Yesterday marked the beginning of my first full week in St. Louis. Although I had hoped that I would be gainfully employed once I moved, I look forward to spending a little of my extra spare time cooking and devoting a little more time to this blog. Quite honestly, I’ve missed both cooking and blogging about cooking.
While I wasn’t living at home or cooking in my own space, I wasn’t particularly interested in looking at new recipes. One of the things I did this weekend, since I knew that I’d want to cook, was clear through some recipes I hadn’t looked at. I bookmarked quite a few, but I decided that I wanted to make Acorn Squash with Chile-Lime Vinaigrette soon, since autumn has finally returned.
I’d never made a spicy, Mexican-themed squash dish before, but the recipe looked simple. I particularly like acorn squash since the rind is thin and edible once it’s cooked. To prepare it, you simply need to cut the squash in half, remove the seeds (which I always roast later), and slice acorn squash into 3/4 inch strips. Toss with a little olive oil (or brush them with it like I did) and sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 25-35 minutes, rotating and switching the position of the pans halfway through. Once the squash is tender, toss with the vinaigrette.
I made an extra batch of vinaigrette to use as a marinade for beef. I used bottled lime juice (because juicing limes is obnoxious); one minced jalapeno with seeds gave me enough chile to include about 1 1/3 teaspoons of jalapeno in both the marinade and the vinaigrette. I only used 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the vinaigrette because that’s how much was left in the bottle I was finishing off.
I cut my squash a little too narrow and so it roasted a little too long; after 30 minutes, the smoke detector started going off, even though I didn’t notice any smoky smells. [Getting used to a new oven with no stove vent is a downside of having a new apartment.]
Positives: the dish had heat but wasn’t too spicy. I liked that this recipe was also a little different from anything else I’d seen; generally I see squash coated with brown sugar and cinnamon, turned into a risotto, or used in soup or maybe curries. Overall, though, I was underwhelmed with this dish. Perhaps it was the over-cooked squash; perhaps it’s because I used bottled lime juice. I would have preferred a neutral oil instead of the flavor of olive oil. Maybe I would have liked it if it were spicier. Ultimately, though, I just didn’t like the combination of sweet, earthy squash with lime and jalapeno. Everyone’s tastes are different, and so perhaps you’d like it. There’s nothing wrong with this recipe, but I know I won’t make it again.