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Cooking, Cooking, Cooking!

Posted Dec 04 2009 12:00am
Oh, I wish you had smell-o-vision on your monitors so you could have a sniff of my kitchen right now. The turkey stock has been simmering away for hours and I just finished a batch of Pumpkin Pie Porridge. It smells like my mother's house on Thanksgiving Day when I was a child. Mmmmm! The flavor of the stock has really surprised me. It needs a bit longer but I think it's going to be delicious. Either way, I set myself a goal of making stock this year and I'm proud that I did it. It may not have been the loftiest of goals but no matter what goals you set for yourself, it feels really good to follow through.

Tom Turkey Stock

The sausage and lentil soup is cooling on the stove, it might just make me a lentil convert. I altered the recipe that I linked in my previous post just a bit. I used a can of diced tomatoes in their juice rather than a diced tomato, though I wished I put two cans. I added lots of sliced carrots in addition to the minced carrots that went in with the onions and the garlic along with a huge bag of chopped mustard greens. And because I put greens I had to add hot sauce and vinegar. That's something I learned since moving to the south and it's key to bringing out the best flavor of the greens. Here's a tip when sauteing sausage meat removed from the casing or any other ground meat, use a potato masher to smash it down into the pan then stir it up. It makes perfect crumbles.

I also toasted up a batch of squash seeds reserved from last night's acorn squash. Have you ever done that? If you haven't, you must! They are the easiest and most delicious snack. Just rinse them to remove the excess squash threads, spread them out on a foil-lined baking sheet and toss with a teaspoon of olive oil.

Acorn Squash Seeds

Put them in a 325 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, stirring every so often so they don't stick. They are done when they start to pop and are lightly golden, crunchy and gorgeous.

Toasty!

Toss with a bit of kosher salt and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container, but I assure you they won't last that long because they are so tasty and really satisfy the need for a crunchy, salty snack.

I mentioned setting goals a minute ago, another I set for myself was to eat a more plant based diet and it's been fun and challenging coming up with delicious meatless meals. Squash and beans and grains and greens along with lots of other tasty vegetables have played starring roles in many a supper this year. Even Rob has enjoyed them. Last evening's meal was a keeper...

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Beans and Greens

This supper is as easy as it is tasty and filling. You won't miss the meat. Cut open an acorn squash, clean out the inside (save the seeds) and pop in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes until the squash is tender. Meanwhile, saute one chopped onion and two cloves minced garlic in olive oil until fragrant and tender but not browned. Add one bunch of greens, washed and chopped. I used red Swiss chard but any green will work. Saute until they start to shrink down. Season well with salt and pepper, add hot sauce to taste, a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and then add a cup of water, a can of rinsed white cannellini beans and a couple of handfuls of Harvest Grain blend from Trader Joe's. You can use Israeli couscous or another tiny pasta or just omit. Bring to boil, cover and simmer until the liquid is almost all absorbed and the grains are tender. Scoop mixture into the cavity of the squash. Devour!

I'll leave you with a bit more food porn and me mugging for the camera on Thanksgiving Day. If you want any of the recipes, let me know. As always, click on the photos if you want to see more food detail.

Two turkeys, one about to go in the oven

Tom


Dinner

Dressing, green bean casserole made with homemade mushroom sauce and Alexia onion snacks, Vichy carrots, mashed potatoes, roast potatoes, gravy, cranberries and of course, wine. We never did have dessert. The apples that I bought to make the Tarte Tatin went into the juice packs. We ate early but neither of us fancied an elaborate dessert after such a wonderful meal. This is one of the lessons I've learned this year, one of my favorites. I can have dessert anytime but it is completely okay to *not* want it!
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