I recommend combining this with a hefty dark beer, the heat turned up, and an easy desert baking in the oven – we made pumpkin brownies from a Trader Joe’s mix (hey, not everything is a blog post). Happy holidays!

Ivy Street Stuffed Acorn Squash
1 cup of a wild or brown rice medley , cooked (Trader Joe’s has good ones)
1 bunch of shredded lacinato kale
1 package of button mushrooms
1 white onion, chopped
spices: thyme, salt and pepper, and anything else you want to add 1/2 a cup of pecans
container of crumbled feta cheese
1 bunch of fresh parsley or chives

Halve the acorn squash, hollow out, pierce with a fork, and rub with olive oil. Salt on the inside. Heat the oven to about 400 degrees and roast the acorn squash until soft, about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes. While the squash cooks, cook the rice according to package directions. In a pan, add olive oil and butter and brown the mushrooms, a la Julia Child (aka, don’t crowd the mushrooms or they don’t brown!). Transfer to a large bowl. Next, sautee onions in olive oil until soft and browning, about 10 minutes. Add in shredded kale and cook until soft, another 5-7 minutes. Add these to your bowl. Mix in chopped parsley, most of the pecans, most of the feta, and seasonings. Combine thoroughly, and then stuff the acorn squash as full as you can. Bake together for another 15 minutes. Remove and garnish with more pecans and feta.

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First Fall Soup


I decided to make my first soup of the fall season. I was torn about it at first, thinking I should hold onto those ripe heirloom tomatoes, California avocados, and summery salads for as long as I could. But there was no denying a certain crispness to the air, school starting again – even Smitten Kitchen decided it was time to start doing baked pastas. And then I got a sore throat and that sealed the deal – time to make soup.

I really love soup. This is one of my favorites, and it’s super easy to do. It’s from a Bon Appetit issue in January that included recipes for a 3-week health cleanse. I challenged myself to make all of them that month and ended up with a few recipes worth doing even when you’re not being particularly health-ambitious.

The recipe is simple – start by sauteeing onions, garlic and ginger, add lots of spices, and then squash, carrots, and an apple. To make it even simpler, buy pre-chopped butternut squash – yes it’s lazy, but my last attempt at chopping a whole butternut squash caused my entire hand to peel off (apparently some people are allergic to raw butternut squash). Go ahead and use the same excuse if you need to – pre-chopped is so much easier anyway! The recipe is highly flexible, so if you accidentally ate that apple yesterday because you forgot it was for this soup (true story) or accidentally dropped in way more cinnamon than you needed (also true story), the recipe still works out. Just simmer it all for about 25 minutes and finish off in an immersion blender. The spices alone make you feel like you can fend off a fall cold!

OH, and let’s not forget – I also made pumpernickel croutons from our fabulous star chef Chloe Coscarelli. A great great combo, and the croutons work just as well in salad the next day!

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup
From Bon Appetit

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 inch of chopped fresh ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cardamom
a dash of ground cloves
2 peeled, chopped carrots
1 tart apple
4 cups chopped butternut squash
3 cups water (if you’re not on a cleanse, I recommend a combo of vegetable broth & water)

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender (6-8 minutes). Add the ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add carrots, apple, and squash, and liquid. Bring to a boil; cover partially and reduce to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper and cook until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Let cool slightly, and then blend (either with an immersion blender or in a regular blender).

Chloe’s Pumpernickel Croutons
Chop up 6 slices of pumpernickel bread. Toss with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and bake at 325 for about 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container – lasts surprisingly long.