Thursday, July 15, 2010

Oven Night!

Oven Night is a product of my love of efficiency and environmental efforts. Sadly, ovens are inefficient little beasts and so consequently, part of my meal planning involves oven use. When I choose my meals and desserts, I try to double up on anything that's going to be using the oven. This means my oven only has to heat up once, my air conditioning only has to battle it for one evening, during which I adjust it to a higher temp, and I don't have to work in a hot kitchen for more than one night.

So last night's menu was:
Green Mashed Potatoes
Stuffed Acorn Squash
Chocolate Chip Cookies (double batch)

I had planned on Lavender Tea Cookies as well, but the dough did not firm up in time, so it's stowed in the freezer until the next Oven Night.

Moving on, last night's haul from the CSA was oddly bereft of greens. All that I got was one bug-nibbled bunch of ... something. I don't actually know what this is:

But it, along with a bunch of kale, fulfilled its destiny in the Green Mashed Potatos I mentioned awhile back.

The shopping ban has been lifted, by the way, but I still haven't done a big shopping trip. I picked a few staples at MOM when I picked up my box, and already obtained potatoes from the Farmer's Market.

In addition to the mystery green, I got another bunch of carrots, some Japanese eggplants, and a variety of squash.

Last week also brought a tiny bunch of carrots, but they were quite limp by the time I got to using them. They perked right up after a short soak in a bowl of ice water, however.

In addition to all of this fun, there was still an acorn squash from Mr. Miller's garden that needed cooking. The first one I did simply by roasting it after coating the inside with Earth Balance, brown sugar and maple syrup, but I wanted to stuff this one.

For this task I turned to Coleen Patrick-Goudreau's Vegan Table. This seasonal cookbook suggested a harvest-stuffed acorn squash, assuming fall availability, and used many ingredients I did not have, but I knew that going in and was ready to improvise.

First of all, I had scored two purple peppers at the Farmer's Market and wanted them to be a part of it. I had also pre-soaked and cooked some black-eyed peas, so they were part of the mix.

When it came time to measure out the spices, I realized I did not want the sweetish mix of cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg going over my peppers. I love that mix, but this called for a different combination.

Consulting The Flavor Bible. I settled on Basil and Coriander. This is when I realized that my recipe was similar to Goudreau's only in baking directions, and even then, I might go a little less the next time around.

The final result was stellar. I made way too much filling for one squash, but I ended up eating a lot of it out of the bowl anyway and then for lunch today. I'll probably tweak it a bit in the future, but I've included my recipe below anyway.

And I've obviously switched from iPhone to real camera for the most part, but I'm still learning what makes a good photo, so bear with me!

I still don't know what this is.


  1. Mystery greens: I *think* it's some kind of bok choy variant?

    Also hooray stuffed squash! I make that all autumn and winter long and can't get enough of it. I tried it with zucchini recently and I think I had just already gotten enough of zucchini :P

  2. This looks really good! I love that you post all your steps! Your pictures look great but if you want a little advice, what I learned makes a food picture even better is using natural light. Meaning the light from a window or taking your pictures outside. So much better than using a camera flash..Im still learning myself but thats one thing that I noticed makes a big difference : ]

  3. I thought bok choy at first too, but the leaves weren't very smooth and it had a mustard-y sort of taste raw, but not distinguishable from the kale when cooked. But maybe you're right and there is a variant. I'm also flooded with zucchini, so I'm making your bread this weekend!

    Thanks Jaklyn! I will take your advice happily :) Sadly my kitchen window is small, but maybe I'll just take stuff out to the front yard and set up mini photo shoot!