Schoolhouse Journals August 2013
Figs, Apples and Squash OH MY!
By Chef Christopher Dobrowolski
You guessed it we are talking fall foods today.. Why? Because you should already be thinking about it that’s why. Summer is almost over and the endless crops of tomatoes and corn are fading fast so it’s time to start thinking about ground vegetables and a fruit that is hearty.
Most people do not know that squash or gourds are one of the oldest known cropped vegetables dating back ten thousand years. Of course way back then not only did they eat the squash they also dried and hardened them for jugs, bowls, utensils and countless other uses.
Moving on to something that dates back to 9th century B.C the FIG, believe it or not this incredibly great fruit has been mentioned in books as far back as the bible and other ancient writings. In the B.C period Greece actually banned the export of the good figs and were treated as a common currency (better the fig higher the worth in trade). Figs have the highest nutritional values by weight than any other fruit and the leaf from a fig tree has been used for centuries in lowering insulin levels and triglycerides.
Now to talk about one of the most popular fruits that has helped create the beautiful city of Sedona, AZ, the APPLE ! The apple was the first crop ever planted in Sedona due to the high desert climate. The apple orchards in Sedona fueled the economy of the Verde Valley since the 18th century; it was right there with copper mining until the movie scene took over in early 1930. The oldest orchard is still producing and is one of the most visited places in Northern Arizona but most people know the area as Slide Rock and not for its rich history.
Okay all that being said I am going to give you a gem of a recipe that incorporates all these amazing foods and will help create a conversation at the party you serve this at.
Schoolhouse Stuffed Pumpkin
- 1 Pumpkin, close to 3 pounds as possible
- 1/3rd pound of 1” cubed stale bread
- ¼ pound of ½” cubed White Cheddar Cheese
- ¼ cup finely shaved garlic clove
- 4 each medium sized Figs ½” cubed
- 3 each red apples ½” cubed
- 1 teaspoon chipotle puree
- ¼ cup shaved green onion
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 1/3 cup of heavy whipping cream
- 6 pieces cooked and chopped bacon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 stick of butter
First you want to find a large mixing bowl and incorporate all the ingredients from above (except the pumpkin and butter) season with salt and pepper to your liking. Second step core and seed your pumpkin and place it in a round casserole dish slightly larger than the pumpkin itself. Now rub the stick of room temperature butter generously throughout the inside of the pumpkin until it is heavily coated then season with salt and pepper. Now for the final step stuff ALL the mixture from above in the gourd, cover with foil and bake for 1.5 hours or until done. The insides should be bubbly and delicious looking and the pumpkin should be fork tender. When you have reached this point pull carefully from oven and let rest for 10-20 minutes. To serve you can simply scoop out the insides or my favorite cut into wedges like a cake.
Please enjoy the recipe and I will see you next month!
Best Regards, Owner Christopher Dobrowolski of Schoolhouse Restaurant, Cottonwood, AZ