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Archive for September 7, 2015

RECIPE: Baked Acorn Squash With Wild Rice

September 7th is National Acorn Squash Day. If today’s weather is to warm for roasting, plan to make it on the next cool day.

You can serve stuffed acorn squash as a first course, or as a main along with a protein and a green vegetable or salad.

This recipe is from USA Pears, which has many recipes on its website.

RECIPE: BAKED ACORN SQUASH WITH WILD RICE

Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 3 acorn squash
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Freshly ground nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
  • ¾ cup wild rice
  • 1½ cups canned low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, plus extra to taste
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 large rib celery, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
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    Baked acorn squash is stuffed with wild rice, nuts, fruits and herbs. Photo courtesy USA Pears.

  • 2 firm Anjou or Bosc pears, peeled, halved lengthwise, cored, and cut into ½-inch dice (substitute
    Granny Smith apples)
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
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    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Toast the nuts to bring out their full flavor. Place the nuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350°F oven until lightly browned, about 5 to 8 minutes. When the nuts come out, the squash goes in.

    2. CUT each squash in half crosswise. Scoop out and discard the seeds and strings. If necessary, trim the top and bottom so that the squash will be level, and place on a rimmed baking sheet, cut side up.

    3. SPRINKLE each half with a little salt, pepper and nutmeg, to taste. Dot each half wit butter, using 3 tablespoons. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake the squash just until moist and tender, about 45 minutes.

     

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    The first acorn squash of the season. Photo courtesy Good Eggs | San Francisco.

     

    4. COMBINE the rice, broth, salt and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender, about 40 minutes. When the rice is done most of the water should be evaporated.

    5. HEAT the olive oil in a 10-inch sauté pan over medium heat. Swirl to coat the pan and sauté the onion, garlic, celery and carrot until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the pears and sauté 2 minutes longer. Cover the pan, adjust the heat to medium-low and cook the vegetables until crisp-tender, 3 minutes longer. Add the sage, thyme and parsley and sauté 1 more minute. Remove from the heat.

    6. COMBINE the cooked rice, sautéed vegetables, pears, walnuts, and dried cranberries in a large bowl. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Mound the rice mixture into the squash halves, dividing it evenly. Cut the remaining tablespoon of butter into small pieces. Dot each stuffed squash with butter. Cover with foil. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes.

     
    THE HISTORY OF ACORN SQUASH

    Acorn squash (Cucurbita pepo var. turbinata) is a member of the Cucurbitaceae botanical family, which also includes cucumber, gourds, other winter squash (including pumpkin), summer squash (including zucchini and yellow squash) and watermelon.

    Known for its acorn shape, hard green skin (often with a splotch of orange) and deep, longitudinal ridges. Inside is sweet, yellow-orange flesh. While the most common variety is dark green in color, newer varieties have been developed, including the yellow- and white-skinned varieties.

    Acorn squashes typically weigh one to two pounds and are between four and seven inches long. Before modern refrigeration, acorn squash was a hardy variety to store throughout the winter. It kept for several months in a cool dry location, such as a cold cellar or a root cellar.

    Acorn squash are indigenous to Central America, and were cultivated by pre-Columbian natives (Mayas, Aztecs and their predecessors) as long as 8,000 years ago. Initially, only the seeds were eaten since the flesh was considered too hard. The flesh layer at the time was much thinner than modern-bred varieties, so not worth the trouble. Today, it is flesh that is prized and the seeds that are typically thrown away!

    Squash traveled north and across what is now the U.S., where it was cultivated and highly prized. The seeds were dried for eating during lean times, or as portable food for travelers.

    The Pilgrims encountered it upon their arrival in Massachusetts. The locals called the fruit askutasquash, which gave way to the English word “squash.”

    Squash became a staple of colonial gardens. Both Washington and Jefferson, among many others, grew squash on their plantations and farms. Today, while other Colonial garden items have come and gone (horehound, lovage, orach and peppergrass, purslane, sea kale and others), squash remains on the popular vegetable list.

