When Tracey asked me to be a guest on her blog I originally intended to stick to the recipe – I wasn’t going to bore her readers (as I do mine!) with a sappy memoir about life and love. But then I started thinking about the origin of the recipe and I came to a sweet realization….. and I simply must share it.
My first job as a dietitian was at a darling community hospital in Belfast, Maine, a beautiful coastal town. My new co-workers asked me to exert some influence over the cafeteria food. Hmmmm, I was 24 years old, had been at the hospital for about a month, and the cooks had been working there for ooooh, maybe 20-30 years. I wasn’t their boss, so I knew I would have to tread lightly into their territory. I decided to arrange for a local chef from Darby’s Café to come and do a fun cooking demo of some of her favourite vegetarian meals.
One of the meals was this acorn squash recipe. The cooks liked it and immediately added it to the cafeteria menu! They would regularly make huge pans of it for a very grateful staff who had their fill of Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes. I was a local hero! Yay!
I loved living in Belfast – I had a cool attic apartment with a widow’s watch that looked out over the bay. I learned basket weaving, sheep shearing and practiced yoga. But for a 24 year-old,….well, the town was just a little too quiet. All of my friends were in their 30’s and 40’s, married with children. There were many lonely nights spent looking out over the bay from my widow’s watch wishing I had someone special with me..sniff, sniff…. After a year, with mixed feelings, I left Maine for Ontario in search of love. I took a rather indirect and painful route – but that is a blog post for another time!
Finally, I met Mike, whose nick name was “Waldo”.
Now, here is the coincidence –
The name of the hospital in Belfast was Waldo County General Hospital. I know, I know, – hard to believe, but true. Really! I believe that it meant I was heading in the right general direction!
So, the name of this recipe from henceforward has to be Waldo’s Stuffed Acorn Squash. And, yes, Waldo likes it too!
WALDO’S STUFFED ACORN SQUASH
This recipe can be a main course with a green salad on the side.
Go ahead and improvise! For example, try wheat berries instead of brown rice, butternut squash instead of acorn. Throw in some raisins and some maple syrup! Saute some onions and garlic and throw that in the mix. MMMmmmmmm!
1 medium acorn squash
2 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups cooked or canned, rinsed chickpeas
dash of freshly grated sea salt and pepper
a sprinkling of grated cheese (whatever type you have)
Preheat the oven to 400.
Rinse the squash and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and put cut side down on a baking sheet for 40 minutes or until tender. Reduce the oven heat to 350.
Scoop out acorn squash flesh and mash it in a bowl.
Mix in the brown rice and chickpeas.
Add salt and pepper.
Put into a casserole dish or scoop it into the squash skins.
Grate a small amount of cheese over top.
Return it to the oven for about 15 minutes or until hot and cheese has melted.
Edie Shaw-Ewald is a Registered Dietitian and Personal Trainer Specialist, also known as “Nova Scotia’s Nutrition Coach”. Edie believes in using real and natural foods to achieve the healthiest body and mind that we were meant to possess.
Read Edie’s blog A Dietician’s Kitchen.