Tag Archives: holiday

Roasted Butternut Squash with Quinoa Stuffing

23 Dec

I don’t want to clutter up this post with a ton of text because really I just want you to read this recipe and then try it. Immediately.

I made this one up on the spot after a holiday craving hit me hard. See, I kind of have a thing for stuffing. Some might say that it’s even a mild love affair.

I’ve never attempted to make it myself though. Real holiday stuffing is always a treat that I look forward to eating at other people’s houses but once a year. A cousin of ours makes the most perfect stuffing involving sausage and holiday spices and I crave it the whole year long. She even goes as far as forming it into balls, and frying them up to serve as a cocktail appetizer. A-mazing.

I don’t think I could ever top that, but I think I may have come close this time. As close as a healthy vegetarian version can get, that is.

The other night, as dreams of holiday deliciousness were floating around in my head just days before Christmas, an idea came to me. I figured there had to be a way to bring together the flavors of holiday stuffing and the vegetarian ingredients that I knew I had in my kitchen.

And so, quinoa stuffing with roasted butternut squash came to be.

I will definitely be making this all year round to satisfy my love affair as I wait for the treat of ‘the real thing’ during the holidays.

But this version comes with zero guilt and no need to unbutton your pants at the end of the meal. That is strictly reserved for once-a-year gluttony.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Quinoa Stuffing

1 butternut squash, halved lengthwise (seeds and pulp removed)

1 cup red quinoa

2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

1 large shallot, chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

Handful of dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted in hot water, water reserved

Handful of fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

Olive oil

Handful of dried cranberries

Handful of pine nuts

Fresh or frozen spinach

Panko bread crumbs (or regular bread crumbs if you don’t have panko, or no breadcrumbs if you want to keep it vegan)

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375F (190C).

Brush olive oil all over the flesh side of the squash and place the halves flesh-side down on a baking sheet or into a glass baking dish. Bake for 40 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, bring the quinoa and vegetable broth to a boil. Reduce heat and let the quinoa simmer for about 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Set aside.

Toast the pine nuts in a small pan over medium low heat until browned and fragrant. Remove from heat, place in a bowl to cool and set aside.

When the butternut squash comes out of the oven, the hollowed-out ends of each half may fall apart. Cut the ends off and scoop the flesh out into a bowl. Scoop out some flesh from the remaining squash halves to form a cavity in each.

In a large pan, sauté the garlic and shallot in a good amount of olive oil. Add rosemary, cook for a few minutes.

Roughly chop the reconstituted mushrooms and add them to the shallot and garlic mixture. Cook for a few minutes and then add half the mushroom water. Cook until liquid is absorbed.

Add spinach and mix.

Add the cooked quinoa and squash that was scooped out and set aside. Mix and mash squash into the mixture.

Season with salt and pepper. Add the rest of the mushroom liquid and mix.

I drizzled a little bit more good quality olive oil into the mixture to add richness.

Add toasted pine nuts and cranberries. Mix well and let the stuffing heat through.

Spoon quinoa stuffing into the cavity of each squash half. Sprinkle with panko bread crumbs.

Put them back into the oven for approx 15 minutes or until the panko is lightly browned and everything warms through.

Serve with a lightly-dressed leafy salad.

Serves 2 really hungry people as a meal (with leftover stuffing to be enjoyed the next day!) or 4-5 as a side dish.

Holiday Giveaway #1: New PC Insider’s Report Products from Loblaws

30 Nov

One of the things I love most about the holidays is the excitement that builds in my mind around traditions. Over the years as my family circle evolved, our holiday traditions did too. My parents’ divorce, relatives passing away, my moving away from home and other events led to new ways of celebrating the holidays. But no matter what’s happened, some things that I’ve grown to look forward to at Christmas haven’t changed. My mom and relatives always put out far-too-indulgent feasts of delicious food, I always make sure to get in at least one viewing of A Christmas Story, and as far as I’m concerned, Christmas isn’t officially over until I get to hear The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York at least a dozen times.

Another holiday tradition I’ve looked forward to for as long as I remember is the President’s Choice Insider’s Report. Since I was a kid, I’ve always loved reading through the pages of the Insider’s Report, with its descriptions of products reading more like stories than marketing copy. As a kid, I knew that the arrival of the Insider’s Report in the Saturday paper meant it was only a matter of time before delicious treats began making their way into our kitchen… PC Egg Nog, Chocolate Fudge Crackle Ice Cream, PC smoked salmon on Christmas morning.

So it seems fitting that Communal Table’s first 2010 holiday giveaway is a selection of products from the latest edition of the PC Holiday Insider’s Report. We have a package of goodies that would go great with a morning of opening presents… or would make pretty good gifts themselves. Here’s what you can win:

  • A 1 lb. package of of new PC 100% single origin Hawaiian fine-grind coffee (Jenny and I are currently working our way through a package of this stuff; it’s medium bodied and flavourful – perfect for weekends!)
  • A 425 g jar of PC The World’s Best Jumbo Cashews
  • A box of the new PC Gourmet Belgian Chocolate Collection (30 chocolates in six flavours)
  • A box of the new PC Chocolate Fruit Fancies, which  are milk or dark chocolate ganache and fruit puree enrobed in Belgian chocolate

This stuff all looks delicious, and to be honest I’d love to keep it and eat it all myself. But Jenny won’t let me, so we’re giving it all away to one lucky reader. All you have to do to enter this contest is this: Leave a comment below this post and let us know what your favorite holiday traditions are (Canadian entries only for this one). That’s it. We’ll pick a name at random from all comments left on this post by Monday, December 6, and announce the winner here next Tuesday, when we’ll also announce our next holiday giveaway prize (yep, we have more holiday surprises coming!)

Also, don’t forget about Communal Table’s donation drive on behalf of the Daily Bread Food Bank… all donations made are eligible to win a $200 gift certificate to North 44 Restaurant in Toronto and a signed copy of chef Mark McEwan’s new cookbook, Good Food at Home.  Click here for details on how you can donate and win with Communal Table.

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