Tag: local

Roasted Butternut Squash, Pears, and Onions with Blue Cheese

The bushel of butternut squash is now gone.  We’ve made a basic squash soup, a fancier soup with beans and ham, butternut hash, butternut butter, and a butternut squash and kale torte.  With the very last squash, I decided to make Roasted Butternut Squash, Pears, and Onions with Blue Cheese.

The title pretty much says it all, but this recipe takes plain roasted vegetables up a notch.  I loved the mix of squash, pears, and onions, and the strong-flavored blue cheese was a great touch.  This would be good as a side dish, or perhaps accompanied by a nice spinach salad.

I am a little sad that the squash is gone, but I am ready to move on to other vegetables.  It’s the end of January, and I haven’t roasted any beets yet!




Roasted Butternut Squash, Pears, and Onions with Blue Cheese

1 butternut squash, peeled, and cut into 1″ chunks
1 Bosc pear, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 Vidalia onion, peeled and sliced
2 T butter
1 T sage, chopped
1/2 t thyme
1 T mustard
1/3 c. crumbled blue cheese

Place squash, pear, and onion in a large bowl.  In a small pot, melt the butter on medium heat.  Add sage and thyme, and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in mustard.  Pour butter mixture over vegetables and toss to coat.

Place vegetables in a 13″x9″ dish.  Bake at 375F for 45-50 minutes, or until tender and brown.  Add cheese, and bake for an additional 5 minutes.


Butternut Squash Butter

Everyone’s heard of pumpkin butter, but with so much butternut squash at my fingertips, I wanted to make butternut butter.  I used this recipe from Eat, Live, Run as a guide.  Thankfully, I also had one big assistant and one little assistant for the project!

We started by weighing the squash, because the amount of squash will drive how much of the other ingredients you need.  However, I cut way back on the sugar from the original recipe – this squash is so sweet on it’s own, you just don’t need that much.  This scale is truly an antique, but it still works.


My big assistant did all the peeling and slicing, and I roasted the squash in the oven.  Then my little assistant helped to measure all the other ingredients and put them in the food processor along with the roasted squash.



My big and little assistants teamed up for the most exciting part – pushing the buttons on the food processor.



The original recipe called for putting the mixture on the stove to thicken, but ours was already quite thick at this point.  I did put it on the stove to heat through, but then we were done and ready to put it in glass jars.  The little assistant got a snack of plain yogurt with a spoonful of butternut butter, which he loved!  I spread some on a piece of whole wheat toast later on, and really enjoyed this fall treat.



Butternut Squash Butter

1 (4 lb.) butternut squash, peeled and sliced thinly
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 t. vanilla
2 T lemon juice

Place butternut squash slices in a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast at 400F for 20-25 minutes.  Repeat this process until all the squash is roasted.  Place squash, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, and lemon juice in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Place mixture in a pan on the stove and cook until thickened, as needed.

-Recipe adapted from Eat, Live, Run

Butternut Squash and Kale Torte

My parents recently took a drive through Rhode Island, and were stunned to see the effects of Hurricane Sandy.  There are so many tragic stories related to this storm.  They saw homes which were flooded, and a landscape redefined by sand which was moved with the power of the wind.  But less than a mile from the beach, farmers were harvesting a large quantity of butternut squash.  So they bought a bushel, which turned out to be 13 butternut squash totaling 40-45 lbs.  That’s a lot of local produce!

The first butternut squash recipe to share is this Butternut Squash and Kale Torte.  With squash, potatoes, kale, red onion, and tomato, this dish is packed with vegetables, and I loved them all.  There’s also both Provolone and Parmesan cheese.  The dish is a series of beautiful layers, and the camera does not do this justice.  The recipe does take a bit of time with all the peeling and slicing, and required about 15 extra minutes in the oven, but the end result is totally worth it.


Roasted Corn and Parmesan Omelet

Can you believe that even after making this large batch of Corn and Zucchini Chowder, there was still a ton of corn left?  My Dad roasted a batch in the oven, and I took some of that home with me, along with a tomato from their garden.  I’ve been pretty busy lately, but I am so happy I took the time the other day to prepare myself this beautiful lunch.



I was inspired by this recipe for Scrambled Eggs with Fresh Corn, Goat Cheese, and Tomatoes.  Really, you should take a look at the link, the picture is gorgeous.  There’s no real recipe here, but I made a 2-egg omelet using about 1/4 c. of roasted corn, and a large tablespoon of freshly grated Parmesan.  At the same time, I sliced the fresh tomato onto a baking sheet and drizzled the slices with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  I baked them at 400F for 10-12 minutes.

