Sunday, November 7, 2010

Acorn Squash

I like to think I have an adventuresome palate, and I do, especially when it comes to unusual ethnic food. I am game for just about anything. For years I have put an entire category of food on my mundane, not so interested list. This included any kind of squash and sweet potatoes. I conquered sweet potatoes years ago when I discovered my preoccupation with Indian cuisine. But squash, well it has taken longer to enter that foray.

Every fall it is the same, I head to the grocery store, my list in hand, which includes items like, vegetable for dinner. I try hard not to over do the roasted vegetables, but they are so good. I sit and ponder in the produce section trying to conjure up an idea, something different. Inevitable I start looking at the squash. They are visually very appealing to me, so festive and colorful but I just can't get myself to go there. What on earth would I do with it and Tina just wouldn't enjoy it. We never had squash growing up, in fact we rarely had fresh produce at all. After all feeding a family of 8 was costly and time consuming. My mother relied on canned and frozen vegetable. I can honestly say the only time I ever get frozen vegetables is when I am in a real pinch for something like peas. This fall I find those squash just calling my name. So last week I gave it and got my first acorn squash. I quickly invited my friend Paula over for dinner, knowing she would appreciate what ever transpired.

I decided squash stuffed with wild rice would be perfect to pair with the rest of our dinner. It was so simple and so delicious that I know I will do this again and again. I simply cut the squash in half, lengthwise and removed the seeds. I put about a teaspoon of butter in each half, a scant tablespoon of brown sugar and a drizzle of my own honey and baked them, cut side up in a dish with about a half inch of water for an hour. When they were done, I stuffed them with wild rice that I gussied up with toasted pecans, dried cranberries and sauteed celery and onions and baked for another 15 minutes or so.

I could barely speak when I started eating it was so good. I can think of a million fillings and I can also imagine no filling at all. A whole new world has opened up for me. I won't be passing by those squash ever again. Next up some fun with Butternut!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Homemade Oreo Cookies, OMG

If your gluten-free an you don't know Shauna and Danny Ahern, well your missing out big time. I have been a fan of their blog, Gluten-Free Girl and The Chef for as long as I have been gluten-free. If you appreciate good story telling, excellent writing and are living gluten-free you have too many reason to check it out at

When I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease I didn't even know what a blog was and quite frankly it took me awhile to actually understand how it a worked. Lucky me, I stumbled on Shauna's blog long before it became so hugely popular. I remember spending the better part of day going back and reading each and every post since the inception of her blog. I was riveted. I bought her first book as soon as it was published and I even flew to Chicago for a book signing. I felt a kindredness with Shauna, a connection through the gluten-free world that I guess we call the gluten-free community.

I am still enthralled with their new cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef. I love the photographs, the tips, the approach to cooking and the recipes but honestly, I am die heart fan of the blog, mostly for the stories and every now and again for the recipes.

Recently Shauna and Danny posted about Oreo Cookies, including a recipe for making them gluten-free. Now I don't have a sweet tooth and would almost always prefer something savory but these cookies are incredible. I am already thinking of a million ways to actually use the chocolate cookies which are delicate and delicious. You can head over to their blog and get the recipe yourself. The dough is little fussy in that it stuck to my hands and every third cookie or so I had to wash my hands. I also made mine too big, when they suggest just a little more than a teaspoon, they mean just a little more than a teaspoon. All my teaspoons were in the dishwasher so I was trying to eyeball the volume and went too big. I also found my cookies did spread a bit while baking so do place them at least an inch or more apart. My stuffing also seemed a bit stiff, not exactly sure what that was about but they were tasty none the less. More importantly, I am looking forward to using the chocolate cookies to make a cheesecake crust, pie crust and crushed over ice cream.

If nothing else it was shear fun making these Oreo's!