I’ve been trying to be more conscious of eating locally lately. I’ve been frequenting my local, organic market more and more recently. Not only does the produce taste better but I like knowing where it comes from and supporting more small-scale producers. Even though I was always aware of the produce available (and not available) according to the different seasons, it becomes so much more obvious when the large majority of the food isn’t being imported from elsewhere. It is such a shift from summer into more truly wintery produce. Needless to say, there is a lot of squash, parsnips, and potatoes around. It always takes my brain some time to re-adjust and think about the things I normally make with these ever present winter vegetables that I largely ignore over the summer months. One of the biggest problems I have, especially with squash, is that they are so big. Just one squash is way more than we ever need for any meal and unless I want endless leftovers, I have to think of multiple dishes to make with the same ingredient. While my go-to is usually soup, a couple of weeks ago, I used some acorn squash to make a delicious quinoa salad. So, when I saw a half of a squash being sold at my local market, I wasn’t only thrilled that I wouldn’t have to eat an entire squash by myself but I also knew what I was going to do with it right away. I could picture what a beautiful side dish, or even meal, a quinoa stuffed acorn squash would make, especially at this time of year.
This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving and we were invited last minute to a Thanksgiving dinner for everyone that doesn’t have family around this time of year. To be honest, I don’t have very strong memories of Thanksgiving and so I don’t have many traditions that I draw on in my mind. Of course I think of turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce but those are things that I haven’t eaten for years. So, when I was thinking of things I could bring, a vegetarian stuffing and gravy came to mind right away. I have been wanting to make a vegetarian gravy for a very long time (especially to be able to use on poutine) and whenever there was stuffing that wasn’t stuffed in the bird or made with meat stock, it was always a treat.