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spaghetti squash with home made tomato sauce

4 Mar

OKAY. lets talk about spaghetti squash. it is a type of squash that looks like spaghetti once its cooked. it is NOT spaghetti. it does NOT taste like spaghetti. the texture is NOT spaghetti like. that being said, its DELICIOUS. the squash has a really mild, sweet flavor that makes it a perfect vehicle for a great tomato sauce or a pesto. i find that it is just as satisfying to eat spaghetti squash as it is to eat spaghetti (most of the time 😉 ) so it is a great healthy swap. one note: please please please do not make spaghetti squash and top it with jarred marinara sauce–look in the mirror and repeat after me: “I AM BETTER THAN THAT”. now, proceed:

What You Need for Two Servings:

for the squash:

1 2 lb spaghetti squash

1/2 T of olive oil

salt and pepper

for the tomato sauce:

1.5 cups of small tomatoes sliced in half (cherry, grape etc. i use the little mixed box of orange, red, yellow and green varieties) but whatever you have on hand or is cheapest is fine!

1 T olive oil

2 garlic cloves, slivered into thin rounds

1/4 cup of Pomi boxed chopped tomatoes

1/2 yellow or white onion, diced

crushed red pepper, dried thyme, dried sage to taste.

fresh basil, chiffonaded

parmesan cheese (optional, for garnish)

 

How To Getchyo Spaghetti Squash On!:

preheat the oven to 375. using a SHARPPPPP knife. cut the spaghetti squash in half length wise and scoop out the seeds.

put 1/4 of a T of oil on each half, rub it around and then coat with salt and pepper.

lay it cut side UP (lots of recipes tell you cut side down but i have my own agenda here.) on a lined baking sheet and place it in the oven for likkeeee 25 mins. checking periodically to make sure that it’s not getting too brown (if it is, flip it over, if it’s not-let it do its thang) after 25-30 minutes, flip the squash over so it’s cut side down and continue baking about another 10 minutes. at that point you can (carefully, it’s hot) check how tender it feels and if needed put it in for another few minutes. it takes about 40-45 minutes total to roast the squash.

why do i do it cut side up? because i like to get the squash slightly caramelized and brown. it really enhances the flavor. if you roast it cut side down the entire time then the part you eat gets no happy color. and that is sad for my taste buds.

so, once it is ready–get the squash spaghetti-ing! using tongs to hold the squash in it’s place (its HOT HOT HOT) use your other hand to rake the squash lengthwise with a fork to pull out the spaghettis into a bowl.

YAY now you have your “spaghetti”.

 

so, while the squash is roasting you are going to make your sauce.

heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a small sauce pot over medium.

add in the onion, cook about 3 minutes until translucent. add in a good pinch of crushed red pepper, dried sage, dried thyme.

add in the sliced tomatoes and the slivered garlic.

stir to coat in the onions and spices, add a nice pinch of salt and let it cook about 5 minutes, until the tomatoes get soft. once the tomatoes are soft, use a wooden spoon or fork or whatever to mash up the tomatoes. you basically want to just break them all up so that their juices are released. then, add the chopped tomatoes, stir and let it simmer for a while as your squash continues to roast.

right before you eat it, stir in the chopped fresh basil and let it cook just for a minute.

 

garnish your dish with some parmesan and more fresh basil if desired!

confession: i didn’t have any basil OR any parmesan cheese 😦 but the dish would be prettier and yummier with both.

happy healthy eating!

pumpkin ravioli with pecans and sage brown butter

19 Nov
My heart beats for this type of dish. 
I want to make a list about this dish. Here it is:
  1. I used pumpkin ravioli and butternut squash ravioli but I should have left out the butternut squash, it wasn’t nearly as delicious and plump and flavorful as the pumpkin. 
  2. I know that it doesn’t look so beautiful because the two different raviolis don’t match etc. The taste makes up for what the aesthetics lack. 
  3. Pumpkin ravioli is widely available this time of year at your normal grocery store, if not, you can definitely find it at a specialty store like whole foods, balducci’s etc. Or just buy a pasta roller and make it yourself if you’re feeling motivated. 

The Shtuff:

pumpkin ravioli (approx 5 per person if you’re normal, 9 if you’re me)
2 T room temp butter
1 handful of pecan halves
a little less than 1/4 cup chiffonade-ed sage leaves, loosely packed (loosely packed means you’re not packing it into the measuring cup)
salt
VAMANOSSSSSSS! : (i’m going to do this in list-ish form because list’s are a good thing)
  1. boil a large pot of water, LARGE, the ravioli request that you please don’t crowd them in the jacquzzi. 
  2. kind of chiffonade up some sage, just chop it relatively thinly and so it’s not totally busted looking. Always remember to respect your food. Respect the sage, bro.

