Hope you all had a great weekend and were able to stay dry. Something about dreary weather just makes me want to sloth out on the couch in comfy pajamas, with a big ol' mug of hot bourbon cider and a good book (I'm currently making my way through Jenny Lawson's Let's Pretend This Never Happened, which is seriously pee-your-pants funny).
It was raining cats and dogs Friday, so I brought Pepper pup over to my cottage for some cuddling. He sure hates riding in the car to get here but loves napping on the couch! We had a lazy afternoon listening to the rain pelt against the roof until it was time to go meet up with Mr.S.
This weekend I also saw Ovation Stage's production of Kitchen Witches with my friend Michelle. Have you seen it? It was pretty good. The acting was smooth and they had quite the funny script. I absolutely loved Deborah Shalhoub's character, Dolly Biddle.
Photo Source: Ovation Stage
I also found a little time to dabble in the kitchen. I've recently turned Mr.S. onto squash so we've been taste testing several varieties to see which ones we like the best. So far we've made our way through delicata, sweet dumpling, kabocha and acorn. The last one I prepared was the acorn squash. It had a mild, sweet, nutty flavor that both of us liked. To fancy up the squash a bit, I made a batch of my winter quinoa which we stuffed the squash with and then topped with a sprinkling of goat cheese. Fantastic! It was so good that Mr.S. asked me to make more squash the next night. Isn't it awesome when you find something that tastes great and is nutritious? Can't go wrong there!
Super Stuffed Acorn Squash
2 medium sized acorn squash, each cut in half
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup quinoa ( I used Trader Joe's Organic Tri-Color Quinoa)
2 cups vegetable broth
8 oz. of your favorite breakfast sausage, chopped/crumbled (I used Farmer John's Old-Fashioned Maple Sausage Links)
3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1/2 a small yellow onion, chopped
1 small Fuji apple, cored and chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 bunch of chard, ribs removed and torn into bite sized pieces
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
3 tablespoons of crumbled goat cheese (or 3-4 tablespoons of finely grated Parmesan)
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cut each squash in half crosswise; scoop out and discard seeds. Coat squash with olive oil.
3. Place squash cut-side down on a lightly oiled, rimmed baking sheet.
4. Place in oven and roast for 45 minutes.
5. While that's cooking, rinse your quinoa. Place the rinsed quinoa in a pot with the broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and continue to cook for however long the product's instructions say, usually 15-30 minutes.
6. In a large skillet, cook your sausage. Drain and set aside on a paper-towel covered plate.
7. In the now empty skillet, heat up some olive oil over med-high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add your chopped onions. Cook until semi-translucent.
8. Add garlic, apple and chard. Cook until the chard becomes wilted.
9. Check your quinoa. If it's done (you can tell when it's done cooking because there be a little white ring that curls around it, this is called the germ), add it to your skillet.
10. Toss in your teaspoon of thyme, cooked sausage and dried cranberries. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Cook the whole shebang for about 3 minutes and then set aside.
11. Now take your roasted acorn squash and flip them over. The flesh should be tender and the exposed side should be a bit caramelized. Fill the holes with several scoops of your quinoa mixture and sprinkle some lovely goat cheese (or Parmesan) on it.
12. Pop the stuffed squash back in the oven (same temp) for another 5-6 minutes.
13. Remove from oven and serve immediately with a spoon.
(Note: The flesh of the acorn squash will be nice and soft and quite yummy- almost like a warm veggie ice cream. The skin on this particular squash is edible too but a bit tougher than say the skin on a delicata. I'm not a big fan of it but if you like it, knock yourself out.)