13.12.05

Squash stuffed with quinoa ala Bakingsheet


As Christmastime tends to be rather expensive when you're living on the meager budget of a graduate student stipend, we've had to be more creative with what we're eating lately and rob the cupboards of all of those unusual ingredients I've 'collected' over the years (yes, some of them have sat in there for years waiting to be used, as I have already confessed). One of these ingredients in quinoa. I'm really not sure when I bought it, or if I even used it once after buying it, but it was in the lazy susan under the counters and in a pretty little old-fashioned wire-topped glass jar that I also must have picked up at a second-hand store or one of our Goodwill raids. Now, just what could I do with something that has a name like quinoa - sounds like some exotic ingredient like Ms. Cooking diva, Chef Melissa, might pick off a tree in the tropics. But no, just a rather mundane and boring looking grain-like thing...

Then, from the recesses of my memory, I recalled a recipe from Nic, at Bakingsheet, for quinoa stuffed squash. We still have a random assortment of squash and potatoes from the mysterious re-appearance of Farmer Steve from our CSA, including something that looked vaguely reminiscent of Nic's carnival squash. Luckily, I also had the rest of the ingredients she called for. You can find her recipe here, and the only changes I made was to add some toasted walnuts and using dried cranberries instead of dried cherries. The smell from the oven when you take the squash out is heavenly - a combination of carmelized sugar and maple mixed in with the earthiness of the squash. And Nic means it when she says one squash feeds two. I made two, thinking that without the addition of a salad or something to round out the meal, we might still be hungry. I was wrong, but the leftovers will make a nice lunch this afternoon. Even the extra filling by itself was tasty.

Then I read more about quinoa today in an effort to educate myself a bit - it's actually not a grain at all, it's the seed of a plant distantly related to spinach! And it's also considered a 'supergrain,' which is good in light that we won't be eating the most balanced meals possible with our monetary constraints. Unfortunately, as I read more about it I also realized that I might actually have cooked millet instead of quinoa, but since there was no label and I don't have to background of using either one, I'm not sure which I used! Though I do think it looked like the same grain as Nic's picture...either way, it was tasty. The website I saw also recommended toasting the quinoa in a heated pan briefly before cooking it, and I think this would really add a nice roasted flavor that would go really well with this recipe. Try it - it's delicious!

10 comments from you:

vlb5757 said...

Michelle, I have eaten Quinoa hot and a salad so to speak cold like a couscous. It was okay and that surprised me. My veg clients introduced me to it. It's great that you tried something new!

LB said...

So that is where you hide your sneaky buys, in the lazy susan. I hope you get home before me today, or I'll have to see what you've been up to..........

nice job describing the squash baby.

Melissa CookingDiva said...

Michelle, your squash looks fantastic!!! The quality of the photos is great, congratulations on both..., mi querida Senorita! Abrazos,
Melissa

Nic said...

That squash looks delicious - excellent job. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it, too.

Nerissa said...

The squash/quinoa looks lovely! I would consider trying it because I like both.

Hmmm... You're reminding me of two things I wanted to do. Cook my acorn squash which glares at me every time I get near the microwave on top of which it sits.
And I wanted to make a Peruvian quinoa dish I've been wanting to make for a while. IT would use up a lot of the food I need to get rid of before heading south for Christmas.

Dawn said...

Cool that you tried out something new! Necessity is the mother of eating up old ingredients long forgotten, I'd say! I've never tried quinoa, but maybe I will (right after I use some of my own hidden ingredients!).

michelle said...

Hi Vickie!
I actually liked it a lot. I'm interested in trying the roasting technique too. I'll have to try it in a salad - I think I might have tried that at some point in my life, but I've never made it! There's so many strange carbs out there! I wish I knew what to do with all of them!

LB! That's not where I hide all of them! You'll never find them! And ANYWAY - you benefit from my little secret buys all the time!

Hi Melissa!
Thank you for the compliment!

Hi Nic! No, thank you for all your wonderful recipes! Everything of yours that I have tried has been excellent!

Hi Diningdica!
Yes, I have many a squash that stares at me from its cold corner in the kitchen for many months at a time...I find that squash, although very tasty, just isn't something I get cravings for! Can't wait to see that Peruvian recipe...

Hi Dawn!
Yes, I agree...I feel somewhat like a packrat that, when I run out of money, lives off of my collections. I suppose it all works out in the end! See, LB, other foodies hide stuff too!! Dawn, I hope you're feeling better!

Nerissa said...

BTW: It doesn't seem to be that you've been tagged sooooo TAG! you're it! Name your top ten foods in a blog of the same name. See my blog post for details :) I can't wait to see what you come up with

Melissa CookingDiva said...

I am back! Ok, I checked on your previous post list and didnt find a post on your 10 favorite foods. So, I am tagging you to continue the meme :) This is the link: http://panamagourmet.blogs.com/cookingdiva/2005/12/post.html
Hugs, Melissa

michelle said...

Well, you all got me! Just wait until the next meme comes around...just you wait...