Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

On June 6, 2016, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

IMG_4996

I tend to think of squash in October when front porches are getting filled with pumpkins and gourds and comfort food permeates the desire to stay warm as the weather cools down from the summer heat. While that may be the case through the years, I’m starting to change the behavior each time I enjoy squash outside of the Fall season.  Why relegate this flavorful food to only one season?  Just because it is most associated with comfort food. Isn’t comfort food something relevant all year?

In my challenge to this behavior, I was presented some beautiful acorn squash at the Studio City Farmers’ Market.  I picked one from the box of freshly picked squash and paid my $2.

IMG_5006

Roasting squash gives it such a beautiful color and really makes the ‘meat’ inside come to life. For this recipe, I simply brushed some olive oil and cracked some pepper and salt over each half after cleaning out the seeds.  You can follow what I did here with quinoa stuffing or you can mix it up. Feel free to use couscous or farro instead of quinoa.  Also any diced dried fruit works too.  Cranberries, apricots, go ahead and experiment for your own creation.  Or you can just do what I did if you want to guarantee success.

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
Serves 2

1 acorn squash, halved and seeds removed
1 cup cooked quinoa
3 tablespoons dried cherries, diced
1 celery stalk, think sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
salt & pepper to taste
olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place acorn squash halves on foil and drizzle olive oil and salt and pepper the inside of the squash. Face the inside up on the baking sheet.  Cook for 20 minutes.  Turn the squash over and cook for 10 minutes longer then remove and keep warm.

IMG_4986

Cook your quinoa according the package directions. You’ll need only a 1/2 cup of dried quinoa.  Once cooked set aside and keep warm.

When squash is ready, add the quinoa, celery and cherries a saute pan with a tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Let it cook for a few minutes.  Spoon the mixture into the roast squash.  Add a tablespoon of Greek yogurt and 1 teaspoon of chopped mint on top of each squash. (Note: in my photo above I forgot to add the mint. Mint is optional, but preferred.)

IMG_5014

Tagged with:
 

Spaghetti with Fava Beans and Mint

On June 17, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

 

 

IMG_3200

I am always looking for new ways to enjoy pasta. The base combination of olive oil, garlic and parmesan reggiano is the beginnings of a great dish.  The addition of the fava beans and mint give it some sustenance.  Finally, the addition of red pepper flakes kicks it up a notch, just be careful not to add too much of the red pepper as a little goes a long way.

Of course this dish can be made vegan by simply not using cheese or by using a vegan cheese.

Making your own fresh spaghetti is easy if you have the right equipment, if not you can do what I do most weekends and that is pick-up some fresh pasta.  The pasta I usually get is from Domenico’s as they are at many of the farmer’s markets I go to including South Pasadena, Studio City, and others around LA.

Spaghetti with Fava Beans and Mint
Serves 2

12 oz. fresh spaghetti
¼ cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 cup fava beans, peeled and blanched
1 small bunch fresh mint, thinly sliced
dash of red pepper flakes
grated fresh parmesan reggiano

If you did not purchase already peeled and blanched fava beans, prepare the fava beans and set-aside after blanching.

IMG_1323

Heat a pot of water for the spaghetti. Add a dash of salt to the water and add spaghetti when water boils. If using fresh spaghetti heat for only 3 minutes, and for dry spaghetti cook for 10 minutes.

IMG_1324

While spaghetti is boiling, in a sauté pan heat olive oil at medium-high heat and add the red pepper flakes and garlic. Cook the garlic for 2 minutes and then add the fava beans. Cook the garlic and fava beans for another 2 minutes and then add ¼ cup of water from the pasta. Now add the pasta to the sauté pan and mix with the fresh mint.

IMG_1329

Remove pasta to plate each meal and add the grated parmesan reggiano.

Serve with some garlic bread.

 

Tagged with:
 

Orzo Pasta Salad with Lemon, Cucumber and Feta

On April 6, 2014, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

IMG_6191

 

It’s summer again in Los Angeles.  After a cooling spell of a week in the 60s, we are back to 80 degree weather in April.  So what better time to bring out a recipe my wife found on Pinterest she has wanted to try.  The combination of fresh lemon juice, cucumbers and one of my favorite pastas, Orzo, it was an attractive choice for our lazy Sunday afternoon.

IMG_6181

 

The best part is this dish is simple to make. There is no cooking, unless you consider boiling water and putting pasta in for 6-8 minutes cooking then I guess it has some minor cooking.

I used a sheep and goat cheese feta I bought at Whole Foods that added a nice creaminess to the dish, yet it was firm enough to not melt into the warm pasta when added to the bowl. Of course, any feta will do.

If you are looking for a great dish to impress at a potluck this dish is sure to meet the need.

