Archived entries for squash

Adventures In Baby Food: Organic Roast Squash

Thora is finally old enough to start eating food!  The number one question I got when I announced I was having a baby was, are you going to start blogging about making baby food?  Well, yes, I think I will.


Organic squash puree baby food frozen in individual portion sizes.

The awesome thing is making baby food for a 6-7 month old is super easy! Their little constitutions are just learning to eat food, so you don’t want to mix in any additives or sweeteners.  So if you make squash, its just that.  Squash.  Maybe a bit of water.  Still, though, I’ve tasted some of the baby food you buy at the stores and its gross.  I wouldn’t eat it, so I can see why she’s not that into it. Oh, I get it, babies don’t like too much taste, but hey, they’re still human.  So I want my baby food to taste as good as possible.

I was lucky enough to get a bunch of organic butternut and acorn squash from Ira’s parents.  So we’re starting with the best quality.  You can easily boil it down to make a puree, but if you roast it, it will enhance the natural sweetness of the squash and make it sooo much more delicious.  So this is exactly what we did.

Here’s how our first batch of squash baby food was made:

1) Roast Squash.  Preheat oven at 400 degrees.  Cut squash in half and scoop out the seeds.  Pierce with a fork throughout.  Place squash in a tray and roast at high temp for an hour or so.  Remove from oven when squash is soft and easily forkable.

2) Puree Squash. Using a spoon, scoop out roasted squash from the skin.  Using a food processor, or blender, puree squash until smooth.  Add a small amount of water to make puree smooth.

3) Freeze squash. Freezing individual baby portions is easy!  Just spoon a heaping Tbs into each section of an ice cube tray and freeze overnight.

4) Store Frozen Squash until needed. Remove frozen cubes from trays and place in freezer bags.  Keep frozen until needed.

5) Defrost when needed and eat up!  This squash is sweet to the taste and goes down easily.  Thora loves it!

Acorn Squash: Tres Delish!

Its Thanksgiving time and we all want easy dishes with a bit of elegance.  A tasty treat, easy as (frozen) pie and a natural fancy pants is serving up acorn squash in its shell.  I love, love, love the sweetness of fresh squash in the autumn.  Yes, it could take up some prime real estate in your oven on Turkey day if you’re serving a group, but if you’ve got the space, this is a gobble-gobble great way to go!

Buttered Acorn Squash in its Shell
Each squash serves 2

  • Acorn Squash
  • butter
  • fresh rosemary
  • salt
  • pepper

Slice squash in half.  Scoop out seeds.  Pierce squash inside wells with a fork about 4-6 times, depending on size.  Try not to pierce through the outer skin.  Slice butter into squash halves, about 1 Tbs per half depending on taste preferences.  Lay one stalk of rosemary in squash well, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Place on a baking sheet into a preheated oven of about 350-400 degrees.  (You can roast these with other dishes in the oven if there’s space, so the temp variation is for that.  Bake for about an hour, or until the squash tests soft with a fork, or as we like to say, forkable!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Afternoon Delight: Seafood and Wine

To finish up our series profile on Isaacson and Stein, nothing would be better then to show a little party which sprung from a visit there. Last Friday, my friends Meena and Anki (in town from Paris) wanted to hang out, but I needed to do a bit of blog work. Well, we, at Forkable, love to multi-task, so why not hit two birds with one stone! I&S is such a fun place to visit, I brought them along with me and let them peruse the goods while I got a few photos.


Searing our scallops for a delishous afternoon treat.

After I was done, we walked around and picked out a few morsels to bring home to snack on. Of course, our eyes were bigger then our stomaches and we ended up leaving with a bag full of shrimp, scallops, mussels and ahi tuna steaks. OH DELISH! We weren’t complaining.

The wonderful thing about the seafood, is it can be prepared very easily in no time at all. We got the tuna in a soy-miso-vinegar marinade and set it aside in the fridge. Anki, quite diligently worked on de-viening the shrimp, while Meena prepared a garlic butter for the scallops. Meanwhile, I got the mussels steaming with white wine and butter. Once we were ready, we got two pans fired up on the stove, we seared the scallops-rubbed in garlic butter, and the tuna with a miso rub.


Shrimp a la flambe!

Once these were done, we quickly added some more garlic butter to the pan with the scallops, and did a quick saute with the shrimp. We added some lemon juice and a bit of rum (Anki wanted to start a fire!) and finished them off with a dramatic flambe. At this point, the mussels were done, we finished up the toast we had under the broiler, and we took our fest outside to nosh!


Anki makes sure Meena’s not running on empty. What a decadent spread!

What a luxurious afternoon! Only 20 minutes of cook time in the kitchen, $12 each for the supplies, and we were eating like kings. Yum. We had so much fun working together and our Garlic scallops, Tuna steaks, mussels in a white wine butter dipping sauce, and shrimpies a la flambe were c’est magnifique! . Can you get any more decadent?


Lets play the game “what would you pay for this plate at a restaurant”? More then $12. I think that’s a big yes!

