Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Food

So the squash went great. And here's the thing: Coach kept looking at me and going "this is REALLY good". Which made me think a few things:
  1. what the hell have I been feeding him that acorn squash is 5 star dining?
  2. maybe I need to keep cooking like this.
  3. this IS dang tasty.
  4. maybe I'll blog about it.

So I made some edits (of course) and here's how it went:

  • 1 loaf wheat bakery bread (doesn't matter what kind as long as it's not froicaccia)
  • 2 large acorn squashes
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. butter or butter substitute (we use Smart Balance)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 Tbs assorted herbs (I used rosemary, thyme, and basil)
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional, I had it for once so I used it)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (get the good kind, which are actually cheaper and sold in bulk, and not craisins or something)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:
Position rack sin the upper third and lower third of your oven and preheat to 375°F. Cut the bread into medium sized cubes and spread out on a baking sheet (you'll need about 3 cups of bread). Bake on the top rack, stirring occasionally, until the bread is dry and crispy (25 to 30 minutes). Cut the stem end off each squash. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and pulp from the center and discard. Cut a thin slice off the bottom end of each squash to create a level surface. Season the squash cavities with salt and pepper. Stand the squashes upright in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Place in the oven on the lower rack.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, salt and pepper and cook about 1-2 minutes. Stir in the nutmeg and the assorted herbs. Add the onion mixture to the bowl with the bread. Add the parsley and cranberries (you can add as much or as little as you like, I used probably 3/4 of a cup but we love cranberry's), stir to combine. Stir in 1 cup of the stock. Mash/mush the bread with the stock until the bread has absorbed it all, if it needs more stock add enough so that it's moist and sticky. Taste, add more herbs to season if you want (I added more thyme and fresh black pepper). Remove the squashes from the oven and spoon the stuffing into the squash cavities, mounding a small amount on the top--drizzle with a little olive oil. Pour the remaining 1/2 cup stock into the baking dish.

Bake until the squashes are tender when pierced with a fork and the stuffing is browned, 30 minutes - 1.5 hours (I checked them every 20 minutes--it'll depend on how long the squashes were in the oven before and how large they are). If the stuffing begins to brown too quickly, cover the squashes loosely with aluminum foil. Remove the squashes from the oven, drizzle each with 1 tsp. olive oil and serve.

We just ate half of one each, and only had that. I was going to make chicken but they're so hearty that we just ended up eating the squash. Coach LOVED them. :) They were awesome. I thought the cranberries would overpower but the sweet/salty thing was great. Overall, not too dang bad for you and they were really really good. If nothing else, the stuffing would be super good for thanksgiving too! So we have a whole one left over for Wednesday night's beer braised spare ribs. yum. :)

And he's still raving about the white bean soup. And for a man to rave about SOUP, a man who eats a.lot. and he liked a soup--that just seems like an awesome sign to me. So here:

  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 4 strips of bacon, cut into 3/4" strips
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 Tbs fresh thyme
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 4 cans of Cannelloni Beans, drained
  • 5 cups of chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup of Parmesan (or similar) cheese

In a large dutch oven (or heavy pot) over medium/medium-high heat, cook bacon with olive oil for about 5-6 minutes (you don't want it anywhere near crispy, just cooked). Add the chopped onion, celery, and carrot. Saute until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic and thyme, and cook until fragrant. Add beans and chicken broth. Reduce heat to medium/medium-low and cook for 20 minutes. With an immersion blender, blend the soup to desired constancy (we got ours fairly blended, but you could also keep it chunky). Add cheese, stir to combine and season with more thyme or fresh cracked pepper (if desired).

If you want whole beans in the finished product, reserve 1 can of beans and add after blending. You can continue cooking on low heat until ready to serve. Serve with fresh french bread. You'll want to soak up every bit.

Both recipes are adapted from the Williams Sonoma recipes posted previously.

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