Sunday, January 20, 2008

Back on the Pony

Well, then … Nice to see you after all this time. It’s been a rough couple of weeks adjusting to working full time again. The joys of returning after a very nice vacation …

Now, it’s not that I haven’t been cooking at all, mind you. I’ve just not had much of an opportunity to sit down and write about but that is about to change. I’m trying to goal-set to post at least once a week. Yay … my version of New Year’s resolutions.

Last night my family celebrated my nephew, X’s, 6th birthday. The birthday boy is highly into Transformers and rocket cake but disdains veggies. Because the rest of us need our beta-carotene and fiber I made baked butternut squash. This is a sweet/savory dish good with nearly everything. I’ve found I kinda like it for breakfast. Or lunch… or just a random snack.

This recipe is a nice one for the day when you’ve got a couple of spare hours but can’t be hovering around the kitchen… say for instance getting ready for a casual dinner party. The dish doesn’t require a lot of attention but needs an hour to cook. I took that opportunity to get a massage! Thanks a bunch Amy, I feel great.

Anyway, some people discover that butternut squash can be a bit tricky to peel. My tip for the day is to purchase yourself a Y peeler. It is indispensable for this task. Yes, I’ve multiple peelers in my kitchen. They don’t take up much space and having the right tool for the job makes that job oh so much easier. The second tip is to whack the thing in parts. Just cut the neck away from the bulb portion and life will be simpler. Peel the neck in long strokes and the bulb in an around the world fashion (just food pr0n here folks!). Tada that’s it.

So enjoy a little bit of tasty goodness and in the words of Steve Eley, “Have fun!”

Baked Butternut Squash with Apples adapted from Bon Appetit 1996

2 1/2 to 2 3/4 pounds butternut squash (about 2 medium), peeled, quartered lengthwise, seeded, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 6 cups)
1 pound medium-size tart green apples (such as Granny Smith), peeled, quartered, cored, but crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 6 cups)

I did a 3 parts to 1 part squash to apple mix. You can decide how much of each you like.

3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°F. Toss chopped up squash in a pot and cover with cold water. Salt it liberally and turn on the heat. Bring to a boil and cook for about 3 minutes until the squash is almost tender. Drain well. Combine squash, apples and currants in the pot and then pour into a 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Season generously with salt and pepper. Combine maple syrup, butter and lemon juice in a glass measure cup with room to spare. Microwave until the butter is melted and blend with a tiny whisk or fork. Pour syrup over squash mixture and toss to coat evenly.

Bake until squash and apples are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Cool 5 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with foil; chill. Rewarm covered in 350°F. oven about 30 minutes.)

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