You know those people who don't like their food "to touch"? I have come across them in my day. I prescribe to a different thought entirely. I love to mix my Thanksgiving plate all to one dish, some may think this is gross and possibly rude. Oh well. I'm not swirling it around my the china plate to make a mound of food, but a bite includes potatoes, beans, gravy, and stuffing all in one. Sorry if you're totally grossed out at this point. When I was little one of my dear friends had a Bolivian babysitter, man, that woman can cook. She makes lentils unlike anything you've ever had. My friend and I would mix in some rice, some veggies, some whatever, until we'd realize our perfect afternoon snack concoction.
This weekend it rained (and still is) like crazy here. Monsoon-like rains where even the dog looks at you when you take it out like, "You're kidding, right? Why are we outside woman?" So plans were shuffled around some and I cooked a lot. I made a modern mash and it is delicious! Quite healthy too, and one of those things that with an extra day the fridge tastes all the better. My kind of dish.
1 cup quinoa uncooked (rinsed)
1.5 c chicken stock
1 acorn squash
2 T butter
2 t light brown sugar
2 t maple syrup
dash cayenne pepper (optional)
1 bunch asparagus
8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms (or any type really) sliced
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds toasted
1/3 cup dried cranberries
2 T bourbon or other non clear liquor
First tackle the squash. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Cut the squash in half (carefully with a large knife) and scoop out the seeds and membrane and discard. Take butter and divide between the two halves of the squash, also adding 1 T to each half of maple syrup and brown sugar. Add a dash of cayenne pepper if you'd like. Put squash on tin foiled lined baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. After it is done baking, let it cool (I threw it in the fridge to speed up). Then scoop it out with a spoon and add to the mixture. Honestly, the squash is so good I was also scooping some into my mouth simultaneously.
Then rinse the quinoa by either putting in a fine mesh strainer and wash water over it, or place in a bowl with some water (what I did b/c I don't have a fine mesh strainer). You can use 1.5 cup water or another broth if you'd like to cook the quinoa, but I like chicken stock and think it adds good flavor. Pour the rinsed quinoa and stock into a 2 qt pot, bring it to a boil, then bring it back to a simmer, cover with lid, and leave alone for 20 minutes. Remove it from the heat, let it stand for 2-3 minutes and then fluff with a fork. Ready teddy.
Blanch the asparagus in salted water, cooking for 2-3 minutes and then shock it in cold water and ice. Cut into 1 inch pieces and set aside for later.
I toasted the pumpkin seeds in the toaster oven for 5 minutes, watch them because they'll burn fast. I also reconstituted the dried cranberries in a mixture of warm water and Jack Daniels (why not?), leaving them to soak for about 15-20 minutes and then draining them. Set aside cranberries and pumpkins seeds.
Take a large pot or dutch oven and saute the mushrooms in a little olive oil and salt. I also added a dash of cumin because I always add too many spices. Here it worked though. Take the mushrooms off the heat once they've cooked, about 8-10 minutes. Add in the asparagus, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, and quinoa to the pot. Finally add the acorn squash. Mix and s&p to taste.