Friday, October 11, 2013

Rosie Celebrates Fall With Acorn Squash.

 Fall is my favorite time of year on the Outer Banks.
The tourists, for the most part, are gone.
The weather is beautiful.
And I'm a happy camper.

And there's that new crop of fall vegetables.

Let's take an acorn squash
and do something different with it.
Usually I hollow these out,
put in brown sugar, honey, pecans, orange juice,
raisins, and butter, bake it in a bain Marie, and call it a day.

 Today I'm going with squash stuffed with corn custard.

I always take a little strip off the bottom
so the squash halves will sit level in a pan.

Remove the seeds and the pulpy mess around them.
I'm drying out the seeds to plant next year.

I have my halves sitting in an 8-inch baking dish
with water half-way up the sides of the squash.
This cooking technique is called a bain-Marie.
This allows the food to heat gently
and the custard to cook evenly.

Brush the squash with melted butter
and place in a 375° oven.
 I baked it about 30 minutes.
Baking times will vary depending on your oven
and the size of the squash.
You don't want the squash totally tender at this point
because we're going to add in the corn mixture
and put it back in the oven to cook.

While the squash is baking,
prepare the ingredients for the corn pudding.

Corn Pudding 
1 egg
2 egg whites, whipped to soft peaks
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup corn
freshly ground salt and pepper (about 1/2 tsp each)
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 scallions, chopped

I like to have my egg and liquids
at room temperature.
This makes for more volume and a better rise.

As for the milk,
if all you had is whole milk,
that would be fine to use.
I just happen to have skim milk and heavy cream
in my fridge at all times, so I always use that combination.

Beat the egg until light and lemon colored
Whisk in the milk and cream.
Add corn, salt, pepper, nutmeg, scallions,
and half each of the cheddar and Parmesan.

Beat whites until soft peaks form.
Gently fold into the egg mixture.

Fill the half-baked acorn squash halves with the corn mixture.
I had enough leftover to fill two small ramekins.
Return the bain-Marie to the oven
and cook about 30 minutes.
Sprinkle on the rest of the remaining cheese
and return to the oven,
until custard is poofy and set, about another 15-20 minutes.
Allow the custard to sit about 10 minutes before digging into it.

Whisk whole egg until light lemon-colored and airy.

Whisk in cream and milk.

Corn in.

Snipped scallions in.

Using immaculately clean beaters and bowl
with absolutely no moisture or bits of yolk,
beat the whites until ...
... you have soft peaks.
Add in half the cheese and the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Pour in the whipped egg whites.

Very gently,
fold in the whites.

Pour the corn mixture into the half-baked acorn squash halves.
Fill ramekins with any remaining mixture.
Return to the oven.
After about thirty minutes ...
... sprinkle on the remaining cheese and return to oven
for about 15-20 minutes,
until custard is set and poofy
and squash is tender,

That custard is perfect - deliciously smooth and creamy
The sweet corn pairs nicely with the earthy flavor of the squash.
It's a winning combination.

Mr. Hawthorne prepared the rest of our dinner.
He made a cole slaw in our Blue Ninja.
Chop up cabbage and carrot in the processor.
For the dressing, about a TB rice wine vinegar,
1/2 tsp dry mustard, 1 tsp vegetable oil,
1 packet sugar-free Splenda or artificial sweetener
(You can use real sugar.),
and about 1/3 cup low-fat sour cream
and about 1/3 cup mayo.
Pinch of sea salt.
Let sit in fridge for at least thirty minutes for the flavors to meld.

For the meat, he cooked pork country style ribs in heavily salted water
with a tablespoon of Mr. Stubb's hickory liquid smoke
for about 2 hours, or until falling apart tender.
Remove ribs from water and let cool so you can handle them.
Remove any fat and shred the meat.

For the barbecue sauce,
 Mr. Hawthorne either makes his own
or doctors up a store-bought sauce.
We favor Sweet Baby Ray's,
but he usually adds more vinegar to it.

However, today he used my LAST jar
of Mar's Sycamore Falls Barbecue Sauce.
And that would be Mar of Foodies Untie blogdom.
And he didn't tweak it one bit.
He declared it perfect just as it is!
And this never happens.

Now he wants more of your sauce, Mar.

Or the recipe.
(I'd never tell.)


Marilyn said...

Guess I'll have to send you some more sauce, then!

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Well, if you must. :-)