Squash Randomly Stuffed

Yesterday I had the task of baking some acorn squash.  Of course, my first thought was that it would be incredibly boring alone.  Arming myself with random accessories, I went to work.

First up, onion, always have to have onion (it was about 1 cup total).  Diced well, it was.  Eyes watered, they did.  Finger check reveals all are intact, so that went well.  +10 XP for not slicing any fingers!

Next, cashews and Craisins.  Those were set aside to top the squash.  The dosage:  “enough”.  They are accents, so keep that in mind.

Finally, barley.  It had to have some substance to it.  I decided to be bold and not cook it at all before hand.  This, right here, was the very thing that prompted me to muse I hope this doesn’t taste like crap.

From this point, there’s what I did and what I’ll do the next time.

What I did:  Halved two acorn squashes.  Scooped out seeds.  Placed in appropriately sized casserole dish.  Liberally drizzed with olive oil.  Filled with mix of barley and onion.  Topped with craisins and cashews.  Poured a little maple syrup over each (2T?).  Baked at 400F for 1 hour covered.  Covered is important here to keep the moisture in — or you’ll end up with barley pebbles and that does taste bad.

What I’d do the next time:  put the barley in first and make sure it is covered, covered, covered by everything.  Completely.  I might even put 1T of water into each squash cavity.  The barley cooked but, heh, barely.  The barley on top was crunchy — which was not all that great.  It was edible, but not all that great.

Otherwise, this was awesome.  Perhaps adding some apple would be good too.  That would add more moisture and help the barley cook.

But the best part is that this was relatively fast.  The largest effort, in order was: (1) prepping the squash, (2) dicing the onion, (3) washing my hands to get the onion juice off.

And there you have it:  Squash Randomly Stuffed which did not taste like crap.

Pâte à Shoe Goo

OK, that’s a long way to go for a pun in the title, forgive me, I like pun-y titles.

Oddly enough, Big Box Bulk Foods Store[tm] offers a few varieties of pre-prepared ravioli that are actually worth eating.

The problem is that they come from a chill case, but not a freezer case, and we don’t have room in the fridge to keep things like that for more than about 24 hours. Well, the problem really is that if you put such things into the freezer, you basically ruin them.

After several experiences of thawing them out slowly over many hours, trying to boil them and having them all explode and a huge mess, I came up with A Cunning Plan[tm].

I pre-set my oven to 375 degrees and prepped a baking dish with some olive oil (the cheap stuff, of course) in the bottom.

I opened the two cartons of ravioli while they were still rock hard frozen and dropped the two bricks onto a very stout, plastic cutting board. I then fetted my largest, sharpest knife. I then sliced the bricks into half inch wide strips and lined the bottom of the baking dish with them. I put this on a stove top burner to warm up while the oven got ready and then I poured enough tomato sauce to cover all the strips into the dish just before popping it into the oven.

I left it in there until the sauce was enthusiastically boiling around the edges and then pulled it out.

Viola!

The ultimate cheat for making lasagna.