Full recipe at Fork Knife Swoon blog: [Lemony Orzo Pasta Salad with Cucumber and Feta]

Tagged with:
 

Moving to a new city has its challenges even if it is one you’ve lived in before, though 20 years ago. One challenge is finding where to buy local, grass-fed meat. The La Canada Farmers Market has one of the better reputation ranches at its event every Saturday morning.

Novy Ranch sounded similar to Burgundy Pasture Beef Ranch where we used buy our meats when we lived in Dallas. Both are smaller ranches that supply to some decent local restaurants and raise grass-fed Angus cattle.  So I was excited to finally get a chance to try Novy Ranch.

The vendor at the Farmers Market does not sell precut kabob meat; though, he recommended a lean steak that I later cut up into large cubes. The meat was promising. I’m not yet ready to say it is as excellent as Burgundy Pasture Beef, but it is a decent local choice that’s only 10 minutes from our house every Saturday morning.

Mint Marinated Beef Kebabs with Garlic Sauce
Serves 4

2 lbs kabob meat
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup packed mint, finely chopped
1 lemon, juice and zest
2 garlic cloves, finely diced

1 onion, large cuts
1 bell pepper, large cuts

Combine the oil, mint, lemon, and garlic in a shallow dish that you can cover to marinate the meat.  Place the meat in and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or throughout the day.

Heat grill to about 300 degrees. Combine the meat cuts alternating pieces of onion and bell pepper on kabob skewers. Place kabobs on grill and cook turning a few times for about 10 minutes.

Serve with rice, garlic sauce and even some hummus if you have some around like I did this evening.

Enjoy!

For the Garlic Sauce, I recommend this recipe: Garlic Sauce. However, today I went with an excellent store bought one from Fresh ‘N Nova found at our local Whole Foods.


For more #SundaySupper inspiration checkout the recipes from some great bloggers!

Labor Day Cookout Recipes:

Starters & Snacks

Main Dishes

Salads & Sides

Drinks

Desserts

Wine Pairings

  • Labor Day Cookout Food And Wine Pairings by ENOFYLZ

Please be sure you join us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper. We’ll be meeting up at 7:00 p.m. EST for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat where we’ll talk about our favorite cookout recipes!

All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, or you can follow us throughTweetChat!

Tagged with:
 

Mario Batali’s Mint Love Letters

On April 21, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
1

 

If you are ever in New York City, I highly recommend Babbo.  It’s an Italian restaurant from celebrity chef Mario Batali.  It’s amazing.  I say Mario is a “celebrity chef” but he is the real deal and is by far my favorite chef. His approach to Italian food that used to be featured in his Food TV Network show Molto Mario, back when Food TV had good shows instead of all of this competitive reality crap.

My favorite two dishes of Babbo’s are the oxtail gnocchi and mint love letters.  I’ve tried making both but have been more successful with my attempts at the latter than the former.  Nothing I’ve made is equal or better to what I’ve had a Babbo’s.  That said this is a very impressive dish and it is definitely worth your time and effort, especially considering how Babbo’s isn’t around the corner from my home.

This dish took about a hour and half to make, so do it on a weekend, not after work.

First thing you’ll want to do is make the Basic Red Sauce. I did this the day before.. The recipe is simple and uses these few ingredients.

First start with making your pasta dough, I use a basic recipe that requires 30 minutes after the dough is made making sure it is not sticky and wrap it in plastic. Let it sit and make your filling.

For the Mint Love Letters, ie the Ravioli, you’ll want to start with the filling.  Blend peas, mint, Parmigiano Reggiano, heavy cream and salt and pepper using a food processor. I’d advise adding the heavy cream separately until you develop a thick paste that will hold as the filling in the pasta sheets.

Now work with your pasta creating two sheets of similar size and shape that you’ll use to create about 3 to 4 raviolis.  I run the pasta through the rollers starting at thickness 1 working down to thickness 5. You can go as low as 6, but you will have some rip. I recommend thinning the sheets to size 5 thickness.

Prepare each ravioli using two thin sheets of pasta dough and small dollop of filing making sure it’s not too large as you don’t want it bursting later when boiling.

Continue making your raviolis and dust with flour so they will not stick to each other. Also start heating your water to bring to a boil, lightly salt.

Start your sauce by lightly browning your spicy ground lamb. If you do not like lamb, use ground beef and add a 1 teaspoon of each of basil and oregano and add a few flakes of dried red pepper.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes, being careful not to overcook or undercook.

While the ravioli is boiling and the meat is lightly browned, add the red sauce and about 5 chiffon leaves of fresh mint before serving. Cook the red sauce and meat for about 3 minutes.

Add several raviolis to each plate and complete with the meat sauce.  Sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano. Serve.


Recipes:

Basic Red Sauce

Mint Love Letters with Spicy Lamb Sausage 

Tagged with: