Friday, December 24, 2010

Tis Another Season To Be Cooking

I popped into my kosher butcher shop yesterday and guess what song was playing on the radio?

White Christmas.

At least we can chalk up that one to a nice Jewish boy. The holiday, too, for that matter.

Anyway, the post-CSA cooking has run the gamut from roasted Brussels sprouts with garlic to rum-tinged cranberry sauce to homemade Pop-Tarts. And I've been on a squash kick of late. Here are a couple of good choices for cold winter evenings.

Squash, Cauliflower,and Chickpea Curry
Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls

These are really before-and-after pictures, as the cabbage rolls are stuffed with rice and leftovers from the squash curry. The recipes and idea are from The Boston Globe. (For a meaty "stuffed cabbage" with a lot less work, check out my Stuffed Cabbage Casserole.)

Another recent hit was this stuffed squash recipe, also via The Boston Globe.

Mushroom and Barley Stuffed Delicata Squash
(adapted, barely, from The Boston Globe Magazine. Mostly, I cut back on the salt and oil, and made minor ingredient substitutions based on what I had at home.)

2.75 cups water
1 cup pearled barley
3 delicata squash, about 1.25 pounds each, halved lengthwise and seeded
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted and chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
10 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add barley and 1/4 teaspoon salt, lower heat and simmer, covered, about 35 minutes or until the barley is tender and the water has been absorbed. Remove cover and set aside.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush squash halves with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet for 30 minutes. Turn squash halves over, brush each half with orange juice concentrate, and bake cut side up for another 20 minutes. Remove from oven.

While the squash is baking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet and saute the celery and onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the celery mixture to the barley along with the porcini mushrooms. Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet and saute the sliced button mushrooms until brown, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and herbs to the skillet and cook another minute more. Add this to the barley mixture, and stir in the vinegar. Taste the barley mixture and adjust the seasoning as desired.

Fill the squash cavities with the barley mixture and bake until the filling is heated through, about 20 minutes.

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