September 27, 2006

Roasted Acorn Squash with Chile Vinaigrette

Wow, look at me—a second post in one week’s time! You’d think we were back in the past when I was posting 2-3 times a week. Generally I prefer posting my own creations, but I have either been too busy or too tired to focus on them. So I guess I will have to resort to the recipes found in my eight—yes 8—food magazine subscriptions!

Tonight I made a fabulous veggie recipe that I found in my Gourmet magazine for acorn squash. This peeked my interest because a) acorn squash is such a Fall vegetable and hence a great way to welcome to new season, b) how can you go wrong with adding flavors like lime, garlic, cilantro, and hot red chile to a dish?, and c) talk about an easy recipe—perfect seeing that my job has been kicking my ass this week and all I want to do is relax when I get home.

Since I was making this dish for one, I used only one acorn squash (the recipe called for two) which was more than plenty to feed me as my main dish (it was a wopping 2 pounder!). However, y’all know that I don’t think you can ever have too much sauce so I didn’t half that. Now you purists might think that essentially doubling the vinaigrette takes away the taste of the squash but I didn’t care—the vinaigrette was awesome. So for you non-purists, I amended the recipe below by increasing the dressing proportions (about 50%).

One last thing, the acorn squash was a bitch to cut through. Please be sure to use a good, strong, sharp knife. Even then, please be careful! My knife rocks, but I still had difficulty getting through that bugger.

So here you go—the recipe adapted from Gourmet magazine (serves 4):
  • 1 (1 ½ to 1 ¾ lb) Acorn squash
  • ½ tsp Black pepper
  • 1 ¼ tsp Salt
  • 8 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 ½ Garlic cloves
  • 2 ½ tbsp Fresh lime juice
  • 2-3 tsp Finely chopped fresh hot red chile, including seeds (See Note 1)
  • 3 tbsp Chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Halve squash lengthwise, then cut off and discard stem ends. Scoop out seeds (you can later roast them for a snack!) and cut squash lengthwise into ¾ inch-wide wedges.
  3. Toss squash with black pepper, ¾ teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons oil in a bowl.
  4. Arrange cut sides down in 2 large shallow baking pans. Roast squash, switching position of pans halfway through roasting, until squash is tender and undersides of wedges are golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes.
  5. While squash roasts, mince garlic and mash to a paste with remaining ½ teaspoon salt. (See Note 2)
  6. Transfer paste to a small bowl and whisk in lime juice, chile (to taste), cilantro, and remaining 6 tablespoons olive oil until combined.
  7. Transfer squash, browned sides up, to a platter and drizzle with vinaigrette.

If you are interested in seeing other healthy recipes, you can check out Sweetnick's food blog for her "ARF/5-a-day Tuesdays."


  1. My market did not have hot red chile peppers so I opted for a red cherry chili, which also worked well.
  2. The salt is important here because it acts as a grinder for the minced garlic. Simply take the wide side of your knife and place it on top of the garlic and salt mixture. Then, with downward pressure, pull the knife towards you (like a putty knife). Do this a handful of times until the garlic turns into a paste.

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September 25, 2006

Shrimp in Mustard Sauce

I recently received this month’s Everyday Food magazine, which included a recipe for shrimp in mustard sauce. It includes Dijon mustard, which I often use when cooking salmon and add to soup broths (trust me, it is good!) but have never tried with shell fish. So I was curious to give this recipe a shot.

The recipe is designed for 4 servings, so I trimmed it down to one. To do this I basically took a fourth of each item with the exception of the sauce ingredients. I find that trimming sauces to one serving does not work so well. When cooking them in decreased portions, they reduce a lot faster and leave less sauce than desired. So I cut these ingredients to a third.

Overall I thought this recipe was fine. I think I could have used less flour thus making the sauce less thick (as shown in the magazine’s picture). I also think I should have used less mustard, which I got a little too excited about. Therefore, the portions I show below take these items into consideration. I think if you make it with the portions shown below, it will be better than how mine came out.

So here you go…the recipe adapted from Everyday Food (per 1 serving):
  • 4 tsp Olive oil (the original recipe calls for butter, so you may prefer that)
  • 1/3 lb Shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails removed
  • 1/3 Clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp Shallot minced
  • 1 tsp Flour
  • 1/3 cup Dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup Reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • Cooked white rice, for serving (optional)
  • Fresh thyme leaves for garnish
  1. In a small skillet over medium heat add half of the olive oil and all of the shrimp and garlic. Sautee until the shrimp is almost cooked through but not all the way. Remove the shrimp and garlic and set aside (the shrimp will finish cooking in a later step).
  2. Add remaining olive oil and shallot to skillet and sauté for a minute or two.
  3. Add the flour and mix it with the oil. Cook for a minute (this rids the raw flour taste).
  4. Add the wine, chicken broth, and mustard and whisk together. Let simmer until the sauce slightly thickens.
  5. Pour sauce through a fine strainer and add back to the skillet (this step, in my opinion, is optional).
  6. Add back shrimp and garlic and finish cooking the shrimp.
  7. Pour onto serving plate and top with fresh thyme.

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