When I found out that this month’s link up was stuffing, I was super excited. Not that I’ve ever made traditional Thanksgiving stuffing/dressing before, but because we’re Syrian, and we stuff everything. I racked my brain to think of something traditionally Syrian we can make for you so that you can have a Syrian Thanksgiving. Then I changed my mind and thought I’d tackle the unknown territory of Thanksgiving stuffing. I cut recipes from all my magazines and bookmarked recipes on blogs from years past. But nothing excited me enough, and I just couldn’t figure out what to share with you this month. Continue reading
Last year, we posted a recipe from Jamie Oliver. And while that sage-infused oil soup was amazing, and definitely a go-to recipe for me, I definitely have to change it up a little bit. Eating as much butternut squash soup as I do makes me need to experiment with different flavors and interesting ingredients. This is actually the first butternut squash soup recipe I have ever made, and it was years ago when I was still in high school. Continue reading
I love sandwiches! When Stephanie and I were put in charge of making lunch for our mom and her friends, we decided that these sandwiches were perfect with just a few side salads. And after Jeff won the Next Food Network Star, of course I had to follow his lead and make a sandwich into a meal, because why not? I bought some fancy bread at the supermarket and delicious fresh summer veggies, then added some creamy goat cheese – it truly was everything you need in a meal. Continue reading
Another Ina meal. What can I say, she has such fabulous recipes that are perfect just the way they are, but also really easy to tweak. This one needed some tweaking. A vegetarian recipe using chicken stock? What’s the point! So I used store-bought vegetable stock…don’t worry, all this chopping and peeling let me make 3 quarts of my own vegetable stock for next time.
I also switched around the vegetables (but of course kept the butternut squash, because it’s my favorite. Can you tell?) and omitted some ingredients that I didn’t have – Pernod? No thanks. The fennel gives enough anise flavor for me. And while I know saffron gives a great color and flavor, I can’t bring myself to spend the money on it. Maybe if someone buys it for me I’ll try it next time.
Recently I’ve been craving chicken pot pie. I see recipes in cookbooks and on TV and think it just sounds so good. With this cold weather here, a big bowl of steaming veggies covered with flaky pie crust is just what we need for a 1-bowl dinner. It’s also a hearty way to make a Meatless Monday meal!
Vegetable pot pie, adapted from Ina Garten:
- 2 yellow onions, chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, sliced
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cups butternut squash, cubed
- 1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 3 potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- Kosher salt
- 1 recipe flaky pie or tart dough, or your favorite pie crust
1. Make sure all your vegetables are chopped to the same size.
2. Combine the butter and olive oil in a large pot and add onions and fennel. Saute over medium heat for ten minutes, until lightly browned.
3. While the onions are browning, bring a pot of water to a boil. Boil the potatoes for ten minutes and remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl.
4. Boil the butternut squash, carrots, and celery for five minutes. Drain and add to bowl.
5. Add flour and mix. Turn heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, until all the flour is absorbed. Mix occasionally.
6. Pour vegetable broth into pan and mix until thickens.
7. Add vegetables, including peas, into sauce.
8. Add parsley and mix.
9. Divide dough into six oven-proof bowls or two nine-inch pie plates.
10. Cut dough into 6 pieces. Roll each piece flat. Wet edges of bowl, and place pie crust over the bowl.
11. Brush will egg wash, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
12. Bake at 375 degrees for an hour until the top is crispy and the vegetables are bubbly and hot. Let cool for about ten minutes, because it’s going to be very hot!
I remember watching Jamie Oliver on the Food Network, back when he was the Naked Chef. Well, he wasn’t actually naked, which is why I wasn’t surprised when they changed the name of his show (or did they just start a new one) called Oliver’s Twist. Anyway, he would “strip down” recipes so that they were really just the essentials of cooking. No fancy gadgets or ingredients, just great homemade food. Now he’s never on the Food Network anymore, and I don’t get the Cooking Channel, so I never see him on TV. I can’t even watch the reruns of his show Jamie at Home. But I can still get most of the recipes on the Food Network website, which makes me happy. His recipes are simple and tasty, and he doesn’t use any gross ingredients; it’s mostly natural, earthy food. His recipes really bring out the essential flavors of the main ingredients.
And this is why I was so excited to make this soup recipe. I love Jamie Oliver and I love butternut squash! It’s definitely my favorite winter squash, even though it’s a pain to peel and chop. Everything else about it is just perfect, an my favorite way to eat it is in soup form. Something about butternut squash soup just makes me smile.
