Tuesday, November 16

Crunchy...as in Granola

I once had a friend call me "Holistic Granola."  I chuckle to myself as I write this.  I was slightly offended, "I'm so not granola."  But alas, I am.  In all the crunchy, nutty-with-a-little-dried-fruit kinds of ways.  It hit me last night as I was eating what my husband calls "bear shit in a yam."  Well, actually Mr. Isaacson it's an acorn squash.  Not that it helps my case any.

Let's go back to last month's issue of Martha Stewart Living.  Or was it from the Everyday Food recipe that pops up in my daily email?  In any case, I've been planning my very first Thanksgiving Dinner for the in-laws.  Excuse me for a moment while I wipe my sweaty palms on my pants.  Ahem.  This will be their first visit to the lovely state of Tennessee, so naturally we're excited to show them our Nashville and our humble little abode.  And you should know by now...in my world, it doesn't get any better than feasting with family and friends.

It was during my search of the perfect turkey recipe, that I stumbled across this fancy little number.   "What a lovely vegetarian option this would be for our feast," I muse to myself (lets keep in mind we have a total of zero vegetarians in the family).  I think it was the scalloped edges of the acorn squash that first caught my eye...I'm a sucker for anything ruffled.  More or less, it spoke to me in an audibly (and strangely British) deep voice:  "I will surely impress your relatives."

So as a test run, the Acorn Squash Stuffed with Wild Rice is what I made for dinner last night.  Cut to my husband "it looks like a bear shit in your yam".  Argh.  Lets start with the positives though, shall we?  It was super easy to make, and it made the house smell earthy and warm.  And it was very easy to photograph because it's a gorgeous dish.  And boy does it stick to your ribs.  Was it a Thanksgiving worthy meal?  Lucky for my relatives, I'd say no.  Unless of course you are a vegetarian and in need of some options.  Great, I'd say for anyone who'd like to open up the world of possibilites that acorn squash has to offer.  And I'm pretty sure, this is the mother of  "super foods"...you've got your pumpkin seeds, cherries, and beta-carotene packed squash.  Watch out free radicals.

Then again, I'm quite the traditionalist when it comes to my Turkey Dinner essentials.  I love to experiment with most foods on any given day, but I'd say it's almost mandatory to stick with what you know for this one evening...the sweet potatoes, crescent rolls, stuffing, maybe an herb-twist to the old mashers, cranberry sauce, etc.  Things that get better every year because you've only been making them for centuries now.  Although I have been known to get a little crazy and make a new high-class salad or dessert, just for the wow factor.

Now, I'm not saying I don't stand behind this meal, because I wouldn't put it up for the world (or my family, rather) to see if I didn't think it was worthy.  It just isn't for Thanksgiving, in my humble opinion.  So my fellow crunchy granola readers (I know you're out there)...this one's for you.  And just pretend I haven't referred to it twice now as bear shit.  Bears don't shit out anything nearly this pretty.

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Wild Rice

1 cup Lundberg (or other) wild blend rice
2 cups broth or water
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic
1 shallot
sea salt and black pepper
2 acorn squash
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds or toasted pecans
1/2 cup dried cherries
extra virgin olive oil
brown sugar


Prep rice: In large pot, add butter, garlic and shallots over medium heat.  Saute until translucent.  Add water/broth and rice and turn up heat.  Bring to a boil, stir once, and cover with tight-fitting lid.  Set timer for 50 minutes.

Prep acorn squash: Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Slice squash in half so the scalloped edges show (this is the pretty part).  Remove seeds and membranes with spoon.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle the brown sugar, sea salt and pepper on top.  Place face down on foil-lined and rimmed cookie sheet and cover with foil to prevent top from burning.  Place in oven and bake for about 35-40 minutes.

When rice has finished cooking, mix in pumpkin seeds and cherries.  Remove squash from oven when ready (pierce with a fork, and when it easily glides through, it's ready), and scoop heaping spoonfuls of rice into center of squash.  Serve immediately.


  1. Mrs. Isaacson, this looks delicious. I just bought an acorn squash over the weekend and wasn't sure what to do with it. I will make "bear shit yam" tomorrow night. Thanks for the trial and review. I have an awesome stuffing recipe if you need one. :)

  2. Haha! Love it! I would love to have your stuffing recipe...I've been hunting for one. Let me know what you think.

  3. Why does Cope's description not surprise me? Talk about raining on a girl's parade, or stompin' on her squash! And yeah, I think you and your sissy both have a little granola in you. Of course, I mean that in the nicest way possible. Okay, maybe I'm just jeal because I wish I could get excited about eating healthy. No, no, instead it makes me a smidge grumpy. But then again, eating a plate full of carbs makes me happy, until it makes way for making me feel a bit crappy, which then makes me feel a smidge grumpy. Someday maybe I'll be grown up and mature like you and fix squash and get excited about it... someday...

  4. AHHH!!!! HOLISTIC GRANOLA!!! Omg, I completely forgot about that!!! Ummm, you were SO not offended :) I LOVE YOU my little holy granoly!