Fast Acorn Squash with Apples
Adapted from MayoClinic.com.
Acorn squash is one of those wonderful produce items that is so simple to prepare, and so tasty to eat. Paired with another of falls gems, the apple, this dish is quick, easy and good for the whole self.

  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and sliced (or another tart apple variety of your choosing)
  • 2 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 1 small acorn squash, about 6 inches in diameter
  • 2 tsp. butter

Directions: Mix the apples and brown sugar in a small bowl. Set aside for later. Pierce the squash several times with a sharp knife to let the steam escape during cooking. (If you don’t, the squash will explode in the microwave/oven.) Microwave on high until tender, about 5 minutes. Turn after 3 min to ensure even cooking. (If you don’t want to use the microwave, bake the squash in a 350º oven for 15-25 minutes, until it can be easily pierced with a fork.) Cut in half (be careful, it will be hot!) Scrape out seeds. Fill the hollow of each apple with the apple brown sugar mixture. Return the squash to the microwave and cook until the apples are softened, about two minutes. (If you don’t want to use the microwave, return to the 350º over for 5-10 minutes.) Place halves on plates to be served, and top each with 1 tsp. of butter. Serve immediately, as the butter softens into the dish! Serves 1-2.

Star Recommends: Raymond Chardonnay
Fragrant aromas of honeysuckle and orange blossoms are followed by lemon and pear notes amid toasted almond and honey. A rich, full, mouth feel with balanced acidity and bright lemon, pear, lime and passionfruit flavors followed by a smooth vanilla and toasted oak finish. A fresh, zesty, lively style, with racy apple, pear, spice and citrus notes that are full-bodied, tight and focused, ending with a pleasant lift.


Hearty Beans and Greens Stew
Adapted from the fabulous new cookbook Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming.
Fast, simple and delicious. Just the thing for those busy fall days!

  • 4 c. vegetable stock
  • 1 c. diced onion
  • 1/2 c. quinoa
  • 3/4 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 c. cooked red kidney beans
  • 2 c. cooked navy beans
  • 2 c. chopped greens (spinach, kale or Swiss chard leaves)
  • 2 c. diced rotisserie chicken (optional)
  • Pinch ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste

Directions: Combine the stock, onions and quinoa with the oregano, garlic and bay leaf in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove lid and stir in the beans and spinach. Cook until the greens are wilted. If using, stir in the chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and serve. Serves 4-6.

Star Recommends: DaVinci Chianti
Well-balanced wine of medium weight with jammy flavors of ripe plums, cherries and red fruit. It has a deep crimson color and is a lively wine with a soft mineral finish and round tannins that linger in long, peppery finish.


Glazed Butternut Squash with Brussels Sprouts
Adapted from Jen Hoy on about.com.
Two fall favorites combine for a colorful dish that is sweet, pungent and perfect for a fall evening.

  • 3 Tbs. olive or untoasted sesame oil
  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed and cut vertically in half
  • 1 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks (about 2 c)
  • 1 large shallot, sliced
  • 1 can cooked chickpeas
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 c. veggie stock (optional—you can also use plain water if need be)
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary

Directions: In a large, deep skillet with a tight fitting lid, warm the olive oil and shallot. Add Brussels sprouts and squash. Sauté for about 1 minute. Add stock/water and sprinkle with sea salt, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the sprouts and squash are tender. Do not stir! Add rosemary and chickpeas. Raise the heat to medium high and cook off the remaining liquid (again, don’t stir!). Allow the squash and Brussels spouts to lightly brown. Again, do not stir until done! Once lightly brown, serve warm or room temperature. Enjoy!

Star Recommends: Milbrandt Cabernet Sauvignon
A great value from the Milbrandt Brothers, based upon their impeccable vineyard sources. Dense and dark, ripe and compact, this Cab/Merlot/Petit Verdot blend brings plenty of macho and muscle, layers of black fruits, black smoke, black tea and black olives.


Carrot “Spaghetti” with Lemon Thyme Butter Sauce
Adapted from www.injennieskitchen.com.
A wonderful way to satisfy the craving for pasta while getting all the delicious health benefits of carrots.

  • 6 medium to large carrots (about 7 oz.), scrubbed clean
  • Several sprigs of fresh lemon thyme, leaves removed from stem
  • 2 tsp. unsalted butter
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions: Place a pot of water on the stove. Bring to boil. Using a veggie peeler, peel thin lengthwise strands from each carrot, stopping just before you get to the core. Chop lemon thyme leaves. Set aside. Cook carrot “noodles” in the boiling water until al dente. Remove from water. Toss the hot noodles with the lemon thyme and the butter. Season with salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy. Serves 3-4 as a side dish.

