Posts Tagged ‘butternut squash’
If there was a ever a time I wish I vlogged, it would be now, so I could give you all a big ol’ “HELLO!” a la My Drunk Kitchen. (MDK is totally worth the clicks, btw. Harto’s antics crack me up without fail, and that’s saying something, Frederick!) Sadly, they say the camera adds 10lbs, so my video debut is still SEVERAL Pilates sessions away.
In any case, though, I can assure you I’m back from, well… let’s see: late-summer blogger malaise, crazy work (it’s year-end for Feds, and that’s about as much fun as a barrel of bubonic monkeys), serial party-throwing, and, oh yeah, a faboo week in Costa Rica (looks tragic, right?) communing with birds and frogs and snakes and monkeys of the non-bubonic variety.
Now, while I am absolutely a-twizzle with new fun things to write , I did want go get back into the swing of doing Menu Mondays. It’s one of the few things I’ve gotten good (ok, ANY) feedback on lately, so tally ho. And, since we’ve been luxuriating in deliciously crispy fall weather here in D.C. for the past few days, I thought a tasty meal that celebrated back-to-school, the impending harvest, and the no-longer-so-far-away holidays would be just the thing.
We kick off with a crisp, juicy salad of fennel and apples with a bright cider vinaigrette, and continue in that sweet-savory vein with a toothsome combination of roasted butternut squash, kale, and raisins tossed with pasta and Parmesan cheese. Plums nestled in a almond-y batter and quickly baked off make a suitably autumnal conclusion.
These dishes’ dependence on seasonal produce links them together in a very appealling fashion. If, however, you’re like Mr. T and look slightly askance at sweet-savory pairings, you can omit the raisins from the pasta and reduce the cider in the vinaigrette. I absolutely love them as they are, however, and I’d encourage you to try them as-is first.
Hard to believe that it’s been a year of blogging, but here we are with fall knocking on the door and I’m again contemplating my very favorite curcurbit, the butternut squash. Last year, it was medieval squash soup and fall pasta; this year, I got into the groove a bit earlier and worked up a salad of roasted squash and spicy arugula with a divine maple-mustard vinaigrette.
Inspired by a picture of something similar on tastespotting (don’t click through unless you’ve got a few hours to burn browsing…), I’m most pleased by the dressing. Just a version of my basic salad vinaigrette, swapping maple in for the honey coaxes out some lovely, lovely nuances in the squash and brings everything together.
Its things like that that convince me that maple as a flavor is sorely underused. People get burned, I think, by unpleasantly gritty maple candy and “pancake syrup” which has real maple syrup in it the way a bone dry martini has vermouth in it. Real maple syrup has such a uniquely wonderful flavor, in addition to its sweetness. So much so that I kind of want to take a bath in this dressing. I’m sure it’s really good for the skin…