In less than 20 minutes, lunch was served.  This was so much better than my other option, yet another peanut butter and banana sandwich. 🙂


Roasted Root Vegetable Megamix

In addition to the Brussels sprouts, Jamie Oliver inspired the roasted root vegetable megamix that we enjoyed on Christmas Day.  I figured it would be easy to get local (Connecticut) root vegetables to use in the recipe.  Our first stop was the Billings Forge Farmer’s Market in Hartford, where we were able to purchase a nice bunch of carrots.  One of the vendors also offered beet greens, but unfortunately did not have beets or turnip available.  Our next stop was the Wethersfield Winter Farmer’s Market, which did not really have any produce for sale.  We did buy some fresh lemon thyme though, and incorporated the herb into the recipe.  After stopping at two different grocery stores, we had turnips, beets, and parsnips and were ready to roll.



First, we parboiled the parsnips, carrots, and turnips for about 7-8 minutes in a large pot.  We parboiled the beets for close to 30 minutes in a separate pan.  Then, each vegetable was mixed with the ingredients listed below, and placed in a homemade foil compartment.

Carrots: olive oil, salt, pepper, juice of 1/2 orange, dried rosemary
Parnsnips: olive oil, salt, pepper, splash of white vinegar, fresh lemon thyme
Beets: olive oil, salt, pepper, splash balsamic vinegar, dried oregano
Turnips: olive oil, salt, pepper, splash red vinegar, dried crushed bay leaves


Finally, we roasted the vegetables at 375F for about 45 minutes and mixed them together to serve.


The real benefit to this method is that each vegetable tastes unique, but complements the other vegetables.  The beets were my favorite, with a nice flavor from the balsamic vinegar and oregano.  My second favorite though were the parsnips which were roasted with the lemon thyme.  While this recipe was a little labor intensive, it was fun to experiment .  Root vegetables are going to be in season for a while, so there’s plenty of time to try some combinations and see what you like best!

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!  Our Christmas Eve buffet was splendid, featuring a beautiful antipasto salad, stuffed shrimp, meatballs, kielbasa and sauerkraut, and homemade manicotti.  And of course, a dessert buffet featuring fruit salad, apple cranberry crisp, candy, and lots of cookies.

Christmas dinner was a much smaller affair, and so we planned a simpler meal centered around these stuffed chicken breasts featured on the Today Show.  If you’ve ever struggled to cut a pocket in a chicken breast, you need to watch this video and see Mark Bittman’s easy method for making stuffed chicken.

The stuffing in the original recipe calls for pine nuts and raisins, but my Mom made a more savory stuffing.  We started with Connecticut-grown spinach purchased from the Billings Forge Farmer’s Market in Hartford.  After the spinach was sauteed, we added panko breadcrumbs, pancetta, vegetable broth, and Parmesan cheese.  Then my Dad pounded the chicken breasts and placed the stuffing between two pieces, securing it with string.  We sauteed the chicken breasts on each side until lightly brown.

This pan went right into the oven, and in about 15-20 minutes, the chicken breasts were cooked through.  The chicken was removed from the pan, and we made the sauce with balsamic vinegar and mustard as indicated in the original recipe.  Accompanied by potatoes, root vegetables, Brussels sprouts, and cranberry sauce, it was a great meal.


We all loved the chicken, and this method of stuffing the breasts was so much easier than traditional methods.  The vegetable recipes are coming up next!


Cooking Bok Choy

I went to the Copley Square farmer’s market on Friday afternoon, and although it was great to see so many fall vegetables, I was missing my greens.  I almost bought some kale, but then I spotted a big bunch of bok choy.  I’ve cooked both regular and baby bok choy before, but never felt very confident that I was preparing it properly.  This weekend I found an excellent bok choy tutorial which takes you through the process step by step.  One of the best tricks I learned is to put the garlic and ginger in the pan before it heats up.

I had such a large bunch of bok choy that I had to stuff it into the pan to get the lid on, and it took longer to steam than the one minute suggested.  But I am sure things will go more smoothly if you’re not trying to cook so much at once!  I served the bok choy on a bed of brown rice, topped with an egg.  It was a delicious weekend lunch, and I’ll be sure to pick up another bunch soon.