Autumn is all about the influx of produce, peeps and celebrations (in my opinion at least). We welcome the cold weather with hopes that the change of temperature will bring us some gorgeous scenery in the form of the yellows, oranges and reds of leaves; and somehow we’d accept the warmth of fireplaces and apple cider mingled with brandy as a libation. The flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom remind us that its all good in spite of the bitter cold. Yes, its all about the harvest fest, namely Thanksgiving . A holiday rooted in generosity, and sweet, genuine, communion (turkeys watch your backs). Shouts out to the Native Americans, (with their beautiful selves ***taking a bow) Thanksgiving happens to be one of my favorite holidays for obvious reasons; good peeps, the greatest of fresh bounty from Mother Nature’s bosom (yes I said bosom), creative brews from the greatest of craft brew makers, and the prospect of bringing all of these dope things together to create my own lil piece of heaven. This Thanksgiving was no exception, in fact it set the bar a bit higher. While the rest of the nation sat down to turkey, the NFL, and overindulgence; we created a scene so intimate a nuclear missile could’nt shake things up (Don’t disturb this groove son! Listen here- http://youtu.be/4Qis6VhHWuA) You might ask, “what was so special my friend?”, and I’d answer “EVERYTHING”! Yes we sat and gave thanks to the cornish hens, lamb, delish root veggies, craft beers, apple pies, and so on. The LOVE in the room was rich enough to fill your belly without the aide of food, and precious enough in itself to bottle . But as we chewed the fat (metaphorically), and tossed back craft beers over Yatzee. There somewhere in the background; in the lowly oven sat the acorn squash who never really made it to the party. Sometime before our meal, I split them, and roasted them with dried cranberries, mushrooms, onions, herbs and a wild rice pilaf. They got dressed up like Cinderella for the ball, but never made it out to strut their stuff. Sad but true. We enjoyed ourselves nonetheless, packed up food for the road, tossed back a few more brews, embraced and said our good nights. It was’nt until the next day that those beautiful squash got to showcase their prowess. We (my culinary counsel and I ** wink wink) decided they’d be just right for lunch. So as I warmed them, I made a quick pesto with parsley, garlic, toasted almonds, olive oil and a bit of pixie dust. Just before serving them I dressed them with a bit of the pesto, and then served them with a simple side dish. Somewhere in the first forkful I think I lost my grip on reality for just a second *** insert my drool here _____. ( so so good-Listen here- http://youtu.be/raHulMIPFRA) The combination of the wild rice pilaf, pesto, and acorn squash was something like divine. If you’ve ever had spaghetti squash or calabaza squash and been overtaken by the sweet, creamy texture, you’ll know exactly what I went through (I think I need therapy now ** holding myself and shaking now ). It made me want to spoon out a bit and run out the front door to share it with the first sane individual who’d be brave enough to enjoy a sample. I was moved, yes, moved enough do some research to figure out what in the deuce I had just injested.
Its no surprise that acorn squash are so flippin good ( step into a world –http://www.pandora.com/krs-1/i-got-next/step-into-world-raptures-delight?shareImp=true) Acorn squash firstly is a nutrient dense whole food. In short that means inch for inch its nutritionally brawlick. 1 serving (1 cup ) contains 37% of the DV of vitamin C, which is essential for healthy teeth/gums, healthy tissue, and healing wounds. Acorn squash also flexes their nutritional clout with 23% of DV of thiamin, 20% of DV of vitamin B6, 18% of DV of vitamin A, 10% of the DV of folate, 26% of the DV potassium , 22% of DV for magnesium, and 25% of DV of maganese. Need I say more??? Well, I will anyhow, Acorn squash is low in carbohydrates, and sugar. So, put that in your mp3 player and bop to it. A feast that includes squash of any sort is one that you can feel good about from beginning to end. Guilt free dining at its best. Which brought me to the conclusion, that even though this holiday season included so many moving pieces, it was really all about the acorn squash. Step inside my world with this delish recipe from The Vegetarian Times. Enjoy!
Chef Will Hall
Quinoa and Wild Rice Stuffed Squash
- 6 small acorn squash, halved and seeds removed
- 6 cups water
- 1 cup uncooked wild rice (genuine Ojibwa if possible), rinsed
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
- 2 tsp. vegetable oil
- 4 green onions (white and pale green parts), chopped
- ½ cup chopped celery
- 1 tsp. dried sage
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup dried apricots, chopped
- ⅓ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- ½ to ¾ cup fresh orange juice
- Salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange squash halves cut side down in baking dish or roasting pan. Bake until tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make filling. In large saucepan, bring 4 cups water to boil. Add wild rice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until rice is tender, about 40 minutes. Drain if necessary.
- In another large saucepan, bring remaining 2 cups of water to boil. Add quinoa. Reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 12 minutes.
- In large, deep skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add green onions, celery and sage, and cook, stirring often, until vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add dried fruits and nuts and cook, stirring often, until heated through. Using a fork, fluff quinoa and wild rice, then add both to skillet. Add orange juice and mix until heated through. Season with salt.
- To serve, remove squash from oven and arrange on serving platter. Spoon filling into each squash cavity and serve.
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