It is around this time of year that several friends and colleagues of mine show up at the door cradling gigantic, totally overgrown gourds of various varieties. With an adorably hopeful look on their face, "Hey Shel, do you think you could use this?" They hoist up their gourds and stare reproachfully at it as if to communicate that yes, they'll pretty much do anything to get rid of it.
This is the greatest thing ever. Squashes and zucchinis are, apparently, really easy to grow and can eventually overwhelm the unsuspecting gardener. However, this said "gardener" would never on any occasion actually be me because Shelley's house is where plants go to die. So when you lovely people pawn your unwanted garden delights off on my doorstep, I say, "Hell YEAH I'll use that gourd! I'll use it till it's gone, baby!" I need only pause a moment before snatching it out of your arms and running to the kitchen, cackling with delight.
Indeed, this is how I acquired an unwanted butternut squash and a HUGE zucchini, both of which I was able to use twice, in two separate recipes. How's that for economical?
Free(ish) dinner? Yes please.
Get the quinoa going first. Bring the following to a boil in a saucepan:
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups water
Let it cook for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa grains are all cute and curly. Awww...
Meanwhile, heat a dash of olive oil in a skillet and add:
1 cup zucchini, chopped (peel it only if the skin is really tough and thick)
1 cup butternut squash, chopped (ok..this one you have to peel)
1 medium onion, chopped
Sautee the veggies until the squash is kinda soft and the onions are translucent. Season them up with salt and pepper too! Nom nom.
When the quinoa is done but not TOO done ("al dente" would be a good way to describe your desired level of doneness), toss it in with the veggies and stir it all around, adding more salt and pepper as needed and maybe a few pumpkin seeds.
Voila! Easy and yummy quinoa. Whodathunk that funky little grainseedthing came from a plant related to the tumbleweed?