Oh, yeah! Uh-huh! (Insert strutting with unique head motion — sort of like an emu)

I COOKED!!!

The very reason I started this blog almost two years ago (say what?!?! it’s been two years?!?!?!) come December, was to cook and entertain.  I would say two meals in two years may be, in some people’s eyes, a slow start; however, I am not just your normal, run-of-the-mill, do-it-like-everybody-else gal.  No, siree.  Blame it on the genes (have I told you about my Aunt Gladys?) or my mother — no, you can’t blame it on her; she was super together — or my father (after all that’s his Aunt Gladys) or life, but the fact remains I am, if truth be told, a dork, ding bat, space queen, whatever.  I have, after decades of living, almost, almost gotten used to it.

I COOKED!!!!

Yippee!  Woot! Woot!  I’m so happy.  Not because I cooked, but because it tasted good.  See, I just never know. So far I’ve thrown away a peach pie, an apple pie, and had to doctor an apple cake to make it at least edible.  Men will eat anything!

 

Since it’s apple season, all the dishes were centered around apples and winter squash.  We should all be on a sugar high today.  The pork chops came from Pioneer Woman’s cookbook, Pioneer Woman Cooks.  How appropriate is that?!?!  There is a picture at the bottom of this post, but I won’t put the recipe in here.  Ree, the Pioneer Woman, has a recipe section as well as talks about her cookbooks with some of the recipes from them on her blog.  So I will just let you click on this web site: http://thepioneerwoman.com/

Having fun with Kay taking my pics

My friend, Kay, took

oooh, bad bad 

all sorts of pictures.  These are the only ones I can let you see.

The menu:

Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing (from a Martha Stewart magazine I believe)

Pork Chops with Apples and Grits (I left out the grits) (The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook)

Roasted Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing

Apple Crisp Pie and Apple Cake with Brown Sugar-Cider Sauce

The stuffed squash came from the internet: http://www.chow.com/recipes/13566-roasted-acorn-squash-with-wild-rice-stuffing

Roasted Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 medium acorn squash (about 1 1/2 pounds each), halved lengthwise and seeds removed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cups cooked wild rice mix (1 cup uncooked)
  • 2/3 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • I cooked my rice in chicken stock; added some minced carrot for color; used ground thyme because I didn’t have fresh; and omitted the brown sugar since I was having a sweet sauce on the pork chops.
  • INSTRUCTIONS
    1. Heat the oven to 450°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
    2. Place squash cut side up on a baking sheet, brush 1 tablespoon of the melted butter over the tops and insides of the squash halves, sprinkle with brown sugar, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast in the oven until just fork tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, place 1 tablespoon of the melted butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. When it foams, add the onion, shallots, and celery, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and stir to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in the thyme and cook until just fragrant, about 1 minute.
    4. Remove from heat and stir in the rice, pecans, cranberries, and measured salt and pepper.
    5. Divide the rice filling among the roasted squash halves (about 1/2 cup for each) and drizzle the remaining tablespoon of butter over top. Continue roasting until the squash is completely fork tender, the edges have started to brown, and the filling is heated through, about 20 to 25 minutes.
      Spinach Salad

      Brown Sugar-Apple Cider Sauce  adapted from In The Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley. Artisan; September 2001; $35.00/hardcover

      (I substituted the brandy with apple cider.)

       

       

      The Aftermath

     

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