When the leaves start to change, me and mini spend even more time in the kitchen. I watch in awe as my girl changes year to year into her own little person. She has her own tastes and does not need a step stool anymore to reach the stove! Soon she will be taller than me. Time changes all things, but some stay the same. When fall reaches our doorstep we always relish in the usual fall flavors, but we make sure to keep the spice in our lives too. This hot Italian blood needs to keep the coals burning!
There is nothing like the mellow nutty smoothness of Acorn Squash in fall. But I also need to keep things hot, so I make sure to add some not so seasonal spice to our lives. Me and mini me have experimented with various chilis in our winter hot cocoa, and we thought we would use our favorite in a sweet and spicy chicken marinade. Our table and lives have been plentiful this week!
When mini me was just a baby, I would roast squash for her and she would use her hands to get as much as possible. We were not much neater this time around! We cut the acorn squash in half and used a fork to remove the pits ( which are tasty toasted). Then we used sunflower oil ( I tasted an incredible batch of flavored oils from a local farmer at a food festival this week). The sunflower oil was incredible, it can be a bit heavy so use it sparingly. Then we used sprinkled on some FRESH nutmeg ( please do not use nutmeg that has been on a shelf for a decade) and sea salt and put it in the oven at 400 for 25 minutes, until the flesh was soft. We then used some local honey on each half and put it back in for just 5 minutes. At this point it is perfect as is, but you can pull the pulp out, beat in an egg, mix it with cream, season it, refill the squash and bake it at 300 for 10 minutes as well.
Acorn squash will give you just about 150 % of your Vitamin A requirement! It is this unique combination and high potency vitamin c/ beta carotene, that makes it a true cancer fighter. Its juice is actually thought to be medicinal because of its antioxidant power. It is a must for your diet this season.
Alongside we made a spicy chili-mango chicken. While mango is not in season, where I am at …decent mango is still easy to find. We used 2 cups of diced mango, cooked it down with the flesh of one red chili , olive oil, salt, brown sugar, a tsp of honey and some vegetable stock. We then used the marinade for 5 thin chicken breasts and cooked it along side the acorn for about 20 minutes.
Any form of chili pepper always instantly improves how I feel. Capsaicin, the top cancer fighting component of chili peppers, is used to treat prostate cancer patients. Chili peppers have been utilized medicinally for thousands of years and are known to ease migraines, improve blood flow, fight cancer, improve sexuality. Some studies have linked them to a longer life span, so keep the spice in your life!
Be on the lookout for our butternut squash lasagna and apple squash soup later this week! Happy eating and happy haunting this week from us. 🙂
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