I love to cook and I love to eat good food.  Alas, the fact that I work 9-5 means that I can't do either as much as I would like, and like many I am often stuck at my desk during my lunch "hour".  My solution is to try to bring my lunch to work as much as I can.  This is my collection of recipes, all made quickly the night before (either as lunch or as dinner with leftovers that can be taken in).  Happy eating.

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Barley and quinoa stuffed squash

I never seem to have enough time or energy, so I love anything that gives me a little extra.  One pot meals?  Fantastic -- less to clean up.  Food that provides its own dish?  Even better.  Squash was made to become the golden bowl for any variety of fillings.  

Squash always seemed to be such a funny name for a plant that is, in fact, rather expansive.  A few bits of trivia: the English word "squash" derives from askuatasquash (a green thing eaten raw) from the Narragansett language (according to my Wikipedia).  The game of Squash seems to have gotten its name from a rather more literal description of what the ball does when it hits the wall.  And we also have Squash the drink, popular in England and the Commonwealth, which is a fruit-based juice concentrate that becomes a juice drink when diluted with water.  Imagine liquid Tang and you're on the right track.

I prefer my Squash to be of the green/yellow/orange thing eaten roasted variety.  I wouldn't recommend trying to hit one against a wall.

One squash of your choice.  Kabocha, sugar pumpkin, or delicata are all good since they have a generous cavity for stuffing.  This amount of stuffing will probably fill two butternut squash.
1 medium onion, chopped (or 4 fat green onions, sliced thinly)
1 large clove garlic, minced
3/4 C. barley
1/4 C. quinoa
2 C. water
1/4 C. dried cherries, chopped
1/4 C. toasted walnuts, chopped
1-2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt, or to taste
2 T. chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350.  Cut squash in half, brush with olive oil, and place cut side down on a pan into the oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until tender.
In a medium saucepan, cook the onion and garlic until soft.  Add the barley and water, bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add quinoa, and cook until the barley is soft and the quinoa has popped open (another 15 minutes or so).  Most of the water should have been absorbed, so watch the pan at this point so it doesn't burn.  

Stir in the cherries, walnuts, salt and vinegar to taste.  Stuff into the baked squash and return to the oven for 5 minutes.  Top with parsley.

Serves 2 as a main dish.

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