In New England, we’re told if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute and it will change. This is quite often true! So let’s just cook.
In the past week, we’ve gone from temperatures below zero to shirt-sleeve weather. We’ve had snow, rain, sunshine, sleet, mud, and a howling wind storm. Yesterday morning I awoke to 55 degrees, but by 9 a.m. it had dropped 20 degrees. Early afternoon I went to pick up my granddaughter at our designated kid-hand-off spot. It was blue-sky sunny when I left, but within a half hour, I hit a huge snow squall about half way there and traffic was barely creeping on the covered roads. Picked up kid, got a snack, the sun came out, and all the way home the road was just wet and we had a lovely drive! That’s New England.
A well-stocked pantry
There were several days this week when the last thing I wanted to do was go out of the house, so I relied on what was on hand. I try to keep my pantry stocked, and always have a few meals tucked in the freezer. Sometimes, I even remember to use them.
Time to use the stores
We’re well into February now, and some of our stored produce is begging to be used; it doesn’t keep forever. I still have some cranberries tucked in the crisper, and they are doing well except for the odd soft one. But their time is nearing, along with the last of the Delicata squash and softening sweet potatoes I got at the co-op a few weeks ago. The cabbage will hold for another week or so, I’ll worry about that later.
Stay inside, and cook
All this produce is really healthful, tasty, and they combine nicely with each other. On a recent cold night when you couldn’t pay me to go out again, I decided to use all these ancient treasurers to make dinner.
Sweet Potato Stuffed Delicata Squash
- 2 -3 plump Delicata Squash, halved, seeds removed
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. cumin
- 1/3 cup apple cider (soft or hard)
- 2 small purple sweet potatoes, chopped
- 1 small apple, peeled and diced
- 1/3 cup fresh cranberries, halved
- ¼ cup toasted cashews, rough chop
Prep all the vegetables. Slice the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. You can wash and dry the seeds, remove the membrane, and toast these up if you would like to use them as a garnish in the dish or save for a snack. Slice the onion, mince the garlic, chop the sweet potatoes and apple. Halve the cranberries.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. (180 C.) and lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet.
Heat a large skillet over medium high and add the olive oil. Sauté the onion until starting to brown and add the garlic, cinnamon, and cumin, stirring until fragrant.
Deglaze the pan with the cider, then add the sweet potatoes, apples, and cranberries and cook for about five minutes. If the pan gets dry, add a bit more cider.
Season the cavities of the squash lightly, then fill generously with the mixture. Place on baking sheet and cover with foil. Bake for about 45 minutes and check to see if the squash and potatoes are tender. It may take a few more minutes. The squash should just be starting to brown at the edges.
Plate and top with cashews and sriracha mayonnaise! Don’t forget, the peel of these wonderful little squashes is both edible and delicious. One of these is a serving for me, two for my husband, and apparently one for a naughty puppy who got a large reward for jumping up on the counter when no one was looking.
Sriracha and Maple Mayonnaise
I think I could put this sauce on just about anything! Use your favorite regional mayonnaise, and, as always, adjust the heat, sweet, and sour to your own taste.
- ½ cup Hellman’s Mayonnaise or Hellman’s Vegan Mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp. Sriracha sauce
- 1 tsp. dark amber maple syrup
- 1 tsp. lemon (or lime) juice
- Pinch of salt and few grinds of black pepper
Mix everything together and taste to adjust to your own liking! This will keep nicely in the refrigerator for a week.
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