Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
One of the things we got this week from the CSA was an acorn squash that weighed one ounce shy of 2 pounds. Jason and I have never cared for winter squash when served by our parents in the past, and so I put off making it. But, I didn't want to waste it, so I looked up "acorn squash" on my favorite food website, Cook's Illustrated, and found their method of cooking it. (Cook's Illustrated is like the Consumer Reports of food - you have to pay for a subscription to their website; $25 a year; and they do recipe testing, equipment testing, and product testing that is all unbiased and really reliable.) Anyway, the acorn squash was a big hit. It tasted so delicious, and was wonderfully textured. Here is the article and recipe from Cook's Illustrated:
Tired of mealy, stringy squash that takes an hour to bake? We wanted it faster and better.
After what seems like eons in the oven, it often lands on the table with little flavor and a dry, grainy texture.
At its rare best, it is characterized by a sweet, almost nutty taste and moist, smooth flesh - a result that should not take hours.
Believe it or not, microwaving took first place in cooking methods, presenting a squash that was tender and silky smooth, with nary a trace of dryness or stringiness. Hammering out the details was easy: Microwave on high power for 20 minutes, and the squash is perfectly cooked. It was best to halve and seed the squash before cooking; whole pierced squash cooked unevenly. Last, I learned that when added before cooking, salt seemed to better permeate the squash. Filling in the only remaining gap, equal portions of butter and dark brown sugar gave the squash ample - not excessive - sweetness. And for a smooth, cohesive filling mixture, combining the butter and sugar with a pinch of salt and briefly broiling the final product eliminated the nagging sticky glaze problem.
Squash smaller than 1 1/2 pounds will likely cook a little faster than the recipe indicates, so begin checking for doneness a few minutes early. Conversely, larger squash will take slightly longer to cook. However, keep in mind that the cooking time is largely dependent on the microwave. If microwaving the squash in Pyrex, the manufacturer recommends adding water to the dish (or bowl) prior to cooking. To avoid a steam burn when uncovering the cooked squash, peel back the plastic wrap very carefully, starting from the side that is farthest away from you.
|2||acorn squash (about 1 1/2 pounds each), halved pole to pole and seeded|
|3||tablespoons unsalted butter|
|3||tablespoons dark brown sugar|
Sprinkle squash halves with salt and place halves cut-sides down in 13- by 9-inch microwave-safe baking dish. If using Pyrex, add 1/4 cup water to dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, using multiple sheets, if necessary; with paring knife, poke about 4 steam vents in plastic wrap. Microwave on high power until squash is very tender and offers no resistance when pierced with paring knife, 15 to 25 minutes. Using potholders, remove baking dish or bowl from oven and set on clean, dry surface (avoid damp or cold surfaces).
While squash is cooking, adjust oven rack to uppermost position (about 6 inches from heating element); heat broiler. Melt butter, brown sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in small saucepan over low heat, whisking occasionally, until combined.
When squash is cooked, carefully pull back plastic wrap from side farthest from you. Using tongs, transfer cooked squash cut-side up to rimmed baking sheet. Spoon portion of butter/sugar mixture onto each squash half. Broil until brown and caramelized, 5 to 8 minutes, rotating baking sheet as necessary and removing squash halves as they are done. Set squash halves on individual plates and serve immediately.
Friday, September 25, 2009
My kids are dead silent at the breakfast table this morning because of.... Count Chocula! Usually they eat cheerios, or oatmeal, or whole wheat toast, but at the grocery store I saw that they had (for Halloween) Count Chocula... ah the childhood memories. So I bought a box, and served it to the kids this morning. Chocolate cereal with chocolate marshmallows. What more could a kid ask for? I ate a bowl myself... it was delicious. Its only redeeming quality is that it only has 110 calories per serving! But the kids are LOVING it. Lizzy already told me it was "so delicious"! And I've never seen Rachel eat so much instead of throwing it on the floor. On a side note: I got the yogurt burst cheerios last week, and Rachel would pick out all the pink yogurt covered cheerios and eat them, and throw the regular cheerios on the floor! Anyway, here's to letting the kids eat junk every once in a while!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
This week brought a ton of really amazing vegetables, and quite a few that I had never seen before! Such as a purple bell pepper, and a white eggplant! We also received corn, green onions, white onions, tomatoes, zucchini, potatoes, poblano chiles and an anaheim chile, green bell peppers, and an acorn squash. Wow. This time, Jason took the picture of the veggies, and he had me put my hand in the photo so you could judge the size of the veggies. They are HUGE!!
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, divided
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups white rice
- 4 large poblano peppers
- 6 ears corn on the cob or 3 cups frozen corn kernels
- 3 tablespoons corn, peanut or vegetable oil, divided
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 (15-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained well
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1/2 palm full
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, eyeball it in your palm
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/2 pound spinach leaves, deveined and coarsely chopped
- 4 scallions, coarsely chopped
- 2 limes, zested, juiced
- 1 cup shredded Chihuahua cheese, Asadero or Monterey Jack
Preheat broiler or grill pan to high.
Heat about 3 1/2 cups stock in a sauce pot with a bay leaf to boiling. Add rice, cover pot reduce heat to low and simmer 18 minutes until tender.
Place poblanos under broiler or on hot grill and char evenly all over, 15 minutes.
While peppers and rice are working, scrape the corn off the cobs or defrost frozen corn and dry by spreading out on clean kitchen towel. Heat 2 tablespoons light oil in a skillet over high heat. When the oil smokes or ripples add corn, onion, jalapenos and toss until the vegetables char at edges and onions are tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high and add in garlic, fire roasted tomatoes and season with cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook another minute or 2 then turn pan off.
Place the cilantro, spinach, scallions, lime zest, half a cup of stock and a tablespoon of oil in food processor and process into coarse green paste. Stir into your rice pot in the last 3 to 4 minutes of its cooking time.
Sprinkle the lime juice over the corn mixture.
Split the charred peppers open but not in half with small sharp knife then scoop out the seeds with a small spoon. Place peppers in a shallow baking dish and stuff each split pepper with lots of the corn mix, top each pepper with 1/4 cup cheese and place back under broiler to melt and char the cheese.
Serve peppers on beds of green rice. Yum-o!