Well we also had raddishes with salt and lime, fromage de gruyere (we’re putting on french airs to impress Anki), sun dried tomatoes and my homemade pickled green beans. We had a great time from start to finish, and in true french form, quite a bit of wine was drank throughout the process. Sorry the pics are a bit blurry. What can I say. Que sera sera. Oh wait that’s Spanish. Hmm. C’est la vie! There we go. Who said “Amurican’s” were ignornt.

Scallop Pot PIe

The scallop pot pies we made for my Mom’s Birthday Dinner turned out absolutely delicious and the only richness required was in the flavor not the pocket book. The use of the acorn squash as bowls is so Autumnal and really made this dish perfect for a cozy fall candle lit dinner.

Scallop Pot Pie
serves six

  • 1 lb small scallops
  • 1 1/2 c. – 2 c. white wine
  • 1 1/2 c. half and half or 3/4 c. heavy cream and 3/4 c. milk
  • 1 large onion diced or two medium onions diced
  • 1 large carrot diced or two medium carrots diced
  • 1-1 1/2 cups diced fennel bulb
  • 1/2 c. frozen peas
  • 1/4 c. frozen corn
  • 1-2 Tbs chopped dill
  • 1 stick of butter + 4 Tbs
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1-2 tsp garlic salt, onion salt or shallot salt
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 0ptional 1/2 lb raw shrimp chopped
  • 3 small acorn squash
  • biscuit dough for topping, recipe follows.

Being by preparing your acorn squash to use for your bowls. Cut the squash in half and scoop out all the seeds and stringy stuff. Cut a small disk off the outter ends of each squash bowl so they will sit flat and not roll. Using a paring knife or sharp spoon, cut out as much of the squash meat from the sides as possible.


The squash at the top has been fully scooped, and the one the bottom shows the disk shape at the bottom cut for the pot pie to keep it from rolling over.

I found a spiky ended grapefruit spoon worked really great for this. Be careful not to puncture through the sides of the squash skin. You can scoop some of the squash out of the bottom if the squash is really thick, but you want to leave some in place so the pot pie doesn’t leak out the bottom. We planned on using the squash filling to make soup, but ran out of time. My recipe for roasted butternut squash soup would work well for this. Set squash bowls aside.

Prepare biscuit dough for topping and chill while preparing filling. Recipe follows.

To prepare the filling:
I like to poach the seafood first, as sometimes it takes me a while to get my sauce just right and I don’t want it to be overcooked. Over medium-low heat, saute 1/4 of diced onions and fennel in 2 Tbs of butter until clear. Add 1 1/2 cups of white wine and scallops (add optional shrimp as well). Allow to come to a boil. Once the wine is boiling remove pan from the burner and drain scallops reserving the white wine. We want to under cook the scallops here, because they will finish cooking when we complete the sauce. This step is to infuse the wine with the scallop juice so it will cook into the sauce.

Now we want to prepare a roux to help the sauce thicken. An easy roux can be made by mixing an equal part butter to flour. Using a fork, mix together your stick of butter and 1/2 c. flour. Keep mixing until you have a thick paste.


Thickening your sauce, adding roux and boiling.

Place the saute pan back on burner over medium to low heat. Melt 2 Tbs butter and suate remaining onions and fennel until clear. Add carrots and saute for a couple minutes. Don’t overcook the carrots, our goal is to retain a bit of crispness to them. Add the reserved wine you drained from your scallops and your half and half. Allow to bring to a boil and add 1/2 the roux and allow to boil. As it boils it will thicken. Keep adding roux a tsp at a time until your sauce is at your disired thickness.


Filling with all ingredients added.

Add peas, corn, dill, and onion salt and allow to cook for a minute or two. Add your scallops. Taste and season with salt and pepper accordingly. I find a generous dose of pepper (1/4- 1/2 tsp) works well, but season to your taste.

Fill acorn squash with filling. Roll out prepared biscuit dough in a rectangle on a floured surface and cut into six equal sections large enough to fit your squash.

Brush dough with raw egg. Place dough, egg side down onto squash and trim excess dough. Pinch dough around rounded edges of squash and brush top of dough with egg yolk. Spinkle with paprika. Place squash on a baking tray.

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 375. After 15 minutes check your dough. If it looks like it is getting too dark, cover with aluminum foil until cooking is done.

Serve and eat up. OK, I know all these directions sound complicated, but this dish is not super hard. Try it and see.

Swiss Cheese Biscuit Dough

  • 1 3/4 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 4-6 Tbs chilled butter
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. shredded Swiss cheese

This recipe is based on the Joy of Cooking biscuit recipe, which I use so much I keep one of my red ribbons to keep this page permanently marked.

Mix the dry ingredients. Using a pastry cutter or large fork, fork butter into the flour mixture until chunky. Add milk and mix with fork until dough is pretty well mixed. Empty onto a floured surface and gently kneed to form a dough until you have a desired thickness. I try not to handle the dough too much, biscuit dough is best if its not overworked. This will help it be nice and flaky. Chill dough until your ready to use it.

