SEASONAL RECIPE ROUNDUP | ACORN SQUASH
Heat wave on, heat wave off. Despite that being the name of the game here in LA, I'm still trying to channel all the fall vibes. Through seasonal foods, of course, but especially trying to master the art of slowing down. I am one part perfectionist and two parts control freak. In an attempt to release my tight grip on life, I spent my first weekend after our 2016 Malibu retreat with absolutely no plans. The beauty of this was that when I ran a bit of an errand to pick something up from a friend, I was unexpectedly greeted by a glass of wine and a full blown home cooked meal. Since I had no plans, I could stay for 3 hours, eat slowly and enjoy thoroughly. Then, a friend texted saying he scored tickets to Kygo at the Hollywood Bowl (one of my favorite venues)! Since I had no commitments, I went and danced my brains off. The next day I slept in, walked to the grocery store, and made an apple spice cake for no reason other than to be enjoyed by friends. DIVINE. Had I planned all those things at once going into the weekend, I assure you, I would have been exhausted.
Ayurveda, as always, is reminding us to stay present and eat seasonally. Pomegranates and beets naturally cleanse the lymphatic system and are readily available come late-fall. I assumed I would do my top-5-wanna-try fall recipes with beets as the shining star, but when I went to the farmer's market before our retreat, the acorn squashes drew me in and had my undivided attention. I had no idea what to do with them, but, in that moment, my intuition could not be denied.
Acorn squash is a part of the winter squash family (I know that can be confusing, but it is called a winter squash because they keep well through the cold winter months). Winter squash is available from August through March; however, it is harvested in the fall and is in season (read at its best) from October to November. ALSO, you may be as equally intrigued by this as I was... "this vegetable was once such an important part of the diet of the Native Americans that they buried it along with the dead to provide them nourishment on their final journey." I found this visual guide on winter squashes over on epicurious to be VERY helpful.
I can't believe I've made it one full cycle through the seasons sharing my top-5-wanna-try recipes! This seasonal recipe roundup series started with sweet potatoes in late winter, got us working with asparagus in the spring, cooled us down with cucumbers in the summer, and concludes with acorn squash this fall. We hope you've enjoyed the series! Also hoping that a week full of acorn squash recipes tides you over until we can share our next and much anticipated blog post... our Malibu 2016 Ayurveda, Alignment + Yoga Retreat RECAP! Until then, bust out the knife sharpener and share your creations with us using the hashtag #IWRseasonalreciperoundup.
Claire, our IWR 2016 retreat chef, nourished us all week in Malibu cooking locally sourced and Ayurvedic inspired meals. If you haven't had an opportunity for her to cook for you, the next best thing is to get a hit of some seasonal recipe inspiration from her blog Vidya Living.
I don't even own a waffle maker, but Crepes of Wrath is making me feel like I need to! I'm curious about the addition of chipotle in this recipe. If that's not my jam, there's this recipe from Savory Moments I'm looking to adapt... whole wheat acorn squash waffles with walnut and cinnamon syrup. And since butternut squash is in the winter squash fam, I also have my eye on A Sweetpea Chef's butternut squash waffles. If buying a waffle maker isn't in the cards for me this fall, then on a slow moving fall morning, I'll be attempting this acorn squash and apple frittata by a Short Blonde.
When I saw the acorn squash at the market, I immediately envisioned it being stuffed and eaten in bowl form. Oh My Veggies set me straight reminding me that stuffed rings make for a better alternative when contributing to a larger meal. One time for a Thanksgiving meal I brought "mini" (now looking back, more like full size) pot pies so cleverly contained in acorn squash halves aka "bowls". This idea was good in theory. People didn't go for it because it was too big of a side dish to commit to OR on the contrary, much of it went to waste as it sat only half-eaten on people's plates. My dad always says, "don't bother repeating the mistakes I've already made."
We've discussed on the blog our journey with Ayurvedic seasonal cleansing. It is something I now do (and even look forward to) every spring and fall. No matter how many times I do it, I find that having group support is key. I did my seasonal Ayurvedic cleanses this year with John Douillard and Cate Stillman. During these periods of digestive rest, re-set and rejuvenation I eat a lot of kitchari and a lot of soup. During a cleanse, I take ~2 week break from digesting heavier things like meat and wheat and turn the dial down on the sugar. Even though my cleanse is long over, I am still craving simplicity and food in soup form. I love thai food and can't wait to give this thai inspired soup by PaleOMG a try.
StaceyHomemaker is impressing me with things like acorn squash hummus and introducing me to things like Aquafaba (yeah, I didn't know what that was either).
BONUS | QUINOA, ONION, CARROT, + MAPLE ROASTED CHICKEN STUFFED ACORN SQUASH BOWLS
If you're wondering what I did with that farmer's market squash, I combined a few recipes and came up with a stuffed squash variation of my own.
- ACORN SQUASH BOWLS| (inspo here. I omitted the extra brown sugar + upped the heat since I cooked chicken at the same time in the rack below). Preheat oven to 450°. Cut one acorn squash in half. Scoop out seeds to make "squash bowls". Cut off the curvature at the bottom of the "bowl" so that each half sits flat and the "bowls" don't tip over. Take a sharp paring knife and score the insides of the acorn squash halves in a cross-hatch pattern, about a half-inch deep cuts. Place acorn squash bowl side up in a baking dish; add a little water to the bottom of the pan. Divide 1 Tablespoon of ghee between the inside of your two "squash bowls." Drizzle with maple syrup. Salt if you wish. Bake, uncovered, for 60-75 minutes.
- MAPLE ROASTED CHICKEN, CARROTS + ONIONS| (inspo here. Instead of cutting acorn squash lengthwise, I made them separately in "bowl" form). In a separate baking pan, place 1-2 lbs of bone-in chicken, skin side down. Chop up 5-6 carrots and 1 small onion and toss them around the chicken. Melt ~3 Tablespoons of ghee; drizzle in maple syrup to your liking and add sea salt to taste. Generously coat the chicken, carrots and onions in this mixture. Place this baking pan on a rack below the squash bowls and roast at 450° for 35-40 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in chicken reads 170°-175° and vegetables are tender.
- QUINOA| make as directed on package. For this recipe I measured out one cup dry and used 1.5 cups of water. No salt needed.
- ASSEMBLE| When it cools, pull the chicken off the bone with a fork (you can use scraps and bones to make a bone broth). Mix chicken, carrots, onions, and cooked quinoa. Scoop into acorn squash bowls.
- NOTE| If you want to omit chicken or buy a rotisserie chicken at the store, you can roast the veggies alongside the acorn squash. Place chopped carrots and onions on a baking sheet around the acorn squash bowls (omit the water at the bottom of the pan) and follow the same cooking instructions above. Since you're not cooking chicken, consider dropping the oven temp to 350° so veggies don't burn. Bake 60-75 minutes.