Here it is. My first official post! I’m so excited to share this project of love with all of you. And that’s exactly what it is--a project of love. Cooking is my way of showing I love someone. Whether it’s family, a partner, a teacher, old friends, new friends; when I cook for them, it means I love them. I've created a symbol of appreciation with my own two hands; this is for you; thank you for being in my life. Can it get any better? And now I’m sharing this with all of you. Thank you for being in my life. I can’t wait share more.
Enough of the sentimental stuff, Arielle! Let’s get down to this recipe. If any of you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw my farmer’s market finds from Fort Mason in San Francisco last Sunday. It’s one of my favorite markets because it’s not overwhelmingly huge, meaning I can do a lap before making any hasty decisions. They also have a ton of organic booths: fruit, veggies, dates, sprouts, flowers, nuts, juices, you name it! So, this past Sunday, I purchased a beautiful kabocha squash with the help of a kind booth worker who said that they were her favorite. I've never cooked one myself, but have always liked them when eating out, plus I’m always up for experimenting! I also picked up some gorgeous, caramel-like dates, a firm pomegranate, and a few bunches of curly kale, among other things.
Admittedly, it took me a few days to conjure up the idea for this recipe. I ended up doing a bit of research and saw some recipes for stuffed squash...done. Stuffed squash it is! I ventured into my pantry to find a suitable grain and settled on a wild rice blend that I’d bought out of curiosity. Perfect. I rinsed my rice then soaked it overnight. This helps with digestion and lowering cooking time. (This is the rice I used. I bought mine from the bulk section of my health food store.) From there, everything came together. My local dates mixed with curry powder would create a wonderful play between sweet and savory flavors. I threw in my kale for its amazing nutritional properties. Last but not least, I added pomegranate seeds for a bit of crunch and their rich color. I threw them in the oven and...tada! A hearty, healthy bowl of deliciousness. These are great for a chilly evening dinner at home or as a side dish for Thanksgiving!
Kabocha Squash stuffed with Curried Wild Rice, Kale, and Pomegranate Seeds
- 2 kabocha squash, halved and seeded
- 4 tsp. olive oil plus 1 tbs., divided
- Salt and black pepper for seasoning
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 c. wild rice blend, preferably soaked overnight or at least 4 hours
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 ½ tbs. curry powder
- 5 dates, chopped
- 5 curly kale leaves, destemmed and chopped (about 3 cups)
- ¼ c. pomegranate seeds
- A handful of parsley, chopped for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Cut a small slice out of the bottom of each squash half so they can lay flat. Rub the flesh of each half with 1 tsp. of olive oil then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the halves cut side down on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 40 minutes, or until the flesh is tender.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tbs. of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and stir for one minute. Add the wild rice blend and stir to coat in the oil. Take the saucepan off the heat and pour in 1 ½ c. water and 2 tsp. salt. Return the saucepan to the heat, turning it up to high. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to low, covering the pan and allowing it to simmer for 20 minutes, until the rice is tender. Add the curry powder, dates, and chopped kale, stirring until the kale wilts down. Remove from the heat and stir in the pomegranate seeds. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Once the squash halves are cooked through, remove them from the oven and carefully turn them over in the pan, so they lay cut-side up. Stuff the four halves amply with the wild rice mixture. Return to the oven and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove the squash and sprinkle with more pomegranate seeds and parsley to garnish. Enjoy!