Thursday, January 29, 2009

grilled sesame bok choy & brussels sprouts

our dinner last night was inspired by a meal we had last saturday. after being on our list of places to try for probably about a year, we finally made it to eos wine bar and restaurant in cole valley. loved it! we sat in the wine salon (definitely their phrase, not mine), tried some wine flights and nibbled on a variety of small plates. two of those dishes being grilled bok choy with tofu and grape tomatoes and sesame roasted brussels sprouts. we combined the two into grilled sesame bok choy and brussels sprouts and served it over brown rice. i cooked the vegetables in our grill pan (which i love but don't use nearly as often as i should because i hate cleaning it) but if you don't have one i think it would work well in a normal old pan too.

grilled sesame bok choy & brussels sprouts with brown rice
1 cup short grain brown rice
bok choy (i had 3 smallish sized bunches) top leaves trimmed
brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed, bottoms trimmed and cut in half
olive oil
sesame seeds
sesame oil
crushed red chili flakes
1/3 cup peanuts, toasted and chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black

get the rice going according to package instructions

in a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper and set aside. chop the cilantro but keep separate for now.

heat your grill pan. brush the bok choy with olive oil and cook on each side for a couple minutes until softened and grill lines appear. once they're cooked, transfer to a regular pan. drizzle with a little sesame oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds and chili flakes to taste. toss for a minute or two.

toss your halved brussels sprouts with olive oil to coat. cook in the grill pan the same way you did the bok choy. once cooked, move to regular pan to toss with sesame oil, sesame seeds and chili flakes.

when the rice is done cooking pour the sauce over it and mix to combine. stir in the chopped cilantro.

serve the vegetables over rice and garnish with peanuts.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

coffee crunch bars

when i first flipped through the february issue of bon appetit the coffee crunch bars caught my eye. i knew that i had to make them. i chocolate? almonds? and crunchy? what's not to like?

yesterday i really wanted to make a pie. but all the pies that i wanted to make were fruit pies calling for fruit that is not in season now (of course). so i flipped through a few cookbooks looking for a dessert to make and nothing was tempting me (which is weird...i mean...when did i get so picky about making delicious desserty things?), just one of those days i guess. but then suddenly i remembered the coffee crunch bars and i was excited and ready to go!

only one thing...about a week ago erin and i were emailing back and forth and i mentioned this particular recipe in bon appetit that i really wanted to make. i found the online link and sent it to her. i also looked at the recipe reviews while i was there and, sadly, they were not favorable. one thing that stuck with me was that a lot of people claimed the finished product tasted of burnt butter. this wasn't enough to turn me off of the recipe completely (obviously) but the negative reviews loomed in the back of my mind i decided to tweak a few things to ensure that my finished product end up as tasty and satisfying as i knew it could be. below is the recipe as it appears in the magazine with my changes noted.

coffee crunch bars

(bon appetit, february 2009)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (i used vegan margarine)
1 1/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (i just chopped up baking squares so mine were more chunks than chips)
1/2 cup sliced almonds

preheat oven to 325. whisk first 3 ingredients in medium bowl to blend.

using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in another medium bowl until blended, about 2 minutes. add espresso powder and almond extract; beat 1 minute.

stir in flour mixture in 3 additions, mixing until just absorbed after each addition. stir in chocolate chips and almonds (dough will be thick).

turn dough onto ungreased rimmed baking sheet. using hands, press dough into 12-inch square.* pierce all over with fork at 1-inch intervals.

bake until edges are lightly browned and beginning to crisp, 45 - 50 minutes**. cool on sheet 1 minute. cut into bars and immediately transfer to rack to cool. store in airtight container.

*my largest baking sheet is 11x17 so i knew the 12 inch square wasn't going to happen. my rectangle was 11 by, maybe, 8. it was just shy of being as tall as the rim on the baking sheet.
**i set my timer for 45 minutes but kept an eye on them as they cooked. i took them out after about 30 minutes.

with my changes in size and cooking time i ended up with bars that are the texture of chewey brownies and have a lovely espresso taste. not too sweet but not bitter either. kris and i enjoyed them with a cup of coffee with a splash of amaretto for dessert. true, they might not be crunchy as the originals are meant to be, but they also do not taste of burnt butter so i think i won.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

flatbread and falafel feast

friday night we wanted to do something fun, cheap and, of course, delicious for dinner. kris had the brilliant idea to buy a bunch of falafel that we could build our meal around. the original plan was to go to our favorite falafel place - the sunrise deli. rain got in the way of that one so kris came through with a big paper bag stuffed with warm fresh falafel from ali baba down the street and some tabouleh. the meal was halfway done!

kris is the designated dip maker in this household so he worked his magic and threw a bunch of stuff in the food processor. one minute it looked like this:

but what came out was a deliciously creamy sundried tomato hummus.

i decided to make flatbread cause....well....i love making bread products and always want to try out something new. it was really quick and easy to make and had a nice soft texture. i found a basic recipe to start with but wanted to spice it up a bit. so back to the internet to investigate za'atar. za'atar is a middle eastern spice blend and i was pretty sure we had most of the ingredients in our arsenal of spices. we did have most....all except sumac which apparently makes up the largest percentage of the blend. so it wasn't za'atar but it was close and it was good.

