Stuffed Ambercup Squash with Champagne

The last day of September has arrived. Golden afternoon sun moves into the long shadows of the fir trees outside her window. Leaving the bed with its crumpled woolen throw and Barbara Kingsolver’s Orange Prize The Lacuna, she climbs the shallow steps up to the kitchen and looks at the orange Ambercup squash on the counter. She hadn’t planned to cook this harvest poster vegetable yet but there are shallots in the wicker basket beside it. She muses about the great handfuls of parsley in her kitchen garden. Then there is that beautiful plump sage over by the fence. Of course it will need some thyme and just a bit of rosemary. By now she has put on her oversized apron and garden clogs and is out in the potager gathering the herbs.

“We are having stuffed squash with shallots, apples and pumpkin seeds” she shouts up to where her husband is working on securing another deer fence at the back of the yard.

He straightens up with a grin that reaches right to the back of his soft brown eyes. He knows that she knows that squash is his favourite food. She grins back.

With a fist full of herbs she is back at the kitchen counter. There is only one way to safely take the head off of a squash. It is with a large heavy cleaver. If hitting the cleaver with the back of her hand doesn’t slice the tough hide of the squash, she resorts to using the rubber mallet from the tool shed to pound it through. This method has never failed her. Today no rubber mallet is necessary.

With the insides of the squash composted, she is ready to make the house smell like savory heaven. She is sure there is a garlic clove over in the garlic holder. Yes, there it is. Butter, lots of butter – well, first a little olive oil is drizzled into the well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. The garlic, shallots and herbs are chopped and ready. A few slices of that heavy multi-grain bread filled with seeds cubed will do nicely. Two small this-year Macintosh apples are sliced and added unpeeled. She eats three pieces of their tart flesh before they make it into the mix. Fresh ground nutmeg and some of that fresh ground allspice too.  Now let’s see… a few pumpkin seeds, maybe a handful. Finally some sea salt and pepper ground with wrist snapping vigor.

“That about does it,” she mutters to the kitchen wall.

Hanging up her apron she remembers wine. She has forgotten to buy wine.

Well, there are a couple of small bottles of champagne chilled that she was given by a friend in August for her birthday. Squash with champagne it will be.

Stuffed and the lid pinned on with large tooth picks, she places the squash on an old pie plate with a bit of water in the bottom and a piece of tinfoil loosely over top. The oven has been warmed to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and the timer is set for an hour even though she knows it will likely take a bit longer.

She thinks that maybe she should write out the recipe but what would she say? Seize a medium sized winter squash and a few shallots. Then keep adding ingredients until you find that you have closed the oven door. Done!

Sprout Question: Can you share your creative recipe?

Best of the weekend to you!

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Everything from Soup to Nuts

We are not to the bottom of the barrel quite yet but we are definitely down to everything from soup to nuts. It looks like we are in for a stretch of rain. I am going away for the weekend and need to deliver a package of art inventory to our local décor story and catch the noon ferry to Victoria. I still need to post and pack. So I have a choice between an image of a water-logged log or this awesome spicy eggplant soup served with heavy spelt bread and almond hazelnut butter. I thought you would prefer the soup.

Spicy Eggplant Soup

5-7 cups organic vegetable stock

2 carrots, diced

1 small onion diced

2 small locally grown organic eggplants or one normal size cubed

2 tablespoons grated gingerroot (I used homemade blackberry ginger chutney because I had no gingerroot)

1 clove of garlic (can use two… we are just light on garlic)

1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes just pick from the garden (or organic canned if out of season)

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (up to 1/2 cup if you like cilantro)

1 teaspoon cumin

pepper and kosher sea salt

In large pot saute carrots onion, eggplant, ginger and garlic over medium heat in a few tablespoons of vegetable stock adding more stock if needed until onions are done. Stir in remaining stock, tomatoes, cumin and pepper; cover and bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until it is done. Add cilantro and sea salt to taste. Let sit while preparing heavy toasted spelt bread smeared with almond hazelnut butter.

This recipe has been adapted from p. 122 of Cooking Vegetarian: Healthy,Delicious and Easy Vegetarian Cuisine by Vesanto Melina, R.D. and Joseph Forest (published 1996 MacMullan Canada). The original recipe has two potatoes diced in as well and offers the option of saute with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil instead of vegetabel stock.

It has been the most fabulous week here on Creative Potager. I thank you for your comments, for sharing this creativity site with others and even for taking the time to drop by and lurk in the corners. I shall be back with a new post again on Monday. Best of the weekend to you!

Sprout Question: When is your next day off from your regular creative practice?

p.s. I also chose the related links special for us as well so you might want to take a look.

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada