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Stuffed Acorn Squash

19 Dec

I’ve made this a few times, each time a little different.

It’s fun to make, really easy, and looks pretty.  Here’s how I do it –

Chop off the top like you would with a pumpkin.   But don’t point the blade toward yourself like Todd in this picture from Halloween.

Be really careful.  You’ll need a big, sharp knife.  Scoop all the junk out of the middle.

You’ll need the squash to sit up straight, so cut the little point off the bottom to create a flat surface.  Don’t cut off too much or you’ll make a hole in the bottom. (Which I actually did and I had to perform some minor surgery but it turned out fine.)

Put a little bit of butter (or olive oil) and some salt and pepper inside of each.  Place them on a cookie sheet and bake for 40 mins to an hour at 400 degrees.  Depending on the size, check the squash to make sure it’s not getting too soft and collapsing in on itself.  It should be mushy but not too mushy.

At this point you can create your stuffing out of whatever you want.  This time I used couscous, onions, garlic, frozen peas and carrots, and spicy italian sausage.  But, really, you can do anything.  Last time I did this I used ground turkey, spinach, and parmesan and it was just as good.

Chop up the onions and garlic.  Throw them in the pan with some olive oil.

Add the crumbled spicy italian sausage.  This sausage came  in the casing, so I needed to remove that and crumble the sausage in the pan.  Cook the sausage until it’s browned.

While the sausage is cooking, make the couscous or rice.  I like the couscous because it cooks super fast.  I always substitute low sodium chicken broth for water when I make it…just for added flavor.

When the couscous is done, toss in the frozen veggies.   (I think I used around a quarter of the bag?  Not sure, I just use however much looks good.) These only need a few minutes to heat up.  Mix in the cooked sausage, onion, garlic mixture.

Once the acorn squash is tender, stuff those suckers.  You can overstuff, it’s ok.  Bake for around 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven, top with cheese (any kind, but I think I used shredded mozzerella here.)  Place them under a low broiler until the cheese is melted.  I like it to brown a little bit too.

Let them sit for a minute.  They will be really hot.  Enjoy!

Sidenote – I actually made this a few weeks ago before our kitchen got some major improvements.  Coming up next…

Cooking Class – BIC

10 Nov

I’ve been thinking about taking a cooking class for a while now.  I can make basic things, and follow a recipe, but I know nothing of technique. So, after reading about them on the food blog Dining at Large, Todd and I decided to sign up for one of the Food Enthusiast classes over at BIC.   Baltimore International College is a culinary arts and hospitality management school here in Baltimore.  Our class was called Asian Cooking.

Here’s how it went down:

The menu:

  • Wonton Soup
  • Lettuce Wraps
  • Mandarin Orange Chicken
  • Sweet & Sour Chicken
  • Fried Spinach

The class was taught by Chef Frederick Parmenter, Jr – or Chef Freddy.  He is an instructor at the school and the Executive Chef at the restaurant run by the students in Baltimore City, The Bay Atlantic Club.

Chef hard at work

We were given our menus, aprons, chef hats, and a huge huge chopping knife.  First up – Wonton Soup!  We made our own wontons with a mix of ground pork, green onions, ginger, chili sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, and garlic.  I really loved making these little guys.  Todd’s are the ones that are all wonky and falling over.  Just kidding.  YUM.

Wonton Madness

Next, Todd studied his menu and shoved me in the front of the class when Chef Freddy asked for volunteers to fry things.

After we made (and ATE) the wonton soup, it was on to the lettuce wraps and the main chicken dishes.  I was surprised to learn that the sauce for the orange chicken chicken has a TON of ketchup in it.  Like, 14 huge Costco sized cans.  Oh also, they use food dye to give it that shiny, bright orange color.  Nevertheless, it tasted delicious.  Here I am frying up some chicken for both dishes.

Nice stove!

Todd whipped up some sticky rice and we plated it all…

Orange Chicken

Next Chef Freddy showed us how to make a homemade sesame ginger salad dressing, which was amazing!  I don’t have a picture but it was exactly like the dressing you get with your house salad at a sushi restaurant.  Once we were done cooking and eating all of this (about 4 hours), we were able to head across the hall to visit the Cheese and Wine class.  I know, why didn’t we take that?!  Well, I figured we knew how to eat cheese and drink wine and we didn’t see ourselves making cheese anytime soon, so Asian Cooking might be more useful.  We swapped rooms with that class and we were able to sample some of their creations, and they sampled ours.  I think they were all starving after drinking wine for 4 hours.

I felt like we learned a ton and if nothing else, we got a huge delicious dinner out of it (and that giant scary chopping knife)!

Baking with Pumpkin

4 Oct

A few weeks ago I spotted the Pillsbury pumpkin bread in the market near our house.  I immediately grabbed two boxes and one container of cream cheese frosting.  (I probably should have bought all of the boxes, considering they are crazy popular this time of year.)  I also grabbed a bag of mini semi sweet chocolate chips.  Then Sunday morning, I accidentally woke up really early (by my weekend standards)  and decided to put one of those boxes to use.  By 8am, the house smelled like pumpkin and chocolate (and coffee).  Ahh.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread (courtesy of Pillsbury):

Then, this morning I saw this.  Martha never disapoints.

(Photo credit: “Baked: New Frontiers in Baking” Stewart, Tabori & Chang, coauthored with Renato Poliafito, October 2008)

Well then.  I think I’ll make these too..which will require significantly more work than the pumpkin bread.  Also, it says I need to use parchment paper.   Do I really?  Mom?

PS.  In case you were wondering.  Here is THE crab cake.  Yes, it was amazing.  Yes, this is how it arrives – on its own plate.  Deservedly so.  No, I didn’t go for the double platter like most people.  I could barely finish this monster.

THE G&M Crab Cake