3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup ice water
3 tablespoons shortening
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of baking soda

combine the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. add the shortening and cut into the flour mixture. add the water and stir to form a dough.

divide the dough into 5 equal pieces. roll each piece into a thin circle (about 8 inches).

prick the surface of the dough with a fork*

cook on a hot, lightly oiled pan. these cook fast so keep an eye on them. it only takes a minute or less on each side.

(almost) za'atar
sesame seeds
coarse salt

mix together equal parts (i did a 1/2 teaspoon) thyme, marjoram and oregano. add a little less sesame seeds and even a little bit less salt.

brush the cooked flatbreads with olive oil, sprinkle on spice mixture and rub it in.

*i actually forgot this step. they still turned out really well but maybe they're even better if you prick 'em.


Friday, January 23, 2009

curried squash and red lentil soup

When it is cold and dreary outside, I find few things more comforting than a bowl of soup. And the truly fantastic thing about soup, satisfaction aside, is that most recipes require very little hands on time and yield delicious leftovers! So, again browsing my February Gourmet (you know I love my cooking mags!) I decided on the Curried Squash and Red Lentil soup. It's something a little different, Eastern-inspired, with a nice kick from the curry and a subtle sweetness from the squash. I served it over rice, as recommended, and was pleased with the result! oh, and if you are wavering about making the cilantro oil, please disregard your inner dialogue. it is a perfect accompaniment to the soup, and a brightness of both color and flavor!

Curried Squash and Red Lentil Soup
Gourmet, February 2009

For soup:

3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter (i actually omitted this, so my soup really was vegan!)
1 1/2 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp minced peeled ginger
1 tbsp curry powder ( i used Muchi, but any would work!)
1 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed
2 qt water
1 tsp fresh lemon juice, or to taste

for cilantro oil:

1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat, then cook squash, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, ginger and 1 tsp salt, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

Stir in curry powder and 1/4 tsp pepper and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes.

Add lentils and water (bring to a boil) and simmer covered, until lentils are tender, 25 to 40 minutes (ed. note: my lentils took fully 40 minutes to cook. slow cooking lentils!). Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

While the lentils are cooking, make the cilantro oil by pureeing the cilantro and vegetable oil in a blender (I used a hand blender; you could also finely mince the cilantro and whisk together with oil. This is not an exact science!)

To serve, I scooped some rice into a soup bowl, ladled the soup over, and drizzled with cilantro oil. Yum!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

your leftovers = hash!

did you happen to make an indian feast earlier this week? do you have a container full of leftover samosa filling in your fridge? a ton of extra spinach? a few leftover whole canned tomatoes? maybe you also have a spare carrot hanging out with a lone little red potato. a half onion just begging to be put to work. and perhaps you have a hankering for tofutti brats. what more could anyone ask for? the stars are perfectly aligned...throw it all in a pan and call it a hash!

one of our favorite ways to use up all those leftovers that collect over the week is to make hashes and tofu/tempeh/whathaveyou scrambles. i know there are tons of recipes out there for these things claiming to be the tried and true best (and i'm sure they're delicious), but i prefer to just let the leftovers do the thinking i suppose. i honestly don't think we've ever made the same one twice (i mean see how it comes about) but they never fail to deliver. always intensly flavorful, sometimes with flavor combinations that might make you wonder....but don't question it, just go with it.* the other wonderful part is that these are a snap to whip up because everything is already made. maybe just a little chopping here and there but it should come together quite painlessly.

*ok, maybe there are times to question but i have yet to encounter that time. i trust you to use your judgement. obviously you should just eat your leftover slice of pizza (cold) and not chop it up and throw it in a pan with curried vegetables. or should you?


