Posts tagged squash
Thursday, November 8, 2007

butternut squash and caramelized onion galette

like watching a trainwreck

In grade school, we were quick to taught that if you add two numbers together, and then another two numbers together and add the sums of those two previous sums, you will get a third sum. You could, of course, just add the four numbers together and get the same thing. You don’t need that whole two and two thing. I caught onto that one real fast – and in first grade was the top math student in my grade, which in Russia, is really something. Thanks, Dad, for doing all those puzzles with me.

Unfortunately, the same laws do not apply to cooking. I’ve learned this one over and over and well, two nights ago, it was yet again manifested in my kitchen. I took ingredients I loved, put them together, and got something altogether different than what I had expected to come out. I should probably tell you right away, in the spirit of full disclosure, that I got a wee bit creative at the very last minute. And so it goes.

butternut looking all promising and happy

Deb of the Smitten Kitchen fame, posted a little while back about a galette filled with butternut squash (swoon), caramelized onions (double swoon) and fontina cheese (me faint with excitement). I clipped that recipe in my mind’s eye and was going to make it sooner or later. Well that sooner was two nights ago and I had that butternut squash sitting around on our kitchen counter, boldly challenging me to peel it and dice it – a task I feared more than making my own pâte brisée after the disaster this summer. (Deb swears it was the summer heat and humidity and not my own ineptitude that wrecked my pie dough – and I’ve been so traumatized by the experience, I’ve yet to repeat it.)

I peeled and cut the squash – all in all, it was not so bad. I already had the onions happily sautéing in the pan, turning to that seductive golden hue. I was on a roll. I decided to use the dill we had instead of sage (a deviation I actually don’t regret here, for a change). In short, it was a thing of beauty – KS popped into the kitchen three times to tell me just how good it smelled – people, he never gets that emphatic. It was all going so well.

so full of hope...

And then, then I got too bold. Too haughty and too clever. I thought to myself, “Hey self, you have some fillo dough sitting in the freezer – wouldn’t it be great to use that on the galette?” And this, dear reader, is where I went all kinds of horribly wrong. I should have just stuck with the recipe, but I didn’t. And that killed the dish flat out.

Something about the squash and the onions made the fillo gross and mushy and limp. It tasted raw despite having baked for over an hour. We picked the squash and the onions off of it and between the layers (oh yes, I just had to get creative with the layers too!) and KS consoled me that at least the flavors and the vegetables were good. The only silver lining here – KS actually likes butternut squash and can’t recall telling me he doesn’t. A success in some ways, though I wish the dish turned out fine in the end. I suppose you win some and you lose some. And maybe this loss is kitchen muse’s way of telling me that I should just go ahead and give that pie crust recipe another go – and maybe I just will.

Continue reading butternut squash and caramelized onion galette.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

roasted acorn squash with a wine reduction sauce

roasted acorn squash stuffed with spiced couscous in a wine reduction sauce

It never ceases to shock me that KS and I will disagree on food likes and dislikes. I naturally assume that we’re so well-suited that it’s simply impossible for me to like, nay love tomatoes, and for him to be tolerant of them. As a child, I would eat ripe tomatoes like one would eat apples, biting into them hungrily and devouring them with but a sprinkling of salt. KS looks at tomatoes as good and sometimes delicious even (when we find a good heirloom variety in season), but he would hardly trip over himself running to the market to find the best tomatoes available. Same with deep, dark chocolate desserts. I look at molten chocolate cake and I can’t help myself (kind of like last night at the New York Chapter MS Society Dinner of Champions where I devoured a cake in no time). A spoonful of it in my mouth is one of the closest heaven-on-earth moments I’ve experience. KS, on the other hand, can have a bite and push the plate over to me. How can one be so calm and composed about chocolate I will never, ever know. I suppose there’s always more of it left for me!

roasted acorn squash stuffed with spiced couscous in a wine reduction sauce

And so when we went to the market and I picked up a butternut squash, impatiently imagining all the amazing things I could do with it, KS gave me a bored look and pointed to the acorn squash. I shot the look right back and pointed to the butternut. He – to the acorn. And thus we repeated the process a few times, until I gave in and picked up the acorn squash, making him promise me that our next squash will be a butternut one. Compromise, after all, is one of the magical things that makes cohabitation possible.

that cute yellow spot made me smile couscous spiced with prunes, walnuts, cinnamon, cumin and sambar powder

After our pact to practice equal opportunity squash treatment, this little, cute acorn squash came home with us and lived on our counter for a few days while I devised a plan for its demise. I didn’t want to just roast it. And we’ve already steamed our fair share of acorn squash (we put our steamer to some good use). I would look at the squash, tilting my head from side to side, thinking, “What am I going to do with you?” And this idea came to mind, plus we had some leftover couscous that I didn’t want to go to waste. All in all, I love the idea of stuffed squash – it’s easy, delicious and it looks gorgeous on a plate. And while acorn squash is tasty and almost meaty-tasting when you roast it, I cannot wait to make the butternut this week. Maybe I’ll get KS to switch sides of this squash disparity and join the butternuts. I am always so hopeful.

Continue reading roasted acorn squash with a wine reduction sauce.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

roasted acorn squash with cilantro dressing

Thanksgiving_2006 (7)

Among my favorite food, squash firmly holds its own. I like all kinds: spaghetti, butternut, acorn. While looking over a menu a few nights ago, I picked the tagliatelli mostly because it came with a butternut squash. My only complaint is that some squash can be so hard to cut. I’m a wee bit weakling and the squash is sturdy and hard. Trying to slice it feels like I am going to lose an appendage at any moment.

Unless of course, you have wonderful helpers, strong and manly, to do the dirty deed for you, leaving you to just waltz in and cook the vegetable – truly the easy part.

Acorn squash is both tasty and good for you. And if you took it, sliced it, and roasted it in the oven sans any spices, it would still come out delicious and great. And sometimes, naked squash, as I like to call it, is just what you need. But on other days, you might want to give it a little extra kick: some red, hot chile, and a dash of tabasco sauce to the marinade. Surprisingly easy to make and guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser!

Continue reading roasted acorn squash with cilantro dressing.