Sunday, October 5, 2014

Michigan Fall...

I woke up at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday and it was raining again. I made a cup of coffee and filled in the Blog entry. Then I did the grocery list and the ToDo list.

I made some soft boiled eggs for breakfast and ate them with another cup of coffee. Then I shaved, showered, dressed and hit the road.

First stop was a 10:00 a.m. haircut. Next came Kroger’s and finally Westborn. I was home just before noon, driving in yet another light rain.

Weather-wise, today was windy, rainy and only had a predicted high in the 50’s. Brrr!!!

After I got everything put away, I took a break to rest my legs. I sat in the living room, listening to Ann Delisi on WDET and reading. As you probably have guessed, she was featuring Stevie Ray Vaughan. After an hour, I went back to work. First, I started the weekend wash (load #1).

I went out back and blew the wet leaves off the patio so I could put the chairs back. It was sprinkling, BTW.

Then I went out front and screwed the plywood pumpkin on the porch column.

Back inside, I put the clothes in the dryer. Then I started on my weekly ritual of removing the cat hair from the furniture. After that, I deep-cleaned the entire living room. I hung up the clothes from the first load of weekend wash.

I thought I’d take a nap, but couldn’t fall asleep. I gave it half an hour and then gave up, got up and got to work on dinner.

I decided to make a fall supper. I thought Michelle’s stuffed peppers with a side of acorn squash would be perfect. Sounded like fall to me!

So, I got out the acorn squash I’d been hoarding, cut it in half and dug out the seeds. As you probably know, my mother always filled the cavity with butter and brown sugar and then baked them. As a late-in-life Type 2 diabetic, I had switched that to butter and fresh herbs. BUT, when I was talking to Michelle, she said something I never thought of, but made perfect sense!

She was talking about making stuffed acorn squash, using just bulk maple pork sausage as the filling. Sounds good, but here’s the tip: she said you had to pierce the squash flesh almost through with a paring knife in many places so the flavor infused “into” the squash.

I figured if it worked for sausage drippings, why not herb-flavored butter? So, I punched a lot of whole inside it, added butter and grabbed some thyme and rosemary from the herb garden. I packed the cavity with the herbs. I preheated the oven to 350 degrees F. and stuck them in, setting the timer for an hour.

Meanwhile, I cut the tops off of four red bell peppers, discarding the seeds and membranes. I chopped enough of the tops to make 1/4 cup of diced red peppers. I stuck the pepper cups in my Dutch oven, added enough water to cover them and removed them. I heated the water to boiling, added the peppers back in and blanched them for two minutes. I drained them and set them aside.

Disclaimer: If you remember, Michelle said she used the recipe from her old Betty Crocker cookbook, just substituting Italian sausage for the ground beef and using a Gouda cheese mix instead of grated American cheese.

Since hers tasted so good, I searched the web and downloaded the Betty Crocker recipe at that time, knowing I wanted to try it. I even saved a cup of cooked white rice (as per said recipe) from the last time I made rice.

But, a few days ago, Michelle came over and gave me a photocopy of the page in her old cookbook. The recipes didn’t match!!! And she had handwritten on the side using “Italian sausage and (now) parmesan/mozzarella cheese blend!”

For example, the old recipe called for uncooked rice, a can of whole tomatoes and mixing the cheese into the filling. The new one asked for cooked rice, a can of tomato sauce and sprinkling the cheese on top! WTF? Betty, get your shit together!!!

Since I had the cooked rice and had bought imported red wax Gouda just for this recipe, I went with the new one.

I took the casing off the Italian sausage (I couldn’t find bulk at Kroger’s last week) and cooked them and 1/2 cup of diced sweet onion and the diced red peppers over medium heat until the meat was brown (8-10 minutes). I drained off the grease. Then I added one cup of cooked rice, a sprinkle of salt, a big clove of garlic (finely minced) and one cup of tomato sauce (out of a 15-ounce can). I cooked that until hot.

I set the peppers upright in an ungreased 8-inch square glass baking dish and stuffed them with the meat mixture. I poured the remaining tomato sauce over them.

I covered the dish tightly with aluminum foil. I baked them for 10 minutes. Then I uncovered the dish, sprinkled on the Gouda cheese I had grated, and baked them for another 15 minutes.

By then, the squash was done. So, I discarded the herb stems and plated one squash and one stuffed pepper.

Delicious!! It may have just been my imagination, but the squash seemed to taste more “buttery” than ever. I must admit, though, my stuffed pepper (although it was damn good) didn’t taste as good as the one Michelle gave me. Maybe the old ways are the best…

I watched a taped Miss Marple mystery from PBS until 9:30 p.m. Then I went to bed.

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