The Earthbound Cook arrived at my doorstep last week while I was in a cooking-slump. For the past few months, I have been uninspired to cook and have tried to jumpstart my enthusiasm by shopping at our local Farmer’s Market on the weekends. Sadly, it made me more frustrated. This is the time of the year that squash, pumpkins, tomoatoes and fall crops are ready to be enjoyed and savored. The vendors burst with enthusiasm as they share ways to prepare carrots, kale, parsnips and beets. Instead of embracing our local fall vegetables, i have been opting for prepared meals that I could just serve.
Yesterday morning, I began skimming through The Earthbound Cook and something in me snapped. I frantically began to write down the ingredients of two recipes: Amazing Turkey Chili & Pumpkins Stuffed with Quinoa, Butternut, and Cranberries. As someone who is gluten free, I seek out quinoa recipes.
I wanted to cook! Not only did I want to cook, I WANTED to entertain!
Hoping that my enthusiasm would not disappear, I called up a close friend and invited the family over for dinner. I then cleaned up the kitchen, pulled out the spices from counter and made a list of vegetables, ingredients and meat that would be needed. Then I hit the Farmer’s Market – with a mission.
I am woman – hear me roar!
With three hours and all the ingredients on my counter, I began to cut, slice, dice and simmer. I had the oven and stove-top hopping. And yes, I even had music in the background and a glass of wine in my hand. I somehow got my cooking mojo back! …. and my guests couldn’t stop complementing me on an amazing meal!
Thanks to The Earthbound Cook, I think we will be adding Pumpkins Stuffed with Quinoa, Butternut, and Cranberries to our Thanksgiving meal!
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- About 1 cup diced yellow onion (1/4-inch diced)
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
- 4 small edible pumpkins
- 1 1/2 cups butternut squash (1/4 inch dice)
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Place 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, and heat over medium heat. When it is hot, add the onion and ground cumin and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and golden brown, about 10 minutes.
2. Add the quinoa to the saucepan and stir to coat the grains. Add the stock and raise the heat to high. When the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, add the cranberries, and cover the pan. Cook at a slow simmer until the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 25 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, cut the top off each pumpkin, reserving the tops, if desired, for decorative effect. Scoop out and discard the seeds and fibers. Place the pumpkins on a rimmed baking sheet and set it aside.
4. Place the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet, preferably non stick, and heat it over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the cubed betternut squash and cook without stirring until the squash is browned on the bottom, 2 minutes. Toss to turn the pieces and cook, stirring frequently, until the squash is just tender, about 2 minutes more. Set aside.
5. When the quinoa is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the toasted pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Add the butternut squash, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Position the rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
7. Divide the quinoa filling among the pumpkin shells; do not pack the mixture. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and roast until the quinoa is hot and the flesh of the pumpkins is tender when pierced with a skewer or fork, 45 to 60 minutes. Avoid overcooking, because the pumpkins may collapse.