Monday, January 5, 2009

Bean Burritos and Stuffed Acorn Squash...sort of!

It took me a while to do it, but I finally baked the acorn squash that I bought last Wednesday. Did it, um, Saturday evening, I think. I also made my grandmother's Yankee-style stuffing to go with it, a white bread stuffing that most folks here in the South don't like: Southerners seem to prefer a cornbread stuffing, which I generally don't like at all. I reckon it's all what you were brought up with, tho.

Anyway, I scrubbed the outside of the squash, cut it in half, and put it in a baking pan with about 1/4 inch of water, with the cut sides down. Then I put it in a preheated oven, 350ºF, and let it bake for 30 minutes. While it was baking, I made the stuffing, which in this case was actually a dressing, as I didn't actually stuff the squash, but spooned the stuffing around the squash halves in the pan.

I diced up about seven or eight slices of white bread, very small dice, put it in a bowl and added about 1/4C each of diced onion and celery. While I was doing the dicing, I melted, oh, about three tbs. of margarine, and then poured it over the bread, to which I had added the onion and celery. I gave all this a good shake of poultry seasoning, maybe a tsp., I'm not sure, and stirred it all in. After the margarine had been stirred in as much as possible, I added some hot water to it...maybe a quarter of a cup, again, I'm not sure. Stirred all this together and decided that the mixture was exactly the moisture I wanted: not sloppy wet, and not dry, but moist enough to be soft, and to hold everything together. So, I took the pan out of the oven, carefully turned over the squash, and spooned the stuffing all around the bottom of the squash, and returned the pan to the oven for another 30 minutes. The stuffing had browned, the squash was nice and soft, and that was my dinner. It was, in my opinion, awfully good, and hopefully I'll find another squash and do it again before too long.

Last Wednesday, at the grocery store, I bought a jar of mild salsa and a bag of soft flour tortillas. Friday I cooked a pot of pinto beans, to use for refried beans to make bean burritos. Last night I did just exactly that. The recipe for the refried beans comes from "1000 Vegetarian Recipes," by Carole Gelles.

Refried Beans
2Tbs. vegetable oil
3 Tbs. minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2C cooked beans

1. In a medium skilet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic/cook, stirring, until onion is tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cumin until absorbed.
2. Add the beans and mash with a fork. Cook until dry.

Variation: for a spicier version, add 1/8tsp. ground red pepper when you add the cumin.

I didn't add the ground red pepper, but I do think I would've liked more cumin, so next time I think I'll add 1/2tsp. instead of just 1/4tsp. When I added the garlic to the onions, I also added about 2Tbs. of diced, roasted red peppers. After the beans were dry, I made the burrito. I laid two torn-in-half slices of soy smoked provolone cheese in the center of the burrito, and then poured some salsa over it, enough to thinly cover the cheese. Than I added enough beans to cover the cheese and the salsa, and some goat cheese crumbles on top of it all. Rolled it up, and set it in a dry skillet to heat. When it had turned golden brown, I took it out and proceeded to chow down, with some soy-based sour creme to go with it. I was very pleasantly surprised at how good it was, and yes, I will most definitely do it again. The only thing I would change is to buy a thicker salsa. The one I bought was awfully thin, and I'd like it thicker. Other than that, no changes at all.

Until next time, Happy Eating!

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