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

tofu poke lettuce wraps

in celebration of obama's inauguration yesterday we decided to go with a hawaiian theme for dinner. after poking around for a poke recipe (sorry) on the internet we decided on a modifiable tuna poke recipe. though i'm still not entirely clear on what exactly poke is and what makes poke poke. does it have to be raw? or maybe just cold? is it in the sauce? beats me, but i'm calling this tofu poke and if it's not i apologize. the important part is that it was yummy!
ok so maybe it's not the most photogenic dish ever.

tofu poke lettuce wraps
(modified from Emeril's ahi tuna poke)

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter (or creamy with a handful of peanuts thrown in...)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus more for seasoning
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon sesame oil, plus more for seasoning
16 ounces extra firm tofu, pressed and drained
1/4 cup minced red onions
2-3 sheets nori, toasted and crumbled
5 teaspoons chopped roasted almonds
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 lime, juiced
pineapple (we used one can of pineapple rings, in juice, and chopped 'em up)
1 head butter lettuce (for wrapping)

in the bowl of a food processor, combine the peanut butter, coconut milk, soy sauce, lime juice, hot sauce, and sesame oil, and process on high speed.

after draining tofu cut into slabs (about 1/2 inch thick). heat a pan (don't oil it) to medium-high heat and cook the tofu for a couple minutes on each side until golden brown and bouncy to touch. let tofu cool a few minutes then cut it into cubes.

in the same pan, quickly toast the nori sheets (just a few seconds on each side).

place tofu in a large bowl. add the red onions, nori, almonds, cilantro, and lime juice.

pour the peanut butter mixture over the tofu mixture and combine. Season with sesame oil, soy sauce, and salt, to taste. to serve, place some pineapple on a lettuce leaf, top with tofu, wrap and enjoy!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

black bean burgers

So one of my Christmas presents was this:

And I love it with a passion. If love for inanimate objects is wrong, then I don’t want to be right. Despite it being a Christmas present, I didn’t actually have it until today (what with the holidays, and my traveling, my mom just got around to sending it to me), so of course, I had to use it! I needed to chop things up. I searched through the new February Gourmet, and settled on this, a Black Bean Burger recipe. It is quick and easy and you can easily swap out different herbs and spices. Instead of serving it with salsa – I replaced the cilantro with parsley – I made a smoked paprika mayo.

(Which, by the way, smoked paprika is my new favorite go to ingredient. It has a chipotle-like smoky sweetness, but without the heat. Mark Bittman thinks everyone should have it in their spice cabinet, and I agree!)

So, whether you are a vegetarian or not, make these as soon as you get home! They are tasty and filling. You can easily swap the mayo out for vegan mayo, a thick Greek yogurt, or maybe even tahini. Basically, you need something to bind it all together. But these are delish and will have a permanent place in my repetoire.

Black Bean Burgers
Gourmet, February 2009

2 (14 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed, divided
3 tbsp mayonnaise (see notes above)

1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp dried oregano, crumbled (I omitted this)
¼ tsp cayenne
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro (see notes above)

3 tbsp vegetable oil
4 soft hamburger buns

• Pulse one can of beans in a food processor with mayonnaise, bread crumbs, cumin, oregano, and cayenne until a course puree forms. Transfer to a bowl, and stir in cilantro (or parsley) and remaining can beans. Form mixture into 4 patties. (My grocery had 19 oz. cans of beans, so I ended up making 6 burgers).

• Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Cook burgers until outsides are crisp and lightly browned, turning once, about 5 minutes total. Serve on toasted buns (I served mine with spinach and the above mentioned smoked paprika mayo).

awwwww so sweet! (mac n cheese)

yesterday, mlk day, i had to work. kris did not. so what did he do with his day off? he made mac n cheese for dinner! and i'm sure he did one or two other things that were equally exciting, but let's focus on the mac n cheese. i walked in the door yesterday - tired from my long day of watching the clock sloooowly tick - and a warm aroma greeted me. i was starving as usual and could not wait to dig in. it took all my might not to plop down in front of the oven door and peer inside watching this baby turn golden brown and crispy on top. kris was busy doing the dishes but was i allowed to help? no no, i was told to go sit down, relax, and would i like a glass of wine while i wait? awwwwwww so sweet. but sorry. back to the food. obviously, there was no actual cheese involved. i think it's a winner because 1. it was delicious and 2. it was loved by both me (cheese hater) and kris (cheese liker). this dish is a delightful blend of tangy, spicy, creamy but not overly-so, and it was filling but not heavy. it also made a fantastic lunch today as well! the recipe is from VegNews. as i did not help prepare it in any way i cannot really comment on it's ease, time frame, etc. but i can say that whatever it takes it's worth it.

