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Tag Archive for Autumn Harvest

::savory soup:: Roasted Butternut Squash

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I like to think that the weather has officially changed. The few 90+ degree days we had last week have passed, and it hasn’t stopped raining in a few days. Oddly enough, except for the horrible drivers it seems to bring out, this is one of my favorite things about Fall. When things seem to really transition. Rain is no longer cooling you off and welcome. Everyone thinks it is dreary, and yes, it is a bit gray, but the air feels so clean and crisp. It is irresistible. I know sunny days with crisp air are right around the corner, so I will take the rain. Make those pumpkins grow!

Speaking of pumpkins… did you know that the butternut squash is referred to as the butternut pumpkin in New Zealand? Fun fact of the day 🙂 I don’t know that I was exposed to squash of any sort enough as a child. I was hesitant to eat anything that involved it except pumpkin pie. Oddly enough, I’m not that crazy about pumpkin pie as an adult. Now it is a different story. PTB may go crazy with the amount of squash-related recipes I have hopes for this fall.

This soup was perfect for a lazy night. There is so little work involved, but you do need to be around while the oven goes for almost an hour.

What You Need
Step One

~ 4 cups cubed butternut squash (my whole squash was 3lbs)
4 large shallots, peeled and halved
1″ piece peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt
Step Two
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (use veggie brother for a vegan soup)
Step Three
fresh chives
cracked black pepper

Preheat your oven to 375F.

Combine all step one ingredients in a foil lined baking dish. Roast for approximately 50 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes. If you have an immersion blender, combine roasted veggies and stock in a large pan. Blend away until you have your desired consistency.

If you do not have an immersion blender, go buy one. Or, you can combine the veggies and stock in a blender in batches, and pour into a pan.

Cover and heat through over a medium heat. Serve topped with cracked pepper and chives.

Are you warm and cozy yet?

Serves: 4-6   Cost: ~$2/serving (4 servings)

::how to:: Cut a Butternut Squash

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I’ve been slow getting back into things. Everything in life is changing so rapidly. We’re moving soon, so that will put a whole new spin on things. I will have an entirely different kitchen to get used to. I am beyond excited about most of the kitchen, I have just become quite spoiled by my current one and will be sad to leave my ceramic-top stove behind (I am a MESSY cook, I need easy cleanup).

While life seems to be spinning around and I can’t catch up, we have still managed to fit in cooking a few times in the past week. Getting pulled away for paperwork constantly is a reminder that life may not be so easy when a baby comes, so I am doing my best to adjust. The best part of my first trip back to the grocery store was the reminder that just because Summer is ending, doesn’t mean there won’t be anymore fresh fruits and veggies. Autumn is the harvest season for a reason, and it brings with it a whole new menu!

It’s getting to be that time of year where I want to make soup all the time. If I ever needed any kind of surgery that required a liquid diet after, I would need it to happen during the winter. I am a soup fanatic. First soup of the Fall this year was Roasted Butternut Squash. Typically, I would be buying the precut, save myself some time, package of squash. But the lack of this package at the grocery store, the pile of gorgeous squash, and the goal of trimming the grocery bill, led me to pick one up. It’s soup time. But first I needed to learn how to cut it into those perfect cubes.

Things to keep in mind – If you are roasting the squash, the skin will soften. Peeling it is entirely unnecessary in that case. But, I’ve included it to cover my bases.

Use a sturdy vegetable peeler if you are going to peel the squash. Top to bottom is easiest. And don’t worry about bits you miss, if you need to, you can slice them off easily once you cut up the squash.

Once peeled, cut off the top and bottom of the squash. The main reason I cute the bottom as well is to have a completely flat bottom for stability when I slice through. You need a good knife to slice through, right down the middle.

Scoop the pulp and seeds. If you want, remove the pulp from the seeds and roast the seeds. Otherwise, toss all that stuff. Slice the halves of the squash to your desired thickness.

Cube and enjoy. Feel free to take care of this step for recipes a day or two ahead of time. Just be sure to store the squash in an airtight container in the fridge.

::cooking for two:: Apple Tartlets

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What was I saying about Fall? How it is awesome? Here’s my problem. Autumn makes me want to make apple pie. There are two of us. Now, normally if I bake a pie, I will try and get another couple to come hang out with us (It is really hard when you are offering homemade pie). But who am I kidding, that is still only half the pie eaten. I recognize that my sharing abilities are lacking as my appetite (belly) is growing. Maybe a whole pie isn’t the way to go right now. A tartlet however… Ok so it is still probably as much butter as I would have consumed eating half the pie, but think of all the sugar I am saving. And far less flour. Give yourself some extra planning time for this recipe as you need to chill the dough for an hour.

What You Need
Dough
Step One

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
Step Two
5 Tbsp chilled unsalted butter (cut into 1/4″ pieces)
2-3 Tbsp ice water
Filling
Step Three

1 tart apple (I used a Granny Smith)
1 sweet apple (I used a Fuji)
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
pinches cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
Step Four
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp unsalted butter (cut into 1/4″ pieces)

In a small food processor combine the flour and salt. Sprinkle the cut up butter pieces on top and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Continue to pulse as you slowly add the water until the dough comes together.

Divide the dough into two and flatten each into a 3″ disc on plastic wrap. Wrap tightly and leave in the fridge for an hour.

I started the apples while the dough was in the fridge, but I like to let them sit in the seasoning for a while, so maybe it is just me. You’ll need the oven preheated to 400F, and mine takes FOREVER, so by the time I am done slicing apples, I need to set that as well.

Slice the apples into 1/4″ slices. Combine all step three ingredients in a bowl.

Before rolling out the dough, let it sit on the counter for about 10 minutes. Roll onto parchment paper to about 7″ in diameter. TIP: Rolling between two sheets of parchment makes things a bit easier. Stack the apples in the center of the dough (about 1.5″ from the edge) building an apple tower. Fill the centers with extra apple pieces.

Fold the outer 1″ of dough up around the apples, pleating about every inch or so (see image). Brush the dough with egg white and dot the tops with butter.

Bake (on the parchment paper) for about 35-40 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the apples are tender. Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

I would highly recommend some home made whipped cream to go on top. Not too sweet, and it will be a perfect dessert for two. One more evening helped out by America’s Test Kitchen’s Cooking for Two Annual.