Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Quinoa Stuffed Squash

Monday night for dinner, I made stuffed squash for me and D. (J ate some golden orange soup.) I also sauteed up some swiss chard and kale that I mixed up with some quinoa, and made some baby red potatoes.

I needed to use up some more of the golden orange soup from last week (it's getting on in age there). That's actually what inspired this whole meal. D had made J the soup for dinner, and I was looking at it thinking that it would be a good base for squash stuffing. I had been dreaming about stuffed squash all day at work. Dream, meet the means.

Ingredients for the stuffing

1 cup cooked red quinoa

1 cup
golden orange soup
3 Swiss chard leaves
1/2 pomegranate

1/4 cup golden raisins

1-2 T pine nuts

Ingredient to be stuffed

1 carnival squash

What I did

To start, while feeding J dinner, I rinsed and cooked one cup of red quinoa. I think the red quinoa is just so pretty. Rinsing is essential, as I've learned. It takes the bitter coating off the small grains, so that they taste MUCH better!

I also washed, rolled, and julienned three mixed Swiss Chard leaves. I then quickly and lightly microwaved steamed them (one minute at 5 power). First ingredient into the bowl.

Looking around the kitchen, I wanted something sweet and thought,
raisins! I pulled out my organic golden raisins and put approximately 1/4 cup into the bowl of stuffing wonders. Then J added some to her soup. And some pine nuts (I had already taken those out of the fridge to add to the squash.)
I had a pomegranate that my mom bought me, sitting on the table, just waiting for something to be made with it, so I used half it, scooping/pulling out the little pom gems and any juice that came along. More sweetness and a little bit of liquid.

I added a cup of the golden soup to my bowl of stuffing wonders.

(Sometime while preparing the stuffing and cooking the quinoa, I pre-heated the oven to 410F.)

I cut the carnival squash in half and scooped out the seeds and string. (It did not want to be cut! J thought it would be funny to keep poking me as I was struggling with the huge knife and the not-to-be-cut squash. It was not funny.)

When the quinoa finished cooking, I took one cup of it and added it to my bowl of stuffing wonders -- chard, raisins, pom, and golden soup -- mixing everything together well. (I saved the rest of the quinoa for other purposes.)
Then I spooned the mixture into the squash halves, topped each with some pine nuts, and placed them in my brownie/roasting/all-purpose pan with a bit of water (maybe 1/2 - 1 inch). (I had enough of the stuffing mixture left to fill another squash half. I saved the stuffing for J to have for lunch today.)
I popped the pan in the oven right before I went to put the girls to bed. If I was going to be in the kitchen, I would have covered the squash with foil for the first 20-25 minutes of roasting, but I didn't want to give D any more complicated directions than, take out when the timer goes off.

I set the time for 40 minutes. This is another step that I would change. I would set it for 50 minutes instead, or maybe even 60.
D turned off the oven after the 40 minutes (I was still getting the girls to sleep), but didn't take the squash out. I don't know how much longer they sat in the oven, but it was all good. [I would add the extra ten minutes because, although everything was cooked, the squash (bottom) could have been a little more tender. Just my preference. :)]

For the side greens and quinoa, I was inspired by a recipe for Swiss Chard in Dreena Burton's Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan.
I saved the rest of the chard and kale that I could (that's what I get for forgetting about two bunches in the crisper!), washed and dried the leaves, rolled and julienned them. I heated my saute pan, added some sesame oil, and when it was warm, added the greens and some salt and pepper. I sauteed them for 2-3 minutes, then turned off the heat and added a bit of Bragg's and some more sesame oil. When I put them on the plates, I added in some more red quinoa and mixed together. (The Bragg's was a bit overpowering without the quinoa, so note to self: don't use Bragg's next time. Buy some tamari.)
D and I ate dinner as the night wore on, adding in some sourdough bread (thanks Rita!) with Earth Balance and Tofutti cream cheese and the baby red potatoes slathered with Earth Balance. All together, very filling. But I should have made the potatoes with everything else, so that we could have been filled up at one sitting. Lesson learned, to be employed next time. And the stuffing was quite delish - toasty pine nuts, splashes of juice in the pom seeds, softened raisins...

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