Welcome back to me after an eleven month hiatus from these pages. Hello Readers. Are you still out there? I’m back. I’m back but things have changed around here. I’ve changed. Last time I wrote I was absorbed in a muffin-making frenzy, preparing for an onslaught of extreme expected hunger. I’m now the proud mama of a ten-month old baby boy. Indeed, I baked all of those muffins, I ate all of those muffins, I eventually got rid of the excess weight caused by those muffins and I’m still here to tell the tale.
I’m not sure how to write this post. I’m not even sure that I should be writing this post. Shouldn’t I be making dinner, or finishing a report for work? Perhaps doing some much-needed cleaning, working out, or even spending some time with my husband? Perhaps. Perhaps I should be doing any number of the above activities, but for some reason I’m not yet sure of, I feel like blogging. I have thought a lot about my new identity over the past few months and how best to divide my energies between my child, my work and myself. Time is what you make of it - there will never be enough time. But it has has taken longer than I thought it would to get to this place – to feel my old energy returning, to feel like being creative and productive again.
True, gone are the days of spending hours in the kitchen cooking, tweaking and photographing dishes for these pages. But I think I can still do it – these pages might just live to eat, love and jump again.
In honour of my first post in eleven months, and with a little free time in hand, I went to the supermarket this morning to see what I could find. My guiding principles for a recipe were: something healthy, easy on the pocket, and not too time-consuming.
I bought some round zucchini (so pretty!), otherwise known as Ronde de Nice Squash, read about different ways to stuff them, and made up my own version.
It was a little more time consuming than I had intended, but except for that, I stuck to my principles and made a delicious stuffing based on rice, spinach, and walnuts. You can really be adventurous with the stuffing – have a look at some other suggestions below.
By the way, in case anyone mistakenly gets the impression we eat like this all the time, know that we had toasted cheese sandwiches for dinner tonight!
Stuffed Rond de Nice Squash
Adapted from Deb at Smitten Kitchen
6 rond de Nice squash
1 cup rice
1 tablespoon, olive oil
1 onion, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
Handful frozen spinach (defrosted)
3 – 4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tsp each of dried basil, oregano, thyme
A handful chopped parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pot cottage cheese
A handful walnuts, roughly chopped
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cut a small slice from the bottom of a rond de Nice squash so that it sits flat. Cut the top, about 2-inches from the stem end, leaving a nice wide hole. Using a spoon, scoop out the insides, leaving a 1/4-inch thick wall of squash on all sides. Trim the top of the squash. Set the squash flesh aside. Repeat with the remaining squash. Season the inside of each squash with salt and turn upside down onto a plate. (The salt will draw out the moisture.)
2. Cook the rice, according to your usual method (I flavour mine with garlic and chilli). When done, set aside.
3. Meanwhile, in a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over low heat. Add the onion, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook until tender.
4. Chop the reserved squash flesh and add it to the onion. After a few minutes add the spinach. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute or two longer, until some of the liquid has evaporated.
5. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl, if there is excess liquid, leave it in the skillet. Stir in the rice, cottage cheese, walnuts and parsley and season to taste with salt and black pepper.
6. Turn the squash right-side up and stuff them with the filling. Spread a teaspoon or two of olive oil at the bottom of a baking dish big enough to hold the squash snug, place them inside, and cover the dish. Cook in the oven until the squash is tender when pierced with a knife, about 45 to 60 minutes.
The squash can be served immediately or cooled, in or out of the oil, and reheated later.
8-Ball Zucchini Stuffed With…
More suggestions from The Kitchn Recipe Round Up:
• Rice, Basil, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes, from FatFree Vegan Kitchen
• Veal, Celery, and Watercress, from La Tartine Gourmande
• Rice, Boursin, and Olives, from A Veggie Venture
• Ground Beef, Rice, and Red Pepper, from Kalyn’s Kitchen
• Spinach, Tomato, and Parmesan, from Cooking Light