Monday, October 31, 2011

What the BULK!?!?!

It's Tuesday and time for another "What the Bulk?" post, where I try to demystify the items you can buy in bulk at your favorite market. Today's bulk is QUINOA (pronounced, "keen-wah") and it's one of my favorites. Not only is it a nutritional powerhouse (packed with protein), it tastes great and is versatile. I chose this particular recipe because it involves BUTTERCUP squash, the new love of my life. I decided this fall would be the season to try new varieties of squash and try not to be intimidated by them. To the left is a picture of what buttercup looks like. And above is a picture of this recipe made (with some homemade cranberry sauce, Gardein meat-less tips and a spinach salad.) Yum!

Buttercup Squash and Quinoa, Apricot and Sage Stuffing

From “Clean Start” by Terry Walters

I’m SO glad I tried this recipe! Not only did I get over my fear of cooking squash that wasn’t acorn or butternut, I just discovered a perfect side dish for Thanksgiving!

2 small buttercup squashes

2 T olive oil, plus more for rubbing squash (I sprayed it with olive oil)

1 cup quinoa

1 ½ cups veg. stock

Pinch of sea salt

6 shallot cloves, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

6 dried apricots, chopped

2 T chopped fresh sage

2 T chopped fresh parsley

1 T mirin (get in the Asian section of the market near soy sauce)

Zest of 1 lemon

2 T lemon juice (use fresh lemon!)

½ cup toasted sliced almonds (toast them, it really gives a better flavor!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Wash squash and cut in half or quarters, depending on the desired serving size. Scoop out and discard seeds, rub skins with olive oil and place open-side down on parchment-lined baking pan. Roast 25 minutes or until soft throughout. Turn off heat, but leave squash in oven to stay warm until ready to serve. (Note: even if you only make this much of the recipe, you can simply enjoy just this lovely squash as is!)

Meanwhile, combine quinoa in pot with stock. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside, but do not fluff yet.

In Dutch oven over medium heat, sauté shallots and celery in 1 T olive oil until soft. Add apricots, sage, parsley and mirin and sauté 3 minutes longer. Fluff quinoa and fold into shallot mixture. Add lemon zest and juice and remaining T olive oil and sauté 3 minutes longer or until heated through. Remove quinoa from heat, and squash from oven. Fill individual squash boats with stuffing, garnish with toasted almonds and parsley sprinkled on top.

Serves 4

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