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Stuffed Baked Squash and Maple-Glazed Ham

For Fall: two recipes – too good – to miss

Posted: September 17, 2013 - 2:09pm  |  Updated: September 18, 2013 - 9:21am

New recipes for fall are just beginning to surface as I continue to cook my way through some recently released cookbooks, among them Wendy Esko’s exciting “The Big Beautiful Brown Rice Cookbook: the World’s Best Brown Rice Recipes” and “Everyone’s Time to Cook: how to start a love affair with cooking,” by Robert L. Blakeslee, both published by Square One Publishers. Although it’s rare that anything that claims to be the “world’s best” actually is, Esko’s cookbook on brown rice could turn out to be just that if her recipe for Stuffed Baked Squash is any indication. With brown and wild rice and other lovely ingredients, such as mushrooms, roasted pecans and dried cranberries in the filling, Esko’s treatment of acorn squash is stunning. Among the 140 vegetarian/vegan recipes in Esko’s book, Vegetarian Gumbo over Brown Rice has my attention, as does Fried Rice with Peppers and Edamame, Quinoa Fruit Pudding and Brown Rice Cake S’Mores.

 

Even though the majority of recipes and information contained in “Everyone’s Time to Cook” has come from Blakeslee’s previously published award-winning “Your Time to Cook: A First Cookbook for Newlyweds, Couples & Lovers, it will be evident to Blakeslee fans that Blakeslee’s newest cookbook has been redesigned to include “anyone who wants to learn the basics of cooking – old or young, male or female, married or single.” I’ve been cooking for decades, and I’m still learning from inspired cooks and cookbook authors like Blakeslee. Between the book’s 230 kitchen-tested recipes and its 1500 full-color images (all taken by Blakeslee himself), no matter how seasoned you may be, you’re going to discover something brand new or be reminded of something you forgot. For further information on these fine titles, or the authors, visit the publisher’s website at www.squareonepublishers.com.

 

Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at kitchenade@yahoo.com.

Maple-Glazed Ham

Ingredients

1 cup maple syrup (pure is best)

¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar

8-10 pound fully cooked smoked ham*

 

Place the maple syrup and brown sugar in a small mixing bowl, and stir until most of the sugar has dissolved. Set aside. Place the ham in a roasting pan, meat side down. Set it on the bottom shelf of a preheated 325 oven. Bake uncovered for 2½ to 3 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 130 degrees on a meat thermometer. Remove the ham from the oven and allow it to cool 5 minutes. Then, using a very sharp knife, cut the rind from the ham, being careful not to cut away the fat. Cut crisscross diagonal slashes into the fat (but not into the meat) every ¾ inch. Spoon half the glaze over the top and sides of the ham. Increase the oven heat to 450 degrees, return the ham to the oven, and bake 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, spoon on the remaining glaze, and return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Let the ham rest for 20 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy as is or with a little Dijon mustard. Yield: about 20 servings.

Stuffed Baked Squash

2 medium acorn squash

Safflower oil for coating squash

Minced chives, parsley or scallions for garnish

 

Stuffing

2 tablespoons safflower oil

¼ cup finely chopped shallots or onions

¼ cup finely diced celery

1 cup finely diced fresh crimini or button mushrooms

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup cooked long-grain brown rice*

1 cup cooked wild rice*

½ cup coarsely chopped roasted pecans

½ cup dried cranberries

½ teaspoon poultry seasoning

¼ teaspoon ground thyme

* Native American hand-harvested wild rice is preferred. (Native American hand-harvested wild rice is available in most natural food stores.)

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut each squash in half and remove the seeds. Lightly coat the outside of each half with safflower oil and place on a baking sheet. Set aside. To prepare the stuffing, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes or until beginning to brown. Add the celery, mushrooms, and salt, and sauté another 4 to 5 minutes or until the mushrooms release their juice. Transfer the sautéed vegetables to a medium mixing bowl along with the remaining stuffing ingredients. Mix until well combined. Fill the squash halves with stuffing, cover each with foil, and bake 45 to 50 minutes or until the squash is tender when poked with a fork. Remove the foil and bake another 7 to 10 minutes to brown slightly. Garnish with chives before serving. Yield: 4 servings.

 

For a change

• Substitute chopped roasted walnuts or hazelnuts for the pecans.

• Instead of cranberries, try dried blueberries or coarsely chopped dried cherries.

 

Kitchen Ade note: I used Lundberg Family Farm’s Wild Blend Rice for the rice in this recipe, which I located at my local Wal Mart for just under three dollars for a one-pound bag. 

For smaller families

To skillet-cook and glaze a ham steak

 

Preheat a skillet over medium–high heat. Brown ham steak on each side, allowing most of liquid to cook off, then lower heat to medium. Brush ham generously with prepared glaze, turning to coat the other side. Cook ham until glaze bubbles and thickens, being careful not to glaze burn. Serve at once. 

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