Monday, January 24, 2011

The love of veggies continues

I didn't write about the organic box when it arrived last week, mostly because I was sick and couldn't fathom doing more than eating the apples and pears that came in it straight out of the box. I got jona gold apples this time, if you're wondering, I prefer galas to jona golds, I'm a fan of the crunch.

The full contents of last week's box:
living lettuce
bok choy
acorn squash
baby carrots

Other than snacking on the baby carrots, apples and pears, I hadn't done anything with the contents until today. It was -29 degrees outside before windchill, and I took a salad to work. With a base of living lettuce. It was delicious. I'm surprised it didn't freeze and wilt on the 2 minute walk from the PG Express to the door.

I decided to do something with the acorn squash, and had been looking at stuffed squash recipes. 95% of the times that I've cooked squash, it's been soup. I once tried doing spagetti squash as a pasta substitute, that was an epic fail. I tried doing sauteed ginger squash as F so deliciously prepares once, also an epic fail. I was determined not to make this an epic fail.

The Not an Epic Fail Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

2 acorn squash
1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cup veggie stock
3 shallots
1 bok choy
8 dried apricots
3 dried figs
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
olive oil

Cut two acorn squash in half, then cut off either end, so that it will sit flat on the plate.
Place the half face down and spread olive oil over the skins. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

While your squash is in the oven, rinse 1 cup quinoa, and bring to a boil in 1 1/2 cup of veggie stock. I used half a little square of a veggie boullion cube. I'd use the whole square if I were you. Once boiling, reduce heat and cover, until water is absorbed.

Now, chop 3 shallots and add to a pan with olive oil until soft. Add the chopped bok choy, figs and apricots, let cook for a few minutes:

Now here is where I think I went wrong. I didn't follow the recipe to a T, for example, it did not call for bok choy, but it did call for celery. I substituted. I think this was ok, bok choy has a stronger flavor just like celery. That's not where I went wrong, this is:

I had no idea what mirin was. It called for a tablespoon of mirin, so I wiki'd it. It's like a sweet rice wine. My brilliant Monday brain decided that rice wine vinegar would be a good substitute. So I think that the whole deal was supposed to be sweeter than it turned out. At the same time as I added the rice wine vinegar, I added the lemon juice, some olive oil, and the cooked quinoa. The mixture was good, it just wasn't deliciously amazing. The mixture was ready just a bit after the timer for the squash had gone, so time wise this was excellent. I stuffed those squash halves, and sprinked with slivered almonds:

This squash attempt was not an epic fail. It was totally edible and the balance of quinoa, squash and dried fruits was delightful. What was missing was a mixture of strong flavours, they all just kind of blended together in a big ol' "ho hum". Any suggestions on what to make this pop? If you say mirin, I ask that you include where to buy the stuff!

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