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An Ode to Fall & Squash

November 20, 2010

Okay so I have a confession:

Fall is the best time of the year. Not only are the warm hued colors splashed across the foliage but they also make their way to our plates. One of these ways is in the form of a personal favorite vegetable. I have to say that I ❤ squash. There are just so many options! Butternut squash has a very special place in my heart, but in close second comes Acorn squash. Here’s some of the reasoning: Butternut squash is a vegetable I’ve come to love over the past few years while cooking for myself. It’s a beautiful orange color that just warms your spirit and oh yes it is so sweet, delicious, and versatile. Seriously I could go on for days writing love songs and painting praise to the strangely phallic squash. However this day I want to explain why I love acorn squash.

Acorn squash is something that reminds me of my childhood. My dad’s father, whom all the grandchildren affectionately referred to as Papa taught me so much when I was little that it still keeps resurfacing to this day: little tidbits like how to pick the perfect apple, to the greater topics of savoring every moment of life. In the kitchen as a kid I was always fascinated watching the artist at work. If I had to classify his technique, I would say he was into a refined minimalism. Let the freshest ingredients tantalize the taste buds. An interesting rule of his was no salt or pepper at the dinner table, for he had seasoned everything accordingly for maximum enjoyment. He was a serious foodie. He played for keeps.

As a kid my tastes were constantly broadened. I was the goose among the ducks when my friends would play a round of “what did you have for dinner last night.”

“I had meat loaf and potatoes.”

“My mom made chicken with peas and carrots.”

“My papa served us braised pork chops with apples and brown sugar roasted acorn squash.”

What the what!? I know right. I was a freak with an affinity for acorn squash and other exotic fare such as the glorious Brussels sprouts. Well at least it’s cool now, right? <(-_-)>

Anyway, the answer to why I love acorn squash is because it reminds that my journey down the culinary path of nom started with my grandfather. His passion, his excitement, and his love of natural ingredients.

Here is a recipe that I recently made because I had some acorn squash on the counter begging me to eat them with their wicked siren call. Out of laziness and hunger I was very resourceful with ingredients I had lying around. The results were amazing and I may have eaten ½ of these over the course of the day. Bonne Noms! <(^_^)>

Thoughts:

-Next time I would make a larger batch, these didn’t last long and I’m sure they would have been delicious the next day as well.

-Shiitake mushrooms would add a wonderful earthier element to this dish. If using chop finely so it isn’t tough.

-Nothing compares to the taste of fresh nutmeg, I am a recent convert and now go around trying to save others culinary souls. Yes it is that good.

-I’m pro savory cinnamon dishes. Join me in the battle vs. cinnamon sweet treats.

-If you want a meatastic version, use sage sausage in place of my soysage.

-If you love cheese, add a quarter cup of grated cheese into the mixture in addition to sprinkling it on top.

Acorn Squash

Om Nom Nom

Acorn Squash

Erik’s Mushroom Walnut Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • 3 Acorn Squash, halved and seeded
  • Olive Oil
  • 10 White Button Mushrooms (or Baby Bella)
  • ½ of a Gimme Lean Soysage
  • ¼ c of chopped Walnuts
  • ¼ tsp Ground Nutmeg (or fresh ground)
  • ¼ Chopped Sweet Onion
  • 1 Egg
  • 3-4 Tablespoons of Plain Breadcrumbs
  • Sprinkle of Cinnamon (Fine! 1/8 tsp if you really need a measurement)
  • ¼ tsp Ground Ginger
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • Parmesan or other hard cheese

Preheat Oven to 400.

Halve the Acorn Squash and seed them as well. Brush generously with olive oil and season with a little bit of salt. Bake for 25 minutes until slightly tender (flesh will be pierced with a fork/knife fairly easily).

While baking prepare the filling. Put half of the Gimme Lean Soysage in a bowl and mix in the egg to make it moist and sticky. Clean and chop up the mushrooms in small pieces, also chop up the walnuts and add with chopped onions to the soysage mixture. Add the nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, salt and pepper. Mix well and divide among the squash.

Reduce temperature to 375.

Bake for another 20-25 minutes or until the squash is very tender and the soysage mixture is browned. Sprinkle with cheese during last 5 minutes to get nice and melty. Let sit a few minutes before enjoying.

~Erik <(^_^)>

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One comment

  1. Ahh, glorious Brussels sprouts.



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