Monday, October 26, 2009

Moroccan Stuffed Acorn Squash

I had two acorn squash that I had to use up soon since I accidentally tore the stem off while harvesting - Oops! Oh well, my loss is my gain as I found some great recipes for this particular squash, and not your run of the mill "drizzle it in honey" recipes. In fact, I found two really interesting ones and couldn't decide, so I made them both!

The recipe base came from Just like Eliza, I had to make a few changes. The original recipe came from the October 2009 edition Martha Stewart Living magazine if you are interested.

The following is my version of this recipe...

  • One medium acorn squash, cut in half and seeded
  • 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 scallion, separate the green and white parts and chop
  • 1 slice sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup chicken bouillon
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cups of veggie burger mix
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1/8 cup raisins, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped ripe sweet pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped apple
  • 2 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoons cilantro, minced


Cut acorn squash lengthwise and remove the seeds. Bake at 350F face down in an oiled baking dish for 30 minutes.

While squash is baking, saute in a medium frying pan white scallion, onion, and garlic in 1 TBS olive oil. Add chicken bouillon and sprinkle in cinnamon and nutmeg. Once the bouillon and seasoning are thoroughly mixed in, add water, veggie burger mix and barley. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the barley is cooked. Add more water during the cooking if necessary to keep it moist.

Near the end of the cooking process, add the raisins, pepper and apple.

Turn the heat up a little, add 1TBS olive oil and allow the mix to dry out so that it holds a form. Add the pine nuts and cilantro and mound into squash halves. Bake for 15 - 30 minutes until squash is soft.

The following are pictures of the squash before and after cooking.

The dark is the Moroccan (the light is the other recipe I tried: Corn Chowder Acorn Squash). This was definitely a great recipe, and, it was even better as leftovers!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Corn Chowder Acorn Squash

I had two acorn squash that I had to use up soon since I accidentally tore the stem off while harvesting - Oops! Oh well, my loss is my gain as I found some great recipes for this particular squash, and not your run of the mill "drizzle it in honey" recipes. In fact, I found two really interesting ones and couldn't decide, so I made them both!

The base recipe came from fredlet.
  • 1 acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1 egg
  • 1 can sweet corn, drained
  • 1/3 cup grated Italian cheese (I used Romano and Asiago)
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 sweet pepper, ripe (orange or red are great) chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1. Turn on your oven to 350F
2. Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon
3. Cook acorn squash cut side down in an oiled baking pan for 30 minutes.
5. Put the corn, shallots, garlic and sweet pepper in a frying pan (I used cast iron) over medium heat. You want to roast these ingredients. A little charring is ideal, just don't burn them.

Mix egg, half & half, cheese in a saucepan. Warm over low heat to melt the cheese.

Add the roasted mix and continue heating until the chowder thickens. Stuff the squash halves with as much of the chowder as they will hold.
Bake at 325F for 40-45 minutes.

The following are pictures of the squash before and after cooking.

The light one is the corn chowder squash (the dark is the other recipe I tried: Moroccan Stuffed Acorn Squash). This was definitely a great recipe. My son ate a half of one clean and I froze the other for a quick dinner later.

TIP: Cutting Winter Squash

For cutting this rock hard squash in half, make a shallow slit in it where you intend to cut it in half, pop it in the microwave for 2 minutes, get a chef's knife firmly into the squash and pound it onto the counter.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Leek and Potato Soup

I have been trying to grow leeks for three years now since I love them but they get a little expensive in the stores. Well, this year I finally have some!

Not the huge ones you see in the store, but they will work just fine for my leek and potato soup. I evolved this recipe from the one in Renny Darling's Vegetarian Fast and Fancy (one of my favorite cookbooks.

  • 4 small leeks
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 4 medium potatoes (I recommend one of the golds)
  • 6 cups broth (vegetable or chicken)
  • 4 TBS chopped chives
  • Olive oil
  • White pepper
  • sea salt

Slice the leeks and chop the onions. Saute in a little olive oil.

I use chicken bouillon for the broth and like to add it with the oil as the oil helps break it down faster.

Once everything is sauteed, add all the broth (add 6 cups water at this point if using bouillion), white pepper and salt. Simmer while preparing the potatoes.

Cube the potatoes into 1/2 - 1 in cubes and fry over medium heat.

Once the potatoes are well seared, add them to the soup.

Simmer for about ten minutes.

Add the chopped chives right before serving. Delicious!

This soup always goes fast in my house, and this batch was the best ever!

Maybe it was the home grown leeks...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Apple Chips

I went a little nuts this year. I told my apple orchard friend that I would like 3-4 bushels of apples for making applesauce. He gave me close to four bushels. What was I thinking?! After having made about forty quarts of apple sauce, I decided that I might want to make something else with the remaining apples.

I love the apple chips that I have gotten from the stores -- the very expensive apple chips. So why not make those? And guess what? They are easy!

I borrowed a cast iron apple peeler/corer/slicer. This tool slices the apples to the perfect thickness - about 1/8 inch --, but you could do that by hand. You don't have to peel or core the apple. Just slice the apple into 1/8in thick slices and pop the seeds out. If you use the peeler/corer/slicer, disengage the peeler. The apple will be sliced in a spiral with this tool, so line up your knife with the spiral end and slice through one side of the apple. This will leave you circles instead of a spiral.

If you want them flavored: mix 4TBS brown sugar, 1/2 - 1TBS cinnamon, and 1/8-1/4 cup water. Dip the slices in the mixture, shake them off and lay them in a single layer on a dehydrator* tray sprayed with Pam. IMPORTANT: If you do not Pam the tray, you will not be able to get the chips off the tray! I learned this the hard way and lost half my first batch.

Let them dehydrate about 18-24 hours. They may feel a little pliant when you remove them, but once they cool they should be as crispy as a potato chip.

These are addictive, but as healthy as they are, that's just fine. You should be able to store these as long as any other dried fruit, but you probably won't have to worry about storage times as they won't stick around long!

*If you do not have a dehydrator, you can do this in the oven. I didn't do any batches in the oven, so I'm not sure the best way to do that, but I hear a SilPat is indispensable. I don't have one, so I would line my cookie sheets with my cooling racks, Pam those and lay the apple slices on that. If I ever try the oven, I will update this post with directions.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sweet Zucchini Pickles

I had a late bumper crop of zucchini and usually I grate it and freeze it for pancakes, but I was on a canning kick, so I decided to try making pickles with them. Zucchini isn't that much different from cucumbers, except that they have way more flavor and can be HUGE!

I got the base recipe from kitchengadgetgirl website. I say base, because I changed it drastically as I am apt to do. Here is my final recipe:

  • 1 monster zucchini (the kind that you find in your garden and can't believe that you missed it for so long!), fairly scar/blemish free
  • 1/2 cup salt in 1/2 gallon water for soaking zucchini
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • SAUCE:
  • 2 quart apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 cups brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoons turmeric
  • 2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 6 teaspoons mustard seed

Slice the zucchini and onion thinly, about 1/16-1/8in thick. When you hit the part that has well developed seeds, just pick them out and leave the slice as whole as you can. Soak the zucchini in the salt water for about an hour.

While the zucchini is soaking, sterilize your jars (if you are going to can this), mix the sauce and bring to a boil. Drain the zucchini and mix with the onion slices.

Pack the hot jars with the zucchini/onion mix and pour the sauce into the jar so that it covers the vegetables and leaves a little less than an inch head space (just past the shoulder).

Process the jars for 10 minutes using the hot water bath method.

These were much different than the sweet pickles I usually make and I think I just might like them even more.