Barley Pilaf Stuffed Acorn Squash

This is a new recipe for us from one of our favorite cookbooks, Almost Meatless.  The nice thing about it is that it can be a great vegetarian dinner or you can add a bit of crumbled sausage to it if you’re feeding people who can’t fathom why you would ever have a meal without a bit of animal protein (I, admittedly, used to be a card-carrying member of this group!).  But really, doesn’t sausage make everything better?  I digress! If you plan ahead and cook the squash, the rest of this meal is pretty easy and straightforward.  And for a cold, foggy fall or winter night it’s the perfect comfort food...actually a little reminiscent of Thanksgiving (which lovely flavors I personally think shouldn’t be relegated to just once a year!)  Pair it with a full-bodied Chardonnay (we chose Frog’s Leap 2009) and a week night meal turns into an intimate occasion worth savoring!
Curried Red Lentil & Swiss Chard Stew

The swiss chard was looking absolutely beautiful at the Marina Farmer’s Market this past weekend so I got a little carried away and stocked up.  Hence the need to Google myself a new Swiss Chard recipe to use it up (have you seen Google’s new Recipe Finder tab on the left...it’s quite fun and helpful!) before it wilted away.  I found this recipe on epicurious.com, and it’s a keeper!
Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter & Bittersweet Chocolate

The one big, perfect ravioli!

This is one of our favorite pasta recipes...we’ve been making it since 2005 when I think I first saw it on Michael Chiarello’s then Food Network Show.  Over the past years though it has become even better because we’ve started making homemade pasta (with my fancy Kitchen Aid attachment...makes homemade pasta so easy!  We honestly never buy any flat noodled dry pasta anymore). But don’t fear, you certainly don’t have to go that far to make this dish a winner, feel free to buy pasta sheets.  The filling is sweet, rich and complex while the sage butter sauce is rich and savory (put lots more sage than it calls for if you like sage...it’s so yummy in this dish).  And then finishing it off with shavings of bittersweet chocolate is pure genius!
Shakshuka



I LOVE eggs...so much so that I often say if I was stuck on a desert island for the rest of my life with only one food to eat eggs would be my immediate choice.  So versatile, delicious and nutritious.  That means when I find an egg meal worthy of dinner I get very excited.  A friend of mine shared this recipe with me that she found a while ago on smittenkitchen.com (which is a fab site that I aspire to be even 50% as great as some day!) and swears she makes it at least once a month now, so I’m looking forward to adding it to my recipe repertoire!
Braised Broccoli Rabe with Orecchiette

This is another one of our old-standby favorite recipes which makes it into the rotation almost once a month.  It’s super easy and oh-so delicious...I consider it a slightly more upscale comfort food. Great for a cold or rainy night, the type of dish that warms the soul and makes the house smell delish.

Broccoli Rabe is also known as Rapini and what we love about it in particular is how the greens develop a slightly bitter, horseradish-like flavor, yum.  Orecchiette is an ear shaped pasta that stays nice and firm when cooked so that it has a nice bite to it.  Try this one out, you'll love it...I promise!
Grilled Spiced Eggplant with Minted Yogurt Stacks



So it happens sometimes...you spend the time and energy trying a new recipe and you just don’t love it.  Oh well.  It’s not that this recipe was bad....there just wasn’t anything super compelling about it and to be honest I kind of felt like I was eating a vegetarian Gyro without the onions, tomato & pita (which I kind of missed....so maybe fold these stacks up and throw them in a pita!).

The eggplant cooked up nicely though and made delicious quesadillas for my leftover day (combined with sauteed mushrooms, onions and canned artichoke hearts).  The minted yogurt was a nice twist on Tzatziki but would fare better as a sauce than a substantial filling.