Thursday, October 22, 2009

My First Trip to the Canino Mercado and a Stuffed Squash Attempt

Published by Commandrea (Andrea Afra) at 11:17 AM

Last weekend we ventured out to the north Heights Canino Mercado Farmer's Market. Even though it wasn't at its seasonal peak, it was still awesome. We picked up some baby globe calabacita squash, as well as some nopalitos (prepped cactus), green beans, guavas, strawberries, habaneros, chili piquins, and a pumpkin to carve. It was beautiful and I could have stayed there all day had Husby been willing to stick around a little longer.

Last night, I decided to experiment with the squash in a dish inspired by my mother-in-law Amal, who is the queen of stuffing squash. When you cut into her cousa meshe (Lebanese stuffed squash) it is packed so tight it looks like it grew that way, already filled with rice, pine nuts, and sometimes a little ground beef.

I washed the squash, cut the tops off, and used a little baby spoon to scoop out the innards and put them aside in a bowl. I used a muffin tin to hold them in place while I sauteed some garlic, olive, and onion. Then I threw in the squash, a few dashes of balsamic vinegar and about two TBSPs of tomato paste, and cooked it down for about ten minutes. I salted to taste but still felt like it needed something, so I sprinkled on about a TBSP of chicken masala from Chandrika Spices. It is blend of chili powder, dhana jeera (a mix of cumin and coriander), shahjeera (caraway seeds), cinnamon and clove. It is like being able to add Techni-color to your ho hum dish.

I filled the squash with the improvised 'ratatouille' and put the tops back on (not necessary, just cute as a button), put the oven on about 400F and popped the muffin tin in for a good fifteen minutes. I was really surprised that the Husby liked them because of the cute factor but he did! Yay! The older son squeezed the squash and ate the filling. The little refused to try it at first but after he saw that Annie liked it (our dog) he ate not just the few bites I insisted on but almost his whole serving!


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