1 medium red onion, cut into 8 wedges $
Entries in Vegetarian (10)
1 medium red onion, cut into 8 wedges $
Saturday was a day to be indoors. Those don't happen all that often in Colorado and we took full advantage of the gray day that alternated between rain and snow - we did "life admin" at home, took care of a few chores, and I finally made this Butternut Squash Tart. My parents had a banner crop of squash this season and I have at least 15 squash and pumpkins waiting to be cooked.
This was definitely a risky recipe -- one of those with components that are individually delicious, but who knows how they'll work together. I also was not convinced the squash would be cooked through.
You'll see below that this was much enjoyed at our house. I didn't take a final shot at the end of the day when every last piece was gone. In our defense, we didn't really eat breakfast and this was lunch and an afternoon snack... but still. The butternut squash flavor isn't particularly strong, but it is present and complimented by the spicy honey and the nutty parmesan and the delicious puff pastry.
A few notes about this recipe:
First, I didn't have any Fresno, jalapeño, or red Thai chiles as called for in the original recipe. I substituted red pepper flakes, which I think most people have in their kitchen. They added the necessary spice and I didn't feel like it was missing anything as a result of the substitution.
Second, I didn't feel like the sage contributed much to the dish except in making it prettier. If you don't have sage leaves or don't want to bother with frying sage leaves, I don't think you'll miss them. I did read online that you can microwave "fry" leaves - I've never tried it, but it might be worth investigating.
Third, while I do think this would make a great appetizer for a party, the middle slices of tart are harder to pick up and eat than the edges - they are better served on a small plate with a fork.
Butternut Squash Tart
Adapted from Bon Appétit
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed (from a 17.3-ounce package)
1 large egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
12 1/8"-thick rounds peeled butternut squash (or about 2 cups of butternut squash cubes - see below for details)
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons olive oil
12 fresh sage leaves (optional)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 375°. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Gently roll out 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed (from a 17.3-ounce package) on a lightly floured surface to a 10-inch square (just enough to even out). Transfer to prepared sheet.
Brush pastry with 1 large egg beaten with 1 tsp. water. Arrange butternut squash cut 1/8" thick on the puff pastry. I already had cubes of squash, which I just sliced into thinner pieces. If you don't already have cubes, I think the best approach is to cut approximately twelve 1/8-inch-thick rounds of peeled butternut squash (cut from the neck of the squash). Spread the sliced butternut squash over the pastry, overlapping as needed and leaving a 1/2-inch border (because I did squares, none overlapped). Place another sheet of parchment paper over squash. Set another large rimmed baking sheet over the tart (this will weigh down the pastry dough and steam the squash slices).
Bake until bottom of pastry begins to brown and top begins to puff, about 10 minutes.
Remove top baking sheet and discard top sheet of parchment paper. Brush squash slices with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with kosher salt. Return tart, uncovered, to oven and bake until pastry is deep golden brown and cooked through, 25–30 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, combine 1/4 cup honey, 1 tbsp red pepper flakes, and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat (add additional red pepper flakes if more heat is desired). Boil until thickened slightly and syrupy, about 6 minutes.
Optional - Line a plate with paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet until just beginning to smoke. Add 12 fresh sage leaves; fry until crisp, about 30 seconds. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
Remove tart from the oven. Brush the tart with the pepper-infused honey (I used about 2/3 of the honey). Sprinkle 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan on top. Return to oven for 1-2 minutes -- just long enough to melt the cheese. Garnish with fried sage leaves (if you made them) and a few grinds of black pepper.
Brussels sprouts were an adult discovery for me. I can't remember the first time I tried them, but I fell immediately in love with the ease of roasting a pan of Brussels sprouts with olive oil and salt and the deliciousness that results. I particularly love the rogue leaves that separate from the main sprout and get super crispy and salty. In my opinion, Brussels sprouts are the closest you can get to bacon in vegetable form.
I do remember learning that Brussels sprouts grown on stalks at the Borough Market in London (I was so astonished by this that I took the picture below).
I usually keep my cooking of Brussels sprouts healthy by roasting them as described above. However, we hosted Thanksgiving last year and in an effort to mix things up, I tried this recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Wild Mushrooms and Cream from Fine Cooking. If you prep the mushrooms and Brussels sprouts ahead of time, this dish comes together quickly and I've found that you can reduce the amount of cream by half and still keep the creaminess and flavor that results. Cooking the sprouts this way is a delicious treat for a special occasion.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Wild Mushrooms and Cream
Adapted from Fine Cooking
Note - The original recipe notes that the Brussels sprouts can be roasted and the mushrooms seared up to 8 hours ahead of time (and then pick up with Step 4 below when you want to serve the dish).
1-1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise (5 cups)
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
3/4 lb. mushrooms (I've used chanterelles and baby portabellas), halved if small or cut into 1-inch wedges (about 4-1/2 cups)
1 large shallot, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken/vegetable stock (I've used both with good results)
1/2 cup heavy cream (and you might use even less - see Step 4 below for details)
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F.
2. Put the Brussels sprouts on a rimmed baking sheet, and drizzle with 3 Tbs. of the olive oil; toss to coat. Spread the Brussels sprouts in an even layer and season generously with salt. Roast until tender and browned, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
3. Heat a 12-inch skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, add 1 Tbs. of the olive oil and 2 Tbs. of the butter. When the butter has melted, add the mushrooms in an even layer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden-brown and tender and the mushroom liquid (if any) has evaporated, 5 to 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and transfer to a plate.
4. Set the skillet over medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil and 1 Tbs. butter. When the butter has melted, add the shallot, season with a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the wine or stock and cook until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Return the mushrooms to the pan and add the Brussels sprouts and 1/4 cup of cream. If you think this amount sufficiently coats the sprouts and mushrooms, you might not need to add more - but judge for yourself based on how creamy you'd like the dish to be. I wouldn't add more than 1/2 cup in total. Stir in a few grinds of pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the cream thickens and coats the vegetables nicely, 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
2 tablespoons safflower oil (I actually had safflower oil, so I used it - I am sure olive oil will work just fine)
Today is moving day! The combination of packing and temperatures hovering near three digits for the last few weeks has limited my time in the kitchen. Instead, I've been sticking to Watermelon Agua Fresca (blended with ice rather than water to make it that much more refreshing), chilled pasta salad, and take-out (miraculously, the entire kitchen is packed). Three of my best friends arrive tonight for our annual (see photos from last year here) girl's "weekend"... brave, aren't they? I have promised they won't have to unpack a thing!
We are attending a 4th of July barbeque and if I can find a knife and a pot, I'll be bringing this Green Bean & Tomato Salad. I first made this a few years ago at a tomato-themed dinner - it was the peak of tomato season and I just couldn't help myself from stocking up at the farmer's market. This dish was a standout, in part because it is simple and takes no time at all to prepare. If I am short on time or ingredients, I'll just mix the green beans and tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper and omit the other ingredients, but using the shallots, mustard, and vinegar add a nice zing.
Green Bean & Tomato Salad
Yield = 6 servings
Cook beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain. Refresh under cold water; drain well. Transfer to large bowl. Combine mustard and vinegar in small bowl. Gradually whisk oil and then mix in shallots. Mix dressing and tomatoes into beans. Season to taste with salt and pepper.