Sage is a classic combination with butternut squash, and infusing the oil with that flavor imparts a wonderful undertone to the soup. The sage on top adds a great crispiness. I ate a lot of those sage chips before serving the soup. Oops. Hence the lack of crispy sage on top of the soup in the picture. It’s delicious with a teaspoon of sour cream mixed in, too. Just so you know.
Superb squash soup, adapted from Jamie Oliver (serves 8):
- 16 fresh sage leaves
- 2 red onions, peeled and chopped
- 2 sticks of celery, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds taken out and chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 quarts vegetable stock
- Extra-virgin olive oil
1. Heat large saucepan over medium heat and pour in some olive oil, enough to cover the bottom.
2. When it’s hot, throw in the sage leaves and fry for about 30 seconds, until crispy. Remove with a slitted spoon and drain on paper-towel lined plate.
3. Add your celery, onion, and carrot, garlic, and jalapeno to the pot. Add salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
4. Add the squash and stock. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
5. When the squash is soft, blend the soup using an immersion blender until you have a smooth puree (or as chunky as you like it).
6. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle the sage leaves on top.
7. Serve with croutons if you want (that’s how Jamie Oliver did it).
Now that it’s November, we’ve been getting a lot of winter squash from the CSA. You may remember my zucchini overload this summer, which I turned into a pasta dish, but winter squash is a totally different vegetable (and butternut is our favorite), so we created a pasta and squash dish just for these chilly months.
(You may remember them from when we shared our Kosher Pad Thai there.)
I admit that I don’t love the cold weather. People take up so much more room on the subways with their puffy winter coats on! But with the cold weather comes some delicious winter treats, and one of those is butternut squash. They’ve been prominent in supermarkets ever since Sukkot, and I’ve made soup with them, roasted them, and added some the pot pie. But now it’s time to add another cold-weather favorite to the mix, apple cider. I love warm apple cider, especially from the farmer’s market near Columbia on Thursdays. Yes, I schedule my grad school classes around apple cider, who wouldn’t?
So welcome winter with a totally-fitting-for-a-main-dish-salad on this Meatless Monday!
Anyway, I couldn’t pass up on this salad recipe that calls for a salad with teeny little butternut squash chunks and a warm dressing made with apple cider. The dried cranberries can’t hurt either. Usually I don’t like walnuts. I never buy them, and I never add them to my brownies or baked goods, unless my mom is coming over. She thinks walnuts make any cookie or brownie infinitely better. They actually add a nice crunch to this salad, and an extra texture, which I like. This salad has crispy lettuce, soft butternut squash, chewy cranberries, and hard walnuts. What more can you ask for in a salad? Oh, a warm dressing, obviously.
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette, adapted from Ina Garten:
For the dressing:
- 3/4 cup apple cider
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar, which I don’t have in my pantry – you can use red wine, too)
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots (I omitted these)
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1. Combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce to 1/4 cup, about 6-8 minutes.
2. Off the heat, add the olive oil, Dijon, salt, and pepper.
For the salad:
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch dice (about 1 1/2 pounds, if you have a scale)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted
- 4 ounces lettuce, I used mixed baby greens. Ina used baby arugula.
- Some Parmesan cheese (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. On a half sheet pan, combine the butternut squash, olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, or until the squash becomes soft and begins to brown.
3. When the squash has been roasting for 15 minutes, add the dried cranberries to the sheet pan.
4. Place the lettuce in a large bowl and add the roasted squash and cranberries, and walnuts.
5. Spoon dressing over the top until just moistened. Toss well. Serve with a shaved Parmesan cheese.
When my brother-in-law Ralph found out that I was having trouble using up all of the summer squash I’ve been getting in my CSA, he told me about a delicious pasta dish he made with browned zucchini, lemon and ricotta cheese. I was intrigued. When his mother-in-law told me it was the best pasta dish she had ever eaten, I knew I had to make it for dinner as soon as my next pickup, filled with two pounds of farm-fresh summer squash, arrived. Continue reading
I have to admit that I don’t get any magazine subscriptions. Not even food ones. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t like to look at their holiday-themed and seasonal ingredient inspired meals! So I look at the Gourmet and Bon Appetit archives on epicurious. When I had some squash that I knew wouldn’t last long (I don’t even remember why I bought it) I browsed through some recipes until I found this and although it interested me enough to add to my recipe box, I needed to make a lot of changes.