Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Acorn-ucopia of Flavor, Sweet and Savory

When I bought the acorn squash I really had no idea what I supposed to do with it.  Lately I have been overdoing the butternut squash and so when I stood in the produce section pondering my options, I decided to give the acorn squash a go.  I paired a super simple recipe for preparing the squash with a bit more labor intensive farro risotto recipe that I saw on the Food Network's Giada at Home.  The timing of bringing these two recipes together is also pretty simple, if you start the cooking portion of the risotto recipe as you are putting the squash in the oven everything should finish up at about the same time.  I say cooking portion because the farro must soak for about a half hour before you actually get started cooking.  The result is a sweet and savory dish that is fun to eat and hearty enough to serve as a vegetarian main rather than just a side.  

Acorn Squash
2 acorn squash
       Cut the top and bottom off, just enough to create a flat surface
       Half (through the equator of the squash) and remove seeds
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper
  • Preheat oven to 400 deg
  • On a cookie sheet, layout aluminum foil coated with cooking spray
  • Place squash halves with hollowed out side up on the cookie sheet
  • Coat each half with olive oil and lightly season with salt and pepper  
  • Bake for approximately 40 minutes, until squash are easily pierced with a fork
  • Remove from oven and fill each half with about 3/4 c. of risotto 
Farro Risotto Recipe 
Some notes on my preparation:
  • Halved the recipe to meet the portions of the acorn squash I was serving
  • Used raisins instead of currants, because that is what I had in my pantry
  • Omitted the salt, I usually find with risotto recipes that the cheese adds more than enough salty flavor to the dish for my taste
  • Omitted the pine nuts, because I didn't have any on hand
  • Used parmesan cheese instead of feta, again because it is what I had in my fridge 
In spite of my alterations the risotto turned out great, nutty with bursts of sweetness from the raisins.  It was a perfect complement to the squash, but I am sure it will be great on its own.      


Thursday, December 20, 2012

A New Beginning

This being my longest hiatus from The Casual Cupboard, I think I am finally ready to get back to it!  These past months have brought many a' changes which has contributed to this break in blog-post-action.  We are expecting our 2nd child, due in just 5 weeks, we've relocated to State College, PA and our first child has become increasingly mobile, keeping me very busy.  Now that we are fairly settled in our new home I am prepared to take on the task of revamping this website a bit, being that that title photo is of my old pantry and my bio is quite out of date I have some changes to make.  Minor, but it always takes me entirely too long to make such simple aesthetic should see me try to pick out a greeting card; it is ridiculous.

In the meantime I would like to share a couple recipes that I have tried recently and was quite happy with.

Chinese-Style Turkey Meatballs  

These cocktail size meatballs turned out wonderful.  They taste similar to a Chinese dumpling, just as described on the website. 

 Breakfast Quiches to Go 

They aren't your normal mini-quiche.  These portable quiches are actually the size of cupcakes, so a little larger and more appetite satisfying than the itty-bitty quiches you find at parties.  I made them for a morning tailgate recently; they were a huge hit, going perfectly with a cup of coffee...or a beer.  I made them ahead of time, froze them and then reheated them at 375deg for 15 to 20 minutes just before we headed out the door.