Mac 'n' Cheese

4 quarts water
1 tablespoon sea salt
8 ounces macaroni
4 slices of bread, torn into large pieces*
2 tablespoons + 1/3 cup non-hydrogenated margarine
2 tablespoons shallots, peeled and chopped
1 cup red or yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup water
1/4 cup raw cashews
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 tomato, chopped**
1 bunch asparagus, chopped**

In a large pot, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until al dente. In a colander, drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

In a food processor, make breadcrumbs by pulverizing the bread and 2 tablespoons margarine to a medium-fine texture. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, add shallots, potatoes, carrots, onion, and water, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft.
In a blender, process the cashews, salt, garlic, 1/3 cup margarine, mustard, lemon juice, black pepper, and cayenne. Add softened vegetables and cooking water to the blender and process until perfectly smooth.

In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta and blended cheese sauce and raw tomato and asparagus chunks (or whatever else you might want to throw in there) until completely coated. Spread mixture into a 9 x 12 casserole dish, sprinkle with prepared breadcrumbs, and dust with paprika. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese sauce is bubbling and the top has turned golden brown.

*we had panko breadcrumbs on hand and kris used those. i thought it worked just fine. he says he wants to try different breadcrumbs next time.
**as you may have noticed in the picture, there are some non-mac/non-cheese ingredients hanging around. kris added asparagus and tomato and both were wonderful additions.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

coconut crusted tempeh...

...with black beans and garlicky ginger spinach. that's what dinner was tonight. i knew we had a lot of little things in the fridge that need to be used but the ones that kept popping into my head were about half a can of coconut milk and shedded coconut - both leftover after making dulce sin leche cupcakes (from "vegan cupcakes take over the world" which are delicious by the way). this was my first time coconut crusting and i do think it was a success! i always get jealous of those coconut crusted shrimp options on menus. i added some chili powder to the coconut for a little extra flavor in there. i cooked the components in the following order and - amazingly! - everything seemed to finish around the same time.

for the beans
15 oz. can black beans
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
salt, pepper and cumin (a generous sprinkling of each)
3 bay leaves
lime zest*
olive oil

heat olive oil in a pan and cook garlic and onion until onion softens. add bell pepper and cook a minute more. add the salt, pepper and cumin and stir to mix them in. add the tomato and beans (juices and all!) and bay leaves. cook over medium heat until bean juices thicken and cook off a bit. meanwhile.....

for the spinach
1 bag baby spinach (or fresh spinach...i was feeling lazy and didn't feel like getting all the grit off fresh spinach)
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 inch fresh ginger finely chopped
peanut oil

heat a bit of peanut oil in a pan and add garlic and ginger. cook for a few minutes before adding spinach (in batches if necessary). cook until wilted. tempeh time!

for the tempeh**
8 oz. tempeh
coconut milk (half a can should do it)
unsweetened shredded coconut (3/4 - ish cup)
chili powder
peanut oil

cut the tempeh into 4 slices and steam for 10 minutes. really you should do this first while you're getting your bean things ready.

after steaming, cut each tempeh piece in half so you have 8 good sized slices. put coconut milk in a shallow bowl. in another shallow bowl mix together the coconut and chili powder. dip the tempeh first in the coconut milk and then in the coconut mixture.

cook in a pan with a thin coating of heated peanut oil until golden (a few minutes on each side)

*i added the lime zest to the beans near the end of their cooking time. i'd never done this before but thought it might be tasty. and it was. but i'm wondering if maybe it would have been better finely zested and added to the coconut-chili powder mixture. hmmmm.....
**you could definitely replace the tempeh with tofu, but i like the nuttiness of tempeh and think it was a nice combination with the coconut.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

basil pineapple fried rice

what i really want to call this is basil pineapple cashew sesame fried rice but that seems just a tad long for a title. anyway, this is an easy fried rice recipe that we whipped up tonight (i know! i can still taste it! such fast blogging i'm amazing myself). this is one of those recipes where you can use whatever vegetables you have on hand and i'm sure it will be delicious with whatever you choose. also fried rice works best with rice that sits in the fridge overnight. i know this, but i didn't do it.

1 1/2 cups rice
4 bunches baby bok choy
1 zuccini
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
ginger (1-2 inch piece) peeled and finely chopped
1 hot little pepper, finely chopped
1 can pineapple (make sure it's in it's own juice not gross syrupy stuff)
1/2 cup toasted cashews
1 bunch basil (bonus if it's thai basil)
soy sauce or tamari
chili sesame oil
regular sesame oil
sesame seeds
peanut oil for frying

cook the rice according to package instructions. let cool for a few minutes when it's done.

finely chop the garlic, ginger and pepper. chop the bok choy and onion into 1/2 inch-ish pieces. slice the zuccini

heat a little peanut oil in a wok. throw in the rice for 5-10 minutes to let it get a little crispy (don't stir too much). put the rice in a bowl.

heat a little more peanut oil if needed. cook the garlic, ginger, pepper and onion until the onion softens. add the zuccini and bok choy and cook a few more minutes until they are cooked through.

add the rice back to the wok and season with a couple of splashes each of soy sauce, chili sesame oil and sesame oil. taste and add more as you like. add the basil and stir until wilted. add the pineapple and cashews and cook a few minutes longer. sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.


