There are many schools of thought that advocate that local, in-season food provides better nutritional value than shipped, out-of-season produce. Personally, I haven’t decided that I think about this idea, but I do know that local fresh produce will almost always be cheaper and, to me, taste better.
Here in the Hudson Valley, we are surrounded by farms, so there’s really no reason to cook out of season food. And for us, the fall means winter squash, and lots of it. So, in honor of the fast-fading autumn, here’s a pretty easy fall food recipe to try:
Mashed Acorn Squash “Potatoes” with Autumn CousCous and Ginger Glazed Carrots
- First, prepare the squash. There are a few different ways: you can roast it in the oven at 375 degrees for about an forty-five minutes, or cut it in half and cook it in the microwave for about 10 minutes or so to soften it. Personally, I like to cook it in the microwave for convenience, although it is pretty hard to cut it in half raw. (Make sure you have a sharp knife handy)
- After you have cooked the squash, scoop it out of its outer shell into a bowl, mash and season it with a little cinnamon and nutmeg, to taste. You can also add a little bit of milk to make it slightly more creamy. Don’t throw away the shell, after the squash is mashed, put it back in the shell – it makes a beautiful serving dish!
- Next, start the couscous. (While you are preparing the squash, you may want to put on the water for the couscous – generally 1 1/4 cups water per 1 cup uncooked couscous) It is rich in Protein and Iron, not to mention extremely quick and easy to cook! Once the water is boiling, add the couscous and give it a quick stir. Cover the pot, remove from heat and let stand for five minutes…and…voila! couscous is ready! (You’ll want to fluff it up with a fork when its done) To the cooked couscous, add a heaping handful each of dried cranberries, sliced almonds and chopped celery. (I’m sure you’ve noticed my cooking methods are *highly* scientific, :), but I think things are always better when ingredients are added to your own taste.
- Finally, for the carrots: You can use either fresh or canned. Prepare as you normally would (either heat up canned, or boil fresh carrots until soft) and in a pan on medium heat, sautee olive oil or butter, nutmeg and sliced fresh ginger. You should also add a pinch or two of sugar, as that is what will caramelize the sauce into a “glaze.” Pour the mixture over the carrots and, yum, ready to eat.
This is a great, healthy meal that is perfect for the season. But hurry, winter is coming soon, and it’ll be time for all new seasonal recipes!