Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Roasted Acorn Squash with Barley -and- Inside-Out Pumpkin Pie

{Before I get started, if you know me, and know me well, you're going to want to stop reading right now and go get a spatula or some kind of scraper--any old kind will work.  You're going to need it.

And if you don't know me very well, I want to clarify one point:  I don't eat mushrooms.  Ever.  Let me repeat that:  I. don't. eat. mushrooms.  Ever.  I loathe them.}

Okay, now on to my post and recipes.

For the last four or so years, maybe longer, I have been a part of a Recipe Circle Letter.  There are seven of us spread hundreds of miles apart who participate, always receiving the Circle Letter from the same person, retrieving our old letter from the stack, inserting a new letter, and mailing it on to the next one on the list.  As moms we can all get stuck in a rut with our cooking ideas and when this "envelope of encouragement" shows up in the mail, well, I for one am always encouraged and receive new inspiration from these dear friends.

About two weeks ago this Circle Letter showed up and filled with fun fall recipes, notes, family photos, and faithful encouragement.  Shelly's two recipes piqued my interest on several counts:  I had never fixed Acorn Squash before, the Inside-Out Pumpkin Pies were adorable, and we were headed to the Pumpkin Field to glean!  What could be more perfect?  I was intending to make these for dinner Saturday night but ended up making them instead for my birthday dinner--they were a pleasure to the eye and to the palate!  Here are the recipes with my notes.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Barley

Serves 2

Olive Oil
2  small  Acorn Squash, about 3-4 inches across
1/2  Cup  Quick Pearled Barley, uncooked
2-3  Green Onion, chopped
1  clove  Garlic, minced
1/2  Cup  Mushrooms, chopped
Salt and Black Pepper
1  Cup  Vegetable Stock
Water as needed
1/4  Cup  Sliced Almonds

Preheat oven to 375*.  Add a small amount of Olive Oil to the bottom of a heavy dutch oven.  Cut the top off the Acorn Squash, reserving the top for another use.  Remove the seeds from the Acorn Squash to create a bowl, discarding seeds.  Place the Squash in the Dutch oven.

In a separate bowl combine the Barley, Green Onions, Garlic, and Mushrooms.  Add the Salt and Black Pepper to taste.  Stir the ingredients together and fill Acorn Squash bowls with the mixture.

Pour 1/2 Cup Vegetable Stock into each Squash bowl, filling to the top with liquid (use additional Water, if needed, to fill bowls completely.)  Sprinkle Almonds on top.  Cover the pot with a tight lid and roast for 35 to 45 minutes.  Squash should be tender and Almonds crisp.  Serve immediately.

Okay, if you know me, and know me well, and if you read that ingredient list thoroughly, red flags should be going up.

"She fixed MUSHROOMS??!!  On her Birthday??!!" 

Yes, I did.
And I ate them.
And they were good.

I'll give you time to get that spatula and scrape your jaw off the floor.

Maybe I am growing up.

Okay, back to the recipe now.  Here are my changes and adaptions:
  1).  I tripled the recipe.
  2).  I couldn't find 'Quick Pearl Barley' at the grocery, so I par-cooked about 1-1/2 cups regular Barley.   I ended up using 2 cups cooked Barley.
  3).  I used 1/4-lb sliced mushrooms and chopped them roughly. {So I could pick out the pieces, if need be.}
  4).  I was out of Vegetable Stock and used Chicken Broth instead.
  5).  My Acorn Squash were on the large side, so they needed longer to cook.  Also, I sliced them in half from top to bottom.

You can fix this dish with complete confidence, knowing that yes, it is good.  Carolyn fixed mushrooms on her birthday, ate them, and called it good.  And for that matter, so did the rest of her family.  They said it was good, too.

Inside-Out Pumpkin Pie

Serves 8

3  small  Pie Pumpkins
1  Cup  Sugar
3  Eggs
1  12-oz.  Evaporated Milk
1  teaspoon  Vanilla
2  teaspoons  Ground Cinnamon
1/2  teaspoon  Ground Ginger
1/2  teaspoon  Fresh Ginger Root, grated
3  Tablespoons  Butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350*.  Prepare the pumpkins by cutting off their tops.  Scoop out and discard the strings and seeds; place the Pumpkins on a greased rimmed baking sheet.  In a mixing bowl, whisk together the Sugar and Eggs until well mixed.  Beat in Evaporated Milk, Vanilla, Spices and melted Butter.  Blend well.

Pour the filling mixture into the prepared Pumpkins, dividing evenly between the Pumpkins, about 1 Cup filling per Pumpkin.  Bake filled Pumpkins for 45-60 minutes, uncovered, or until the filling is set and Pumpkin flesh is softened.

Stir it all together and enjoy with a friend!

Enjoy this last month of Autumn, my friends!


Danita said...

Happy birthday dear friend!

deborah said...

The inside out pumpkin pies are so cute! Love the picture of the girls enjoying it!