Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Butternut Squash

So I'm discovering that working a full-time job is not conducive to keeping up with the blog. I have been cooking alot lately, I just haven't been taking the time to take any pictures! Or maybe the food is just gone before I get around to that... I'll let you decide ;).

At any rate, I wanted to share a few of my new season's favorite recipes --- before all of the butternut squash on your grocery store shelves is replaced with eggnog!

I absolutely love butternut and acorn squash. Unfortunately, no one else in my family seems to share my affinity. Growing up, roast acorn squash was one of the meals Mom and I would make for dinners with just the two of us. And now my husband swears he doesn't like squash.

So here are three ways I've found around my family's unjustified hatred of squash. I'd recommend trying these on the squash-haters in your family... I think you may even get your Dad to like them ;).

An Ina Garten favorite I posted in February.

3-ingredient Butternut Squash Soup
The idea from this soup came from Metrocurean, a local DC blog, but the secret ingredient is all my own! This was the best squash soup I've ever had.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced
4 cups of chicken broth (less if you like thicker soup)
1/4 - 1/2 cup coconut milk

1. Place diced squash and chicken broth in a sauce pan, making sure the broth covers the squash. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the squash is soft.
2. Carefully transfer the mixture to a blender (don't burn yourself!) and puree until smooth.
3. Return mixture to pan and slowly drizzle in coconut milk until soup reaches your desired consistency and taste. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I'd recommend this, even though it does bring your ingredient count to five ;)).

This was excellent served with grilled cheese sandwiches. And it may have been even better in my lunch the next day.

Butternut Squash Pasta with Browned Butter, Sage, and Pine Nuts

Ingredients (serves 4)
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced
1/2 a sweet onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 T +1 t olive oil, salt, and pepper
4 T butter
1 bunch fresh sage
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
half a pound of dried spaghetti (the original recipe called for farfalle, but I like how the squash coated the spaghetti noodles. Plus I was out of farfalle ;))
freshly grated parmesan cheese, to taste

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place squash, onion, garlic, and 2 T chopped sage in a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast, stirring every 15 minutes, until squash is soft and slightly browned, about 45 minutes.
2. When the squash is close to done, cook pasta to al dente.
3. While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 T butter and 1 t olive oil in a large saute pan. When the bubbles start to subside, add remaining sage leaves and cook, stirring frequently, until sage is crispy. Remove sage with a slotted spoon. Crush the leaves with the back of the spoon, and set aside.
4. Return pan to stove and add remaining butter. Cook over medium heat until butter solids begin to brown and the butter smells nutty. 
5. Add squash to pan and mash mixture until just a few small pieces of diced of squash remain.  Add drained pasta, pine nuts, and sage. Saute for a few minutes to pan fry the pasta and evenly coat it in squash mixture. If you have a smaller saute pan, you may want to do this in two batches.
6. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies

I call these my "tastes-like-fall" cookies and I like to make them at this time of year.

I got the recipe from a friend (shout out to Becca if you're reading this!) and I quickly adopted it as one of the more unique cookie recipes in my repertoire.

The recipe starts out with your basic cookie ingredients - butter, flour, sugar, eggs - and a few special ones - most notably molasses and butterscotch chips, along with some cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.

 Cream the butter and the sugar, beat in the wet ingredients, then stir in the dry ingredients... if you're a fellow cookie lover, you know the drill. When the dough comes together it looks something like this:

You'll have to excuse the lack of pictures for this cooking endeavor, but you would have difficulty remembering to take photos, too, if you had a half-naked urchin hanging on your oven incessantly asking "my have some, mama?"

So without further ado, here's the recipe if you want to give it a try:

Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup molasses
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 (11 oz) package butterscotch morsels

Cream butter and sugar, beat in egg and molasses until creamy. Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl; mix in. Add morsels. Bake on greased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 9 to 11 minutes. Makes about 4 dozen.