the cobbler’s children…

Last week, forty-seven hours of my life were dedicated to cooking. Two of those hours were committed to making food for me and Ralph.

Since we’ve been back in the city and, more to the point, now that I’m back at work, we eat out constantly. Because Ralph travels for a living, eating in restaurants is a necessary evil. I live three blocks from my work place. I have no excuse other than I’m whipped at the end of the day and can’t muster up the gumption to feed myself. My barren refrigerator also contributes. Filling it up would require me to plan meals. Planning meals would lead to the obligation of using the food before it spoiled. You can see where this is going…

After five months at the farm preparing, pretty much, every bite we took, I can’t believe how much salt I’m, now, ingesting. It doesn’t matter whether I’m grabbing a bagel from a coffee shop or dining at a high-end restaurant, I spend the hours after sucking water like a camel. Not to worry, I’m not going to lecture on the wickedness of salt. Saturday night, I hit the wall as we sat in a neighborhood pizza joint scarfing back chicken souvlaki – at midnight!  I’d worked all day, was home long enough to shower, throw on a dress and meet the witches. An arts community fund-raiser and a few hours, at a wine bar later, Ralph and I were starving. Hence the late night Greek food…marinated chicken, black olives, feta – salt, salt, salt!

At this rate, we’ll be candidates for pace makers in no time. It’s time for a reset. I’m dedicating today to filling the fridge with food that I’ve cooked. After a long day’s work, it’ll be waiting for us. While it’s reheating, I can set the table, pour a glass of wine, relax in my own home and know exactly what I’m eating. Don’t get me wrong, no one LOVES eating out more than I do. It’s about balance. Lately, mine’s been tipped. Time to level out…

Sausage and Quinoa stuffed Acorn Squash with Autumn Chunks
Preheat oven 400*F

2 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded
1 cup quinoa
2 links hot Italian sausage, meat removed from casing
1 small red onion, diced
¼ cup walnuts, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tart apple, unpeeled, seeded and chopped
¼ cup dried sweetened cranberries
Freshly grated parmesan – I use Reggiano Parmigiano
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

THE STEPS:

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drizzle with a bit of extra virgin olive oil.
  • Place the squash halves cut side down and roast for 25 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork.
  • Cook the quinoa according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  • While the quinoa is cooking, place a heavily bottomed skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.
  • When the olive oil is warm add onion, garlic, rosemary and walnuts – sauté slowly for 10 minutes.
  • Add sausage meat and continue cooking until all pinkness is gone from the meat.
  • Remove skillet from heat.
  • Gently fold in cooked quinoa, chopped apples and dried cranberries
  • Turn squash pieces over and fill with sausage/quinoa mixture.
  • Sprinkle with lots of freshly grated parmesan.

THE LOVE: If you’d like to make this dish vegan, just leave out the sausage! The “chunks of Autumn” give lots of flavour without the sausage…

printable recipe

one year ago: dried cranberry, pistachio and fennel cantucci

two years ago: Roma

Thanks for reading.

  • Funny how life does this and you find yourself running all over the place like a maniac. I know I do…constantly. Finding a balance is definitely easier said than done!

  • George Allen

    Michelle, another interesting article! I check every label to find the sodium content. Many items stay on the shelves. I read every one of your blogs and always enjoy them. Thanks for that!
    George

    • It’s so important to watch that old salt! Especially as we get older…Thanks so much for reading. I really appreciate your support!

      • Michelle. I can’t believe you are talking about this. No, I really can! It should be talked about. If I’m reading between the lines, the best meal is the one you make in your own home; the meal you have all eyes on. I am such a stickler on salts on everything, as much as I am with Sugar in everything. They are both the death of us. We can control what goes into the deliciousness of a meal. And if use fresh ingredients, you shouldn’t need to mask it with loads of salt!
        A good time to add a quality salt- not a quantity, is at the end of cooking. At which time you want to use something that doesn’t come in a box. Rather a Kosher or fleur de sel would be more healthy.
        We can all control our salt and sugar intake by learning to take control of our own meals, which is what you seem to be doing again, even with your busy schedule-:) Bravo!

        • Michael-Ann! So nice to hear from you. Honestly, I feel like I’ve been living off a salt lick! Today was the first day that I’ve had the opportunity to be at home and cook normal food. it felt great! You’re right – finishing with special salt at the end is the answer…

  • Anonymous

    Good reminder to take the time necessary to care for yourself and your loved ones and to prepare good meals, thank you. Amazing how much salt and sugar we consume otherwise…

    • Just being aware should guide us to make better choices all round! Thanks for reading and sharing.

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