Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fall Recipes

I love fall! I like the changing color of the leaves, I like the cool crisp air, and I LOVE fall foods! Maybe it's because I was born in September, but this is my favorite time of year.

Winter squash is now on sale in most grocery stores and is cheap at the farmer's markets. While Winter squash like butternut, acorn and the beloved pumpkin are higher in carbs than Summer squash varieties, with some careful consideration, Winter squash can be a tasty part of your eating plan.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes to help you get in to the spirit of the season.

Perky Pumpkin Seeds

This pumpkin seed recipe was passed on to me by my mom - no telling where she got it. My brother and sister and I loved this recipe and used to fight over the precious seeds. Waiting for them to cook was torture since they need to slow roast.

2 cups (or so) fresh pumpkin seeds
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
2 Tbl melted butter
1 1/4 tsp salt (optional)

DO NOT wash or clean the pumpkin seeds. Really. In fact, the more GOO they have on them, the better. Spread the pumpkin seeds in a thin layer on a cookie sheet. Combine the Worcestershire sauce and melted butter. Pour Worcestershire/butter mix over the seeds and stir. Sprinkle salt over the seeds. Bake at 200º for about two hours, stirring every half hour. Allow to cool and store in an air-tight container.

This also works with acorn squash seeds or a mixture of pumpkin and squash seeds.

Wifezilla's Savory Acorn Squash Cakes
The meat from 1 acorn squash (baked with butter and sprinkled with erethyritol or other sweetener)
1 lb turkey sausage or other ground meat seasoned with fennel (browned)
4 large eggs
1/2 cup grated romano or parmesan cheese (or any combination of the two)
1/2 cup chopped baby portobello mushrooms
1/2 cup almond or hazelnut meal
1 Tbsp dried minced onion
Salt, pepper and ground cheyenne pepper to desired spiciness level.

Mix all ingredients together and form into cakes (think crab cakes). Place on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray and bake at 325º for about 30 minutes, flipping once when edges of the bottom look a bit browned. Sprinkle the top with your favorite cheese while still hot and serve.

Wifezilla's Chicken & Squash Saute

2 chicken breast, cubed
2 cups sliced portobello mushrooms
2 cups cubed cooked Winter squash
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp oyster sauce
grated parmesan cheese

In a frying pan, saute the chicken over medium heat in butter. Add mushrooms once the chicken is cooked, adding additional butter if needed to keep the mushrooms from sticking to the pan. Once mushrooms have softened and absorbed the butter, add the squash cubes, garlic, and oyster sauce and stir. Sprinkle with parmesan and serve.

Abi Fae's Pumpkin Stew

Ok, this is not exactly a recipe per se, and I haven't tried it yet, but my friend Abi makes this every fall. Adaptations are needed to make it low carb legal, but the basics are intriguing.

Abi says, "Make a beef gravy, add veggies, potatoes, stew beef, apples, cranberries.... water it down if need be... pour it all into a hollowed pumpkin, replace the lid on the pumpkin, and bake until the pumpkin is soft (instead of letting the stew... well, stew). The apples and cranberries make it though... mmmm"

Abi is a very good cook and I have enjoyed many of her cooking experiments in the past. By swapping rutabagas or turnips for the potatoes, and making flour-free gravy should bring this to low carb specs. Anyone brave enough to try it? Let me know how it turns out!

UPDATE: I got brave and gave it a try. Here is my stew cooked inside of a turban squash.

It turned out pretty well. Instead of a gravy, I used a bottle of Oatmeal Stout beer thickened with flax meal. Yeah, it was pushing the carb envelope, but it did taste good :D

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