If you're rubbing your eyes and blinking, trying to make sense of a recipe post on the blog, don't worry, I share your bemused wonder, too. I haven't stopped cooking or baking (in fact, I'm probably doing more than ever), but I've felt like I've had so much more to say than just pithy comments about heating up my oven.
I've also been working, a lot, on my own writing. A lot of it is nowhere near ready for the light of day, but one piece I pitched and submitted to Self Magazine, and I'm excited to let you know that it was accepted and published! You can read it here - it is, of course, about a topic I've covered exhaustively, but here's hoping it's a stepping stone to many more pieces.
There were times that I let healthy eating go out the window this summer. And though it means I've had to crack down as the weather turns cold, I don't regret it. There's nothing like a few extra crisp glasses of rose, gooey s'mores and creamy ice cream to help you shake off a season of discontent. But toward the end of August, my roommate and I decided it was time to begin meal planning in earnest. After all, Halloween costumes are coming.
Through September - except for a trip to San Francisco and Napa that was stunning, full of excellent food, and worthy of its own photo-heavy post - we were pretty good about meal planning each Sunday, cooking up food for the week, and focusing on whole meals. It left me feeling really good (and really strong), so as September turned to October, I decided to keep it rolling. Except I wanted to add a tougher edge.
Confession time : I am really not a red meat fan. I don't like steak all that much (sometimes, well-meaning men have made me steak for a dinner date and I always feel significantly guilty), I really don't like anything that ends in "-loin", and though sometimes I'll crave a burger, that's usually few and far between. I'm much more of a seafood kind of girl. Can you see those New England roots yet?
So I decided to do a pescatarian October, reasoning that I would really only be cutting chicken and turkey out of my diet. And a few exceptions aside - you can't really be in San Francisco and not eat a little bit of meat, at least not if you're going to have a balls-to-the-wall vacation - it's been pretty easy.
It's also made me feel more adventurous in the kitchen. I love roasted vegetables in the fall (my ideal fall dinner is maple roasted root veggies, polenta and a savory protein), and there's something about cooking with squash that makes me look forward to dinner all day long. So the other night, I combined a few recipes I'd seen floating around, and made an all-veggie dinner that totally, completely knocked my socks off.
I'll let you judge for yourself, but I think this may have been one of the most delicious meals I've ever created. And for a completely veggie-based dinner, that's no small feat.
veggie-stuffed acorn squash with spicy peanut sauce
1. Heat your oven to 400 degrees
2. Slice acorn squash in half, scoop out seeds. (I saved, and toasted my seeds, to add some extra crunch to the final dish. Optional). Spray with cooking spray, season with salt and pepper.
3. Roast, cut side down, for 45-50 minutes.
5. In the meantime, slice up the veggies you want to use as your "stuffing." I went with : broccoli, red onion, radishes, turnips and carrots.
6. Saute with olive oil, pleeenty of minced garlic, salt and pepper.
THE PLATING !
When your squash is done, stuff it with your veggies. (Alternatively - if you have more time - you could roast the veggie stuffing, too.)
Then, drizzle with homemade spicy peanut sauce (recipe below). Top with your seeds, if you chose to roast them, some sliced raw red onion, fresh parsley, and if you wish, Sriracha. (I wished. It was awesome.)
spicy peanut sauce
2 tablespoons PB
1 tablespoon Hoison sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha
2 teaspoons reduced sodium soy sauce
4 teaspoons warm water