Baked Squash with Wild Hazelnut Rice Stuffing

To prepare the squash, preheat oven to 350 F. Cut two acorn squash in half crosswise and remove the seeds. Sprinkle salt over the cut halves and place in a shallow baking pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until tender.
While the squash bakes, prepare the stuffing.
Ingredients for the stuffing
1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup wild rice
1 medium onion (3/4 cup chopped), diced 1/4-inch
1 stalk celery, diced 1/4-inch
3/4 cup button mushrooms sliced
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Directions for stuffing
In heavy saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Add wild rice and stir. Cover pan and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 45minutes, until rice is tender.
Saute onions, celery, mushrooms and mushrooms in a large skillet for 6-7 minutes. Add water 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time to keep the vegetables from sticking. Add the garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and cook another minute. Remove from heat and fold in parsley, and hazelnuts. Add rice with any remaining liquid in pan, to vegetable mixture and toss well to combine. Makes 3 cups. Spoon the prepared rice into the cooked squash. Return to oven covered with foil and bake another 15-20 minutes.
To toast hazelnuts, place in 350 F oven for 9 to 12 minutes. Rub in a clean dishtowel to remove skins. Serves four.

White Wine Mushroom Gravy

3/4 cup cremini mushrooms sliced
3/4 cup shitake mushrooms sliced
1 shallot sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup white wine
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon salt-less if your broth is salted
1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
2 tablespoons soy milk
2 teaspoons flour dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water

Saute sliced mushrooms and shallots in 2 tablespoons of water. Saute for 10 minutes, adding more water as needed to keep the pan from burning. Add minced garlic, salt, pepper and sage. Saute 5 minutes more. Add white wine and saute. Add vegetable broth. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until liquid is reduced by about half. Add flour mixture and combine well until sauce is thickened. Add soy milk and cook 1 to 2 more minutes.

Cranberry Pear Sauce

3/4 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup water
1 eight ounce bag fresh cranberries, washed and sorted
2 tablespoons lemon peel cut into thin strips
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 large pear, chopped

In a 2-quart saucepan, combine agave nectar and water. Bring to full boil. Cook until slightly thickened, 2 minutes. Add cranberries lemon peel and ginger. Cook and stir until mixture thickens and is sauce-like, 3 minutes. Stir in pear. Cook until pear is tender, 2 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 4-6 servings