Grammy’s Roasted Maple Acorn Squash

Ahhh, Fall is coming…

Crisp mornings, warm days, and cool nights. Leaves turning brilliant colors, the rain coming back to Oregon’s landscape, and WINTER SQUASH reappearing at the market!

One of my favorite childhood dinners Mom used to cook was acorn squash baked with spicy sausage, butter and maple syrup. We gobbled them up! And, as I recently found out, this is a recipe passed down from my maternal grandmother.

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Blood Orange Vinaigrette with Spicy Greens

There is nothing tastier to brighten up a meal in the dead of winter than a refreshing orange. Citrus is in abundance in supermarkets right now, but have you tried a blood orange? Grown since the 18th century in China and the Southern Mediterranean regions, blood oranges are now primarily grown in Italy, Texas and California.

Along with the usual citrus notes, a  blood orange has an almost raspberry flavor though it is less acidic than most oranges. The anthocyanins – some of the strongest antioxidants available – give this fruit its crimson blood-colored flesh. Other than its antioxidant activity, anthocyanins have been shown to be anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, reduce the risk of cancer, and reduce the risk of heart disease.

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Have You Tried Delicata Squash?

Piled in front of the acorn and butternut squash, the distinctive dark-green longitudinal stripes of this winter squash’s creamy yellow body is what initially attracted me at the farmer’s market. Cooking that first beautiful delicata several years ago, I’ve been hooked ever since! I’m not sure if I had my eyes closed to them before, but they are in most US grocery produce departments all fall, winter and, if they last, into the spring. Why not pick one up next time and try one of the recipes below?

 

Many of you may moan here thinking if the delicata is akin to the butternut squash, then you won’t bother. That awkward peeling of that behemoth is not for you! Let’s then refer to this heirloom squash as the delicate cousin of the butternut. After halving and scooping the seeds, the delicata has a similar taste to a butternut, is as easy to prepare as an acorn squash, but better than either of those because the skin is also sweetly edible!

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Kale Salad with Grapefruit and Avocado

Have you noticed how gorgeous the grapefruits in your market are this year? Why not get a few Ruby Reds or Rios on your next visit for a refreshing, tangy pick-me-up full of many micronutrients including vitamin A and C, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, manganese, folate and many B-vitamins. Some of the health benefits attributed to grapefruit include treating colds, fever and pneumonia, weight loss, boosting the liver, breaking up gallstones, lowering cholesterol, lessening joint pain, and promoting better digestion and immunity.

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Pumpkin Mole

On the way home from a Cyclocross race in Astoria, Oregon a few weeks ago, we stopped by a a restaurant in Seaside where Mark had Chicken Enchiladas with a Pumpkin Mole sauce that was, well, to die for. I had to recreate it!

Mole, a type of Mexican sauce, comes in a variety of flavors and ingredients, with chili peppers as the common factor. Modern “Americanized” moles usually have the spice from the pepper, the sweet from the fruit (blackberry, raspberry, and in our case, pumpkin) and a good hint of chocolate.

When I looked online for a healthy pumpkin mole recipe, most contained wheat bread for thickening and since I’m currently gluten-free I kept looking. Alas, I found several recipes without gluten that I could adapt. Here’s my recipe remake which can be used as an enchilada sauce, to top baked chicken pieces, or drizzled over slices of pork tenderloin.

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