Monkey brains and other things

I have a recipe of sorts to post. It isn’t really a recipe, more of a meal idea, inspired by another meal idea. I read Cold Weather and Comfort Food at Miss Effie’s Diary. She called her meal Wild Rice Stuffed Squash. I took her idea and changed it a bit, making it more like Tom’s hamburger helper and calling it Monkey Brains. Tim called it “Monkey Brains,” I guess because it looks like eating monkey brains. So that was what we told the kids it was and they were intrigued, just not intrigued enough to try the stuffing in the squash today.

The Monkey Brains had the following ingredients: grass-fed ground beef, onion, garlic, red peppers, celery, zucchini, broccoli, and tomatoes, acorn squash, and wild rice. We also added basil, parsley, salt and pepper. All the vegetables and herbs are from our garden or the farmer’s market. The rice is from a local store called Sugar N’ Spice. Carol, the owner, sells bulk herbs, spices, flour, rice, baking goods, etc.┬áThe grass-fed beef is from a family cattle company that is about 30 miles from us, the same people who sold us our cows. Our freezer is full of grass-fed beef.

freezer full of grass fed beef

freezer full of grass-fed beef

So, like Miss Effie, I cooked the rice and the acorn squash while I made the stuffing. The stuffing is really the part that can vary widely, depending on what you have available. It would work with any ground meat, or even stew meat, I would think. She used a white sauce in her recipe and I used a tomato base. She used mushrooms and cranberries, too. Tom doesn’t like mushrooms and we didn’t have cranberries, so that was out. But, then I started thinking about ground beef and veggies and realized that what really sounded good was Tom’s hamburger helper dish. That’s why I called it more of a meal idea than a recipe. In fact, last night it worked out that the squash wasn’t done so we pretty much ate the stuffing, which wasn’t really like stuffing at all, and talked about how we could do something similar with a casserole.

By the way, I have to say that the celery from my garden has flavor. I mean serious flavor. Nothing I’ve ever had at the grocery store compares. I don’t know if it’s the variety I planted (not sure what variety it was as Scott the Farmer gave it to us) or the soil or just the taste of organic celery. I really don’t know, but I know that it has lots of flavor and it doesn’t take much to add flavor to a dish.

This post is part of Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade. Go ahead and click to read more interesting posts about food!

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6 Responses to “Monkey brains and other things”

  1. Troy Says:

    OK, I must be a kid, because the name intrigued me too. Nothing quite like serving brains at Halloween time to get kids attention.

    I have cooked something similar inside small pie pumpkins. Just hollowed them out and stuff them, then bake them. I even cut a face in the outside layer of skin of each one before I baked them. I never thought to call it brains though.

    I imagine if the stuffing was spilling out the top when I served it it would create a true “brain” illusion

    • hippygirl Says:

      Yes, and I think Miss Effie’s looked a bit more like monkey brains since it had a white sauce with it. :)

      I saw the name of your blog and I kind of assumed it was about your hairline! hahaha. Glad to see it’s not because hairlines and hair are only interesting for so long! I’ll be checking your blog out more today if I get the time.

  2. Miss Effie Says:

    OK — Hippygirl — I am taking a wild guess and saying that you get your meat process in Galesburg!!! I buy my beef from my cousin in Roseville and have it processed in Bushnell or Galesburg. That looks like Thrushwood farms processing …. Kae and I lived in the same sorority house in College

    And you are so right — its not a recipe –its a concept. And that is what cooking locally has to be. You do with what is available and what you have.

    • hippygirl Says:

      You are so right! But it was the cattle company that used Thrushwood. :) I don’t have any complaints so far, that’s for sure. Do they process venison, too? I think our neighbor said there was a butcher in Bushnell that did that and I would guess that they do. So if he gets a deer for us, we can take it there for processing. :)

      I’m so glad you liked my idea! I like “concept” better… meal concept instead of meal idea! :)

  3. localnourishment Says:

    I picked up some celery at the farmer’s market this week and you’re right: not only is it a deep, dark green (think collards) but the flavor is rich and intense. I’m not sure how it is related to the stuff at the grocery store, but perhaps it’s distant cousins. The farmer told me it was a real challenge to grow, too.

    My favorite dessert (pre-healthy-diet) was Earth and Worm Guts, a green fluff surrounded by crushed chocolate cookies my mom made. I named it when I was 5 and it kinda stuck. Funny how kids are drawn to the bizarre or gross, even with food.

  4. Fight Back Friday October 9th | Food Renegade Says:

    […] The Kathleen Show (Fat cat)10. INTERVIEW WITH CONFERENCE SPEAKER – Kelly the Kitchen Kop11. hippygirl (monkey brains meal idea)12. Kara @ Home With Purpose (Super Simple & Flavorful Brown Rice)13. Troy @ I Refuse to Recede […]

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