- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.2lzcOnhH.dpuf Nothing but Delicious: October 2012

A guide to winter squash: butternut squash leftovers

If you happen to have leftovers from my Lemony Butternut Squash, you're in luck. It's the perfect base for the easiest pasta sauce. All you do is blend it, 1/3 to 1/2 cup milk or cream and 2T brown sugar for every one cup of squash. Toss with pasta and top with cheese.

And I know leftovers are all about cooking with what you have on hand, so please use this recipe as a learning experience; always have orecchiette in your pantry and pecorino in your fridge. Orecchiette is an adorable shape of pasta, named so because it is the shape of little ears. Personally, it reminds me more of tiny bowls, each holding its own considerable portion of creamy sauce. Pecorino is a sheep milk (more accurately Ewe's milk) cheese that is hard and nutty and a lot like Parmesan, only better. The sauce, tangy and sweet, nestles gently into the indents of the pasta, and is cut by the saltiness and nuttiness of the cheese...and all of it, piping hot. Aren't winter dinners the coziest?

What are you having for dinner tonight?

A guide to winter squash: butternut squash relish

When I cube my squash to roast, I'm completely obsessive about the precise evenness of each piece. So naturally I have all sorts of funny-shaped odds and ends leftover and I can't bear to throw them out; the color is too pretty and the smell is too sweet to go to waste.

There's really only one thing, one surprising and amazing thing, that you can do with uneven bits of squash. You can pickle it. The color stays vibrant, the flavor is unlike anything you've had before and it's the perfect crunch on top of chicken, fish or tacos. Most surprising of all, butternut squash is best pickled with Asian flavors: rice vinegar, fresh ginger and green onions.

How does your family cook (or not cook) butternut squash?

Butternut Squash Relish

1 cup finely chopped butternut squash
1T brown sugar
1T rice vinegar
1t oil
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 heaping teaspoon fresh grated ginger (use a microplane, please)
large pinch kosher salt (to taste)

Saute onions and ginger in oil over medium heat for about one minute. Mix all ingredients into a jar and let sit overnight before using.

For tacos:

black refried beans
crema, sour cream, creme fraiche, etc
feta, queso blanco, queso fresco, etc


I think chocolate is by far my favorite thing to shoot and style, just so you know.

{You can buy smoked nib brittle here.}

A guide to winter squash: Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is the most common and the cheapest of all winter squash. Because it is pretty time consuming to peel and cut, I don't recommend going to the trouble of making it into anything even slightly complicated, such as soup. Just pop it in the oven and let it go! Magical things will happen. 
The traditional way to cook butternut squash usually involves warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice and brown sugar. But don't let that limit you. It also pairs extremely well with herbs like sage and rosemary, as well as mild acids like meyer lemon and balsamic vinegar. And oh man, is it tasty in Mexican food! Try roasting butternut squash simply with salt, pepper and olive oil, then toss it in a bowl with some quinoa, black beans, cilantro and queso blanco. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again: use a sturdy vegetable peeler and a big, heavy knife that you sharpen regularly. I like to peel butternut squash, then cut it horizontally so that I have a flat surface with which to work.

Lemony Butternut Squash
-serves six as a side dish

4 cups butternut squash, chopped into 1" cubes (about a 4-5 pound squash)
1/3 cup meyer lemon juice*
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup water
1 (heaping) T chopped fresh sage
1 (heaping) t kosher salt

Preheat oven to 500. Toss all ingredients together in a casserole dish. Bake for 25 minutes, toss, then bake for another 25 minutes.

*It is important that you use meyer lemons. They have the same acidity as regular lemons without the intense tartness. Don't you dare use pre-squeeze lemon juice! (It will ruin this dish.)

P.S. I've been working on my photo editing skills- what do you think?

A Guide to Winter Squash: Spaghetti Squash

Winter squash is an obsession of mine. Over the next few weeks I'll be talking about it a lot: spaghetti, butternut, acorn, red kuri and pumpkin. We'll start with spaghetti because I find it to be both the easiest to work with and the most versatile.

In the store you'll notice that spaghetti squash is, well, unassuming. It's not the vibrant color of the red kuri squash, nor is it prominently displayed like pumpkins. Spaghetti squash is oblong and is the warmest shade of butter yellow, sometimes speckled with green on one side. Don't bother with small ones; generally speaking, the larger a squash is, the more flavorful.
Obviously you can substitute it for real spaghetti in any pasta dish. Personally, I find this approach to be...a let down. The texture of spaghetti squash, no matter how long you cook it, is never going to scratch your pasta itch. Because of its slightly sweet, bright and nutty flavor, I prefer to serve my spaghetti squash with things like warm spices, curry and parsley.  It's also really delicious in a frittata with cilantro and feta.