Monday, January 12, 2009

panang tofu curry

a couple of days ago we were trying to decide what to make for dinner. i don't know what put the idea in his head but kris said "we should make a curry!" i was flipping through the latest bon appetit and - ta da! - panang tofu curry greeted me on page 82. it was meant to be. it was an easy recipe to make, a just-some-chopping-throw-it-in-a-pot-let-it-do-it's-thing kind of recipe. we made a few little tweaks that i've noted below.

panang tofu curry
(from bon appetit, february 2009)

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons finely grated peeled ginger
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup organic peanut butter
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot chili paste*
1 cup water
1 can light coconut milk (14-ish ounces)
3 kaffir lime leaves or 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice and 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime peel (we went the lime juice/peel route)
1 tablespoon (firmly packed) golden brown sugar
2 14-ounce packages firm tofu, drained, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups thick carrot slices**
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 3/4 inch pieces

heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. add shallots, ginger and garlic; cook until shallots are tender (about 6 minutes).

add peanut butter, turmeric, cumin and chili paste, stir until fragrant (1 to 2 minutes).

whisk in 1 cup water then coconut milk, lime leaves/juice/peel, and brown sugar and bring to simmer. season with salt.

add tofu, carrots/eggplant and bell pepper; simmer over medium heat until carrots/eggplant are tender, adjusting heat to medium-low if beginning to boil and occasionally stirring gently, about 20 minutes. season to taste with salt.

the magazine photo has this served over rice but we had already had a very rice-y week and decided to plop in on top of a bed of steamed kale instead. it was a yummy, slightly lighter, way to enjoy.

*we didn't, or thought we didn't, have any chili paste and didn't see any at the grocery store so we just used red curry paste and added a pinch cayenne for heat. a couple days later while searching for something in the fridge we found a big ol' tub of chili paste that our neighbors gave us when they moved. perhaps we should organize the fridge more often. perhaps i shouldn't mess it up when kris does organize it so nicely.
**i am not a fan of cooked carrots and used one chinese eggplant instead. sliced. delicious.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

christmas squash

happy new year! kris and i did a lot of traveling over the holidays and i have gotten very behind in posting. however, i did take pictures of food along the way and now that they are off of my camera and on the computer i have no's catch up time! and in order to stretch out the holiday spirit just a wee bit longer i'll start with the most recent recipe i have which happens to be our christmas recipe (and maybe just maybe it's still fresh enough in my mind so i can actually remember what went into it*).

for christmas we traveled to louisville to spend the holiday at kris's dad's house. he always makes a big christmas dinner so kris and i put ourselves in charge of making ourselves a delicious vegetarian entree (among other things like real mashed potatoes and easy bread). we winged it with a wild rice stuffed squash that turned out to be quite delicious!

1 acorn squash
1 large onion
1 fennel bulb
1 cup wild rice (maybe less, we had a lot leftover. but i'm sure you could find a use for it)
spices/herbs (*nope, guess i don't remember. i know i know....)
olive oil
salt and pepper (to taste)

heat oven to 350 and start cooking rice according to the package instructions.

cut the squash in half lenthwise and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits. drizzle with a little olive oil and place face down on a baking sheet.

cut the onion and fennel bulb into large chunks. toss with olive oil to coat and sprinkle with a couple pinches salt and pepper. place on a baking sheet (if you have room, you can just stick it on the same one with the squash).

roast squash, fennel and onion until squash is soft, about 30 minutes (our squash actually came with a sticker with cooking instructions....i think it said 30 minutes). at this point the onion and fennel bulb should be done too.

once the onion and fennel have cooled off a bit cut them into smaller pieces and mix in with the finished rice. add spices to taste. since we were not in our stocked kitchen our options were limited. i recall throwing in a bit of dried rosemary but i really don't remember what else. i think some sage would have been yummy. or maybe you want to toss in a few red pepper flakes for a little kick. anyway, season to your liking.

fill the squash with the rice filling. before serving heat up in the oven again. garnish with some chopped up fennel fronds and dig in!

kris's dad has a fabulous, big kitchen and it was such a treat to cook in it instead of our teeny tiny one. but the best part? the garbage disposal! later fennel fronds!