Friendly Food-Stuffed Squash

I had the opportunity to drive up to Boston from New York recently to spend the weekend with my friend Tracy and her family. I was eager to have some time on the open road, listening to my music while spotting all  of the Fall colors in the trees, a mini little road trip all for me…..and it turns out every other person with a car and a desire to really see Fall. Tracy told me that this time of year there are a lot of “Leaf Lookers” which clogged up the roads, tweaking my desire to drive on the open road.

I arrived at Tracy’s house just in time for dinner, which was great because after the long ride I was ready! Tracy had been wanting to try a stuffed squash recipe and had all the ingredients ready to go. What a perfect “Friendly Food” opportunity!

We started by halving the squash, cleaning out the seeds and roasting them in the oven cut side down for about 30 minutes. On the stovetop we browned the sausage with onions, garlic and olive oil, once that was fully cooked we added piles of fresh kale to wilt down into the mixture. We poured in some white wine and some chicken broth to help the kale soften and simmer.

This mixture was then spooned into the roasted squash halves and topped with breadcrumbs and parmesan and tossed back into the oven to broil.

This meal was the perfect fall comfort food and it was healthy as well! If I was cooking Thanksgiving dinner I would consider adding this to the menu. Everyone loved it except Tracy’s eight year old son Chris who opted to not even try it. I can’t say that I blame him, it looked very vegetable-y which has never been a hot ticket item at that age.

Tracy is such a whiz in the kitchen, she didn’t use or need a recipe. I have compiled a makeshift recipe here:

White Wine (for both you and the pan)
Chicken Broth
Bread Crumbs
Parmesan cheese – grated

Halve and clean the squash. In the oven roast the squash cut side down for thirty minutes or until soft.
Brown the sausage, mix in onion and garlic. Once fully cooked add the kale to the top of the mixture along with some white wine and chicken stock.
Spoon the sausage kale mixture into the squash halves. Top with breadcrumbs and parmesan and broil until golden.


Local Appetite

The sole reason that I came to LA (Lower Alabama) was due to the fact that I have family here. I have spent plenty of time in this area, and it holds many great memories for me. I have been struggling getting back onto the Losing Weight Off the Interstate so I was ecstatic when my cousin Hope told me that her brother, Karl Brantley owned a farm along with his business partner Will Mastin that catered to the locals.  I took a trip out to Local Appetite to check out their farm firsthand. It was a quick drive, within twenty minutes we were pulling up to the greenhouses where fresh Kale and tomatoes were growing along with plenty other items.

Will and Karl greeted us along with their two dogs, they really just kept calling them both “dog” which I found incredibly endearing. They gave us a quick history of how they came to be, both having experience in the landscaping business and Karl having a family history of agriculture and produce in the area. They toured us about and showed us their planting system which I thought was quite ingenious, using gutters with irrigation to feed the plants as they grow.

Local Appetite is hoping to fill a niche in Baldwin county and eventually the city of Mobile in locally grown fruits and vegetables. They currently are focusing on the restaurant business as opposed to straight to the consumer as they believe they are able to foster and develop these relationships and currently their production is small enough that they are not finding a lot of extra product on hand to sell to the general public.

It was inspirational to see two men doing what they were passionate about while creating something that was good and healthy for their community.

Will Mastin (left) & Karl Brantley (right)

Will Mastin (left) & Karl Brantley (right)Local Appetite Local Appetite - Greens Local Appetite - Kale Local Appetite Bagged Lettuce Local Appetite Greenhouse Local Appetite Growing Local Appetite Planting Local Appetite Toms Local Appetite Toms 1 Local Greens - Greenhouse greens