Thursday, December 15, 2011

Baked Delicata Squash with Apple Filling

This is another Boistfort recipe. I like what Heidi and Mike posted about the recipe: "Get crazy when it comes to filling choices and use up your carrots or fennel or whatever. This dish is the meaning of fall. We often top with a little cheese and have even been known to add sausage to filling."

1 delicata squash
1 apple, chopped*
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/4 c. (or so) leeks, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/4 c. (or so) slivered almonds or chopped walnuts
Butter (a tablespoon or so)
Water (a couple tablespoons)
Salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the delicata squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds, and compost them. Place the squash halves facedown in a shallow, ovenproof dish. Add about a quarter-inch of water to the dish. Combine the remaining ingredients (except the salt) in another small, ovenproof dish. Cover this dish with foil (or a lid, if it's fancy like that. I used a glass loaf pan, so foil it was for me). Put both dishes in the preheated oven, and bake for 45 minutes or so--until the squash is tender. Stir the filling once or twice during baking, re-covering it each time. Once everything is cooked, salt the squash halves. Add salt to the filling to taste, then scoop the filling into the squash halves.

*We rarely peel our produce (apples, beets, carrots, potatoes, etc.). It just doesn't seem necessary, because the texture of the peel doesn't bother any of us, it's often quite nutritious, and since we're using organic produce, we don't need to worry about the pesticides that would otherwise be present in large amounts in the peel.

Tasty. Liam and Annika loved it especially well. Steve and I liked it a lot too but felt that it could use a bit more salt to balance out the sweetness of the delicata and the apples. (We didn't sprinkle the filling with salt, but I added that to the recipe above, and we'll do it next time.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Winter CSA, Month 2 (December)

Here's what was in this month's box from Boistfort:

Apples (cameo)
Cabbage (red)
Carrots (purple)
Celery Root (a.k.a. celeriac)
Onions (yellow)
Parsley (Italian, a.k.a. flat-leaf)
Pears (d'Anjou)
Potatoes (Yukon gold and French fingerling)
Winter Squash (carnival, delicata, and orange kabocha)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Buttercup Squash and Leek Soup

Here's another delicious, easy soup recipe for you. This one uses buttercup squash (different from butternut squash). The recipe comes from Boistfort. I made a half recipe, and it yielded about 4 servings. You can easily double the ingredient amounts if you want a bigger batch of soup.

I know this looks a whole lot like the Esau's Soup I posted last week, but I promise it's not the same photo.

2 c. (or so) sliced leeks--white and light-green parts only
1 medium buttercup squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/4 c. dry white wine (e.g., Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay)
3 c. chicken stock (or 3 c. water and 3 t. Better than Bouillon organic chicken base, which is what I used)
Salt, to taste (I didn't add very much)
White pepper, to taste (start small, because it can be powerful stuff)
Chopped fresh chives, for garnish (optional; I didn't use them because I didn't have any--my garden is sleeping until spring)

Put the sliced leeks, chopped squash, white wine, and chicken stock into a stock pot. Cover the pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes--until the squash is tender. Remove the pot from the heat and let cool for 15 minutes or so. Carefully purée the soup with an immersion blender (a regular blender will work too). Add salt and white pepper to taste. Garnish with chives if desired.

This soup is smooth, thick, and delicious. We all loved it. The white pepper is a perfect touch; I don't recommend skipping it unless you absolutely can't find some.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sweet-Potato Black-Bean "Enchiladas"

I saw this recipe in a recent Penzeys catalog, and it looked too tasty and intriguing to pass up.

In retrospect, I really wish I'd cut the "enchilada" open so you could see the filling in this photo.

2 large sweet potatoes, diced (no need to peel them)
1/2 c. shoyu (soy sauce) or tamari
1 c. apple cider vinegar, divided
1 T. (or so) neutral-tasting cooking oil (I used canola)
2 leeks, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 lb. chorizo (optional; we opted for it)
1 t. (or so) cumin
Red pepper flakes, to taste
One 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed (or about 1/2 c. dried black beans, soaked overnight)
3 c. (or so) shredded cheddar, divided
Flour tortillas (6 big ones if you want huge enchiladas, or maybe 12 medium ones for more reasonable-sized portions. I used 6 huge ones and ended up eating half of one, because it was ridiculously enormous.)
Sour cream

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Put the potatoes, shoyu/tamari, and 2/3 c. of the apple cider vinegar into a large saucepan over medium-ish heat. Bring the liquid to a boil. Cover the saucepan and boil, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are very soft and the liquid is mostly absorbed (30 minutes or so).* Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and garlic, stir to coat, then add the chorizo and cumin and cook until everything is wonderfully fragrant and the chorizo is cooked through. Add the remaining 1/3 c. of apple cider vinegar, the pepper flakes, and the black beans. Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover the pan, and continue to cook until it looks and smells too delicious not to taste. When the sweet potatoes are soft, mash them (but leave them somewhat lumpy). Combine the sweet potatoes with the chorizo/bean deliciousness, and stir in 1 c. of the cheddar. Divide the mixture evenly between the tortillas. Fold and roll each filled tortilla the way you would a chimichanga (go to the link and scroll down for photos of this process; skip the toothpick part unless you want to be picking splinters out of your teeth). Snuggle the filled tortillas together in a lightly greased 9x13" pan. Even if you pack them super tightly, you may end up needing a smaller auxiliary pan to hold the overflow tortillas. Top the tortillas with the rest of the cheddar. Bake them at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes, or until the cheese starts to bubble. Then broil them for 3-5 minutes more, until the cheese is golden brown. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

*I actually had a lot of trouble with this step. I cooked those darned sweet potatoes for a long time, and I kept having to add more vinegar and shoyu, because it was absorbing (I suspect it was actually evaporating) at a rapid rate, while the sweet potatoes remained resolutely firm. I think part of the issue was that I cut the sweet potatoes into large-ish chunks. Dice would've cooked through more quickly. I've also upped the amount of liquid in the recipe to help, and I think covering the saucepan (which the source recipe didn't mention and I didn't do) should keep the liquid around longer. I'll admit that the instructions I've posted in the recipe are a bit of a guess; I'll update the recipe more firmly once I've tried my new method (I'd welcome your comments if you try it). It's possible that you may actually end up needing to uncover the saucepan to allow some liquid to evaporate once the sweet potatoes soften. I do think this recipe is worth a try, though. After all, I loved the finished product despite the procedural difficulties.

These were delicious. We all liked them well, and we'll definitely make them again. The cheese on top formed a delicious crust on the flour tortillas, and the filling had a wonderful spicy-sweetness to it. I put enchiladas in quotation marks in the recipe title, because these are not like any enchiladas I've ever had. I'm used to my enchiladas being made with corn tortillas and drenched in sauce. These were much drier (prior to the application of salsa and sour cream). And in texture, they were really more like chimichangas, though without the deep-frying.