Posts tagged #thanksgiving

Waste not, want not, part 2: Creamy cauliflower and tomato soup (without the cream) + Thanksgiving roundup

Before the big blowout, I want to clean out my refrigerator to make room for, you know, everything. I also want to eat simply this week. Too much butter consumption, too many sweets, too much of, you know, everything looms on the horizon.

Cauliflower is delicate and so is this soup. It is not bland, but it calibrates low on the spice meter. It is meant to soothe and cleanse, without too much seasoning, too much butter or cream, or just too much. It is what I would call ‘clean food.’ Food where subtle flavors shine with very little intervention. Your palate will be ready for the onslaught.

This soup also helps me free up refrigerator real estate to make room for next week’s market haul. Cauliflower and random tomatoes (use ‘em or roast ‘em) were on the chopping block. I originally made this soup at the end of the summer with the same clean-out-the-fridge agenda, using a head of cauliflower—I do seem to buy them impulsively and then forget to use them—along with some tomato stock. The tomato stock was a by-product of roasting tomatoes for sauce to stash in the freezer for the winter nights when I want to eat my friend Simona’s uovo col pomodoro. My version was made with thinner sauce and was more like soup than Simona’s, but it is a bowl of comfort on a cold night, not to mention a very nice solitary supper when the occasion arises. The twenty pound box from the farm held the wrong kind of tomatoes for sauce—heirlooms—but I went ahead anyway and saved the excess watery juice for stock. And so it goes. If you give a mouse a cookie….

KEEP READING FOR THANKSGIVING RECIPE ROUNDUP

If you are already in Thanksgiving lock-down, save this recipe for later in the winter, or make it to go with turkey sandwiches, especially if you don’t have to do the lion’s share of cooking on Thursday. I’m including a roundup of turkey day recipes, lest you feel I’m leaving you high and dry. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Creamy cauliflower and tomato soup (hold the cream)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, sliced

4 stalks of celery, sliced

1/4 teaspoon coarsely crushed fennel seeds (or more to taste, but it’s assertive)

2 sprigs rosemary

Salt and pepper, to taste

3 plum (San Marzano)  tomatoes from a can, with juice

1 medium head of cauliflower, broken into florets

1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, fennel, and rosemary branches. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes and cauliflower and enough water to reach the level of the cauliflower. Bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is cooked through.

4. Puree soup in a blender until smooth. Reheat, if necessary, and serve with chopped parsley and Parmesan toasts.

For the Parmesan toasts:

Sliced bread, preferably from a really good artisanal style loaf

Olive oil

Grated Parmesan

1. Set a rack about 4 inches from the broiler element, and turn on the broiler.

2. Lightly toast the bread on both sides under the broiler. Remove it from the oven and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan and return it to the oven. Toast it until the cheese melts, about 30 seconds. Watch carefully. Slice into smaller toasts if you like and serve with the soup.

A few Thanksgiving recipes from this blog

Turkey Gravy: You'll never stress about it again

All butter pie crust method 2 tutorial

Cranberry relish :Refreshing and super easy 

Maple candied sweet potatoes (marshmallows not included)

Carrots and cranberries: plus knife skill tutorial

Posted on November 15, 2012 and filed under Fall recipes, Winter food, Soups, Vegetarian.

Let the (Thanksgiving) games begin: roasted squash two ways

It took a while, but now I’m in full thrall of the charm of winter vegetables. 

It started with beautiful carnival squash snagging my attention at the market. But they would be lonely without their buddy, the butternut, which is what I was after in the first place, since everyone knows how easy it is to cut up and roast a butternut squash. What everyone doesn’t know, especially you folks who buy it already peeled and diced (cheaters!) is that the skin of the butternut squash is not all that tough and can be eaten. Also, you cheaters should know, it lasts a much longer time in your fridge in its natural state, in case you do not get around to using it right away.

I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those shoppers who becomes overly inspired at the market by all the good stuff I imagine I can make when I get home, but find I am just a little less enthused when I actually get there. Shopping is debilitating, isn’t it? Anyway, produce often languishes in my refrigerator. I KNOW this is not an uncommon problem, so ‘fess up. And buy squash that hasn’t been meddled with. (Organic if you can find it, and well scrubbed.)