A Forkable Birthday

My Mother spent her whole birthday cooking and hosting her Thanksgiving feast. When my sister, Emily, posed the idea of us hosting a dinner at her house to celebrate my Mom’s birthday in style, I was immediately game. She suggested 3 course prefix include personal pot pies as the main course. We knew Mom, being very thrifty by nature, wouldn’t want us to go to any expense, so we decided to go to the store and prepare whatever we found on sale.

Fresh small scallops were on special so we decided a scallop pot pie with a white wine cream sauce would do just nicely. A sale on red potatoes was enough to settle our side dish. One look at the teeny acorn squash on sale at the farmers market and we knew we’d found the bowls for our pot pies. Armed with our produce we headed for home.

Here is the 3 course prefix we served to celebrate our Mom’s Birthday!

Starter: A salad of fresh greens with shaved fennel, apple, walnuts and Danish Bleu cheese with an apple cranberry vinaigrette.

Main Course: Scallop Pot Pies served in an acorn squash bowl with a Swiss cheese biscuit pastry, sided with New England boiled red potatoes with butter, parsley, sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Dessert: 3 Lemon Cheesecake

Our pot pies turned out very well, and my sister’s cheesecake recipe is literally the best cheesecake I have ever eaten.

While eating dinner, we sat around and played a little game our family likes to call “How Much Would You Pay”, where we all sit around a guess at the price we would pay for our meal at a fancy restaurant. For all three courses, guesses ranged from $50 to $75 including alcohol per plate. In truth, our meals cost the hosts about $10 per plate including alcohol. Score!

Stay tuned for the pot pie recipe.

A Super Quick Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving is:
Turkey Pilgrims Pumpkin Pie
We will eat until we die.
Fin.

Did you like my poem? OK, lets make a quick pumpkin pie you can easily squeeze into your busy holiday schedule!

Grandma’s Pumpkin Pie

2/3 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. pumpkin**
2 egggs
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp cinamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1 2/3 c. milk

Mix everything together in a blender. Slowly add milk. The consistency of the filling once you add the milk will be very liquidy.

Pour in a pie crust. Here are the directions to my Grandmother’s Quick Pie Crust recipe.

Brush the edges of the crust with milk.

Bake for 15 minutes at 450 and then lower for 30-40 minutes at 350.


If your tester looks like this, you’re pie is not done.

Check pie with a toothpick or knife to test if done. When tester comes out clean with no pie liquid, your pie is done!

**You can use fresh pumpkin or canned. In my experience the canned pumpkin tastes just as good, and there are not additives in it. Around this time, stores often have the Libby pumpkin on sale pretty cheap. If you want to use fresh pumpkin, you need to cook it first. I suggest roasting in a similar fashion to the butternut squash we roasted for the butternut squash soup recipe.

Basic Butternut Squash Soup

Now that we have our delicious chicken stock, lets use it. This time of year with Thanksgiving approaching, nothing can be better then a delicious butternut squash soup. This is one of the very first things I learned to cook. I used to be one of those people who couldn’t make instant brownies, so that will tell you just how easy this recipe is!


Butternut Squash Soup. Originally uploaded Flickr user ImeldaNZ

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash or 2 small ones
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2-4 Tbs cut maple syrup
  • 2-4 Tbs brown sugar
  • 2 onions
  • 4-6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups potatoes, peeled and cut into 2″ cubes (approx. you don’t need to pull out the ruler)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1-2 Tbs minced ginger depending on your preference
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

I begin my soup with roasting the squash. This caramelizes the sugars in the squash and helps heighten the flavor. To roast:


Squash with seeds removed ready for butter, sugar and syrup. Found on Flickr.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds in both sides. Place squash on a cookie tray flesh side up. Using a fork, pierce the squash multiple times throughout flesh. Place a Tbs of butter in the scooped out area of each squash along with 1-2 Tbs of maple syrup and brown sugar. Place in oven and let roast for about an 30 minutes to an hour or until flesh is tender and is easily pierced with a fork. The time will depend on how big your squash is. When the squash is done, take out of oven and allow to cool.

In a large soup pot, saute onions until clear. Add ginger, curry, and paprika and saute for a couple more minutes to infuse flavors. Add potatoes and chicken stock, bring to a boil and then bring down to a simmer. The amount of stock depends on the amount of squash you have as well as how thick you want your soup. If you want it thicker add less, if you want it to be more soupy add more.

Allow to cook for 15 minutes or so until the potatoes are soft. Using a spoon, scoop butternut squash out of skin and slop into the soup and add the coconut milk. Cook for 10 more minutes. Using an immersion blender, a food processor or even a regular blender puree soup until smooth.


Look at this amazingly decorative garnish made by adding a thick cream in a spiral. Using a knife drag outward from
the center in different directions. Roasted Butternut Squash Soup uploaded by Flickr user Bigbabe715.

Taste your soup and season with salt and pepper accordingly. Taste again and feel free to add more brown sugar and maple syrup to flavor. You can also add more paprika or curry to spice it up. Garnish with sour cream or heavy cream as pictured above and something green like parsley or chives.



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