November 10, 2010 § 3 Comments
Since I’ve been trying to blog on a more regular basis, I’ve loosely assigned topics to each day, such as “Pretty Things” Tuesday, to give me a bit of structure. I thought I’d devote Wednesday’s posts to my baking
fiascos adventures. However, last night I made this butternut squash dish from the 101 Cookbooks archives and I just have to share it with you today. And I insist that you make it for dinner tonight. Or at least sometime this week. My wacky pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe will have to wait until tomorrow.
I’ve made this dish before, but with barley since I couldn’t find farro*. It was good with the barley, but yesterday I found semi-pearled farro in my natural foods store and, wow, it was great. The texture is chewy and hearty. I could easily imagine it being just as tasty as a lightly sweetened breakfast cereal: the texture would hold up mixed in some plain yogurt with honey and berries. Or with a splash of almond milk, a bit of maple syrup, and some raisins and sunflower seeds. What I’m saying is that it’s a versatile grain.
I love the velvety, caramely flavor that the splash of balsamic vinegar gives to the squash and onions while they’re roasting.
And don’t even get me started on the toasted walnuts. SO GOOD. They cannot be left out. As Heidi mentions in her post, she wanted this recipe to be all about the walnuts.
And the goat cheese? Please. It goes without saying that it’s the perfect addition.
The flavors and textures in this dish cavort and mingle and end up being perfection in a bowl.
Farro and Roasted Butternut Squash
From Heidi at 101 Cookbooks
If you are pressed for time, opt for a lightly or semi-pearled farro (actually easier to find in some places), which will cut the cooking time for the grains down to about 20 minutes. Barley, both hulled and pearled, would make a nice substitution if you are having trouble finding farro. Also, I found the beautiful red spring onions at the farmers’ market but regular red onions will work well, and will be much easier to find.
2 cups farro, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
5 cups water (or stock)
3 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice (try putting the whole squash in the oven while it’s preheating (about 10 minutes). The squash will soften a bit and make it easier to cut – pwa)
1 large red onion cut into 1/8ths
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup walnuts, deeply toasted
3 tablespoons toasted walnut oil (or more olive oil)
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 375.
Combine the farro, salt, and water in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the farro is tender, 45 minutes to an hour, or about half the time if you are using semi-pearled farro. Taste often as it is cooking, you want it to be toothsome and retain structure. (I brought my pot to a boil, reduced heat to simmer, covered, and the farro was a nice texture after about 15 minutes – pwa) Remove from heat, drain any excess water, and set aside.
While the farro is cooking toss the squash, onion, and thyme with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a couple big pinches of salt on a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange in a single layer and place in the oven for about 20 minutes. (I let mine roast for nearly an hour – pwa) Toss the squash and onion every 5-7 minutes to get browning on multiple sides. Remove from the oven, let cool a bit, and mince just 1/2 of the red onions.
In a large bowl gently toss everything (except the goat cheese) with the toasted walnut oil (or olive oil). Taste and add a bit of salt if necessary. Serve family-style in a simple bowl or on a platter garnished with the goat cheese.
Serves 6-8 as a side, less as a main.
*If your grocery store has Ethnic Food aisles, you may want to look in the Italian aisle for farro.
October 10, 2010 § 7 Comments
If it seemed like I was weeping while I wrote recent posts about Peter, it’s because I was. And while I’m not crying now, I did shed a few tears after we turned his crib into a toddler bed yesterday morning:
It’s just that SO much is changing now, it’s a bit jarring. He’s changing every day and I can barely keep up with him, nevermind document all the ways he’s changing.
He was a pretty uneventful baby. He nursed like a champ. He rarely put things in his mouth. He didn’t start crawling until he was 11 months old. He didn’t walk until he was 16 months old. He stayed out of the kitchen cabinets. He never played in the toilet. His infant calendar is mostly blank because homeboy didn’t do anything until he was 6 months old, when he started growing some teeth. Even that was a little boring, frankly, since he didn’t have teething pain or anything.
I am not complaining. I think we’ve had it pretty easy with him and I’m so unbelievably grateful. There are definitely more good times than bad times with this kid.
I guess I’m feeling so weepy because I know now that my baby days are over. My baby is now–after a ridiculously quick 3 years–no longer a baby. And we’re not having another baby. Most of the time I’m ok with that fact, but sometimes I feel really sad when I realize that my body will never again produce another human being. Imagining my shriveled ovaries makes me feel old. Which I am, and that’s never fun to think about, right?
Ahhh, blah, blah, blah….enough with the mid-life crisis, Amy Anyway, after a wonderful day at the park, we came home and I made this Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili served in Pumpkin Bowls (thanks to Angela at Oh She Glows and Emily at The Front Burner for sharing this recipe).
Emily’s Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili in Pumpkin Bowls
- 3 mini [sugar] pumpkins *
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small butternut squash, cubed *
- 2 cups black beans (1 lg can), drained and rinsed
- 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp chili powder (or more to taste)
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp paprika
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- Sea salt, Spicy Herbamare, and pepper to taste
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Take mini pumpkin and slice the top off about 3/4 of the way up. Scoop out insides of the pumpkin using a grapefruit spoon. This part takes a long time- about 10 minutes per pumpkin so budget your time wisely. Save and rinse the pumpkin seeds to roast them with some olive oil and salt if desired. When your pumpkins are empty and cleaned out, brush the insides with olive oil and sprinkle on sea salt and ground pepper to your heart’s content. You will be eating the pumpkin flesh so you want it to taste delicious! Now pop your pumpkins onto a baking pan and into the oven for 30 minutes. While they are roasting in the oven, make the chili. In a large pot, add the oil and turn heat to medium. Add chopped onion and minced garlic and sauté the onion for about 5 minutes or so. Reduce heat if necessary to avoid burning. Now add the chopped pepper and butternut squash. Cook for about 12-15 minutes. Now add in the drained and rinsed beans, diced tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, paprika, vegetable broth, and S & P and stir well. Simmer on low-medium for another 5 minutes. Now remove your pumpkins from the oven and fill the bowls 3/4 of the way full. Place pumpkins carefully back into the oven (again without top) and bake for another 30 minutes. Once they are cooked, turn oven off and leave pumpkins in the oven with lid on to stay warm. They will stay hot in the oven for another hour if necessary.
*A tip for preparing squash/pumpkins: Place the whole squash on a baking sheet and put it in the oven while it’s preheating (about 10 minutes). This will soften the squash a bit to make cutting through the beautiful monster easier. I’ve used this method on acorn squash, mini pumpkins and a medium-sized butternut squash and I found that cutting is much, much easier.
I followed this recipe exactly to serve 3 people, but I had a bunch of chili that wouldn’t fit into my pumpkins! I must have bought super-mini pumpkins. I’m fine with the leftovers, though, as I plan on serving them over quinoa and topping the dish with roasted pumpkin seeds. I’m psyched for lunch!
So, I mentioned in the title of this post that the chili was beautiful, but potent. Yeah, about that. I was fine and Peter was fine, but my poor husband, well, let’s just say that he was primed for a colonoscopy when all was said and done. I felt so bad. I don’t know what happened. It wasn’t that spicy. I blame the combination of Alka Seltzer (he took it earlier in the night for his allergies), a pumpkin beer and chili powder. He does have a history of reacting badly to spicy food. I’m sharing this just to warn you that if you or your loved one is a wuss has a sensitive belly, you may want to dial back the spices. (But it really wasn’t that spicy. I’m just sayin’.)