Delicata is sweet with an edible skin just like acorn squash, but the texture is much smoother and creamier. I love this dish as a vegetarian main course served with mixed greens or as a side dish to accompany pork tenderloin. Filled with the flavors of fall, this is comfort food at its healthiest.
Delicata Squash with Apple Pecan Quinoa Stuffing
serves 4 as a main course or 8 as a side dish
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 delicata squash
1 cup quinoa, uncooked
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 small onion, finely diced
1 large Granny Smith apple, cut into 1/2 in dice
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup pecans
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 teaspoons fresh sage, finely chopped
4 slices provolone cheese, each cut in half
In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, maple syrup, cider vinegar and dijon mustard. Set aside.
Cut both squash in half lengthwise and use a spoon to remove all seeds and pulp. Place two of the four halves flesh side down in an 8×8-in microwave safe dish. Fill pan with 1/2 inch of water and microwave until squash is tender all the way through, 8-10 minutes. Repeat with second squash. Place all four squash halves in a rectangular baking dish flesh side up, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Mash lightly with a fork, leaving skin and a 1/2 inch rim of squash completely intact.
While squash is cooking, rinse quinoa well in a fine sieve. Place rinsed quinoa, salt , and 1 and 3/4 cups of water in a pan with a tight fitting lid. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer and cover, cooking for 12-15 minutes or until all water has evaporated. Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes. Fluff with fork.
Toast pecans in a large saute pan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes or until nuts are warm and fragrant. Set aside.
Wipe saute pan clean with a paper towel, removing all nut skins and pieces. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, apples, and garlic to pan and saute until onions are translucent and apples have softened, about five minutes.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Add cooked quinoa, pecans, cranberries, sage, and the maple/cider vinegar/dijon mixture to pan, season with salt and pepper, and stir until ingredients are thoroughly combined and warmed through.
Stuff each squash half with 1/4 of the mixture and cover with 2 provolone halves.
Turn oven to broil. Place squash pan under broiler for one to two minutes or until cheese is brown and bubbly.
Each year when September comes to a close, Lake Forest families gather in celebration of autumn and our community’s dedication to preserving open land. Set against the serene backdrop of Middlefork Farm Nature Preserve, this year’s Bagpipes and Bonfire included Highland games, fiddling, fly casting, wagon rides and a delicious harvest dinner. As the sun began to set, a 100 member bagpipe and drum band performed until one piper summited a giant brush mound in the center of the field. The crowd was still as he played a chill inducing version of Amazing Grace, and after the last notes were played, the band marched off with drums beating in unison as the twilight bonfire was lit.
Funds raised from Bagpipes and Bonfire support Lake Forest Open Lands Association, an environmental education and advocacy group that maintains over 800 acres of open space in our community.
Apple dumplings hold a special place in my heart. My Grandmother Porter, of German descent and a product of the Depression Era, could not stand to waste a thing. Her cooking was simple, hearty, and utterly delicious, and everything she made was from memory, learned no doubt from watching her mother and grandmother. During her long stays with us she roasted chickens, creamed cabbage, made beef stroganoff, mashed lots of potatoes, and baked. Baking was what she loved most.When she baked apple pie, bits of dough were often leftover. Tossing them out would have been wasteful, so she cobbled these bits together, stretched them over a quickly peeled apple, and baked it alongside the pie. This was a great treat because you didn’t have the unbearably long wait until after dinner to cut into the pie! Apple dumplings were green lighted for after-school snacks, devoured just out of the oven.
This is my version of apple dumplings, though I add butter to my crust which she never would have done (she used shortening only as shortening makes the most tender crust). I love the combination because it delivers buttery-flaky goodness but remains tender from the addition of shortening.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening, chilled and diced into small pieces
11 tablespoons butter, chilled until very cold and diced into small pieces
4-6 tablespoons ice water
8 small apples (I used Cortland, Granny Smiths are great)
1 lemon, zested then juiced
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 tablespoons butter, diced into 8 pieces
1 egg, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Butter a rectangular baking dish that generously fits 8 apples. Set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, add flour, sugar, salt, and pulse a few times until combined. Add cold butter and shortening, pulsing until mixture resembles coarse meal. Through the feed tube, add one tablespoon of ice water at a time, stopping immediately when dough comes together in a ball.
Turn dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap, flatten into a disc and thoroughly wrap in plastic. Chill for at least one-half hour.
While dough is chilling, add lemon juice to a large bowl. Peel and core apples, tossing each in the lemon juice as soon as you’ve peeled it. Sprinkle lemon zest over apples and stir to combine.
Combine sugar, cinnamon, and allspice in a small bowl. Set aside 2 tablespoons of mixture for sprinkling over pastry.
Pour sugar mixture over apples, coating each one thoroughly including the centers.
When dough is thoroughly chilled, remove from fridge and and roll out on a well floured surface, turning disc every few rolls to prevent sticking. When dough has been rolled into 1/8 to 1/4-inch thickness, cut 6-in diameter rounds until you have 8. I used a 6-in diameter bowl and cut around it with a knife, but you can free form it. This is rustic at its best!
One at a time, place each apple in the center of a dough round and wrap. Set in buttered baking dish.
Press a square of diced butter into each hole.
Using a pastry brush, brush each dough covered apple with the lightly beaten egg and sprinkle with reserved sugar mixture.
Bake for 45-55 minutes, until crust is golden and apples are tender.
Give me the splendid silent sun with all his beams full-dazzling,
Give me juicy autumnal fruit ripe and red from the orchard,
Give me a field where the unmowed grass grows…
– excerpt from Walt Whitman’s Give Me the Splendid Silent SunOur family made its annual trip to the orchard in Wisconsin where we have picked apples and pumpkins for the last nine years. We couldn’t have custom ordered a more magnificent day for taking a hay ride, gathering apples, and enjoying hot cider and doughnuts. Ida Reds, Macouns, Granny Smiths, Cortlands, and Jonathans now sit in two overflowing half-bushels on my kitchen counter. I can’t wait for the first crisp to come out of the oven, filling our house with the scent of warm apples and cinnamon!
The cool evening temps here in Chicago have me longing for cozy knits in soft neutrals. Paired with everything from tone-on-tone skirts and trousers to leather leggings or lazy Sunday denim, your chunky, borrowed-from-the-boys sweater will become a fall wardrobe workhorse. Below is my round-up of options for every budget. I’m already dreaming of football games and bonfires…
Luxe, loose cashmere from one of my favorite knitwear lines, here.
The coziest, wear-everywhere grey cashmere crewneck, here.
The Row absolutely slays me. It is my kryptonite. If I could, I’d live most everyday in something from their mindblowingly perfect label. Would you not wear the above sweater to death? Cost per wear is my argument!
The Row again. Sigh. I am telling you though, the quality and construction are impeccable. Love, love, love this fisherman’s knit.