     3. Once the water is boiling, SALT it. See my Mountain Salty McSalterstein as an example:

            4. Heat a medium saute pan over medium high heat, add the ravioli to the water-it takes about 4 minutes    cook depending on the size. Once your pan is HOT HOT HOT Add the butter to the saute pan, it should kind of sizzle and immediately start to brown. Add the sage in and let it fry up for a minute. Drain the pasta.
    Notice the butter is brown-ish looking, this is the key. Don’t burn it! just get the pan hot enough so it immediately turns the butter a caramel color, not a mucky brown. You’ll know by the smell 🙂 
         5. add the pecans to the sage butter, toast 2 minutes. 
           6.  Toss the pasta in the saute pan, add a small pinch of salt, garnish with a few sage ribbons. 
     and it’s party rocker time!
    Now for a quick photo montage of my pasta..

    Enjoy with a nice mug of spiced whiskey cider 🙂  
    (my mug is half full  because I sipped as I cooked)

    butternut squash soup

    5 Nov

    It’s officially fall in Austin. And also, I had 3/4 of a butternut squash left from making the tart the other day. Naturally, that equation equals soup.

    The Hit List:
    I just realized I have yet to include serving size in my blog posts…this made about 4 servings but to be honest, I had no idea what the yield was until I finished making it.

    1 medium butternut squash (or 3/4 of one if you are me), peeled, cored, and diced.
    about 2 cups of vegetable stock, chicken stock, or water. I used vegetable stock but in retrospect I think water would be the best choice here so that the squash can really shine through.
    1/2 yellow onion, diced
    2 cloves of garlic, minced
    2 T olive oil or butter (or both, i always use both)
    1.5 T chopped  fresh sage
    1 T chopped fresh rosemary
    2 sprigs of thyme, chopped
    crushed red pepper


    optional for garnish: pepitas (roasted, salted pumpkin seeds), maple syrup, chopped fresh chives
    optional: pumpernickel bread for dipping/side munching
    equipment: blender

    Execution:
    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
    peel, core, and dice squash. put on a sheet pan with 1 T olive oil

    mince up about 1 T of sage and sprinkle it on the squash along with salt and pepper.
    roast it in the oven for 40-50 minutes, flipping all the squash once. you want it to be really golden brown on both sides.

    while the squash is roasting, dice up the onion, mince the garlic and chop up the rest of the herbs.

    When the squash is nearly finished
    melt 1 T of butter and half a T of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. add the onion and garlic and sweat for about 7 minutes. add a pinch of the chopped herbs, salt, and red pepper and add the stock or water, squash and let simmer for 10 minutes.

    in 2-4 batches, ladle the contents of the pot into a blender and liquify until all of the soup has been pureed and is a creamy consistency and orange color.
    return to the pot, adjust the seasonings, adding salt, pepper and herbs if necessary.

    ladle into bowls and garnish with pepitas, chopped chives, and a swirl of maple syrup around the center garnish. yum yum yum enjoy with a nice thick slice of pumpernickel bread!

    i posted this last night and am now going in to make this edit: I just had a bowl of leftover soup and it is actually 10 times better the next day. All the flavors have really gotten stronger and I am SO angry at myself for not making more to be eaten today!! So, be sure to leave enough left over so you can enjoy it for lunch the next day!

    fall tart

    4 Nov

    One of the great things about going to culinary school is that when you are waiting to meet with someone in the administrative offices you have an epic archive of culinary magazines and cook books to peruse. SO, while I was waiting I saw a picture of a squash apple tart with blue cheese and decided I’d try to make one up. Here’s what I came up with..disclaimer: i should have kept it in the oven just a bit longer but I had to leave and so I took it out a shade too soon. On yours you will want the squash and apples to be browned a bit.

    Game plan:
    For this you either need sharp knives or pre-cut squash. Butternut squash is really woody when raw so if you don’t have good knives and can’t find thinly sliced squash in the grocery store than you can buy a whole squash, stick it in the oven at 400 degrees and cook until soft, about 30 minutes, and then cut it once it’s soft..just be careful because it will be steaming hot once you cut it open.
    Ok so here’s what ya need:
    A food processor.
    1 1/4 cups flour
    1 1/2 sticks of butter
    2 eggs
    1/3 of a medium size butternut squash
    3/4 of a red apple
    1/2 yellow onion
    dried thyme, rosemary, sage
    fresh rosemary, time and sage (optional but would make it MUCH better)
    black pepper
    2-3 Tablespoons maple sizzurp
    1/4 c ricotta cheese (optional but would make it much better)
    First things first, make the dough.
    Add the flour and generous pinches of salt,  and the dried rosemary, thyme, sage, pulse to mix.
    Dice one stick of butter into small cubes, add to the food processor and pulse for about 10 seconds 10 times until the dough is moistened and in small and large crumbles. 

