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Food
Squash / Apple Maple Bake

I love acorn squash but have long been intimidated by its impenetrable skin. I once tested a recipe for Baked Stuffed Squash but, lacking a hatchet or chain saw, I never tackled this vegetable again. Then I read a tip in a Cutco press release a month ago that said, "Microwave squash for 3 minutes. It softens the crust and makes it easier to cut." Squash has been my middle name ever since. Here's a recipe I made up a few weeks ago, to high acclaim from friends and cousins who wiped the dish clean. -- Nancy Anderson, Nibbles columnist

1 acorn, dumpling, carnival or similar squash
1 Granny Smith apple
Maple syrup
Two handfuls raisins or cranraisins
Toasted pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Microwave squash on high for 3 minutes (doesn't need to be pricked). Cut in half, then fourths and then eighths (if the pieces still look too big, cut them in half). Cut apples the same way, removing the cores.

Arrange squash and apples in a single layer (very important) in a baking dish (I use an 8-by-10-inch casserole). It's OK to put extra pieces of apple on a second layer, but the squash must be on the bottom. Toss raisins (CinnaRaisins add interest) around. Drizzle syrup over every piece.

Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Sprinkle toasted pecans on top before serving. Serves 6 to 8.

Thursday, November 15, 2001

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