Porcini Mushroom and Farro Stuffed Honeynut Squashes with Toasted Hazelnuts

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A little Thanksgiving inspiration for you! I found these honeynut squashes at the store, they are like mini butternuts! They fit in the palm of your hand, the perfect size for a side dish. Add something unexpected, colorful, and delightful to your thanksgiving spread this year. They were pretty quick and easy to throw together.

Porcini Mushroom and Farro Stuffed Honeynut Squashes with Toasted Hazelnuts

Makes 6 servings

3 honey nut squashes (you could also just use one big butternut)

1 tbs olive oil

a couple tablespoons of brown sugar

a dash of cinnamon

a dash of salt

2.5 oz dried porcini mushrooms

1.5 cups farro

3 cups of vegetable broth

1 tbs olive oil

6 cloves of garlic

a few sprigs of parsley

5 big sage leaves

a few sprigs of thyme

a sprig of rosemary

1.5 tbs vegan butter (optional)

1/4 cup white wine

salt and pepper to taste

1 handful of hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squashes in half lengthwise and scrape out the stringy seeds. Place them cut side up on a baking pan and rub all over with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with brown sugar and salt. Sprinkle on a small dash of cinnamon. Bake until fork tender, about 30 minutes.

Soak the mushrooms in a bowl of hot water until softened.

Bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a medium pot. Add the farro and cook until tender, about 10-12 minutes. Drain any excess broth away.

Chop the garlic and herbs and mushrooms finely. Heat the olive oil in a medium pan and sauté the mushrooms for a couple minutes, then add the garlic, herbs, and butter. Sauté for a few minutes until the moisture is gone things start to stick to the pan. Then add the white wine and stir it in, scraping the bottom as you go, and cook another minute or two.

When the squashes are done, pull them out and scoop some of the farro mixture into each one. Spread the chopped hazelnuts on a baking pan and pop them in the oven for a few minutes to toast. Keep a close eye because they can burn quickly. Then top the stuffed squashes with the nuts. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Picnic Perfect Israeli Couscous

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It’s almost time for Thanksgiving! Whether you are hosting it yourself or just bringing a side dish to the celebration, why not offer your guests something just a little bit unexpected? While I know my dream of throwing a Moroccan themed Thanksgiving will never come to fruition, (my family likes to keep it traditional) I can still sneak in the occasional side dish with some Mediterranean flavors!

This is a great potluck dish because it can be eaten hot or cold. It has big, bright sweet and savory flavors and makes a pretty accompaniment on any plate. I originally created this recipe for an outdoor picnic brunch, hence the name, so as you can see it is a quite the versatile side dish!

Picnic Perfect Israeli Couscous

makes about 10 servings

3.5 cups vegetable broth

1 tbs olive oil

1 1/2 cups Israeli Couscous

1/2 cup orzo

1/2 cup quinoa

1/2 orange bell pepper, finely chopped

zest + juice of one small lemon

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1/3 chives, finely choppped

1/3 cup mint leaves, finely chopped

1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped

1/2 cup yellow raisins, roughly chopped

2 tsp red pepper flakes (or adjust to your spiciness preference)

1 tsp turmeric

salt to taste

1 additional splash of olive oil

 

Bring the broth to a boil in a large pot. Add the olive oil, couscous, orzo, and quinoa and return to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 10 minutes.

While that’s cooking, get all your other ingredients chopped up. Once the couscous mixture is cooked, stir in all the remaining ingredients. Keep the pot over the heat and stir for a couple minutes to let all the flavors really blend. Serve hot or cold!

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Savory Sourdough Stuffing

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This recipe has been on my mind for over a year now! Last year I made Thanksgiving dinner for about 20 people. I know that sounds stressful to some, but I loved it! I wish I could have taken pictures and documented the really successful recipes, but there was just no time. (I did manage to get my Maple Mustard Carrot recipe up, but that was it!) My only regret was that the stuffing, which I consider to be the quintessential Thanksgiving dish, turned out all soggy. I followed a recipe exactly and I knew it seemed like too much liquid, but I just trusted the recipe. Huge mistake. So without any real good reason to make stuffing again throughout the year, I’ve been waiting all this time to vindicate myself and make a really perfect stuffing! I’m not hosting this year, a bittersweet relief, but lots of family are coming to town in these days leading up to Thanksgiving, so I’ll have plenty of taste testers. This stuffing is very traditional and bursting with herby flavor. Fresh herbs and good quality bread are really important here.

People in my family are pretty serious about keeping the recipes very classic. (So my dream of hosting a Moroccan Thanksgiving will never come to fruition, boooo.) But if you want to get wild, here are some suggestions to take it to the next level: use cornbread instead of regular bread, add 1 cup of cooked wild rice, add chopped pecans, add diced and roasted butternut squash, add a half cup of currents, add some shaved and sautéed brussels sprouts. Or do all of the above!

Savory Sourdough Stuffing

makes 8 servings

1 pound loaf sourdough bread (or French, your call)

8 tbs Earth Balance

8 ounces chopped cremini mushrooms

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tbs pepper

3 stalks of celery, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

10 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped from stems and minced

10 big fresh sage leaves, minced

1.5 tbs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped from stems and minced

4 tbs fresh parsley leaves, minced

1 tbs EnerG Egg Replacer

1.5 cups vegetable stock (not broth)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the bread into 1/2″ cubes. ( I prefer smaller cubes, you can go as big as 1″) Spread them out on a baking sheet (you might need to do two batches, I did it in one.) Pop them in the oven for 2o minutes or until nice and dry and toasted, like croutons. Keep an eye so they don’t burn.

In a very large frying pan, add two tbs of the Earth Balance, the mushrooms, and the salt and pepper. Sauté for about 5 minutes over medium/high heat. Add the celery, onion, herbs, and 6 final tbs of Earth Balance, and sauté for about 5 more minutes, stirring constantly, until all vegetables have softened.

In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup of the broth with the EnerG egg replacer. Stir well to dissolve. It may help to sift in the egg replacer, because it clumps easily. Then pour this mixture along with the rest of the broth into the pan of veggies and stir to combine. Taste to see if you wan to anymore add salt and pepper, depending on the saltiness of vegetable stock you have.

Grease a 11″ x 7″, or two quart casserole pan.

Add the toasted bread cubes to a large bowl and pour the vegetable mixture over the bread. Using two big spoons or your hands, toss well to coat all the bread. Pour this mixture into the baking pan.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until the bread is nicely browned on top.

Allow the stuffing to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

 

P.S. If you want to put together a whole Thanksgiving meal yourself, here are 6 other easy recipes to get you started:

Appetizer: Thanksgiving Vegetable Platter

Instead of a turkey: Portobello Wellington

Side dish: Maple Mustard Roasted Carrots

Side dish: Champignons Au Riesling

Salad: Harvest Bliss Bowl

This Savory Sourdough Stuffing!

dessert: Classic Apple Pie with Salted Caramel Sauce

Throw in some baked yams and mashed potatoes, and you are all set. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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