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
- 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…
one year ago: dried cranberry, pistachio and fennel cantucci
two years ago: Roma
Thanks for reading.