Wild Ginger

recipes for pleasure and nurishment


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Harvest Delight Baked Pears with Currants and Walnuts

After making pears for Baby H (cubing and cooking with cinnamon), I had two pears left over. I’m not a fan of eating a pear, especially if it has gone the slightest bit soft, and these had some brown spots. So, I decided that if I baked them, the spots wouldn’t matter. I was right.

A quick search for baked pears led me to this simple (and snarky) recipe from Blue Kitchen. I followed it but for cutting it in half. This was a perfect “afters” for the Butternut Squash and Kale lasagna. Some of us topped it with a bit of whipped cream.

Ingredients:

4 firm, ripe pears (I used Bartlett because that is what I had, but I think the red pears would be beautiful for this dish. I also only had two pears!)
1/4 cup Sugar in the Raw
1/4 cup dark brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup dried currants
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup water [or more]

If you would like a bit of richness, slip a sliver of butter into each pear

Recipe:

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Core pears. My husband bought an apple corer, and I never appreciated until this task. It was easy to remove the stem that runs the length of the pear. Ah, convenience. Place into a glass dish, and if they won’t stand up, cut the bottom flat.

Mix dry ingredients and use a funnel or piece of paper to fill the pears. Mix the water into the remainder of the dry ingredients, and pour this into the dish. Bake for 30 minutes, and try to spoon the syrupy nuts and currants into and over the pears at least twice. Drizzle the syrup on a pretty dish, place the pear on the dish, and pour a bit more syrup over the top. Enjoy!

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Acorn Squash with Apple and Quinoa Stuffing

Again, we are swimming in squash. From our last farm share, I picked out a cute little acorn squash. Why are diminutive foods so much more enticing? Perhaps I had this picked out as a side dish. For a full meal, you might use a regular size acorn squash.

These were a perfect complement to crockpot rotisserie chicken. I tweaked a recipe from All Recipes. The house smelled very good, like harvest time.

Ingredients

  • 1 acorn squash, halved 
  • 2/3 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 leek, cut into quarters and sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, diced (peel left on)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (if you are not a fan of vinegar, you could skip this or else substitute apple juice or broth)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup shredded Romano cheese

Recipe

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Bake squash until tender. I used a small squash, so it took very little time. You may leave the seeds in until it is cooked and it is easier to remove all of the thready stuff.

Cook quinoa to the product’s specification. For most quinoa in the U.S., there is no need to rinse to rid it of bitterness. Stir in the butter and salt and pepper. I used red quinoa, which was a lovely color combination with orange squash.

In a heavy pan, heat the olive oil and cook the onion, pepper and celery until the onion turns translucent. Add the diced apple, and cook until everything is almost tender. Be careful not to overcook, as it can be mushy. Next, add the garlic and ginger, the vinegar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I also added fenugreek, since I am nursing and trying to keep up my milk supply. Mix in the cooked quinoa and heat through until the liquid cooks off and the spices get into everything.

Scoop out about an inch of baked acorn squash, chop if necessary, and mix that into the quinoa. Fill the squash halves with quinoa, slightly mounding it. You can top this with the cheese, or you might try nuts or dried cranberries. Pop them under the broiler long enough to melt the cheese and warm up the squash. Enjoy!


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Butternut Squash and Kale Lasagna

My husband is in love with squash, and his frequent refrain lately is, “when are you going to make butternut squash soup?” And, I plan on making it, but we need to find some other means of consuming the large store of squash in the pantry. I’ve made baby food, and Baby H loves it, but again, one baby can only eat so much squash. Plus, we have other veggies from our farm share/latest farmer’s market foray.

A big pan of pasta (or anything, really) is a boon in this house. It means one afternoon of cooking and then time off for doing things like playing with the baby or working on my dissertation. Hah. But, my casual response to the perennial question was, “I’m making butternut squash lasagna,” and I went about my day of playing with the baby and working on my dissertation (and doing laundry, etc., etc.).

With regular lasagna, I have become competent enough (the crock pot failure does not count) to throw something together and have a wonderful dish, but this pan is not the usual tomato sauce concoction I know so well. It would be a white sauce, and I’ve never done a white sauce. I didn’t want to do a white sauce.

So, I looked up several (maybe a dozen) recipes, looking, in vain, for a butternut squash recipe that has tomato sauce. No such thing, and upon some more thinking about it, that makes sense. It could be done, and it could even be tasty, but it was not in the cards. Besides, A just brought home three containers of milk.

I mostly followed the Good Housekeeping recipe, honestly, because it was one of the simplest. I tweaked it, according to what I had on hand and my own taste. I swapped out Swiss chard for kale and Parmesan for Romano. I added fenugreek because it’s good for nursing moms, and I like the taste. I opted to halve and bake the squash without peeling and cubing it as a time saver, since the squash needed to be mashed anyway. Sure it took a smidge longer to bake, but I played with a baby instead of standing around chopping and peeling.

Ingredients

  • whole package of whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 1 large butternut squash, halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 large bunch of kale (or other green), discard stems
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme (or fresh if you have it)
  • 4 cups milk (I used Lactaid)
  • ¾ cup grated Romano cheese

 
Recipe

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Halve the squash, never mind the seeds just yet. In a large cake pan (probably what you’ll use for the lasagna—why dirty another dish), lay the squash down and add two inches of water. Bake until the skin turns brown and it feels soft (varies with the size of the squash). Cook lasagna noodles as directed. Mind that they don’t stick together. When done, let cool a bit and spoon out the squash into a bowl, mashing it as you go. In a large, heavy pot, heat olive oil. Add sliced onions and cook until translucent. Next, tear the kale from the stems and put it into a large pot with the onions. Add ½ cup water and let the kale cook down. Add water as needed. Set aside. In same pot, melt butter (don’t let it burn) and add flour and thyme and nutmeg, whisking all the while. Cook for a minute. Slowly add the milk and mind that it does not scald or boil over. Bring it to a boil and boil for a minute, stirring all the while. Stir in cheese—put aside ¼ cup for topping—and remove from heat.

Assembly. Begin with a goodly amount of sauce on the bottom of your pan. Lay down the first layer of noodles. Next, layer the greens and onion mixture. Cover with sauce and another layer of noodles. Now, spread evenly the squash and cover with the final layer of noodles. Pour on the remaining sauce and sprinkle the Romano on top. I garnished with fresh twigs of thyme from my garden. Bake for 30 minutes, with foil, and ten more without foil. Let stand before serving. Enjoy!