If I were to have any season all year I would have it be Fall. Unfortunately, it is now January (my least favorite month) and there’s no way to bring fall back outside. However, I can make food that reminds me of my favorite season and what could recall that season better than butternut squash? Butternut squash is a tasty snack when it is sliced very thin and roasted until just browned and crispy. The slices of squash are quickly boiled, patted dry and tossed with olive oil and sage in a bowl. Then they are baked in the oven for about 20 minutes, so this is a great recipe to prepare if you’re short on time for dinner.
I really liked how my pumpkin quick breads turned out so I wanted to try out a yeast based pumpkin bread for good measure! Yeast breads do take a little bit longer so these kinds of recipes end up being good weekend projects. I decided to combine the flavor of pumpkin bread with the ingredients of cinnamon raisin bread. The joining of these two were really tasty! Since this recipe yields 2 loaves I decided to try out 2 ways of baking them. With one loaf I baked it free form and the other I baked in a loaf pan. The photo below features the free form loaf and I have to say I just like the shape and texture of it better than the pan loaf. The combination of the spices, raisin and pumpkin flavor were really delicious! It was really good toasted with a little maple butter spread on top.
This stew is a great combination of Fall and middle eastern flavors. The recipe brings together shredded chicken, butternut squash, chickpeas, Bulgur wheat, preserved lemons and savory spices. This combination makes a great dinner on a cold night. Butternut squash has been a favorite of mine for a while and once again it didn’t disappoint! Another favorite ingredient of mine is preserved lemon which flavored the stew very nicely. The bulgur, chickpeas and chicken made the stew extra hearty and delicious! I topped the stew with a little yogurt and lemons slices for garnish.
October has gone by so fast it’s hard to believe. Just a few weeks ago I spent some time in a local apple orchard and picked up 8 pounds of Golden Delicious apples. Golden Delicious are suitable for both baking and eating, which makes them special as most apple varieties are good for just one or the other. I was excited to try these out using my mom’s classic rhubarb crisp recipe and just reducing the sugar to compensate for the apples’ sweetness. These apples had a honey-like sweetness with just the right amount of crunch and tartness to keep things interesting.
The crisp is a simple combination of oats, flour, sugar and spices, baked in the oven, and topped with whipped cream or ice cream. It was really good with the golden delicious apples. It will be hard to go back to store bought apples when the season ends!
Fall is in full effect and since it is my favorite season I like to celebrate by making seasonal recipes. Pumpkin bread is a Fall classic and I wanted to take it up a notch by adding molasses and spices. In previous years, I made Pumpkin Banana Bread and Nutella Pumpkin Bread so I was excited to try out a new recipe. I was really happy with how it turned out. I really liked the consistency of the bread as it was moist, light, and fluffy. The molasses was mild but gave the bread a more distinct flavor that worked really well with the pumpkin and spices. I chose a simple spice blend of nutmeg, cloves, ginger and cinnamon to season the bread. The recipe yields two loaves so reduce by half in order to make one. I would suggest making one loaf and saving the rest of the dough in the refrigerator for 1-2 days when you’re ready for a second loaf.
Butternut squash is a food that can be surprisingly versatile. So far I have enjoyed it in a variety of recipes but this pizza is by far one of the best. The squash is coated in olive oil, sage and rosemary and baked until soft. The onions sauteed in balsamic vinegar and brown sugar provide a nice balance of sweet and tart. Those flavors work really well with the squash and smoky pancetta. As for the cheese, I used Mozzarella but I would guess that Fontina cheese would be fine too. I also scooped some of the seeds out of the squash to roast in the oven which I used as a final topping. They taste just like pumpkin seeds and it was a really nice last minute addition on the pizza. I wouldn’t use a lot of salt on this recipe as the pancetta is naturally on the salty side and roasting the seeds with salt provides enough flavor for the rest of the pizza. The result was a great pizza with flavors that complimented each other really well.
I have been trying to eat more “super foods” lately and one vegetable I never think to buy is kale. Kale reminds me a lot of spinach when it’s cooked so I thought a hearty Italian soup with kale would fit together nicely. This recipe is a peasant style soup with white beans, potatoes, veggies, and Italian bacon. I added a little red pepper flakes, fresh herbs, and lemon zest to brighten up the broth and the result was a really tasty, hearty stew! I decided to use chickpeas and cannellini beans but you can use any variety of white bean you like. The soup is garnished with Italian parsley and a few slices of parmigiano reggiano. I served the soup with a couple thick slices of Parmesan Potato Bread and the two together were delicious.
A classic way to eat gnocchi is with a brown butter and sage sauce. The sauce is really easy to make as it only involves melting some butter in a pan, letting it brown for a few minutes, and then frying fresh sage leaves in the butter. It is a perfect sauce for both pumpkin and sweet potato gnocchi. The next step is to toss the gnocchi in the sauce for a few minutes and the result is a delicious pasta with flavors of pumpkin and sage. I added a little lemon juice at the end to give the pasta a little more flavor.
Since I had a jar of maple butter I decided to make a great bread to go along with it. This bread has a really nice maple flavor that makes the kitchen smell great while it’s cooking. Maple syrup is used in the dough and the loaf is topped with rolled oats and brown sugar. This is a yeast bread so it takes a little more time to prepare. It’s also important to incorporate the flour gradually so the dough can rise properly. The bread was really tasty fresh out of the oven and even better with the maple butter.
This mushroom ravioli is really easy to make if you don’t have time to make your own ravioli from scratch. Unfortunately I don’t have the tools (yet) to make my own pasta so hopefully I will be able to enjoy this recipe from scratch eventually. This is actually my boyfriend John’s recipe (he ate a lot of this during his bachelor pad days). He definitely did better than most bachelors with this delicious and easy to make recipe. The balsamic to butter sauce ratio is important as there needs to be enough butter to tame the bitterness of the balsamic vinegar. The sauce should be a medium brown color and not have a lot of bite to it. I let the sauce simmer on very low heat to let the balsamic vinegar caramalize a little while the pasta was cooking. The walnuts and sauce are perfect with the woodsy flavors of the mushrooms. The only thing I wish I did was get a good rind of parmigiano reggiano for this recipe.