    quickly beat 1 egg and add it to the processor and pulse until a dough ball forms.
    Take the dough out, kneed it a bit and then form it into a disc, plastic wrap it and let it rest in the fridge for 40 minutes 

    pre heat the oven to 400 degrees…i forgot to do this part. oh, and if you are opting to roast your squash a bit so you can cut it easier, then stick it in the oven at this point.
    so, take out your badass knife set..
    and cut the onion first, save the apple for last so it doesn’t oxidize too much. cut the onion in slices like this: 

    to do this, cut the onion in half from the root to the weird fuzzy/hair end and peel it lay it on the flat side and cut lengthwise from root to tip. you dont want hamburger halves here, you’re looking for a more elegant almost half heart-shape. 
    cut the butternut squash…slice the end off so you  have a flat surface to work with.
    then stand up the squash and cut it right down the center.
    slice the squash in half moons to be the same thickness as the onion, you want to keep it thin so that the squash cooks through all the way-maybe about 1/4″-1/2″ thick. 
    Lastly, slice the apple to be in wedges of the same thickness.
    Put the squash, apple, and onion into a bowl. Top with 2 T maple syrup, and herbs. If you are using fresh herbs use them here, if not just use the same dried herbs that you put into the dough mixture. Fresh: 2 T of thyme and sage and 1 T chopped rosemary. Dry: 1/2 T of rosemary, 1 T each of thyme and sage.
    Melt 3 T of butter and add on top of the fruit/veg mixture and stir to combine.
    Pour the filling onto a sheet pan and roast in the oven for about 15 minutes while you work on the dough.
    Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out into a “circle”. I didn’t have a rolling pin so I used a bottle of rice wine vinegar…maybe you can plan ahead better than I can. This is a very rustic, autumny dish so that’s why I say “circle”..

    Sorry that the shadow of my hand got in the way of the picture. Also, take a moment to marvel at how beautiful the dough looks with specks of rosemary and thyme and sage in it…yummmmmm.
    Ok. so take the squash and apple out of the oven and begin layering it onto the dough, leaving about an inch around the edge to fold over. 
    Note: I did not put my mixture into the oven first which is why it doesn’t look cooked and its also why my final product was not as golden brown and glorious as I wanted it to be…which is why I told you to put yours in the oven for 15 minutes and why you should also not take yours out early, like I did mine.
    So, fold the sides over the tart and then rub them with an egg wash. Egg wash=1 egg beaten, I used the bowl that I melted the butter in. If you have fresh herbs I would sprinkle them over the egg washed tart now…
    Stick it in the oven for 40ish minutes, you want the sides to be golden brown and yummy and you want the squash and onion to be carmelized and smelling delicious. 
    If you are using the ricotta cheese, this is where it comes in. Mix about 1/4 cup ricotta with 1 T of maple syrup. 5 minutes before the tart is finished, dollop teaspoonfuls of the ricotta syrup mixture onto the tart. Put it back into the oven for 5-7 and then, fall tart party time!!
    I’m on a tight budget so I didn’t use ricotta or fresh herbs, but you should, you really really should.
    Happy Eating!!

    pumpkin spice ice cream

    22 Oct

    Two different people yesterday mentioned sweet potato ice cream to me, so I decided that it was fate that I should make some. Since Halloween is just around the corner, I figured I’d adapt it and make pumpkin ice cream instead!

    By the way, for those of you who do not have an ice cream maker, if you google “food processor ice cream” you will find instructions on how to make ice cream with a standard processor!!

    So, here’s whatcha neeed:
    2 c heavy cream
    1 c whole milk
    1.5 cans of pure pumpkin puree
    mini marshmallows
    a dash of vanilla extract
    1/8 cup granulated sugar
    and to taste:
    cinnamon (1-2 T)
    brown sugar (approx 1/4 a cup)
    ground nutmeg (approx 1 t)
    ground ginger (approx 1/2 t)
    ground cloves approx (1/8 t)

    Mix the pumpkin, spices, and vanilla extract in a bowl until it’s to your liking. Whisk in the milk. Incorporate the heavy cream. Pour into the ice cream maker!
    While the ice cream is churning lay a sheet of parchment on a cookie sheet and spread the marshmallows about 1 inch apart, broil until browned on top. Remove and let cool.
    Once the ice cream is finished churning, mix half of the marshmallows into the ice cream. Transfer the ice cream to a container and freeze until firmed. Garnish with remaining marshmallows and a ginger snap or ginger bread cookie!