 Spiced Spaghetti Squash
-serves four 

one 3 to 3.5 lb spaghetti squash*
4T salted butter
2t chopped garlic
2T brown sugar
1t coriander
scant 1/2t cardamom*
3/4t kosher salt

1/4 cup cashews

Poke your squash with a fork ten in ten places. Microwave on high for five minutes, turn, and microwave for another nine minutes. Let it cool for five minutes. Slice squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds with a spoon and pull out the flesh with a fork. In a small bowl, combine spices, sugar and salt. In a medium sauce pan with high sides, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly golden (being very careful not to burn any little bits). Add spice mixture, then squash and toss to combine. Top with herbs and cashews.

*I recommend you buy this in the bulk section of Whole Foods. You can purchase a few tablespoons for less than a dollar instead of purchasing a whole container for $12.
* If you get a different size, microwave for about five minutes per pound, or until the squash is slightly soft to the touch.  

An Announcement: East Nashville Brunch Club

I really like it when people say that I'm lovely, but the truth of the matter is this, my friends: most days I don't wear makeup. I've lived in my house since June and I'm yet to hang anything on the walls. I eat rice and beans for lunch every week day. My life isn't very glamorous.
But it's fun to dress up and pretend, isn't it? Last weekend was like a dream. In our Sunday finest, I and 14 others sat down to brunch in my back yard and had the most delicious eggs poached in spicy tomato sauce, accompanied by bread from Bella Nashville. We laughed and drank while the dogs chased each other around. And then we drank some more.
I'm happy to announce that I will be a hosting a brunch club on the second Sunday of every month. Because what's lovelier or more glamorous than brunch? Pretty much nothing, in my opinion. There will be 12 seats available at each gathering. Please email me (the link is at the top right of this page) for details.
 [a moment of particular happiness]

Caramelized and Crispy Sweet Potato Fries with Gorgonzola Dipping Sauce

Fall crept up on me this year. In all the years I've lived in Nashville, we've gone straight from summer to winter, but this year it's happening just right. The very tips of the trees are blushing with color, the mornings are dense and crisp, the afternoons golden and warm, and someone, somewhere in my neighborhood always seems to be fueling a campfire.
My days are full to the brink and they're noisy. Coffee bubbles, my fingers tap the keys on my laptop; plates clank and leaves crunch under foot. Pixel howls at the top of her lungs, warning me that a family of wild turkeys has wandered into our yard, as they do almost every morning. 

At night I want to be comforted. I want to hear the rhythm of my vegetable peeler gracefully sliding across potatoes and the gentle thump, thump, thump of my knife hitting the cutting board. I want to eat hot, crispy sweet potato fries for dinner while wrapped securely under a down blanket. So I do. And I highly recommend it.
I've said this before and I'll say it again (and again and again): use a sturdy peeler and a big, heavy knife that you sharpen regularly

For the fries:
2 large sweet potatoes
3/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 cup water
1/2 cup white rice flour
cooking spray (I like canola)

Peel and cut your sweet potatoes into half moons, about 1/4" thick. In a shallow baking dish or bowl, mix water and soy sauce. Let potatoes soak anywhere from one hour to overnight. Drain potatoes and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Preheat oven to 425. Place potatoes and rice flour in a large bag and shake until coated. Remove excess flour and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Coat both sides of potatoes generously with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes, turn and bake for another ten minutes. Enjoy!

*This can feed anywhere between two and five people, depending on how hungry they are. 

For the sauce:
1/2 cup greek yogurt (any fat percentage will do)
1/4 t kosher salt
2T creamy gorgonzola cheese
1T very finely chopped red onion

Let cheese come to room temperature. Mix all ingredients together with a fork.

*Thin the sauce out with milk if you're that kind of person. Personally, I like to schmear a tower of sauce on top of each fry. In fact, I cut the potatoes into half moons to increase their surface area...

A New Beginning

This morning I woke up to the gentle pitter-patter of rain outside my window and for a moment I thought, I'm late! But then I remembered: today is the day, the day I've been anxiously awaiting for weeks and weeks. Today I'm a free woman. Starting today I am working and writing and shooting and cooking and doing all the things I love from home.

So here are the rules for my new beginning:
{adapted from Henry Miller's "Work Schedule, 1932-1933"}

1.  Work on one thing at a time until finished.
2. Don't be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly, on whatever is in hand.
3. Work according to schedule and not according to mood.
4. When you can't create, you can do dishes.
5. Stay social. See people, go places. Drink if you feel like it.
6. Don't be a drone bee. Work with pleasure only.
7. Review your work from the previous day and take note of what you did well and what you might improve. 
8. Forget about the projects you want to do. Think only of the one you are doing.
9. Write first and always.
10. Do the next right thing. (That one is what my Mom always tells me.)

Now off to edit photos from this happy occasion:
 {Colleen from Say Ooh looking fine in my dress}