Monthly Archives: October 2014

Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta with Crispy Sage

Seriously, I just can’t stop making things with squash this fall. They’re so delicious, need almost nothing for flavor and can be used in a ton of different meals. This butternut squash pasta is a great way to get at least one serving of veggies in with your dinner, and it’s amazingly rich for how healthy it is. Plus: crispy sage. Mmmmmm.
 
ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH PASTA WITH CRISPY SAGE (serves 4-6)
– 1 lb. pasta
– 1/2 a large butternut squash
– 1 carrots, peeled
– about 10 sage leaves
– 1/2 small vidalia onion, diced
– 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
– 1/4 C. freshly grated parm
– 1.5 C. chicken (or vegetable) broth
– 1 tbsp. EVOO
– 1 tbsp. butter
– kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper
 
1. Roast your butternut squash, then add the 2 peeled, oiled carrots to the tray about 30 minutes into the roasting process. When roasted, peel the squash & roughly chop it, and chop the roasted carrots.

 


2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, melt 1 tbsp. butter over low heat. When it starts to brown and bubble, add the sage leaves. Let the leaves get crispy, then remove and set aside on a paper towel to drain. Sprinkle with a little kosher salt.

 

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Black Bean, Acorn Squash, Kale & Cheddar Jack Quesadillas

Let’s say that you and your boyfriend are going to a city council meeting one night, and you’re both working basically right up to the time it starts. Do you A. Go to the grocery store and buy things for dinner which would probably consist of pasta, and a jar of sauce B. Pick up something on the way to the meeting or C. Think about the hodgepodge of ingredients in your refrigerator on your drive home from work, throw this together in 45 minutes and then watch your boyfriend inhale an entire quesadilla in the 5 minutes he’s home before you both have to leave for the council meeting, knowing that it’s made of almost completely healthy things? 
 
C. If this town could run itself as efficiently as this recipe came together, it would be a whole new world. 
 
BLACK BEAN, ACORN SQUASH, KALE & CHEDDAR JACK QUESADILLAS (serves 2-4)
– 1/2 an acorn squash, sliced
– 1 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
– 2 cups kale, ribs removed, torn into pieces
– 1/2 vidalia onion, really thinly sliced
– 1/3 shredded jack cheese
– 4 flour tortillas
– 1 tbsp. butter
– 1 tbsp. EVOO
– kosher salt & pepper
 
1. Preheat the oven to 400. 
 
2. Carefully (these are really hard), with a serrated knife, cut the acorn squash into strips. Rub the cut sides with a little olive oil.
 
3. Place acorn squash on a baking sheet, roast for about 30 minutes, flipping sides around halfway through.



4. Thinly slice an onion, then cook it over medium heat in 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp. EVOO until it soften and starts to caramelize. Continue reading

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Bren’s parents are visiting from Colorado this week, so before an awesome dinner at AV, we hosted our parents at our place for drinks and apps. I made a cheese plate, roasted butternut squash soup shooters and that World’s Greatest Pumpkin Dip that Brendan’s been dying to try. Oh, and attempted to make Moscow Mules using Bren’s new copper bday mugs, but that may not have been the best cocktail ever. We’ll just have to practice. 
 
Happy birthday to the smartest, kindest, funniest, most interesting man I’ve ever dated. I love you, Journalist Brendan Gibbons!

 

DIY Room Freshener


We’re still figuring out how to not have our entire house smell like whatever we’re cooking. In the meantime, this requires only 3 “ingredients” that you definitely have around your house right now, works fantastically well in covering up cooking smells, and makes your home smell totally delicious.

DIY ROOM FRESHENER
– 1 lemon, cut into pretty thin slices
– couple of springs of rosemary
– approx. 1 tbsp. of vanilla extract

1. Fill a saucepan with water. Add the lemons, rosemary & vanilla.

2. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer. The water will evaporate in a cloud of amazing smell over the course of the next 2 hours or so. Keep an eye on the pot every now and then so the water doesn’t completely evaporate. Breathe deep and enjoy.

How to Roast a Butternut Squash

 Ohhhhh, there is just nothing better than butternut squash from the farmer’s market. You roast this, you can make a million different things from soups to salads to breakfast sandwiches to burritos and even pasta (but that’s our next post). I’m 100% of the mindset that it’s one of the world’s most perfect foods – super flavorful, chock full of nutrients, plus a really pretty color that sounds like something J.Crew would name the orangey version of one of their wool pencil skirts. 


Sometimes I buy a squash and roast it sections at a time, especially when I’m just making something for Brendan and me. You can do that or roast this all at once – either way, get that oven up to 425.

