This is going to be a quick post, and really up until a few hours ago I didn’t think it would be a post at all. I could show you some pictures, but in all honesty they’re not that pretty. I could just give you the recipe, it’s not difficult. But there wasn’t anything to really tie it together and make it feel like it had some substance, a story. Now it has a little one. My friend Lauren works out with me a couple days of the week, and inevitably we end up talking about food, what to eat tonight, or “you’re kidding me, you’re so not eating that tonight!”, what we’re cooking and how to cook it. And what’s coming up on the blog. As we know here from previous posts that I went on hard-shelled squash rampage, gathering as many as I could shove into the car. I know….what was I thinking? Who can tell, but the upshot of all this, is that I’m working my way through all those squash things and I’ve talked about it so much that my friends now are thinking ‘What’s for dinner” “Why squash is for dinner!” I’m sorry guys, I’ll make it up to you, I promise. I’ve been telling Lauren about this carnival squash that I’m going to fill with a savory bread pudding filling and bake. I thought it would be yummy and creamy, maybe a bit cheesy, definitely savory. She’s been giving me the wrinkled nose faces and then the mulling it over faces, and now the seriously thinking about faces combined with suggestions and questions! Yeah….finally. I’m on my way back from an art opening and I get texted from Lauren,(LT) “So if I try this squash thing, and cook it with buffalo and sausage like we talked about (I remember talking about adding sausage, thought it was a good idea. I’m a little fuzzy on the buffalo thing.) does it matter what kind of squash I use?” MT (my text) Try using an acorn style squash. Spaghetti and butternut wouldn’t really work for this. Also squash will be done if it’s soft when you poke it gently but it doesn’t collapse on itself. LT “Hmmmmmm..ok. Here we go 🙂 Cook at 450? ” MT “NO! 350 TO 375.” LT (so cute!) “Oh…Golly…450 is way to hot” MT “Ya Think?” LT “I guess” MT “You’ll do fine, will take at least an hour to cook”. LT “Good to know, Thanks!”
So hours go by, no more texts. She’s got under control. Finally, I couldn’t stand it. I had to know what happened with the darn squash! MT “How did you do” LT “Still cooking, damn. Almost done” I leave her to finish her meal and relax, figuring it’s just fine. I get the next text, with a picture from her phone, of a stuffed squash on a plate by itself in weird lighting..lol. Text is this: “Looks gross, but tastes good!” If it tastes good, she did great! That would be the hard part, getting everything seasoned and melded together to make something that tastes good. But here’s the thing we all have to remember:
We’re starting with squash! Squash, with bumps and blemishes, weird colors and shapes each yielding something slightly, sometimes completely, different after you usually have to hack your way through. I started with this one:
Yeah, I know. Not exactly inspiring. But….it has its merits. It has a long bed to use for filling, and it tastes a bit like a cross between a pumpkin and a potato. Perfect for more spicy or creamy things. These are easy to do. I do have some suggestions that might help you out. After you scoop the seeds and string things out, a light brush of oil and salt and pepper go a long way. The ground meat you use raw, vegetables can either be cooked or raw, but grains or pastas must be cooked for using in the stuffing mix. There’s not enough moisture to cook either of those and you’ll end up with not very tasty, hard crunchy bits. The seasonings you use can go in any direction you want, I took a more mexican turn, with cumin and cilantro in mine, along with chilies, red and yellow peppers, garlic, mushrooms, red onions and 80% lean ground turkey. I wanted a bit more fat to help cook the veg. I made one delicata squash, approx. 8″ long.
Preheated my oven to 350. Sliced the squash in half lengthwise, and scooped the goop. I then filled the length of the squash with
3/4 lb of 80% ground turkey
1/4 cup each of finely diced red and yellow bell peppers
1/4 cup finely diced mushrooms
1 tablespoons of medium heat chopped chilies
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
1 garlic clove mashed.
Mixed all of that together until well incorporated and filled each side of the squash with half the mixture. I baked it for 50 minutes and then sprinkled a bit of Monterey Jack cheese and cooked it another 15 minutes. As I told Lauren, it’s done when you touch it and it feels soft, but it hasn’t started to collapse around its self.
She’s right, they look a little funky. I’m thinking maybe some kind of sauce next time, a pretty bed of greens for it to sit on….hmm.
Come on, jump in. If Lauren and I can, so can you! Oh, did I mention they’re really healthy for you? Hardly any fat, high in protein, high in fiber, not to mention a serving of your daily requirement of veggies and at least 10 vitamins and minerals. (I’ll get back to you on exactly which ones….;).