Thanksgiving was great. We are now into a two-year “routine” where we go to Kate and Ned’s and spend the day with them and some of Ned’s family. It’s terrific and relaxing and I enjoy it. For whatever reason this year I’ve been cooking squash like it was going out of style. Partly it’s because I’ve been eating out less but partly it’s because I just got sick of soup. Squash, as it turns out, is delicious. So I’m now one of those women who finds recipes on The Pioneer Woman and passes them around. I’m not proud. Here are the recipes I have been making. If you’re squash-curious but don’t know where to start or never really get past the stuffed acorn meals, this is for you.
Acorn – stuffed squash with brown rice and sausage (my photo)
Buttercup – twice baked buttercup squash OR buttercup squash casserole (my photo, another photo)
Butternut – red pepper and butternut soup OR roasted beet and butternut soup (my photo)
Carnival – quinoa stuffed carnival squash (my photo)
Delicata – maple glazed squash rings (my photo)
Golden Acorn – topsy turvy stuffed squash (my photo)
Spaghetti – baked spaghetti squash with garlic sage cream OR simple spaghetti squash parmesan (my photo)
I haven’t braved the giant lumpy hubbard squash yet since I am usually just feeding me and maybe one other person. Now that I’m back in Vermont after holidaytime I may see if the farmer’s market has anything outside this usual suspects list. Oh and the Frontier Woman recipe I made? Not squash at all but something called Crash Hot Potatoes (my photo, looks the same, doesn’t it?). Simple.
It’s a continual challenge trying to find things to eat that are delicious and also fit in with the current fitness regime. I’m back to taking long walks on the beach (thank you ankle! thank you Rachel who helped fix my ankle!) while I’m down in Westport for the week so I can also make bigger meals and eat more desserts. Last week in Vermont I felt like I ate, happily, nothing but squash. Every day I’d go to the farmstand and get a new type of squash and then find ways to cook it. This week I am having some people for dinner and even though they are incredibly friendly and polite I thought I could do better than “Here, I roasted this single vegetable for you!”
So, I’m putting together something with stuffed acorn squash and some butternut curry soup. While I’m planning these recipies I’m eating nothing but rice and green beans. I’m never great with desserts. I think my friends are bringing pie. I noticed that I have some marshmallows left over from a summer where I didn’t do many cookouts, so I tried to see if that old “put the marshmallow in the microwave” thing still works and it does! So, I put a melty marshmallow between two of those ginger thins that you can get at Ocean State Job Lots and am making a ton of those little sandwiches to stick in the fridge. Stupid tasty and only about 75 calories.
Another side project while I’m down here is going through the boxes of stuff that I got back, finally, from Seattle. There are a lot of books in there, many of which I liked and still look forward to reading or at least admiring on a shelf somewhere (note to self: get more shelving) but there are two types of books, maybe three, that I feel like I just don’t need anymore: cookbooks and medical type books. I took my favorite cookbooks with my when I left Seattle and the random ones I still have (a Cuisinart cookbook? a guide to soups?) have been supplanted by the easy keyword searching and ease of use of sites like this one. This is especially true when many sites online have calorie counts and/or have huge databases where you can search by what you have in your house. Health books are quickly outdated and, again, I am good at the searching online. I think for a lot of people it’s important to have something authoritative and they’re not sure if they know how to do that sort of thing online. I don’t feel that way, I know the truth about the tree octopus.
Between these books and a few different sorts of dictionaries (rhyming, crossword, Romanian/English) I have a small little pile of books that won’t make it home with me. This house has its share of useful and useless books so it may be part of a larger weeding plan. It’s good to have winter projects. I’m just happy to have one that isn’t all “Leg exercises.” and “Eat more salad.”
I did that stupid thing I sometimes do when I’m cooking for impending guests. I start too early so that I finish too early and then I try to get creative in the kitchen with all my “free” time. I was going to sweep and clean up during that time, but somehow my broom is outside buried in several feet of snow, so that was impractical. I tried to whip up some strawberry lemon glaze/syrup for the pound cake I’d made the night before based on only what I could remember about making sugar syrups from when I lived in Romania. While I was looking away, trying to see if my concoction was at the “soft ball” stage or whatever, disaster struck! The results were predictably hilarious, but I did learn a nice new technique for getting burned sugar off of a stovetop (cover with wet washcloth, leave for five minutes, wipe, repeat). Fortunately, having chili done early just means it can cook down for longer and it was, by all accounts, delicious. I had ten folks (and three little folks) over. My fridge which was jarringly empty once I finished cooking — chili is really a shelf-cleaner of a recipe — is now full, even after 10-13 people were fed. Thanks to everyone who came by, it was a nice time.
Today after seeing my last guest off with tea and a corn muffin I decided to hunker down and do all that deferred inbox maintenance that has been sort of hounding me since I started getting busy again in mid-February, the sort that is only really possible on Other People’s Holidays. I’m at that sticky point where I don’t know if it’s more uncool to reply to an email from August or just file it away and not reply. Whenever I am patting myself on the back for all my wonderful communicative postal and chat and email and facebook followthrough generally speaking, I look at my inbox and remember I’m just as dragass as everyone else in some respects. I think eight is as good as it gets today… oh wait maybe seven.