With the holidays approaching and a chilly bite in the air, I’m buzzing. It feels like there are so many exciting things around the corner, and I’m ready to face them–mug of warm liquids in hand (obviously).
Even though the cold weather does often make me want to curl up in a fluffy ball and watch old movies, it also fills me with a lot of creative motivation. Recipe ideas come brimming out my ears, and if I’m not baking away in the kitchen, I’m in my studio throwing colors around, or at my desk, hammering rocks into jewelry. But this writing bit actually becomes much more difficult. Although I’m a blogger, I’ve never considered myself a writer. It has never come easily to me, but it’s definitely worse in the winter. With all the energy of cool weather, I want to make, not say. I know that writing can be, on its own, an art. But it’s never been a creative space for me. It’s much more utilitarian than that.
I tell you what I’m doing, sometimes what I’m thinking, and usually some “show notes” for the featured recipe and its process, but I don’t feel that I’m very artistic about it. And I’d like to be. So tell me, my readers who write, what are your processes? How do I help myself blog in a way that is both informative and beautiful, or at least interesting and entertaining? I’m open to any and all suggestions. Exercises in free-verse poetry? Psychedelics? Tell me what you do!
On the note of writing, I would love to create more “everyday”, lifestyle based posts. Maybe with recipes, maybe not. But I would love to start sharing more of my thoughts on a platform that *isn’t* an argument on Facebook. (Although I am an absolute professional at Facebook debates, lemme tell ya.) In doing this, however, I want to avoid sounding like a citation-heavy research paper… which is kind of my default.
So tell me what you want to hear! On Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or any other place where you follow this blog: are you interested in lifestyle posts? Do you want me to tell you about how Myles and I are going zero-waste? Want to know how I’m decorating our new house? A tutorial on sourdough starter or growing sprouts in your kitchen? Are you on here just for the photos? Tell me. I would love your feedback! As winter approaches, I’m full of ideas, but I want to know yours too.
Roasted Acorn Squash, Stuffed with Wild Rice and Mushroom Pilaf
2 ripe, firm acorn squash, washed
salt and pepper
1.5 c. wild rice mix (you can use equal thirds brown, white, and black wild)
4 c. beef broth (or vegetable broth for a vegetarian/vegan version)
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 shallot, minced finely
12 oz. white or cremini mushrooms, sliced
3 T butter or olive oil
1/2 c. pecans, finely chopped (opt)
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Thoroughly wash both acorn squash, and pat dry. Remove stems and cut in half across the grain, and remove the seeds. Line a baking sheet with parchment and place squash, flesh side up. Drizzle olive oil across all four halves and use fingers to coat the flesh. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper, and place in the oven.
In a 2 quart saucepan, pour the dry rice mix and about 4 cups of cold water. Swish the rice around with your fingers until the water is milky and slightly opaque. Rinse rice and repeat washing until water runs clear. Place the pot on medium heat and add beef broth, 1 tablespoon butter, and garlic. Bring to a simmer and cover.
Place a large skillet over medium heat and add the remaining butter. When butter is slightly browned and bubbling, add minced shallot and mushrooms. Cook covered, stirring every few minutes until the mushrooms have shrunk, and shallots are translucent and fragrant. Add to rice. Wipe out skillet and return to heat. Add chopped pecans and toast lightly until they smell sweet and have a lightly darker color. Remove from heat and add to rice mixture. Simmer rice mixture, covered, until fully cooked, up to 55 minutes.
Check squash for doneness after baking about 50 minutes. If soft all the way through, remove from oven. If it’s still at all firm, continue roasting up to an hour and 25 minutes. Once thoroughly cooked, remove from oven and fill the cavities with the cooked rice mixture, and return to oven. Turn the oven onto it’s top broil setting and toast the squash lightly, up to 2 minutes. Remove from oven and serve hot.