Acorn Squash with Quinoa and Eggplant

I spent my day working out of The Butcher Shop in the South End today. We had a big photo shoot in the morning of some giant cuts of meat (i.e. ribeye, 2-inch thick filet mignon, rack of lamb) for a brochure for Savenor’s market. I love days like today where I get work done but don’t have to sit in an office.

While sitting at the window at TBS, I looked outside and saw all sorts of beautiful, fresh produce at Siena Farms, which is just next door. There was a big box of acorn squash out there just starting me in the face. I had to buy some. And I did. What resulted was an easy dinner that looks way fancier than it actually is. Perfect for impressing that special person in your life. Or yourself. You’re special too.

Acorn Squash with Quinoa and Eggplant

Serves 2

  • 2 acorn squash, about 1 lb each
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1/2 eggplant, small dice
  • 1/2 vidalia onion, small dice
  • Salt, pepper, herbs de provence
  • 3 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut top off each squash. The top should only be about an inch down from the top of the squash. You want the top to look like a little hat.
  3. Scoop out all of the seeds and threads and throw away.
  4. Place squash opening down on an oiled baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes. Having the squash opening down will allow it to steam itself.
  5. Melt butter and oil together. Saute onions over medium heat until translucent. Even longer if you want them to be more tender.
  6. Add eggplant to onions. Saute until eggplant is cooked through.
  7. Season with salt, pepper, and herbs de provence. I found this mix to be the best when a bit on the peppery side. It offsets the sweetness of the squash perfectly.
  8. In a medium sized bowl, mix cooked quinoa and eggplant/onion mixture.
  9. Take squash out of the oven, place on a place. Fill each squash with quinoa/eggplant/onion mixture.
  10. Serve with top of squash for effect (If that’s your kind of thing. It was mine. Squash Hat.)

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Vegetable Stew and Jalapeno Cornbread

Work has been absolutely kicking my butt lately, so last night when I left work at 5 I felt so energetic, like I had the WHOLE night to do whatever I wanted. It was a great feeling. I channeled that great feeling into a delicious dinner that I’m so excited to share with you. Yesterday was so rainy and cold, which instantly made me want a stew or a chili with cornbread. Looking around at different stew recipes left me feeling like there weren’t enough veggies, or too much cream (and you know I’m trying to watch my figure), so I decided to wing it and make my own. The jalapeno cornbread I adapted from a recipe I found online and might still need a little tweaking, but it was definitely still enjoyable.

Vegetable Stew

  • 28 oz can peeled tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 c chicken broth
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped finely
  • 2 habanero peppers, chopped finely
  • 2 pasilla peppers
  • 3 oz Portuguese chorizo, chopped (I use Gaspar’s because it’s all they carry at my grocery store. Whatever sausage you have is fine)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1.5 tbsp butter
  • 3 cups kale, chopped
  • ancho chili powder (or any type of chili powder)
  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • salt, pepper
  1. First, to roast the bell peppers and pasilla peppers. Turn oven onto broil and allow to heat to full temperature. Place peppers in oven as close as possible to broiler. Once the skin closest to the broiler becomes blackened and bubbly, rotate the pepper, and continue doing this until each side is blackened and bubbly.
  2. Remove peppers from oven, allow to cool, then peel the skin off the peppers and chop them, removing all seeds
  3. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium. Add onions and allow to cook until translucent and soft. Once soft, add the jalapenos and habaneros. Continue to cook until the onions become browned and caramelized.
  4. Add peeled tomatoes (including liquid), chicken broth, tomato paste. Allow to reach a light boil.
  5. Once boiling, add the bell peppers and pasilla peppers, and chopped chorizo. Allow to boil for 15 minutes uncovered.
  6. Add kale to the liquid and mix it in. Add ancho chili powder, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper to taste. Make sure you taste this so that you know how to season accordingly. Cover, and allow to simmer for as long as you’d like. The longer it simmers, the more flavor it has.

Jalapeno Cornbread

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 jalapenos, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce (instead of oil)
  • 1 cup creamed corn
  • 1/4 cup light maple syrup (you can use regular if you want – again, watching my figure)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl
  3. Mix wet ingredients into a large bowl
  4. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Mix well.
  5. Pour corn bread into a round baking dish, muffin pan, or mini-muffin pan. In mini-muffin pan, bake for around 15 minutes.┬áCheck on them periodically to see if they’ve set. Once set, remove, let them cool, and chomp away.

If you make them in a round baking dish or regular size muffin, the bake time may be longer. Just check on them periodically. They’re not super fragile.

jalapeno cornbread with a touch of butter

The 5-Day Thanksgiving Weekend and Brussels Sprouts

As we all know, last Thursday was Thanksgiving. As you probably do not know, my holiday started Wednesday morning and did not end until 6:30 this morning when my alarm clock went off. As I sit here in my office trying to get a grip on the work I have and waiting for my 10 am meeting, I am reflecting on my culinary endeavors of the past 5 days.┬áDespite my best efforts to stay on track on my diet (read: no real effort to speak of), I did not. As a result, I made some of the most delicious, delectable dishes I’ve ever made. The first dish is a brussels sprouts dish that I made as a side dish to bring to Thanksgiving dinner. I know a lot of people don’t like these little guys, but with bacon, garlic, and shallots, they’re hard to resist.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Garlic, and Shallots

(Original recipe from myrecipes.com)

  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 large shallot, sliced thin
  • 1.5-2 lbs brussels srpouts, trimmed and halved (or quartered if you want more loose leaves)
  • 3/4 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Saute bacon until extra crispy and remove the bacon from the pan. Leave most of the bacon drippings in the pan.
  2. Chop the bacon into small pieces.
  3. Reduce the heat on the skillet to medium and add the bacon, shallot, and sprouts to the skillet with the bacon drippings. Saute about 4 minutes.
  4. Add garlic, saute until garlic begins to brown. Stir frequently so as not to burn the shallots or the garlic.
  5. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes, or until most of the broth evaporates.
  6. Continue to cook brussels sprouts until then are tender, or until they achieve a dark color that suits your taste. (I personally like my brussels sprouts dark and crispy-ish)

too many brussels for one pan. not a bad problem to have.

brussels with bacon, shallots, garlic added in

close up as brussels near completion