Wednesday, January 04, 2006

This & that from tonight's dinner

Are these homemade potholders a part of your childhood? Wasn't it wonderful to spend just a short time and end up with a present for your (patient, grateful) mother? A young friend made this one for me a couple of years ago. Evidently the frame that she used was only about 4 inches square, but at her age, she didn't recognize how terribly small the potholder was. I was sincerely grateful for her desire to give me a gift, but didn't think I would have much use for it. But look! (Or "Behold!" as Mimi Smartypants would say. [see her item#3]) It's just the right size for a lid handle, and I use it all the time!

These gorgeous butternut squash came out of our garden this summer. We've been keeping them in the basement, which really isn't cold enough to be a good root cellar. So, to use them up, tonight I made a butternut squash puree, with milk, butter, salt, and pinches of allspice and cinnamon.

Do you know an easy way to remove the strings from these babies? It's not so important when they're going to be pureed, but for baked halved squash, I hate to have strings in my squash cavity (or any other cavities, come to think of it). I've tried spoons and ice cream scoops to no avail. What do you use?

Tonight was a night of using up stuff that needed using up. I had some thawed frozen chopped spinach left over from the Maple Feta Artichoke Puffs of a few days ago, so tonight I made Herbed Spinach Bake. Often spinach & rice dishes are a bit, well, BLAND. When this one is made with pepper jack cheese, it's anything but. T politely took a small portion at first, but after getting a taste of it, he went back for seconds and thirds!

One of the main ingredients is rice. I use Indian Basmati rice almost exclusively and cook it in only about 1¼ cups of water per cup of rice, maybe a hair more, rather than the usual 2 cups. It makes a rice that is firm, with separate rice kernels, perfect for mixing into other dishes, putting in soup, or using as a base for gumbo or other dishes that are served over rice. About the only thing it wouldn't work as well for would be rice pudding, where you want a softer rice, I would think. What kind of rice do you like to use? Do you stick with the recommended 2 cups of water?

And now that I think of it, I think this evening qualifies for Sweetnick's ARF/5-a-Day! But do you have to cook the meal on a Tuesday to be included?


Kalyn said...

Thanks again for letting me know about the typo. I realize now that I started to put 1/4 cup cream, but then decided it was only about 3 T. I am constantly making typos, and I hate it. But no one is perfect I guess. That's why we need help from our friends.

mll said...

I'm tellin' ya, you are a genius with this food thing....glad someone is!!! I had trail mix for lunch today. :-)

PatL said...

Kalyn: you're so welcome!

MLL: "genius": pshaw!!

Cate said...

Doesn't have to be eaten/made on Tuesday ... I clarify that in tomorrow's post, but it just has to inspire the rest of us. :)

bilbo said...

hey Pat,
Your baked spinach looks really good. I might try it .
I make rice pudding all the time with basmati rice and it comes out ok. what I do usually is use 1/4 cup water and boil it with 1/2 cup of water first . I then add this to 1 quart of boiled milk and then keep cooking on simmer till i get a consistency I like. Try it. :)

Michele said...

The Spinach bake sounds wonderful, I love spinach!