HOW TO ROAST A BUTTERNUT SQUASH
– 1 butternut squash
– EVOO

1. If you’re roasting the whole squash, poke a couple holes in it with a fork and throw the entire thing in the pre-heating oven. Continue reading

Whole Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with a Spiced, Creamy Tomato-Coconut Sauce

Recipes like this could make me a vegan (again). Cauliflower is one of my most favorite foods, and I love roasting it, but roasting a whole head of it at once with chickpeas in a creamy, amazing-smelling tomato sauce spiced with Indian flavors was out of this world. I rarely try Indian recipes (the name for this is actually Gobhi Musallam) because I just don’t think I’m good at them, but this recipe was so simple anyone could do it, and everyone should. Brendan took one bite of this and sat back all, “Oh my god. This is amazing.” Ummm…I agree. I already can’t wait to have this for lunch tomorrow.

WHOLE ROASTED CAULIFLOWER AND CHICKPEAS IN A SPICED, CREAMY TOMATO-COCONUT SAUCE (serves 4 – recipe adapted almost exactly via Vegan Richa)
– 1 large head of cauliflower
– 1 tsp. salt
– 1/2 tsp. tumeric

Sauce:
– 1 tsp. EVOO
– 1 tsp. butter
– 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
– 5 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1 inch ginger, peeled and chopped
– 1/2 dried chili pepper (this was enough spice for me, but you can add more if you have a higher spice tolerance than me – and you probably do)
– 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
– 1 tsp garam masala
– 1/2 tsp. cumin 
– 1/2 tsp. coriander
– 1/2 tsp. tumeric 
– 1 tbsp. dried oregano
– 3/4 c. coconut milk
– 1/4 c. ground cashews
– 3/4 tsp. salt
– 1/4 tsp. sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 400.

2. In a large pot, boil enough water to submerge the (washed, trimmed of leaves) cauliflower. Add the 1 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. tumeric to the water, then blanch the cauliflower for about 5 minutes, or until mildly tender. Drain and set the whole head of cauliflower aside.


3. Meanwhile, melt the butter & EVOO in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until they start to brown, about 5 minutes.

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Fall Breakfast Sandwich – Roasted Butternut Squash, Fried Egg, Bacon, Crispy Sage

The first Sunday brunch in the new place really made it feel like home. Bren and I woke up, got a ridiculous grocery order to stock the fridge, and then put together this incredible breakfast sammie. Roasted butternut squash serves as a savory base, bacon crisped within an inch of its life added the crunch and saltiness, fried egg made it breakfast-y, and the browned-butter crispy sage was the perfect topping. We made some Zummo’s coffee, halved a grapefruit and brought everything out to our awesome sun porch to have breakfast while listening to a Sunday morning Motown playlist and reading the Sunday edition of the Scranton Times, which Brendan dominated today.

I’m writing this from the porch and currently 100% content with life. Make this breakfast sandwich and enjoy your Sunday!

FALL BREAKFAST SANDWICH – ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH, FRIED EGG, BACON & CRISPY SAGE (makes 2)
– 2 whole-wheat english muffins, halved and toasted
– 1.5 cups of butternut squash
– 4 eggs
– 4 slices of bacon
– 8 sage leaves
– 3 tbsp. butter
– 1 tbsp. EVOO
– Kosher salt & fresh black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 425.

2. Cut off probably 3 inches of the top of a butternut squash (so you don’t waste the rest of it), then rub the cut side with a little bit of EVOO.

3. Place the squash cut-side down on a baking sheet, roast for approx. 40 minutes. Take out of the oven and allow to cool while you put everything else together.

4. In a larger pan, add the bacon over medium-high heat. Flip when the underside starts to get crispy, pushing the bacon around the pan to make sure it gets cooked and crispy.  Remove and drain on paper towels.


5. Meanwhile, in a non-stick or enamel skillet, melt 1.5 tbsp. butter and 1 tbsp. EVOO over medium heat.


6. Crack the eggs, one at a time, into a ramekin. Add to the skillet when the butter/oil mixture starts to be shimmery and have tiny bubbles. 

7. I cooked 2 eggs at a time. Gently add each one to the pan, let them set a bit, and then cover with a lid to steam it all together. This takes about 5 minutes – in about 3, uncover the pan and add a little kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to the eggs.  When finished (you can cook them as long as you want for yolk consistency – I cooked the yolks all the way through, but might try this again with the yolks a little runnier), remove with a spatula to a plate and cook the other 2 eggs the same way.

8. In a different, smaller pan, melt the butter slowly over medium low heat while the eggs are cooking. When it starts to get a little brown (brown – not black, otherwise throw it out and start over), add the sage leaves and shake the pan while the butter coats them and they get crispy.

9. Remove the skin from the butternut squash, cut into chunks and add to a bowl. Mash. This needs nothing as apparently butternut squash is the world’s perfect, most tasty food when roasted.


10. Toast the english muffin halves, then assemble – a spread of the butternut squash, then the bacon, the fried egg and top it all with a couple of crispy sage leaves.

 

11. Serve and watch your boyfriend be completely impressed by how you’re changing his entire opinion of squash. Happy Sunday.