    [Source]

      

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    RECIPE: Lyonnaise Salad With Bacon & Eggs

    You may know Lyonnaise potatoes, sliced pan-fried potatoes and thinly sliced onions, sautéed in butter with parsley; Rosette de Lyon, a cured rosy saucisson (French pork sausage); and Lyonnaise sauce, a brown sauce for roasted or grilled meat and poultry, made with white wine, vinegar and onions.

    Some of our favorites from the area include as coq au vin and quenelles (a mouselline of pike in cream sauce—the more elegant cousin of gefilte fish)*.

    And now, there’s the classic Salade Lyonnaise (pronounced lee-owe-NEZ), which combines frisée lettuce with bacon, croutons and a poached egg—a great combination of flavors and textures.

    Since the recipe uses raw eggs, pasteurized eggs are a worry-free solution (here’s more about pasteurized eggs and the 12 popular foods where you should consider them to eliminate the Salmonella risk).

    Prep time is 20 minutes; total time is 35 minutes.

    RECIPE: LYONNAISE SALAD

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 2 extra-thick bacon slices
  • 12 asparagus spears, trimmed (optional)
  • 3 tablespoon sherry or red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 pasteurized eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice
  • 5 cups frisée salad greens
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
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    Lyonnaise Salad with bacon and eggs: Perfect for brunch or lunch. Photo courtesy SafeEggs.com.

     
    Preparation

    1. CUT bacon strips into 2 x 1/2-inch pieces. Cook in skillet over medium heat about 5 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels. Meanwhile…

    2. BRING 2 inches water to boil in wide saucepan or skillet. Cook the asparagus for 3-4 minutes or just until crisp-tender. Immediately drop the asparagus into bowl of cold water to cool. Drain on paper towels.

    3. WHISK together in small bowl the vinegar, oil, garlic, salt, pepper and mustard. Set aside.

    4. FILL a deep saucepan or large sauté pan half full with water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and add 1/2 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice. Crack eggs individually into small custard cup or bowl and gently ease eggs into water, one at a time, holding cup as low as possible so yolk doesn’t break. Use a spoon to gather whites around yolks of each egg and continue to simmer about 3 minutes, or to desired doneness.

    5. ASSEMBLE the salad: Mound greens in center of each plate. Arrange the asparagus over the greens and sprinkle with bacon. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Carefully place a poached egg on top of each salad. Offer salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
     

    Variations

  • Use 2-1/2 cups frisée and 2-1/2 cups dark kale leaves, cut into ribbons, or baby kale, in place of all frisée.
  • Substitute green beans for asparagus.
  • Here’s another version of the recipe.
  •  
    *Here’s more about Lyonnaise cuisine.

     

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    A head of frisée. Photo courtesy Hy-Vee.com.

     

    WHAT IS FRISÉE

    Frisée has very narrow, curly pale leaves that grow in a bush-like cluster and are feathery in appearance. The name means “curly” and the lettuce is sometimes called curly endive.

    Frisée is a member of the chicory genus of lettuces, which includes endive. Chicories are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals—especially folate and vitamins A and K.

    Frisée is often included in mesclun and other salad mixes. It is extremely labor-intensive to grow, and therefore one of the costliest salad ingredients. For that reason, it isn’t a conventional supermarket item, but can be found at upscale markets and purveyors of fine produce.

    Frisée has a distinctive flavor and a delightful bitterness—less bitter than its cousins endive and radicchio. Its exotic feathery appearance has great eye appeal.

     
    Tips For Using Frisée

  • As with many salad greens, tear it rather cut it with a knife, or the edges may brown. Tear it shortly before use.
  • The tough, external leaves are best used as a plate garnish or fed to the gerbil.
  • Dress the salad right before bringing it to the table, so that it doesn’t discolor or become waterlogged.
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    TIP OF THE DAY: Honey + A Raspberry Honey Mojito Recipe

    September is National Honey Month. Celebrate by replacing table sugar with honey in your tea, in baking and other recipes.

