… Squasage?

Squasage 23

I did not name this, for the record.  When I was looking up basic cooking times on the internet, I found one for sausage-stuffed squash that was entitled “Squasage” and now I can’t get it out of my head.  Sorry about that.

Anyway, I had this squash (I think it’s a kabocha?) that needed eating and this is what I decided to do with it — it makes a nice winter meal for two.

Squasage 1

Preheat your oven to 400°F and cut your squash in half.  I use a grapefruit spoon to remove the seeds — it’s easier that way.

Squasage 2

Place the squash cut-side-up on a baking dish or in a roasting pan and brush with olive oil.  Dust with salt and pepper and roast for about an hour, until you can poke it all over with a fork with little resistance.

Squasage 3

In the meantime, rinse and drain 1/2 cup quinoa.  This is red quinoa.

Squasage 4

Dump the quinoa in a small pot with 1 cup broth (your choice) and bring to a boil.

Squasage 5

Lower the heat, cover it, and let it simmer until the broth is all absorbed.  It’ll look all fluffy with little white tails like this when it’s done, after about 15 minutes.

Squasage 11

You’ll also want to chop up some veg, about half an onion and half a red pepper.  Or a whole pepper.  Up to you.

Squasage 6

I had three Italian sausages here, but you can use two as well.

Squasage 7

Slice open the casing and dump the contents into a bowl.

Squasage 8

Heat up some olive oil in a pan and start sautéing your onions.

Squasage 9

When they’re soft and translucent, add your sausage and break it up with a spoon while it cooks.

Squasage 10

When it’s cooked completely, add in your red pepper and some herbs.  I used fines herbes, a combination of things like parsley, chervil, marjoram, and chives.

Squasage 12

Stir that around for a bit until the red pepper is softer.

Squasage 13

Then you can dump in the quinoa and lower the heat just to keep the whole thing warm until the squash is ready.

Squasage 14

In a small bowl, dump in a few teaspoons panko bread crumbs and a little bit of grated cheese (your choice).  Mix that together.

Squasage 15

When the squash is ready, lower the oven heat to 350°F and start spooning the sausage mixture into your squash halves.  You may end up with leftover mix, but it makes a great lunch the next day.

Squasage 16

When the squash halves are holding as much as they can, sprinkle the cheese/panko mix over the top and chuck it back in the oven for about 15 minutes, until everything is thoroughly warm, the cheese is melted, and the bread crumbs are starting to brown.

Squasage 18

The result is an all-in-one, piping hot meal.

Squasage 21

We did find it easier to tip out the contents and scrape out the softened squash before mixing it all together and eating it.  It was less molten that way.

Squasage 26

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Rice Pilaf with Tomatoes

Pilaf with Tomatoes 14

I’ve been on a pilaf kick recently, ever since I had one at the Savoy last week and I can’t even deal with how good it was.  They’re really easy to make, too, just a few extra steps more than plain Jane rice.  Why not? This version serves 6 comfortably, with leftovers.

Pilaf with Tomatoes 1

I had half a 28oz can of diced tomatoes in the fridge as well as some shallots left over from probably Christmas so I figured I’d do something to use them up and take advantage of my overstock of Trader Joe’s Wild Rice Medley.

Pilaf with Tomatoes 3

I chopped up a handful of mushrooms and shallots and set those aside.

Pilaf with Tomatoes 2

Then I dumped a hunk of butter and some olive oil into a skillet and let that melt on medium-high heat.

Pilaf with Tomatoes 4

When it was all melted and foamy I tipped in 2 cups wild rice medley (you can use whichever rice you wish, of course).  I had a bit of black rice hanging around as well so I chucked that in too.

Pilaf with Tomatoes 5

Stir that around until it gets all coated with butter.  You’re basically toasting it here, so you want it to get a bit brown and smoky.

Pilaf with Tomatoes 7

Now you can add in your vegetables and stir them around a bit.

Pilaf with Tomatoes 8

I left the tomatoes until last because I wanted the onions and mushrooms to soften a bit.

Pilaf with Tomatoes 9

Now you add your stock.  Any stock you like.  Just make sure that it works according to your rice’s cooking directions.  This rice requires 2 1/2 cups liquid for every cup of rice.  I had 4 cups broth in my little carton here, plus a cup of liquid in the tomatoes.

Pilaf with Tomatoes 10

Give that a stir, then cover it and let it simmer for the allotted time given in the cooking directions (with mine it was 40 minutes).  I stirred mine occasionally, but only because I’m paranoid about burning rice.  I’m really good at burning rice.

Pilaf with Tomatoes 11

When it’s cooked take the lid off and remove it from the heat and let it sit for about ten minutes.

Pilaf with Tomatoes 12

We served ours next to a bed of greens and topped with a pan-seared half chicken breast.  It was lovely!

Pilaf with Tomatoes 16

Brussels Sprout Hash

Brussells Sprout Hash 8

This recipe comes from the Globe and Mail‘s 12 October food page, and worked really well as a side dish for our Thanksgiving celebrations.  And it’s easy peasy and a great way to jazz up Brussels sprouts for those picky eaters.

Brussells Sprout Hash 4

Cut about 8oz Brussels sprouts in half and remove the crappy outside leaves.  Set those aside for the moment.  Now, dump 6 large shallots and 8 garlic cloves into a pot (we doubled the recipe here).  Don’t even bother to peel them.

Brussells Sprout Hash 1

Add water and bring them to a boil.  Let that cook for 2 minutes, then drain them and peel them all.

Brussells Sprout Hash 2

Cut the shallots in half if they’re giants.

Brussells Sprout Hash 3

Chuck a nob of butter and a glob of vegetable oil into a heavy lidded sauté pan and let that melt over medium heat.

Brussells Sprout Hash 5

Toss in the garlic and shallots and stir for about a minute, then add in the Brussels sprouts and chuck them around.  Reduce the heat a bit and pop the lid on.  Leave that on the go, stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes, or until the veggies are tender to your liking.

Brussells Sprout Hash 6

When you’re ready to serve, toss with salt and pepper and a generous helping of chopped fresh parsley and let ‘er rip!

Brussells Sprout Hash 7