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

Quiet Grace


View and purchase full resolution image here.

Often it is the quiet grace of a scene, individual or object that draws me in. There will be brighter hues in the evening sky, or a more colourful character at the cafe or a shinier pebble on the beach, each providing a flash of engagement. They are not the ones that hold me. I will be waiting for the softer moments to appear – ones that I can linger over and savour. The sunset in Dinner Bay above is a perfect example. And so is this pottery pot.

When you see this lovely pottery pot on the shelf with other more brightly coloured cousins it may be tempting to pass it by. But all you would need to do is pick it up to know and see its unmistakable beauty and quality. As with many of the potter’s pieces, it is multipurpose and can be used to cook a small roast, chicken or bake a stew, casserole or beans.

Just look at the detail on the lip of the lid which fits smoothly onto the pot.

Here is a dew-covered snapshot of the bottom. Are you smitten yet?

Mayne Island Quasimodo Pottery creates unique, extremely high quality craftsmanship and functional art in its pottery pieces.

Of course, there is no point in having a pot like this without a good recipe for homemade baked beans. This recipe is from my mom and given to her by her mom. It was my favourite dish as a child and I used to request it for my birthday dinner.

Homemade Baked Beans

1 lb dried beans (pinto beans)

1/2 tsp dried mustard

2 tbsp dolmolso (dark) molasses – I use about 3 tbsp with another tbsp maple syrup or bit of brown sugar but it is a matter of taste and what kind of pork you use will change sweetness.

A piece of unsliced bacon, salt pork, smoked pork hock, ham bone, (or beaver tail if that is all you have)

1 small onion

2 stalks celery (and I add a couple of carrots)

black pepper to taste

*Note: don’t add salt until partly cooked and tasted because of salty pork

Cover dried beans in lots of water add a dash of baking soda and soak overnight. In the morning, rinse beans add fresh water and simmer for about an hour on top of the stove. Then put beans in roaster or bean pot with other ingredients and enough of the liquid to cover. Bake at 250 degrees until done – probably will take all day. Add water if and as necessary – very important when using a roaster as beans tend to dry out more easily than in a bean pot.

This pot of beans was served with fresh wholewheat sourdough bread.

Sprout Question: How would you describe what attracts you in creativity?

© 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