It’s Halloween tomorrow, just in case you didn’t know. A.K.A. the most stupid holiday of the year. Yep, I am the scrooge of Halloween, I hate it. Don’t get me wrong, it was fun when you were little and had the excuse of running around the neighbourhood collecting candy…free candy! But now it is just an excuse to wear basically no clothing and not be judged for it (if you can’t tell, I’m judging regardless). How did “the day of the dead” get turned into “the day of skanky costumes”? What are we teaching our youth when 12 year olds strive to dress up as french maids? It’s scary quite frankly (no pun intended). I don’t understand, not one bit.
If there is one good thing I can attribute to Halloween, it is the pumpkin or in tonights case, acorn squash. Close enough, they are in the same family. During the fall, my favorite cooking method is roasting. Nothing quite compares to the flavor of rich, sweet caramelization. Put the two together and who needs Smarties and Tootsie Rolls and Kit Kats anways? Not me, I will take a pile of roasted veg and some cous cous anyday!
– 1 acorn squash, peeled and cut into wedges (save the seeds! you can toast them up too)
– 6 baby beets, halved
– 1 sprig rosemary
– 3-4 sprigs time
– whole garlic, to taste
– salt and pepper, TT
– both olive oil and truffle oil, to coat the veg
– 2/3 cup whole wheat cous cous
– 1 cup water (seasoned with S&P)
– both cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
– 1/4 cup parsley
I kept it pretty simple. Toss all the veg with olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour it onto a sheet tray and arrange in a pretty, decorative pattern. Well, I guess the last part is optional but I was bored, ok? Lay the garlic and herbs on top and roast in a 375-400 F oven until the vegetables are soft and golden. Keep in mind that different veg have different cooking times. I ended up having to remove the squash because the beets still pretty crunchy. The truffle oil, it went on last so the high heat didn’t destroy the delicate flavor. Also, I tossed the squash seeds on the same tray for about 5 minutes to toast up (they were coated in truffle oil, salt and pepper too).
For the cous cous, I read the instructions on the package to figure out the water to grains ratio. I seasoned the water, brought it to a boil and stirred in the cous cous. Unlike rice which requires more cooking time, all you have to do is put the lid on, set it aside and wait 5 minutes. No need to return it to the heat or you will just burn the cous cous onto the bottom of your pot! The parsley went in at the end so it stayed fresh and green, not gross and wilty. It’s also a good idea to double check the seasoning at the end, just in case it needs more salt, etc.
If you are cooking for one, like me, there will definitely be leftovers. I did this intentionally to have some meals ready for evenings that I have to work. You could even turn the roasted veg into a thick, creamy soup or use the cous cous to make veggie burgers.
And by the way, I wasn’t trying to be a party pooper. Go out, eat candy, have fun and enjoy the holiday (you can do a lot of other things too, I just don’t need to hear about it!). Don’t worry about me, I will be quite content enjoying a big bowl of roast squash, beets and cous cous. Happy Halloween!