Autumn, the season of colorful food harvests and warm gatherings of friends and family. Color palettes of vibrant orange, brilliant browns, and rich reds. Memories of families reuniting once again for the Mid-Autumn Festival and Thanksgiving. All this imagery should evoke warm fuzzy feeling all over.
Well, up until recently, I never liked Autumn. Growing up in a dry desert region, Autumn just meant an end to lazy days lounging by the pool, impromptu trips to the beach, and farewell to flip flops + sundresses. The evergreen trees in LA did not turn a wonderous golden hue, and “back to school” was just a harsh reminder that the real world held real responsibilities.
This all changed when I went apple picking and wine tasting in the Hudson River Valley last year. Never had I seen fall foliage like that of a kaleidoscope, splattering color in every direction. Never had I experienced the exhilaration of a hay ride and the delight of biting into a freshly picked apple. For the first time, I saw the magic Mother Nature planted into this delicious season, with its warm cinnamon and nutmeg infused cider, and its pumpkin dishes, so decadently sweet and buttery. I was entranced by the splendor of it all.
And so, this year, I find myself irresistibly experimenting with Fall ingredients like Butternut Squash, Pumpkin, Apples, Pears, and now Stuffed Acorn Squash. I’ve always been fascinated with its cute acorn shape and its pretty green & orange skin. The savory filling I chose to cook in a Japanese Miso sauce, brought out the natural sweetness of the squash. And the juicy smooth texture of the mushroom, green beans, and eggplant perfectly balanced the squash’s slightly fibrous texture.
- Acorn Squash. Halved and seeded
- Shitake Mushrooms (sliced)
- Green Beans (cut in half)
- Eggplant (sliced)
- Miso Sauce (Japanese Shiro (white) Miso, Mirin or Sake, and Honey/Agave/Sugar. I consulted various recipes, and the ratio of Miso:Mirin:Sugar should be approx 3:1:2)
- Sesame Seeds for extra roasted flavor
Putting it together:
- Brush squash with olive oil/butter and bake for 20 min on 400degrees
- While squash is baking, cook eggplant, mushrooms and green beans in a little oil until veggies turn slightly brown and tender. Stir in the miso mixture and coat all over the veggies. Sprinkle in some sesame seeds
- Scoop filling into the center of the squash and bake for another 20-30 min on 350 degrees
- Squash shell also serves as a bowl! When you eat, make sure you scoop out the flesh of the squash and mix it with the flavored filling. Bon Appetit!
- You can stuff with the more traditional orzo/rice. Add some raisins and parsley for a sweet tangy flavor.
- If you don’t have miso, you can replace with soy sauce, bbq, or peanut sauce
- Veggies like celery, corn, zucchini, and carrots would all go beautifully with the squash