Double fisting, in the world of the med school student, is a term that refers to the act of drinking two alcoholic beverages simultaneously at a party, bar, or restaurant. To do so requires one to hold a single beverage in each hand, hence the etiology of the colloquialism.
Why would one ever do such a thing? Why not just wait to finish one drink before moving onto the next? Usually it is because of time restraints. For example, one could be at an end-of-the-year medical school formal. That formal might be called December Decadence. It could have been held at the Citigroup building. And may or may not have featured a completely open bar all night long. Along with a chocolate fountain and lots of brie. (Brie dipped in the chocolate fountain? Interesting concept. Alas I didn’t have the wherewithall to try it at the time. Next year. Next formal. Remind me.) And after the formal ends, at midnight (very Cinderella-esque now that I’m thinking about it. But no one turned into a pumpkin. Which is unfortunate considering how much I love pumpkin.) there is probably going to be an after party, at a bar, which will not be “open” at all in any way. In fact, the drinks will probably be very pricy. So what does one do? One “double fists” at the formal where everything is free. To, you know. Get the most bang for your proverbial buck. At least those of us who are paying for their medical school education. Which I am not. But I can double fist in empathy.
In contrast, double fisting in the world of one particularly pumpkin-obsessed medical student refers to the practice of cooking two winter squash-based dishes in one week. And then proceeding to share them with the blog world in one fell swoop.
Because the only thing better than one winter squash recipe. Is two.
So behind fist number one, we have this Italian Sausage and Fennel over Pumpkin Polenta. A dish based on a Rachael Ray recipe. I have been on a total sausage kick lately, by the way. Not really sure why, but I’m sure Freud could offer you some theories. Anyway, the saltiness of the sausage saute paired really well with the creamy and subtle pumpkin flavor of the polenta. I was in heaven and really could have eaten this every day indefinitely.
Pumpkin Polenta with Italian Sausage and Fennel
Serves 4, adapted from Rachael Ray
1 pound hot Italian sausage
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), 1 turn of the pan
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 large fennel bulb—quartered, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
One 14-ounce can pumpkin puree
1 cup quick-cooking or instant polenta
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (eyeball it)
1 cup shredded Pecorino Romano
Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and brown the sausage. Transfer the sausage to a paper towel–lined plate. Add 1 tablespoon of EVOO (1 turn of the pan) to the skillet and then the onion and fennel. Cook the vegetables over moderate heat until tender but not brown. Add the wine and return the sausage to the skillet. Cook the wine away, a minute or so.
In a large saucepan, cook the polenta as directed in the main recipe and stir in the nutmeg when you add the thyme, salt, pepper and Pecorino Romano cheese. Top the pumpkin polenta with the sausage and fennel. Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve
So I got the idea for these from Veganomicon’s Acorn Squash and Black Bean Empanadas. But I decided I couldn’t deal with the concept of buying shortening and then knowingly cooking with it and ingesting it. Instead, I whipped up a batch of my favorite pizza dough, made the filling as instructed, and ended up with some calzones. They were splendid, although I would add some cheese into the mix next time. Perhaps some cheddar.
Acorn Squash and Black Bean Calzones
Serves 4, adapted from Veganomicon
1 batch of pizza dough
1 1/2 lb acorn squash
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion
2 jalapeno peppers
2 tsp coriander
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp water
1 cup black beans
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp maple syrup
1. Preheat the oven to 400. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and place facedown on a baking sheet. Bake for around 50 minutes or until it is fork-tender. Let cool. Turn the oven up as high as it goes.
2. Heat a large skillet. Saute the onions and jalapenos in olive oil for 5-7 minutes or until soft. Meanwhile, peel the skin from the squash and cut it into chunks.
3. Add the coriander and minced garlic to the pan. Saute for a minute. Add the cumin, salt, and water. Add the squash and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the black beans and cook until heated through. Lastly, add the lime juice and maple syrup and stir. Turn off the heat.
4. Break your dough into four chunks. Roll out into as large a circle as possible. Put a quarter of the filling on one half of the circle. Leaving a half-inch edge. Fold the other half over and press shut, crimping the edges with your fingers if desired. Repeat for the other three dough chunks. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes or until browned.
These are recipes seven and eight of my 12 Weeks of Winter Squash!