September 23, 2010

Maple Syrup Baked Acorn Squash: Country Weekend Part 1, {Webisode #42}

What’s Going on Today: Apple picking at nearby farm, school fundraiser, all-round fall fun.

Naptime Goals: Prepare Maple Syrup Baked Acorn Squash and snack from all the apples we picked! Laundry on the side.

Tonight’s Menu: Chicken Thighs, Acorn Squash, Spinach Salad.

Parenting Lesson of the Day: They can always pick more apples than you can carry.

This weekend I did a little experimenting with my filming. The truth of the matter was that I was incredibly inspired by the fall weather and cooked up a storm all weekend. While doing so it occurred to me that everything I was making should be filmed. Since I usually film once a week to keep things current with my life I was hesitant to explore the idea of filming so much in one fell swoop. My webisodes are meant to chronicle my naptime cooking from week-to-week and I don’t want to start skipping over major parts of each season. But I really didn’t think it was fair to rob you of these recipes. They are that good. So, I’ve compromised and decided to present my weekend film in two parts. (Hey, NBC does it with all of their season finales, so why can’t I?!) Today is Part 1, a film about my favorite way to bake acorn squash. Next week will be Part 2, a film about an entirely different dish.

Maple Syrup Baked Acorn Squash

Given the gorgeous weather we spent most of the time outdoors. We went apple picking, selected pumpkins and made several trips to the playground. It even warmed up enough that I could wear shorts! Both days I spent naptime in the kitchen and this squash is one of the first things I made. Earlier in the day I’d stopped by my favorite food shop downtown and picked up some of our first local acorn squash. Acorn is one of my favorite squashes and I couldn’t wait to roast it until golden and sweet. I particularly love to roast it with maple syrup since it is a natural sugar that imparts it’s smooth woodsy flavor into the stringy flesh of the vegetable. Brown sugar or granulated sugars, I feel, make it taste far too sweet and give it a tinny aftertaste.

Roasting acorn squash usually takes an hour or more so I choose to do the entire thing during naptime. Then I let it cool down for the afternoon and reheated it right before eating. This worked better with my time frame since I didn’t want to be home an entire hour before dinner just to roast the squash. The sun was shining, we wanted to be outside! Next week I’ll share part two, the video of my preparing a second set of treats during this particular naptime. Yes, it took a bit of multi-tasking but the results were entirely worth it. Until then, happy fall!

Recipe

Maple Syrup Baked Acorn Squash

Ingredients

2 large acorn squash

4 T. good-quality all-natural Maple Syrup (do not use artificial syrup!)

4 T. unsalted butter, melted

1 t. Kosher salt

Instructions

Today’s Kitchen Tool: A 7×11 Pyrex baking dish (buy it here at my Amazon store!) that I use for just about everything. Easy to clean, easy to use and very inexpensive.

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.

2. Melt the butter in the microwave and allow it to cool slightly. Add the maple syrup to the butter mixture and stir it together well. Set aside.

3. Cut both squash in half and remove the seeds and stringy inside in the center of the squash. Evenly divide the butter mixture amongst each squash half and rub the inside of the squash cavity and the entire cut side. Sprinkle a pinch of the salt over each cut side of the squash and in the cavity.

4. Roast in a baking dish for 1 hour, or until squash is easily pierced with a fork. Cool and serve. This can easily be stored in the fridge, wrapped tightly, and reheated later.

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

To make this fancier place a few sprigs of thyme in the cavity of each squash or a fresh herb flavor. For a dinner party you can scoop out the roasted squash and puree it with added salt and flavorings, then serve it as a side dish.

Naptime Stopwatch

Preparing the squash takes 8 minutes, plus roasting time.

Naptime Reviews

My daughter was skeptical as squash in this form since she is more accustomed to the pureed version, but she gamely took a few bites.