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Ease into autumn with acorn squash

With fall’s arrival comes a change at local farm stands and in grocery store produce sections: replacing summery berries and other hot weather fruit, or at least taking its place beside those things, are fall vegetables.  The sight of these vegetables make me feel a sense of comfort and coziness; like a warm afghan crocheted by my grandmother.  I see them and I’m in her warm kitchen.

How beautiful are the shapes and muted colors of squashes:

Acorn squash:

photo from cookstr.com

Butternut squash:

photo from cookstr.com

and spaghetti squash, too:

photo from cookstr.com

However, I’ve always been more proficient in cooking zucchini and yellow squash than the more beautiful varieties that appear in the fall. I’m determined to change that this year!

I bought an acorn squash yesterday. My first one ever.

I asked some foodie friends on Facebook how they like to prepare acorn squash, and got several good ideas. I ended up doing the most simple thing. Here’s the recipe:

Easy baked acorn squash

Wash an acorn squash, pat dry,  and cut in half horizontally.

Scrape out seeds and strings.

Place halves into a baking pan or dish, cut side up.

Sprinkle with a bit of salt, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg per half, 1 TBS butter and 1 TBS brown sugar in each half, and then bake at 450 degrees F for about an hour.

If the tops seem to be getting too dark, lay a sheet of foil over the halves to keep them from burning. (this happened to me, but only because I fell asleep and they baked for an hour and twenty five minutes, which was too long.)

The fun thing is that the acorn squash are rather small, so you can easily serve the squash as they are, using the outer shell as a pretty bowl.  No need to scrape out the flesh before serving.  People will think you’re as talented as Martha Stewart when you bring a platter full of beautiful baked squash halves to your dining table.

And when they taste the mild, sweet, creamy flesh of their very own acorn squash, they’ll be so thankful that you made it for them.  Enjoy!

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