Thursday, September 8, 2011

Squash Bean Boats and Sun-dried Tomato Risotto

Only having used 1/2 cup of refried beans for the last meal, I had a bunch left over (approximately 1 cup for those of you measuring).  I also couldn't resist the beautiful yellow squash at Publix so with my impulse buy and a bunch of beans I thought to myself, 'Self, figure something out.'  It was lunchtime and we were hungry, so I had to act fast.

The other day I made about 6 cups worth of brown rice so that we'd be set for the rest of the days before we head to NYC. Plus, if I'm busting out the rice cooker, you bet your bottom I'm cooking rice in large quantities.  I love my rice cooker! Thanks Mom!

The rice would serve as a good side.  Toss in some sun-dried tomatoes and viola! Good stuff! I also added more spring onions, squash discards and of course, nooch.  I made that a link because I guess some of you are reading these and asking what nooch is.  Nooch is Louis Pasteur's gift to vegans.  I didn't know he was behind it, so we're all learning something today.  No, it is not like vegemite.  I'm turning into Wikipedia here!  But the Aussies out there will appreciate the link to urban dictionary.  My illustrious brother tasted vegemite and described it as "something you'd give the dog to throw up."  Sorry folks, he's a scientist, I'm with him.

Back to dinner!  So, here's what I made:

Mmmm.... considering I made it all in under 20 minutes, presentation was pretty darn impressive!

2 servings

6 sun-dried tomato halves, chopped
1 1/2 TBS nooch, divided
1 cup cooked rice (I have short grain brown rice)
1 cup refried beans
1/2 avocado, chopped
1/2 tomato, chopped
2 spring onions, chopped
4 small yellow squash (or zucchini)
pinch of salt

1. In a large saucepan, toss the chopped sun-dried tomatoes with about 1/4 cup of water.  Heat over medium low until it softly simmers.  The tomatoes should absorb the water, evaporating any leftover H2O.

Also, heat your oven to 350F.

2. Meanwhile, carve out your squash boats... careful not to hack through the whole thing (that one became mine...).  You'll want to cut off the neck so that you have as round a base as possible.

Here's a double angle view, both from the helicopter and from a bit more in front so you can see the great carving job I did.

Keep the ends/necks and the insides, which you'll want to chop up into evenly sized chunks.

3. Fill the squash with refried beans.  Optionally you can sprinkle nooch on top.  I did, because I'm like that.  If you do, you should also sprinkle a scant 1/4 tsp of salt over everything.

Place them in some sort of high-edged baking dish.  I went with an 8x8" cobalt blue pyrex dish.  Cover with foil and bake about 20 minutes.

4. By now, your tomatoes should have absorbed all the water.  At some point, if they were looking dry, just remove them from the heat source until you are ready to proceed.

Proceed by adding the chopped squash discards and cook about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. You may need to add a couple of tablespoons of water.

(At this point, you can chop up the tomatoes, avocado and onion if you haven't already done so.)

5.  Add the cooked rice and stir well, coating everything with everything else.

6.  Add the nooch, 1/4 tsp salt and stir it up, little darling. Dish it out!

7.  Top the rice with chopped maters, avocado and onions.  Serve with bean boats and I went ahead and topped with some sour cream since there's also leftovers of that...

They were indeed quite tasty!  The rice was a total success.  The boats were great but I think the sour cream took away a bit of their pizzazz.  Mainly due to the fact that it's pre-flavored like guacamole and, well, it doesn't taste like guac at all (good in it's own right though).  I may have added too much.  The sour cream was good with the rice though... Not a bad quick lunch, I must say!


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