In my ongoing quest to find more fulfillment, I have decided to try and cook more at home and avoid eating out so much. This is motivated by two things. Eating out is both expensive and very unhealthy in the long run, particularly the kind of eating out that I do which consists of a rotation of Chinese food, pizza and going out to a Mexican restaurant. Alright, not all of those are expensive, but they are bad for my health. The second, loftier, reason is that I enjoy cooking and want to learn how to do it better and E. enjoys the food I make (usually, especially if it doesn't contain red onions).
Tonight, I made a very "interesting" dish. When I was in architecture school as an undergrad, our professors would come around and look at our work. Often, the first words out of their mouth when they would approach my desk would be something like, "This is...um...interesting." Basically, it meant that it was somehow unusual and somehow less than successful. I felt that way about what I made tonight. The dish, from The Joy of Cooking, was "Baked Acorn Squash with Pear and Apple" (p. 425).
Basically, I think that I would have liked it if it weren't squash...which, I realize, I should have recognized before I made it. I was trying it because we are having some vegetarian friends over for dinner this weekend and we wanted to attempt it before making it for them. Although I have never really liked squash, I have recently acquired an appreciation for it -- and it was in season. Let's say that taste was not acquired for this squash. I'm not sure if it is because I messed it up or I just really don't like squash. I'm hoping its the former, especially since E. really liked it. The filling was great, though and the idea of serving a dish in what looks like a pumpkin is kind of cool.
Anyway, for those of you who like squash and might want to try it, here you go:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter a baking pan. Place cut side sown in the baking pan
2 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded
Add ¼ inch hot water to the pan. Bake for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, mix in a medium bowl:
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1 ripe pear, peeled, cored, and diced
¼ cup dried raisins
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
Grated zest of 1 small orange
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Heat in a large skillet over medium heat until melted:
2 tablespoons butter
Add the apple mixture and cook until the fruit is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in:
¼ cup apple cider or orange juice
Simmer, stirring often, until the fruit is tender, about 8 minutes. Remove the squash from the oven: pour off the water from the pan and turn the squash cut side up. Fill the squash with the apple mixture. Bake until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes more.
Page 425, Rombauer, IS; Becker, MR; and Becker, E. 1997. The Joy of Cooking. New York:Scribner.