Acorn Squash Spice Cake

acorn squash I bought this acorn squash at the SOTJ farmer’s market and had no idea what to do it…I had never used one before. When I cut it open it looked like a pumpkin so I decided to use the roasted flesh like pumpkin puree and bake a loaf cake! acorn squash After the squash was baked it was easy to mash! My squash produced two cups of puree. I used one cup for the cake and put the rest in the freezer to use in another cake or maybe as a yummy addition to risotto! baked acorn squash The cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger and cloves smell amazing when they come together in the batter. cake batter

It was dark by the time we sliced up the cake last night and unfortunately this is the only pic I have. I can’t take pics today because I covered it with foil last night so it looks quite smooshed! My sons friend Stu said it reminded him of zucchini bread…probably because it’s the only other cake he can think of that has “vegetables” in it. It came out super moist and really doesn’t need icing. I was just craving cream cheese and had to add it 🙂

Acorn Squash spice cake

Acorn Squash Spice Cake

  • 1 small/medium acorn squash
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 brown sugar
  • 1/4 organic canola oil
  • 1/4 plain yogurt (I used Whole Foods organic brand)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground clove
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and stringy insides. Put the squash cut side down on a high sided baking tray and fill the tray with ½ an inch of water. Roast for about an 1 hour, or until the squash is very tender. Remove from the oven and let the squash cool.  Scoop out the flesh with a spoon and mash with a fork until smooth. Set aside 1 cup of the puree for the bread (my squash produced about 2 cup).
  • Set oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  • In a medium size bowl, blend together 1 cup of the squash puree, sugar, oil, yogurt, vanilla and eggs.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Slowly add flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until no longer lumpy.  At this point you can stir in about 1/2 cup chopped walnuts if you want to (I didn’t have any).
  •  Spray a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and pour batter in. Bake for 45-50 minutes until set (test with a toothpick).
  • Once the cake was cooled I added a cream cheese glaze. Set out 3 ounces of cream cheese until it comes to room temp. Stir in 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1 tablespoon milk and a few dashes of cinnamon.
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Penne with Zucchini and Shiitakes

Diced zucchini and shittakes

Fast, easy to make pasta sauce doesn’t have to come in jar! I put this pasta together for a quick Sunday lunch when my sister was visiting last weekend. Check some pics from our weekend together on her blog.

We enjoyed (maybe-too-much) wine on Saturday night and I was craving pasta but I also wanted to eat lots of veggies and have a nice healthy meal. The eikhorn pasta has tons of nutrients and 8 grams of protein per serving. I chose shiitake mushrooms for their meaty-ness. Zucchini because it’s one of my favorite veggies and I wanted to add some “green” to the pasta. Garlic and shallots for flavor and bite. Last but not least…fresh, locally made goat cheese that I bought from the SOTJ Farmer’s Market the day before. If I hadn’t added it to the pasta I would have slowly eaten it throughout the week by sticking my finger in the container whenever I saw it in the fridge…it’s THAT good!

Penne with Zucchini and Shiitakes

Penne with Zucchini and Shiitakes

  • 1 – 12 ounce box Jovial Einkorn Penne pasta, cooked
  • 4 zucchini, cubed
  • 1 package shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 – 8 ounce container Night Sky Farms herbed goat cheese

Method

  • Set the goat cheese out to soften. Prepare and chop all the veggies. Add butter and oil to a large skillet and heat to medium heat. Add all the veggies at once and cook until zucchini is just getting soft. (I set a lid on the pot for part of the time to help them steam.)
  • Cook the pasta according the package directions and drain, reserving a little of the pasta water to help the pasta and veggies all come together.
  • In a large bowl toss together cooked pasta, veggies and goat cheese. Add a little pasta water if needed to help everything come together in a nice sauce.

Cherry Peppers with Goat Cheese

We visited the South of the James farmers market this morning and as always we met some cool people and got some great things. Turnips, local honey, fresh local oysters, local sausage and lamb loin chops, homemade dog treats and an assortment of peppers (small red sweet peppers, habaneros, and thai chilis) from a place called Village Garden in Mechanicsville.

When I asked Barbara from Village Garden for some recipe ideas for the small, red cherry peppers and she said to cut the tops out, remove the seeds and roast them under the broiler for a few minutes to heat them up and soften them slightly. After that you stuff them with goat cheese. YUM!!

For dinner tonight I decided to make appetizers. The peppers, some shrimp cooked with garlic and lemon and some of the raw oysters we got today. The seafood was amazing but the peppers were my fav. I liked them so much I might try to get some more and have them as an appetizer for Thanksgiving 🙂

Farmer’s Market picks

Travis and I took a short ride to our local South of the James farmer’s market this morning with our dogs. I haven’t been in the mood to take pictures of my food this past week but this beautiful bounty inspires me. I made a large pot of Ratatouille last weekend and it was gobbled up before there were any pics taken. I’m pretty sure I’ll be making it again with all the peppers, zucchini, squash, tomatoes and eggplant that I have here. Happy Saturday!!