Now I admit, I learned that squash skin is edible by watching a Jamie Oliver cooking show (I’m keeping up so you don’t have to). An unscientific survey, conducted by me, revealed that many British cooks do not bother to peel their butternut squash. If you are going to mash or puree it, you might want to peel it first —I bet Jamie doesn’t—but otherwise, it’s quite good in its natural state, and it adds a little more (unmentionable) fiber to the dish. But it’s a losing battle. By all accounts, most Thanksgiving menus are completely fiber-free, unless you count that lonely overcooked green bean on your plate from Great Aunt Margaret’s casserole.

When it came time to roast the squash, I had to make a vegan version first. Full disclosure: I am not a vegan, but there are people who want vegan recipes, and I aim to please. This consisted of squash sweetened with a little maple syrup, and dressed with some bread crumbs, olive oil, almonds and lots of sage. It was lovely. But what I really craved was some strong, knock-me-down cheesy flavors. Gorgonzola, for example.

By the time I got to the second version, I had used all the butternut squash and the almonds in my cupboard, so I needed to move on to the lovely carnival squash, perhaps made all the more alluring by its practically impenetrable outer covering. Hacking it into pieces requires Ninja-like skills, not to mention equipment, so I experimented by softening it a bit in the microwave first (talk about a cheater). It worked reasonably well, but you must still be prepared for a bit of a fight and some bravado. Once you open it and scoop out the seeds, you still need the same brute force and a heavy knife, but with the squash firmly anchored with the flat side down on a cutting board, images of injured digits recede. For all but the intrepid, the peel of this squash is not so pleasant to eat, but it is much too pretty, and let’s face it, too tricky, to peel, so diners will have to eat their way around it. A worthwhile endeavor.

Butternut squash with almonds and sage

Serves 6 as a side dish

1 butternut squash (2 to 3 pounds)

3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs

1/3 cup coarsely chopped sage leaves

1/2 cup finely chopped almonds

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Scrub the squash but don’t peel it. Halve it lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. With the flat side down on the cutting board, cut it into 1/2-inch thick half-moons.

2. Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons of the oil on a large baking sheet. Spread the squash on the baking sheet in one layer and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Press it into the oil and turn it over. Sprinkle the second side with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes.

3. Mix the breadcrumbs, sage leaves, almonds, maple syrup and remaining tablespoon of oil together in a bowl.

4. Remove the squash from the oven and sprinkle it with the breadcrumb mixture. Return to the oven for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender and the topping is golden brown.

Carnival (or acorn) squash with walnuts and Gorgonzola

Serves 6 as a side dish

1 to 2 carnival or acorn squash

3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

1 1/2 ounces (1/3 cup) crumbled Gorgonzola or blue cheese, more if you like

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Pierce the squash in 3 places with the tip of a sharp knife. Microwave for about 2 minutes to soften slightly. Cut in half from stem to stern and scoop out the seeds. With the flat side down on a cutting board, cut it into 1/2-inch thick half moons.

3. Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons of the olive oil on a large baking sheet. Spread the squash on the baking sheet in one layer and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Press it into the oil and turn it over. Sprinkle the second side with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes.

4. Mix the walnuts, breadcrumbs, Gorgonzola and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil together in a bowl.

5. Remove the squash from the oven and sprinkle it with the breadcrumb mixture. Return to the oven for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender and the topping is golden brown.

Cooking Lesson: How to make fresh breadcrumbs:

For one cup breadcrumbs:

Trim the crusts from 2 to 3 (1/4-inch thick) slices of sturdy white bread. Cut the bread into 1-inch pieces. If the bread is very fresh and soft, spread it on wire rack in one layer and let it sit out for about half an hour. It should not be at all squishy. Toss the bread into a food processor and pulse the machine several times until the bread is in small pieces. The exact size of the crumbs depends on their use, but in general they should not be too finely pulverized. Use immediately or store in a heavy-duty plastic bag in the freezer until needed. (They will keep for about 2 weeks, but eventually will dry out and suffer from freezer burn, so wrap them well.)

Note: A one-pound loaf, such as a Pullman loaf, makes about 5 cups breadcrumbs 

Find more squash recipes here: 

Roasted Delicata Squash from Rialto's Ken and Jody 

Sara Kate's Roasted Squash Salad with Dates via Healthy Green Kitchen

Butternut Apple Soup from A Food-Centric Life

Roasted Delicata Squash from White on Rice Couple

Squash and Quinoa Salad from Cooking Lessons

Posted on November 14, 2011 and filed under Fall recipes, How To, Thanksgiving, Winter food, Bread.