Archive for ‘Squash’

July 24, 2012

Despite the Heat | Tortilla Soup

Eating soup when it’s hot out can strike people as odd.  But think French-inspired Pho in steamy Vietnam, or British-influenced Mulligatawny in India.  There’s a point to eating something hot and spicy when it’s hot out: it makes you sweat (I glow).  And that helps you cool off.  So while it may seem counter-intuitive, now is certainly the season to give some spicy soup a go.

It’s always hot in Texas.  So it’s not surprising that tortilla soup is on just about every menu you peruse in San Antonio.   There’s something about it that San Antonians can’t seem to get enough of, no matter the season.   Perhaps it’s the mix of textures, but like Pho and Mulligatawny, it’s spicy and hot and a treat to eat.  (It also happens to the be the exact thing I was eating when Hades first fell in love with me fifteen years ago.  I even spilled it all over myself and he still loved me.  Magical stuff this is.)  And summertime is when the produce that comprises the bulk of the ingredients for tortilla soup are at their peak.

I like to play around with ingredients: if there’s corn, add some, if there’s not, no worries.  Zucchini and summer squashes work wonderfully, too.  Tomatoes, however are a requirement. 

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November 30, 2011

Pie Season | Parsnip and Butternut Tart

Pie.  Tart.  Deliciousness in a dish.

The recipe for this Any Season Fruit (or Vegetable) Tart (page 19) is from Gilt Taste.  It’s a surprising base that can skew sweet or savory.  But on first blush, you could only assume it would be sweet as the base is butter and sugar creamed together.  It has to be cake, right?  But no, with a full teaspoon of salt in it, as well as some savory and thyme (thrown in by me), this autumnal pastry was devoured by everyone, including Cherub.

I used a combination of parsnips and butternut squash, parboiling them for just five minutes in heavily salted water before draining them and adding them to the tart.  I also sprinkled in some dried thyme and savory.  To add a little extra oomph to the final dish, I shook up a quick chili and sriracha cream in a half pint ball jar until thick.  A tablespoon per slice adds a nice kick of heat.

Playlist included Video Games, by Lana Del Rey.

October 5, 2011

Local Foods Week | Rabbit

 

Sometimes dinner is completely off the grid.  Tonight’s rabbit was an example of that.  Not purchased at a store or farmer’s market, simply gifted to me from generous friends who have local farmer friends.  The dinners, over two nights, could not have embodied the essence of local more than that.

Spot the backyard bunny. No, this was not dinner.

For the squeamish, let me tell you that a beautifully raised, local rabbit might strike you as tasting a whole lot like turkey.  For the more adventurous, it is light, meaty and absolutely delicious.  It is a protein entirely worth hunting down (albeit grocery shopping or the actual in-the-woods kind) to find responsibly-raised meat.

I wasn’t home last night and Hades took it upon himself to braise our rabbit with leeks and carrots and some decidedly non-local French vermouth.  He served it with warm red cabbage, beet and apple salad and a butternut puree.

I cannot begin to express my bitter disappointment at not being home for this meal.

Freakishly, there were leftovers. 

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September 7, 2011

Curds and Whey, Two Ways

Something has been stirring in me to make some more ricotta.  It’s so easy, you know every ingredient that goes in it (milk, salt, lemon), and there’s such satisfaction in making your own cheese.  I have, however, been distressed every time I’ve made it that I have so much whey left over after the curds separate out.  I mean honestly.  The cows at Snowville are such beautiful productive girls, how could I carelessly dump half of that milk down the drain?

I happily came across this great recipe for whey crêpes that are the most delicious ones I’ve ever had that weren’t made by a French person.  They are staggeringly good. 

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October 28, 2010

Butternut Squash “Pasta” and Stuffed Squab

There’s been something appealing about trying difficult recipes lately.  Some days – well let’s be honest, a lot of days – all I want to cook is something familiar and easy (i.e., Japanese noodles and salmon).  And tonight’s recipe seemed, at first, to fit into the difficult category.  Although, as it turned out, it wasn’t hard, just slightly exotic.  And exotic can seem hard at first blush. 

The squab were beautiful and from the food heroes at d’Artagnan, so I had extra incentive to do my very best cooking to pay proper homage.  I had been kicking around the idea of making “pasta” from a butternut squash (remember it’s Week of Gourd) so I figured it’d be a good time to give that a shot, too.  This wasn’t pasta at all, just thin ribbons of butternut squash cooked for 30 seconds in boiling water, then finished in a saute pan with butter, a little grated nutmeg and some parmesan.  The result was a remarkably fast dinner (it did require some afternoon prep time) that wasn’t too low on the sophistication scale. 

Chestnut-Stuffed Squab with Butternut Squash “Pasta”

2  squab, each about a pound, necks and wings removed

Zest of 1 orange

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October 27, 2010

Kitchen Magic: Local Squash Soufflé and a Steak

A soufflé?  On a Wednesday?  Why yes!  Of course.  You know why?  Shhhh.  Because there were leftovers.

Yesterday’s roasted Hubbard squash risotto meant that there was a whole half (ha!) of a squash leftover, which amounted to about 2/3 of a cup of pulp.  I had every intention of fixing something else entirely for dinner tonight, but at the store, I couldn’t find what I needed.  Some nice looking steaks were on sale, and we had the squash from yesterday, so I figured I could come up with something.  I told you I would.  I just didn’t want to let you down.

Soufflés sound all difficult and daunting and well, they kind of are all you’ve ever read about.  Like any good prima-donna, soufflés have a long contract rider with demands such as

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October 26, 2010

The Week of Gourd: Hubbard Squash Risotto

Blue Hubbard

Image by SamH one via Flickr

So the Week of Gourd continues.  They’re all over your grocery store, in season, inexpensive, but perhaps a bit of a mystery.  One of the many varieties to check out is the pretty blue Hubbard squash.  I’ve been told they can grow to enormous sizes, but mine was around three pounds (only?) and I used half for this recipe.   This is a seriously thick-skinned squash, good for keeping over the winter. 

Have a good sharp knife at the ready and some nerves of steel.  As for this one, I got the knife started, it got lodged and I ended up banging the squash on the cutting board to loosen the knife.  Not exactly the super technique, but I’m not the only one who fights with these beasts. (I know Hades is reading this, shaking his head, vowing to not leave me alone next time with a hard winter squash and a butcher knife.)   But I’ve heard of chefs using cleavers and hammers.  Do not be deterred!   I got the knife out, and broke the squash in two, removed the seeds and pulp, rubbed both sides with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted in a 350 degree oven for an hour while the tornado sirens were going off.  Midwest living!  Persephone 1, squash 0.  When the squash was tender, I let it cool a bit, then took a large spoon and scooped out all the orange flesh from one half.  I’m still pondering what to do with the other half.  I’m sure you’ll hear about it soon enough.  Without further ado, tonight’s recipe:

Roasted Hubbard Squash and Rosemary Risotto

2 T olive oil

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 sprig rosemary, leaves removed and chopped

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