fall food

squash

I’m going to apologize for this once and once only: It is autumn. I live way north. The sun goes down very early now and will soon go down disgustingly early, so my dinnertime photos for the next several (that sounds like a lot—we’ll see) months will be artificially lit. I will do my best. Thank you for your time.

Okee doke, on with the food. Autumn does have its positives. I can turn on the oven whenever I damn well please and I can cook comforty, rooty, often orange (look at today’s!) foods. I’ll get to the tofu scramble later, but let’s talk stuffed acorn squash. You’ve seen the photos and recipes. So easy and so forgiving. Swap it in and swap it out—don’t like an ingredient? Put in something you do like instead. And it’s its own serving dish. Suck it, bread bowl. 

I ran into some trouble with this, however; perhaps because I had no aluminum foil (was holding out until I found recycled stuff, which I did just yesterday) the squash took for-friggin’-ever to cook. And once stuffed and done, it was tough to serve. I ended up cutting it down the middle and hacking away at it that way. Just seemed more trouble than it was worth. Next time I’d use tiny squashes or something cut lengthwise, just not so high.

So how’d I make it? This is for 2 medium squashes, so if you’re just doing one as an experiment, halve it.

•squash of your choice (for this I used squash the size of a baby’s head, acorn variety)
•1 c wild rice (or brown rice or white rice, I guess), prepared as directed with vegetable broth instead of water
•2 T Earth Balance
•3 c vegetables (I used carrot, celery, leek, yellow squash, garlic, and parsley but would have used a bunch of mushrooms if Tom weren’t so anti-mushroom)
•½ c panko, breadcrumbs, or crushed nuts (for binding and excitement)
•salt, pepper, and 2 T of your favorite fall herbs (I used sage and powdered rosemary)

•Either cut the squash lengthwise or chop the top off like a jack-o’-lantern and scoop the guts out.
•Throw the EB in the squash, replace top if you took it off, then wrap in foil and cook in a 350º oven until softened up (try 20 minutes, depending on your squash)
•While the squash is in the oven, cook up the vegetables in a bit o’ olive oil and herbs,  until they’re almost done; they’ll cook inside the squash for the last 5 minutes or so.
•Add panko and rice, mixing thoroughly. This is actually really great and any leftover stuffing is lunch for tomorrow!
•Stuff almost-done stuffing into almost-done squash and finish off, uncovered, in the oven for 5 minutes or so.
•Have better luck than me serving it.

Really, this looks like a superduper holiday meal winner. One of those impressive, fancy-pants, win-over-the-omnis dish. I’m sure my next try will turn out so much better. Good luck with your first.

orange scramble

On to orange tofu scramble! Pictured here with garlic-n-peppery zucchini and a simple but supergreat pilaf, I’ve tarted up my tofu scramble with some extra paprika and orange bell peppers. It didn’t taste much different but it’s pretty. (And if you’re new, yes, I like my tofu scramble very firm and well done.)

And to you Portland folk, this Sunday (10/11) at 8 pm at The Artistry (4315 SE Division St.), the Food Fight! benefit movie will be Billy Madison. It’s a $5-plus donation for Fences for Fido, a nonprofit, all-volunteer group that, among other things, builds fences and shelters for those who can’t afford it so their dogs don’t have to be chained out in the elements. 

I went last month for The Blues Brothers, because I always have and always will hate Illinois Nazis. It’s in the basement of the building with an A on it. It’s a very informal setup—not an actual theatre—but it’s comfortable and has decent sound. So come on out for a silly movie and help improve the life of a pup. Click here for the Facebook event page, where you can RSVP.

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