November 20, 2012

T-Day Cooking

So let me first start out by saying that I don't cook- for several reasons.  First off, I don't have the time (or patience) to cook after a long day of work, especially when I come home feeling like some ravenous animal.  My dinners usually consist of puncturing a few holes in some film and nuking my food for three minutes.  The next reason I don't cook is that half the time I don't pay close attention to the specific ingredients the recipe calls for and I buy the wrong thing.  Finally, I'm usually a hazard to myself when I'm in the kitchen, as I've been known to start a few fires in my (failed) efforts to develop my culinary skills.  So I've now limited myself to cooking once a year, on my hubby's birthday (sucks for him).  Last year, I wanted to be really creative and made him pad thai - which would have been good had I bought the right type of noodles.  This year, I tried to make up for my failed pad thai with a few dishes a la Martha Stewart.  The menu was acorn squash stuffed with mushrooms and rice, garlic-lemon pork, and peach crumble for dessert.  True to form, I used the wrong cut of pork for the garlic-lemon pork, so it turned out "meh."  However, the squash and peach crumble were a success- at least decent enough for a blog post.  Since my cooking successes are few and far between, I thought I'd share- plus, these two dishes are perfectly suitable for Thanksgiving, just around the corner.  Here's what you'll need:

Acorn Squash Stuffed With Mushrooms and Rice (serves 4)

Ingredients

- 2 acorn squash, cut in half and seeded
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 pound cremini, diced small
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
- 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme (which I learned by hubby hates)
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Season the cut sides of the squash on a baking sheet with salt and pepper, then drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil and turn the cut sides down.  Then tightly cover the entire baking sheet with foil and roast until tender for about 35 minutes.





2.  While the squash are roasting, in a medium straight-sided skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high.  Add your mushrooms, onion and thyme (or not, if you're my husband) and season with salt and pepper.  Saute for about 8 minutes until the mushrooms are golden.  Add rice and broth and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce to low heat, cooking until the liquid is absorbed, for 20 minutes.




3.  Remove the squash from the oven and carefully scoop out 2-3 tablespoons flesh from each squash half and stir into rice; season with salt and pepper.  Then divide the rice mixture among the squash halves, sprinkle with Parmesan and broil until melted, for 2 minutes.

And voila!



Peach Crumble (serves 8)

Ingredients- for the Filling

- 2 pounds of peaches or nectarines, cut into 1/2-inch wedges (6 cups) [since peaches aren't in season, I just used the canned ones]
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Ingredients- for the Topping

- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/4 cup light-brown sugar
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Directions

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees while you make your filling.  Combine peaches, granulated sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch and salt, then transfer to an 8-inch baking dish.



2.  Now make your topping.  Using a mixer, in a large bowl beat the butter and brown sugar on medium until it becomes light and fluffy.  Add flour and salt, then use your hands to mix until large pieces form.  Scatter the pieces over the filling.





3.  Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the center is bubbling, tenting loosely with foil after 30 minutes.  Cool for 20 minutes before serving.  Dessert is served!



{Original recipes can be found here: Acorn Squash and Peach Crumble}
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