    But don’t do it because you think honey is better for you. Truth to tell, honey and sugar are so close in calories, nutrition (both have none or marginal nutrients) and glycemic index* that it really makes no difference.

    Some websites maintained by honey enthusiasts or vendors—as opposed to nutritionists or healthcare professionals—tout the vitamins and minerals. But these are only trace amounts. Here’s more information.

    So why use honey? For the flavor, of course! Start with this Raspberry Honey Mojito:

    This recipe is from Bee Raw Honey, which used its delicious Wild Raspberry Honey in the recipe. You can substitute the honey you have on hand.

    RECIPE: RASPBERRY HONEY MOJITO

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1 tablespoon fresh raspberries
  • 10 mint leaves
  • Juice of one half lime
  • 1 tablespoons Bee Raw Wild Raspberry Honey
  • 1 shot (1-1/2 ounces) white/silver rum
  • 2 shots (3 ounces) cranberry juice
  • Ice
  • Garnish: mint leaves, raspberries
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    Celebrate National Honey Month in every way you can. Photo courtesy Bee Raw Honey.

     

    Preparation

    1. MUDDLE the raspberries, mint leaves, lime juice and honey in a cocktail shaker.

    2. ADD the rum, cranberry juice and ice. Shake well and serve in a Collins glass with fresh ice.

    3. GARNISH with a sprig of mint and a few whole raspberries.

     
    *The glycemic index of agave is 32 GI and 60 calories per tablespoon (but it’s twice as sweet as sugar, maple syrup is 54 GI and 52 calories per tablespoon, honey is 58 GI and 64 calories per tablespoon and sugar is 60-65 and 48 calories per tablespoon. Calorie data source: NutritionData.Self.com.

     

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    Raspberry Honey Mojito. Photo courtesy Bee Raw Honey.

     

    HOW TO SUBSTITUTE HONEY FOR SUGAR

    Honey In Cooked Food & Drinks

  • Up to one cup, honey can be substituted for sugar in equal amounts. For example, replace a half cup sugar for a half cup of honey.
  • Since honey is sweeter than sugar, you can also use a little less. If you prefer less sweetness to more, experiment until you find the substitution proportion that suits you.
  • If the recipe calls for more than one cup, use 2/3 or 3/4 cup of honey for every cup of sugar.
  • You can also match the type of honey to your recipe. Here are examples of honey-food pairings.
  • In general, the darker honey, the more assertive the flavor. Lighter color honeys are have more subtle flavor. Check out Bee Raw Honey to see the different colors of the “honey rainbow.”
  •  
    TIP: Before measuring the honey, generously coat measuring spoons and cups with cooking spray to prevent the honey from sticking.
     
    Honey In Baking

    In baking, honey typically makes the product more moist and flavorful. Because baking is science, and the chemistry must work, it’s better to look for a tested recipe rather than doing your own replacements. Reduce the oven temperature by 25°F when using honey in place of sugar.
     
    MOJITO HISTORY

    The Mojito (mo-HEE-toe) hails from Cuba; the name comes from the African word mojo, which means to cast a small spell. One story says that slaves working in Cuban sugar cane fields in the late 19th century invented the drink.

    However, historians at Bacardi Rum trace the cocktail’s roots to 1586, the year that Sir Francis Drake and his pirate crew made an unsuccessful attempt to sack Havana. Drake’s colleague, Richard Drake (no relation), was said to have invented a Mojito-like drink known as El Draque (The Drake). The recipe included aguardiente (a spirit similar to cachaça), sugar, lime and mint. As with most drinks of the time, it was initially consumed for medicinal purposes.

    Sometime in the mid-1800s, with the refinement of rum, rum was substituted and El Draque became known as El Mojito.
     
    MORE MOJITO RECIPES

  • Beet Mojito Recipe
  • Classic Mojito Recipe
  • Cranberry Mojito Recipe
  • Pomegranate Mojito Recipe
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