As the weather really begins to cool off and the farmer’s markets start to close up for the year, we are starting to take a look at and dabble into our stores of goodies, while preparing and planning to bring in some more storage crops. Winter squash come in a variety of shapes, sizes, textures and colors. We’ve had some trouble distinguishing certain squashes, so I think that sometime soon, we may post a rough “guide to squashes” or start a series of posts detailing the flavor, texture, etc, or each squash we eat. Hmm… sounds like a plan to be discussed.
In any event, yesterday, Laura roasted a whole passel of squash, a task best done while doing laundry, studying, cleaning, etc. anything to just leave the stuff alone in the oven. When melted into soft, delicate squash flesh, there is a myriad of things to be done, most really yummy. Our dinner was to be a squash soup, served with seasonal sides.
Lunch being on the lighter side, we had a snack before starting in on dinner. We’ve found the time change to be harder to adjust to than we had initially imaged. I think that with the fall-back and the sudden darkness in the evenings and the increased amount of time it takes for winter crops to cook (get soft and edible, damn you!) has been fraying on our nerved a little (lot). So, enter snacks that keep us happy and sane through cooking. An unexpected side bonus, it keeps Marion from trying to jump into our pans to get some food. Easy on the beak, yummy on the tummy. And pancakes and squash are pretty high on the “happy birdy tummy” list.
High enough on the list that she will try to conquer our dinner before we can start cooking with it. Plain roasted is apparently that much better than mashed up into a soup (though mashed into oatmeal is all good).
Beet Stem and Leaf Salad with Roasted Beetroot and Whipped Feta Dressing (taken from Eating Local)
- 1 bunch of beets with green, greens and stems separated and chopped
- 1 tbsn lemon juice
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 cup of feta
- 2 cloves garlic
- dried mint
- fresh mint
- olive oil
- Roast beetroot (400F for 45 min) peel and chop
- Blanch greens and stems, toss with lemon juice and salt
- Process feta, garlic, mint and olive oil in blender or processor, adding water as needed to make a thick paste.
- Assemble, serve.
Brussels Sprouts Roasted with a Really Good Sauce (Taken from the Farmer John cookbook who’s proper name I know is rediculously easy, and yet I can’t remember it)
- 3 cups brussels sprouts, cleaned
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 crushed clove of garlic
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp red wine
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard.
- Place the butter in your baking dish of choice, and pop into a 400F oven as the oven pre-heats.
- Mix together all of the sauce ingredients (garlic down the list)
- Remove butter from oven when it is melty and hot. Add brussels sprouts, toss to coat with butter. Drizzle sauce over all, and bake until desired doneness.
Pumpkin Sage Soup (Also from Farmer John)
- 2 small sugar pumpkins, roasted and cooled
- 1 quart broth, or water with bullion
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic chopped
- 2 tsp dried sage
- 1 tbsn butter
- 1 tbsn half and half per serving dish
- Sautee the onions, garlic and sage in the butter until the onions are soft and golden.
- Add the pumpkin, scooped out of the shell, and allow to brown for a few moments
- Add the broth, scrape the bottom of the pan and simmer until the pumpkin has melted. You can use an immersion blender if you want a smooth soup, or leave it chunky like we did.
- Drizzle with half and half, garnish with sauteed mushrooms, thyme and sage.
Very filling, lots of leftovers for lunch. The pumpkin soup was filled out with kuri squash, as we only had one cooked pumpkin, and the soup was a touch sweeter and drier for it. The other half of the kuri was mixed into our oatmeal this morning, making a brilliantly orange breakfast, really yummy with a hit of maple syrup or honey, a touch of butter and a dash of cinnamon.
So, look for lots more squash in the future. We are going out to pick up the second half of our grain share this weekend, and plan to invest in more squash. Yum yum!