Star Recommends: Borsao Berola
Intense cherry color. Remarkable aromatic complexity with hints of dark fruit and toasted and balsamic touches. Warm and friendly in the mouth, soft but persistent tannins in perfect balance with the alcohol.


Apple Pie Muffins
Adapted from Dotty2 on www.food.com.
Throw them into a lunch box for a tasty mid-day treat, or enjoy them with a hot cup of tea/coffee first thing in the morning.
Topping:

  • 1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Muffins:

  • 1 1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 2 c. diced peeled firm tart apples

Directions: Grease 2 muffin tins. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl. Toss with spoon until crumbly and set aside for later. To make the muffins, whisk together the brown sugar, oil, egg and vanilla until they are smooth. Separately, combine the flour, soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir the brown sugar/oil mixture into the flour mix, alternating with buttermilk. Fold in the apples, mixing until just combined. Don’t over mix! Spoon mixture into prepared muffin tins, making sure each slot is 3/4 of the way full. Sprinkle with some of the topping mix. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy! Makes 18 muffins.

Star Recommends: Donhoff Riesling
Ripe apple aroma. Peaches and minerals on the palate with a bit of spritz. Lovely sweet/sour finish. Nice entry level Riesling with a bit of complexity, very good.


Brussels Sprouts Pasta
Adapted from Molly Watson, localfoods.about.com.
Getting quality cheese is essential to this recipe. This dish is quick and delicious! Serve with a spinach salad and some wine and you will have quite the wonderful feast.

  • 1/4 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
  • 12 oz. penne pasta (or another bite-sized pasta of your choosing)
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil or butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. red chili flakes, plus more to taste (optional, but recommended)
  • 12 oz. Brussels sprouts, trimmed, outer leaves removed and thinly sliced
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 c. grated pecorino cheese, plus more to taste (feel free to sub in another grating cheese, such as parmesan or Romano, if you’d prefer)

Directions: Combine the eggs and grated cheese in a small bowl. Set aside. Cook pasta until tender in a pot of boiling salted water. When tender, remove from water and drain. Add the egg and cheese mixture immediately. In a large sauté pan, cook olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes over medium high heat, being careful not to burn the garlic. When the oil is hot and the garlic sizzling, add the Brussels sprouts and remaining 1/4 tsp salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are soft but still slightly firm (about 3 minutes). Add to the pasta and toss thoroughly. Taste and add more salt, pepper or cheese as needed. Serve hot and enjoy! Serves 3-4.

Star Recommends: Nozzole Chianti Classico
This wine shows crisp, ripe red berry and cherry fruit flavors and aromas sustained by a fresh, acidic note offset by classic Sangiovese notes of earth, mushrooms and leather, with an elegant tannic backbone.


Moroccan-Style Stuffed Acorn Squashes
Adapted from thebittenword.typepad.com and Martha Stewart Living October 2009.
Served with a green salad, these squash halves are a flavorful and filling dish that will surprise and delight!

  • 2 medium acorn squashes (about 2 lbs), halved and seeded
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 3/4 lb. lean ground chuck
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 bulgur wheat
  • 2 c. water
  • 1/4 c. golden raisins
  • 1/4 c. Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. toasted pine nuts (or walnuts)

Directions: Lightly shave the center bottom of the squash on either side, so that the squash halves can sit flat. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place squash halves, cut side down, in a casserole dish. Bake until tender, 35 to 40 minutes. While the squash cooks, heat oil in a large pot with a tight fitting lid over medium heat. Add ground beef, a few pinches of cinnamon and nutmeg, and 1 tsp of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned and cooked through (5-10 minutes). Transfer beef to a bowl or plate using a slotted spoon, keeping the cooking liquid in the pot. Add onion and cook until slightly translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 minutes. Add the remaining tsp salt and bulgur, and than stir to combine. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from stove and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff bulgur with fork. Add the cooked beef, raisins, parsley and nuts. When squashes are done, remove them from oven. Flip them over and scrape out the insides to form 1/4 inch bowls. Mix the squash scrapings into the bulgur/beef mixture. Divide the mix between the squash halves. Return to oven and bake until warmed through and the tops are golden (around 15 minutes). Serve with a yogurt sauce if you like, or as is. Serves 4.

Star Recommends: Guenoc Petite Sirah
Intense aromas of red raspberry, licorice and baked blueberries. The wine has a medium body with melt in your mouth tannins and layers of spicy complexity. A refreshing acidity on the palate contributes to an extraordinary long finish which echoes the delicious flavors throughout.