Stuffed Acorn Squash

27 09 2009

I don’t write or develop recipes, but I am a good improviser when it comes to cooking. Joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group really makes you practice those skills, as well. Last night, I was working with acorn squash, bok choy, tomatoes, (all from the CSA) and ground beef. I made up this dish, but the acorn squash could easily be substituted with butternut squash or kabocha (pumpkin), and the bok choy could be substituted for any leafy, hearty green. You could also add in some of your own favorites–onion and carrots come to mind. It’s a very versatile and easy dinner.


Set your oven at 375. Prepare the squash by cutting them in half and scooping out the seeds. I put my four halves into a glass baking dish and drizzled them with olive oil. Salt and pepper them as much as you like (I like mine salty).

Put the squash in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes. This should give you enough time to chop up the vegetables that you are using into smallish pieces. After the timer goes off, set it for another 30 minutes, and start making the filling. Heat a larger skillet and leave it at medium while you brown the ground beef (about 1 lb.). After it is just browned, add the chopped vegetables and season them with salt, pepper, curry powder, and a touch a cinnamon. Once everything has cooked, about 5-10 minutes, add about a half cup of vegetable broth and simmer until the liquid is gone. **

Check to see if your squash is tender and if it is, take it out of the oven to spoon some of your ground beef filling into each one. There will probably be leftover filling. Put the squash back into the oven for 10-15 minutes until the filling gets a little crusty. Take out the squash and let it sit for a couple of minutes before you eat it.

**If you have kids who are picky eaters or can’t eat the stuffed squash in this format, you could scoop out the meat of the squash and serve it separately with the filling. It’s a little bit easier to eat that way.

Some visuals:





I am pretty excited to try this again and I’ll probably use kabocha next time, just because Matt and I like the flavor better. But overall, it was a tasty fall experiment. Please let me know if you try it any differently.

Breakfast Sandwich: The Winner

22 09 2009

Drum roll, please. I tried the final breakfast sandwich this morning: The Winner! The Bagel Shop with 89 points! I had to make sure that this sandwich was deserving of such a prestigious title, and it still is.  Maybe even more deserving considering the line of people that now stretch across 13th street between classes waiting to place their order at the Bagel Shop.

Just look at this masterpiece:

the winner 001

the winner 002

the winner 003


It should have its own runway show. Or its own fashion line, at least. Has “Breakfast Sandwich” been a challenge on Top Chef? (This one doesn’t count.) I don’t think so. Bring it on, Colicchio! The Bagel Shop in North Philadelphia will kick all of your Top Chef asses!

No Name Breakfast Sandwich

21 09 2009

After a long hiatus, I tried the penultimate and 12th breakfast sandwich from a Truck with No Name on Montgomery Ave. between Broad and 13th streets. The Winner will be announced tomorrow after I try the last and 13th sandwich.  I am on pins & needles!

The sandwich looked great except for the not-toasted-enough bread. It was cut in half, with the egg all nicely tucked and I couldn’t wait to dig in. The sandwich was very sturdy despite the white-bread-that-was-hardly toast. Maybe it was the massive amount of bacon in there! With the lack of sogginess, loads of bacon, and excellent egg tuckage, I really really wanted to fall in love this sandwich but I just couldn’t.  It’s like I loved this sandwich, but I wasn’t in love with the sandwich.

The egg was cooked well, there was lots of it (and bacon–did I mention the bacon?), and the cheese was nice and melty, but the taste just wasn’t doing it for me. I tasted ketchup, I tasted bacon (a bit too greasy), and I tasted egg, but the flavors seemed distant–like they all wanted to be in different sandwiches. They weren’t working together as a team. Maybe it’s because the ingredients really were just put on the sandwich as separate entities: first the cheese, then the egg, then the bacon. There was no mingling. Maybe this all ties in together with the truck itself having no name as I really couldn’t distinguish a name among all of the signage.  Maybe the truck, and in connection, the poor breakfast sandwich, are having an identity crisis.

But enough of my breakfast sandwich philosophies, which, on second read sound as random and displaced as the sandwich.  On to the scoring:

Overall appearance: 9
Meat: 8
Egg (quality, quantity, and tuckage): 8
Greasiness: 6
Cheese (quality and quantity): 7
Condiments (quality and quantity.): 7
Carbohydrate Delivery System (credit: Matt Palmer): 4
Price: 7 ($2.50 for lots of stuff)
Accuracy of order: 10
Overall taste: 7
Total score: 73