I have noticed that my husband’s coworkers have asked him things about my day to day life. To some of them it is a curiosity, “Your wife gets up at what time?” “And you get home and there is dinner on the table?” And one of my favorites: “You mean she still cooks after she has cooked and baked all day?”
I personally never gave it much thought. Yes, I am up and out the door on the average day by 4:30 / 5:00 in the morning, but I am through with my day by 2:00. Yes, I stand in front of a hot oven and stove, but not for that long. Plus, I love what I do! Maybe that is crazy, but there is always a little bit of crazy for just about anyone I have met that works in a kitchen. I generally come home, relax for a bit, walk our dogs, go to a café to get some reading in or research done, and then head back home to start dinner.
To me cooking dinner is second nature. I open the refrigerator, find something, and cook it up. But maybe this is odd?!? I recently had the pleasure of going to see a discussion and lecture with Mark Bittman. (If you do not know he is the ever popular columist for the New York Times and book author.) He said something that shocked me: Only about 30% of the average American is cooking at home! 30%!!!! Why is that not a bigger number? Why are we not cooking? What are these people eating? I can go on and on, but it really made me sad when it is so easy. Like the other day I cut open an acorn squash and roasted it till tender. I sauted some corn and filled up the cavity of the squash and placed it back in the oven. In the meantime I did some laundry, read a magazine, and listened to some music. No real fuss, just multi-tasking if you asked me. By 6:30 I was sitting down with dinner. A really yummy and easy dinner if you ask me. No fuss, I just opened up my refrigerator and cabinets and used what I had on hand. It cannot get much simpler than that. Give it a try sometime! Don’t be a part of that 70% that is eating - who knows what!
Stuffed Acorn Squash (feeds 2)
*This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. The filling was more than enough for the size squash I had. I saved the extra and tossed it with another egg or two and made a scramble!
**This is great to serve with a tossed salad.
1 acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise with seeds and insides scraped out
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 shallot, chopped small
1-2 Serrano chili, chopped small
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can of corn
½ cup of grated cheddar cheese
¼ cup of crème
Sea Salt and fresh black pepper to taste
First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Foil or parchment line a sheet pan and brush it with a bit of olive oil. Place the acorn squash on the pan cut side up and brush all over with the remainder of the olive oil. Sprinkle it with sea salt and black pepper and place it in the center of your oven. Let it all roast about 30 minutes, rotating it half way through.
Meanwhile, place a large frying pan over medium heat and add the butter. Once butter has melted add your shallot, garlic, and chili. Let it all simmer until the shallot is translucent. Add in your corn and stir it often until heated through. Add in the cream and stir it until the cream starts to simmer and remove from the heat.
Then, when the corn mixture cools a bit add in about ¼ cup of the cheese and egg and stir well. Test the acorn squash to see if it is tender. Once the flesh is easily pierced with a knife it is ready.
Finally, remove the acorn squash from the oven and fill the cavity with the corn mixture you have. Season it with sea salt and black pepper, top it with the remaining cheese and place it back in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden.