The three elements to delicious food are flavor, texture, color in that order and this Stuffed Squash a la Wok Star style is the perfect dish! Impress your friends with this dish…
TECHNIQUE IS KEY…
So, I wanted to do a festive dish for the holidays and of course squash came to mind. I love the orange color of the squash and lends itself to so many different ways of preparing it. I immediately surf the net for how to make a stuffed squash, my go to site is The Kitchn, I love this site, it’s all about technique.
If you’ve read my blogs, you’ll know I don’t follow, use or teach recipes. Cooking for me has always been about creating a dish from scratch and building on those three elements I mentioned. Recipes are good for inspiration, possibly ingredient combinations and new flavors. Technique for me is the most important element to cooking.
SHAPE YOUR BRAIN TO COOK…
Last night as I was cooking, I was listening to a TED Talk by Dr. Lara Boyd, her talk solidified my philosophy totally! She described how neuroplasticity gives you the power to shape the brain you want! This means, the more you do something, the easier it becomes and you’re exercising your brain. I found this so fascinating because it’s what I’ve been promoting all these years. If you keep training your brain to create a dish, you’d be amazed what dishes you come up with. It’s also a lot of fun because you come up with something new every time, no repeats.
TIPS FOR ROASTING SQUASH…
I find out you have to roast the squash first BEFORE you put your stuffing in. I wanted my stuffing to still have crunchiness and colors, so naturally, stir frying them is the answer! I find when you roast vegetables, the colors are more grey and dull. Do you see where I’m going with this? Don’t just follow a recipe blind and do everything they say.
A good example of this is most Chinese recipes will ask you to make a ‘flurry’, a mix of cornstarch and water to give your dish a nice glaze but I find it’s just one extra step, so I include the cornstarch when I make sauce. Ta Da, eliminated a step.
USE RIGHT CHEESE…
A mistake I made was using hard goat cheese. My husband uses goat cheese in our omelets and it melts beautifully but it didn’t melt as well in this dish. I suspect the heat wasn’t hot enough, only 350. Use cheese like cheddar, Parmesan or any sharp cheese.
You can make it totally vegetarian or even vegan and leave out the cheese. It’s a great side dish to go with anything! Add meat to it and you’ve got a one dish meal. If served as a main, you will need a half per person.
You can use whatever vegetables you have lying around but try and get a contrasting color in there to make it pop. Even leftover roast potatoes or rice.
I loved putting together the stuffing for this dish because I had many ingredients I thought would be perfect.
celery for color and texture
chestnuts for festive component
mushrooms for flavor
cooked quinoa for texture, protein and good for you
multi colored bell peppers for color
cilantro for color and flavor
HERE’S HOW TO DO THIS STUFFED SQUASH…
1. Cut squash in half, swish a little olive oil, salt and pepper on the inside. Place on baking tray and roast at 350 for 45 mins. – 1 hour depending on how big your squash is. Give a little fork test to see if it’s soft enough.
2. Chop all your vegetables and leave on chopping board. Grate your cheddar cheese ready
3. Stir fry chopped vegetables with usual, grape seed oil, garlic and ginger, dash of tamari and sherry, I added Flavor God’s dry rub, Everything Seasoning, you can add dried herbs but not both, too much.
4. Remove squash and crank up to 425. Fill squash with chopped stir fried vegetables, add cheese on top and return to oven. Squash is ready when cheese has melted and smells amazing in there! You’re welcome.
I found half was way too much to eat in one dinner, so you might want to even only have a quarter of it. I cheated and grilled some bacon wrapped scallops to go with it, yummy!
There you have it, looks colorful and festive! Stuffed Squash Good a la Wok Star Style! It’s a great dish to serve as a side or a main when you have guests for dinner.
Here are some other festive dishes for the Holidays to try…
Happy Holidays everyone!!!