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.
8. Serve immediately.
More information about The Earthbound Cook:
A cookbook with a conscience, from an author who knows the world of responsible eating as well as anyone. Is cage-free the same as free-range? Is grass-fed worth the price? What’s better: farmed salmon or wild? Organic salad that’s been shipped across the country, or local salad grown with pesticides? To nuke leftovers in the microwave or crank up the oven? Myra Goodman—co-owner of Earthbound Farm, the country’s largest producer of organic produce and other products, inspiration behind the Earthbound Farmstand Café, and author of Food to Live By—now brings both sides of the dinner dilemma together by showing us what to shop for, and how to cook it.
The Earthbound Cook turns dilemma into joy—in full-color. It pairs 250 sumptuous recipes with all the information cooks need to make greener, smarter choices. Here is Pork Chile Verde, Beef Tenderloin with Brandy Mushroom Sauce, Chicken Puttanesca—plus how to make the most eco-friendly meat choices and how to decode the labels on poultry and eggs. Vegetarian entrees such as Roasted Cauliflower Tart and Rigatoni with Eggplant and Buffalo Mozzarella for that one day a week we should abstain from meat. Salads (Escarole with Walnuts, Dates, and Bacon, Farro Salad with Edamame and Arugula) and sides (Carrot Risotto) and all the facts about the benefits of eating organically. And fish of course—Coconut-Crusted Salmon, and why to choose wild whenever possible.
No sacrifices here—doing the right thing has never looked, sounded, or tasted better. Or been easier.
About the Author
Myra Goodman, along with her husband Drew, founded Earthbound Farm on a 2½-acre backyard garden in 1984. In 1986, Earthbound Farm became the first company to successfully launch packaged salads for retail sale, and it is credited with popularizing spring mix salads nationwide, which is now the biggest segment of the packaged salad category. Today, Earthbound Farm is the largest grower of organic produce in North America, with 150 farmers growing organic produce on more than 35,000 acres. In 2010 alone, this will avoid the use of more than 11 million pounds of conventional agricultural chemicals. In addition to numerous corporate awards, Myra and Drew were honored with Global Green USA’s Corporate Environmental Leadership Award in 2003; in 2008, they received the Organic Trade Association’s Organic Leadership Award.
Myra has taken her passion for organic food from the farm into the kitchen by showcasing delicious recipes in two cookbooks — Food to Live By: The Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook (Workman Publishing, 2006) and The Earthbound Cook: Recipes for Delicious Food and a Healthy Planet (Workman, 2010). Myra is also a regular contributor to Bon Appetit magazine.