Need to learn how to make a really good pie -- and fast -- but don't have $80 to $150 to spare on those fancy cooking classes around town? Neither do we. Enter Jennie Cook, this year's Best Of LA penny-pinching caterer. Cook is hosting her second annual Thanksgiving "Make It & Take It" party this Sunday at her catering kitchen in Glassell Park. She's supplying the keg from Eastside Brewers home brew club, live folksy fiddle and harp musings from Triple Chicken Foot, Angelize card readings, and bowls of Cook's homemade soup. She's even making the pie dough.
"I just want for people to get together around food and have time to spend together, and this is something I can do once a year for people," says Cook, who is also offering up her Thanksgiving stuffed acorn squash recipe after the jump.
Sunday's party runs from 11 a.m. from 5 p.m. Cook says you can stop by anytime, and all you need to bring is a pint glass, pie pan and apron. You don't even have to make a pie. But at $9 for pumpkin and apple, $11 for pecan pie -- about what it will cost to make your own at home -- you'd be crazy to sit out of the dough rolling fun.
And should that fresh cornbread stuffing recipe start to look a bit more cumbersome than you thought (you mean you have to make cornbread first, it won't just all cook up inside the bird?), you can try to beg your way into a last-minute gigantic 104-ounce tub of Cook's sausage or vegetarian cornbread stuffing.
Other than those take-home pies, the event is free. But please do make a small donation for the keg, music and lunch musings.
Make It & Take It Party: Jennie Cook's Catering, 3048 Fletcher Drive, 90065 (street parking). For more information, visit the website or call (323) 982-0052. RSVP by 5 p.m. Friday, November 20th (tomorrow) to secure a pie-making time slot ($9 pumpkin and apple, $11 pecan). You may reserve more than one pie, depending on availability. Bring an apron, beer mug and pie pan for each pie you plan to bake.
Jennie Cook's Stuffed Acorn Squash
From: Jennie Cooks Catering
Cook says to feel free to add nuts, cheese, chili seasoning, or different rice in the filling. She is equally open to vegan variations, although we leave that to you to figure out.
3 acorn squash, each cut in half and seeds removed
About 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
Cinnamon, for sprinkling
1 cup cooked brown rice
2 tablespoons fresh or dried cranberries
4 dried apricot halves, chopped
¾ cup fresh corn bread or other bread crumbs
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1 to 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock, to moisten
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice a thin layer off the bottom of each squash half so it sits flat. Place the squash in large rectangular baking dish and fill with just enough water to keep the bottoms moist (less than ½ inch). Splash the inside of each squash with water and rub each with 1 teaspoon of butter. Sprinkle each with about 1 teaspoon of brown sugar and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. Roast the squash until soft, 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the freshness and thickness of the squash (piercing the flesh occasionally to check for softness).
2. Meanwhile, make the stuffing. Combine the cooked rice, breadcrumbs, cranberries and apricots in a large bowl. Moisten the mixture with enough vegetable stock until it just holds together. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon, brown sugar, salt and pepper.
3. Dive the filling equally among the squash, pressing down gently to mold it into place. Top each with a small pat of butter and bake until the filling is golden brown on top, about 20 minutes.