Sunday, October 26, 2008

Acorn Squash

We've all had those moments in the grocery story. You're headed to potatoes and you spy the huge selection of squash in the corner. They're not the yellow crook-neck squash or summer squash you grew up with in abundance. No, these babies are all different colors and shapes. They look more like table decorations for Halloween or Thanksgiving. But, what are you going to do with one? I was afraid of the unassuming acorn squash. It mocked me in it 'squashness'. I wondered if it was supposed to be peeled, sliced, or diced. Was it even edible? Could I possibly replace a baked potato with it at dinner? Well, I took the plunge and bought something I didn't know how to cook. I did the research and thought that it could not be that simple. I learned a good lesson that day. It does not have to be complicated to be good. And sometimes a dish can taste wonderful and still be pretty! No matter how many years you've been cooking, don't be afraid to try something new. And, don't be afraid to admit you don't know how to cook something others might think of as easy or simple! The next time your reaching for that potato, try an acorn squash instead. You won't be disappointed!

Baked Acorn Squash

1 Acorn Squash

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Honey or Maple Syrup

Dash of Salt, Pepper, and Pumpkin Pie Spice

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.

  • Wash the acorn squash and pat dry. Cut the squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to end. You'll want to use a large knife and cutting board for this since it is tough. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Place each half in a baking pan, cut side up.

  • Drizzle the top and inside of each half with the olive oil. Put one tablespoon of honey or maple syrup in each half. Sprinkle top and inside of each half with dash of salt, pepper and pumpkin pie spice.

  • Bake in the oven for about an hour. Check the squash and continue to bake until soft and the tops are browned. Serve warm.

If you're in a hurry, you can cook this in the microwave and finish it in the oven. Just wash and dry the squash. Prick the outside of the squash several times with a fork. Microwave 5 to 7 minutes. Using potholders, take the squash out of the microwave and cut lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and add the above ingredients. Finish by cooking the squash in the oven under the broiler until the tops are browned.

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