Stuffed Delicata Squash

What in the world just happened?  The last time I posted, it was early fall,
and my impression was that there was a lot of time to cook fall recipes,
prepare for Diwali, write about all my adventures with Diwali sweets and treats,
and then slowly descend into the cold, dark, sleepy, New York City winter we
all know is coming.

Instead, the last 10 days passed in a blur of sparklers, sweets of every type, a few batches of pumpkin waffles. . . .and a snowstorm! Where did that come from!  We barely missed having a white Diwali?! We were hoping the snow would melt for Halloween?!

So, I was too busy fast-forwarding through a season I usually love to take note of all the early fall cooking I thought would figure prominently in this blog.  Let’s just pretend it didn’t happen.  Let’s go back and talk about delicata squashes, which may not even be available any more here in New York (particular post-Nor’Easter!).  Just take note for next year, I guess.

We got into these small winter squashes during a visit to the Monkshood Nursery tent at the Jackson Heights farmers market.  I went to the market alone with Kishmish — one of those too-rare exexpeditions with just one twin, where I get the chance to learn how pleasant it can be to hang out with a single 5-year-old. The main criterion for all vegetable selections, for Kishmish, is cuteness.  These squash were indeed cute, as are the pie pumpkins we got from the same folks and about which I’ll write more tomorrow. Needless to say, on farmers market trips with Kishmish, there is no room for big, gritty bunches of chard, or for gnarled potatoes.  We come up with a bag of cuteness that I have to transform into something everyone will eat.

The folks selling these cute squash suggested you roast them til soft, then stuff with ham and cheese and broil to melt the cheese. I made these stuffed with the smoky tempeh from this recipe, instead of ham, and then melted some Daiya cheese on top. I also made them with non-vegan cheese, and that came out well.  But given the rising tide of lactose intolerance around here, moves in the vegan direction are a good idea.

You could probably make this with other winter squash, but I did appreciate that these delicatas are thin-skinned, and you can actually eat the skin and all.  For me, the leftovers made a great lunch that I didn’t even have to re-heat!

Stuffed Delicata Squash

If you use 3 medium-size squash, this is enough for a side dish for 4 people, possibly with leftovers.

  • 3 medium delicata squash
  • 1 tablespoon oil, plus a little more for the baking sheet
  • 12 pieces of smoky tempeh (about one package of tempeh)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, any type

Preheat the oven to 350.  While it heats, cut the squash in half and remove the seeds.  Place the squash halves face-down on a lightly-oiled pan.

Bake the squash halves for about 20 minutes, until they are very soft. A knife should go right through the skin, easily.  The cooking time depends on the size of the squash.

While the squash are cooking, saute the tempeh in some oil. It’s ok to crumble the tempeh.

When the squash are soft, take them out of the oven and allow to cool slightly.  Turn the squash halves over and stuff with the sauteed tempeh. Sprinkle some cheese on top, then broil the squash until the cheese melts.

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