Late on a Friday, shoppers trolled the aisles in a nearby grocery whose shelves are lined with hard-to-find international ingredients as coveted by gourmet cooks as appreciated by immigrants longing for familiar tastes of home.
One shopper studied his list, peered at labels, checked the list again. An observant grocery manager asked to help, thought for a moment but shook his head. “Naw, we don’t carry that.”
Then his face brightened. “Whole Foods!” he said, naming the upscale organic market some miles away. “They’ll have it for sure.”
Curious, I approached. What hard-to-find item was the shopper hunting? He consulted the list again, then carefully enunciated, “Tepid water.”
Is quinoa as unfamiliar to you as -- get this, warm tap water -- was to the puzzled shopper? Change that with this week’s squash. It’s stuffed with the nutty-flavored, high-protein, quick-cooking grain that’s pronounced, carefully now, KEEN-wa.
ACORN SQUASH with QUINOA & CHERRIES
Time-to-table: 1 hour
- 2 acorn squash, washed
- Olive oil
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed well
- 1/4 cup dried tart cherries or dried cranberries, preferably halved
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, preferably toasted
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400F. Cut squash in half lengthwise; remove and discard seeds and membrane. Rub skin and cut edge with oil.
Place squash face-down on a baking dish (preferably one with sides as high as the squash halves) and bake for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring the water and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa, return to a boil and cook for 15 – 20 minutes or until liquid cooks away. Stir in the fruit, nuts, maple syrup, butter and cinnamon.
Mound the quinoa mixture in the squash halves. Cover with foil and bake for another 15 minutes.
More Favorite Fall Recipes
• Keep your eyes peeled for small acorn squash the size of oranges not grapefruit.
• If your family doesn't like the sweetness of cinnamon in savory dishes, it can be omitted.
Never miss a Kitchen Parade recipe: Sign up for an e-mail subscription.
© Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade