My counter is full of squash. Acorn. Butternut. Spaghetti. All rolling around and teeter-tottering about like vegetable weeble wobbles. Squash was not meant to lay about on a countertop. I fear that they will eventually end up cracked and splattered on the floor before I find the time and energy to create a dish that would be eatable …
I don’t mind the squash on my countertop as they are my only fall decorations…I bet my CSA didn’t know they were providing a bedecking service once they started harvesting squash. Perishable decorations however at some point in time need to be eaten. I don’t have many dishes to hide squash in…and yes, I hide squash. There is the ever so popular mac and cheese or the fancy schmancy butternut squash risotto, both of which claim to be crowd pleasers. I am not sure about just eating it roasted because I have this misconception that it should be as sweet as a sweet potato, but it isn’t and it never will be. And therefore, I need to load up the vegetable with butter and brown sugar, and while I see very little wrong with this picture, I feel like I am pushing squash to be something it isn’t. A sweet potato. You see, they may have similar color…but no go on the level of sugar. If the vegetable is bright orange, I have a level of sweetness that I inherently connect with it…sweet potatoes, sweet. Carrots, sweet. Yams, sweet. Butternut squash, not sweet. So upsetting! So, over the years I have had quite a few of so-called failed dishes because they missed the flavor bullseye in my brain because I was hoping for a bit of sweetness when I should have been striving and expecting a savory end result…my mistake. I am in the midst of reshaping my thinking. Altering my taste buds. Maturing if you will.
So, with this in mind…and more squash expected in this weeks CSA and a lack of any more counter space for fall decorations, and a craving for comfort in a bowl…I went in search of a decent soup recipe. I knew going in, the basics of a butternut squash soup. I knew how to roast the squash. I knew how to saute my onion and garlic. I knew how to add chicken stock and bring it to a boil. I knew how to puree until smooth. I knew to add cream at the end. I knew to top with chopped chives and a dollop of crème fraîche. I, however, needed help with the spices. Deb of Smitten Kitchen to the rescue. And come to find out…cumin, ginger, thyme, and sage are exactly what you need. Que Simon and Garfunkel. She is genius. But I already knew that and I am betting you did too.
So with the right spices on board and a change in mind-set from sweet to savory…I made a bowl of roasted butternut squash soup that was quite enjoyable and necessary on Saturday as the cold rain fell and we curled up on the couch and settled in for a day of sweatpants and Netflix.
And seriously, the parmesan crisps are a must and take literally 6 minutes to whip up…maybe 8 if you are grating your own cheese, which huge props to you…I have a tendency to buy pre-shredded parmesan cheese because I abhor shredding cheese of any kind and plus I like to snack on parmesan cheese throughout the day…a pinch here and a pinch there…talk about salty goodness.
Holy October. Or mid-October. Or, Holy, I just ate an entire fun sized bag of Halloween candy-ober and now I am sick to my stomach-ober.
Wish the stomachache was fun-sized.
I am not sure I know what to say…and whatever I do say, I am going to sound like our mothers.
How much is too much Candy Corn? And hiding it in my car’s glove compartment for sugar attacks on my commute to and from work is totally normal right? I might have a problem with Halloween candy. Can I schedule my own intervention?
And well, to ease the pain of the months flying by …( I have heard an ugly rumor that Christmas supplies are able to be purchased at Kohls, wwwhhhaaattt?) aaannnddd to curve those sugar cravings like an adult…I made you some pumpkin pie biscotti…because what goes better with that warm cup of coffee than a cookie? A dunking cookie at that….
Nothing. That is the answer you were looking for. Nothing goes better with a cup of coffee than a cookie…well, perhaps a doughnut (donut?), but I don’t fry things ( it’s a toss up of being afraid of a large pan of hot oil and a dozen+ warm donuts (doughnuts?) in my kitchen, at my fingertips… in combo with very little self control) …so biscotti is what you are getting. And please don’t tell me about baked donuts (doughnuts?)…I have tried them and well, they aren’t the same. Perhaps it is a mind thing – I don’t doubt it, placebo would totally work on me, but I want my doughnuts (donut?) fried. It is a splurge anyways…so might as well go all out, yo.
But, hey…enough with the donuts (doughnut?) … I made biscotti. Totally not fried, but twice baked. Take that. Did you know that? Biscotti are twice baked. I bet you knew that. Y’all are no dummies… You probably also know that the origin of the word itself means twice baked/cooked. That second baking gets them nice and dunk-able…errr, crunchy. Errr…delicious.
The flavors of fall and a touch of pumpkin. All wrapped up in a cookie. These don’t have quite the ‘snap’ that traditional biscotti have, but I blame the pumpkin … It would make dirt moist and eatable. Man, I hate the word moist. And there I go saying it again. Even in my head, I don’t like the sound of the word.
And on a completely different note…Have you watched Derek on Netflix (a Netflix Original Series)? I think it might be one of the best shows I have seen in such a long time….such a great mix of heart warming comedy and heart breaking tragedy… I would highly recommend it …and if you aren’t a fan of Ricky Gervais, no worries…his role as Derek is so unlike anything I am personally familiar with him playing. Downside? Only 7 episodes. Upside? You can watch them all in one day …
adapted from Cooking In an ApronRead More
It is September (oy!) and I have already pumped out a few pumpkin desserts. It doesn’t seem right. A pumpkin freakazoid, I am not. I am not one of those chicks just waiting for Starbucks to roll out their limited edition Pumpkin Spice latte (it is like Disney releasing Beauty and the Beast or The Lion King out of ‘the Disney vault’ every year around Christmas, real limited there Walt) – it is pumpkin flavored syrup, and I am a bit leery of flavored syrups, plus I prefer my coffee black. But I am one of those chicks waiting for pumpkin doughnuts (or donuts, I am never quite sure how to spell something so delicious) at Dunkin’. Because, seriously, they may not have an ounce of real pumpkin in them, however they are freaking amazeballs. Especially if you are eating them along with a hot cup of joe.
That past paragraph just proves I prefer to eat my calories versus drinking them…
But does flipping the calendar from August to September truly mean it is pumpkin season? Perhaps, in some corners of this world it does, or corners of our brains. Brains that are a tad bit fried from summer. Brains that have been deprived of cinnamon and sugar and bodies craving sweatshirts and chunky sweaters. However, I never crave pumpkin until about November.
Which means…It is still summer fruit season in this house – and I just got peaches in my CSA this week and it isn’t officially fall (and therefore time to break out all things pumpkin) until next week sometime. So, peaches it is. But don’t count these out as a summer only dessert…the browned butter adds a hint of fall, but doesn’t shout it from the roof tops. It is like the smell of the crisp morning air this week that made it feel almost like fall, but then you have the warm (seriously, downright hot) sunshine of the afternoon that makes you dream of sweet juicy peaches.
Oh, September, how you mess with my brain …
Who cares if you have fully swung into fall or grasping to the last rays of warm summer sunshine…find peaches, brown butter, and bake these bars…They are all sorts of loveliness.
Brown Butter Peach Raspberry Bars
Makes a 9x13in pan (12-16 bars)
Brown your butter: Over medium heat, place butter into a small/medium saucepan. Melt. Once melted, the butter will foam and then it will turn clear/golden, and finally begin to brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping the bits off the bottom of the pan. Keep a close eye on the pan, it will go from browned to burnt in a blink of an eye. Once brown, remove from heat and place in a small bowl. Set it in the freezer until solid (about 30 minutes).
Preheat oven to 375F. Butter a 9×13 inch pan (or line it with parchment paper). Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, baking powder, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Using a pastry blender or a mixer with paddle attachment, cut chilled browned butter and egg into mixture. It will be crumbly, but will come together when pressed between thumb and pointer finger.
Press 3/4 of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared 9x13inch pan. Evenly spread raspberry jam over crust, leaving about a 1/2 inch border without jam. In a single layer, tile peach slices over raspberry jam.
Scatter remaining crumbs over top of the peaches. Place bars in preheated oven and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, until the jam is bubbly around the edges and the crumb becomes golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting into squares.
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