Thursday, October 15, 2009

Recipe: Acorn Squash Soup

It's a crummy, cold, rainy day, so "comfort food" was in order for dinner. My theme was squash.

Yield: approx. 1.5 qts.
Time: 1 hour to roast and cool the squash, plus 1/2 hour to cook the soup

  • 1 large acorn squash, roasted, and mashed
  • 2 c. chicken broth
  • one onion, chopped
  • salt
  • pepper
  • cumin
  • Madras curry powder
  • pinch of five spice powder
  • one large or two small bay leaves
  • dollop of sour cream for garnish, right before serving
  • optional garnish: a few roasted seeds from the squash
  1. cut open, clean, roast and mash the squash
  2. sautee the onion until translucent, and add the chicken broth, and spices
  3. stir in the mashed squash
  4. simmer for about half an hour, adding more liquid, if needed
  5. adjust seasonings
  6. garnish and serve

Monday, October 12, 2009

Recipe: Salsa Verde

There are probably as many ways to make this as there are people making it -- sort of like chili, really. Here's my version.

Yield: 2/3 of a quart
Time: 20 minutes, if you chop everything by hand, or less, if you use a food processor

  • 7 or 8 tomatillos, finely chopped
  • 4 -5 large cayennes, still at the green stage, seeds, ribs, and all
  • a good handful of fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • half a large onion, or one small one, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt, black pepper, and lime juice
  1. finely chop all your ingredients, except for the garlic, salt, black pepper, and lime juice
  2. combine them, stirring well
  3. Mince your garlic, and stir it in to incorporate it
  4. Season with salt, black pepper, and lime juice until it meets your satisfaction
Notes: This might look watery at first, but tomatillos will set up a bit after the pectin they contain releases. Stir it around, and you have one nice hot sauce to pour over chicken, or dip pita chips. It looks harmless, but it's hot. If you want, you can run it through a food processor, or take a boat motor (immersion blender) to it, but I prefer it with some texture.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Recipe: Feather Bread

This is a fairly quick yeast bread to make, as it only requires one rising before baking. Crunchy on the outside, with a chewy inside, it makes great garlic toast, as well as anything else you might use a baguette for.

Yield: 1 loaf
Time: 10 minutes prep; about an hour to rise; 40 minutes to bake at 425F

  • 1 packet of yeast
  • 1/2 c. warm water
  • 1-1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 3 oz. hot water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbs. butter, cubed
  • 2-1/2 to 3 c. flour
  • egg wash (optional)
  1. proof the yeast with the sugar in the warm water
  2. melt the butter into the hot water with the salt, and let cool
  3. combine the butter and yeast mixtures
  4. stir in flour, one cup at a time, until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl (it'll be a bit sticky, but that's alright)
  5. turn out the dough onto a floured board, and knead it for a few minutes, working in more flour as needed, until it's soft, elastic, and no longer sticky
  6. roll it out into a rectangle, approx. 8" x 12"
  7. roll it up along the wide side like a jelly roll, pinching the ends together as you go
  8. place the formed loaf on a greased baking sheet, cover with a towel, and let rise until doubled in bulk (approx. an hour, or faster, if you use rapid-rise yeast)
  9. optional: brush with egg wash
  10. bake at 425F for 40 minutes, until it looks done, and sounds hollow when you flip it over and rap the bottom with your knuckles
Note: I did not bother to use egg wash on this particular loaf.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Almond Biscotti

I baked these this afternoon. If I'd realized how easy they are to make, I'd have done so before now. The dough is really stiff and crumbly, but the warmth of your hands makes it hold together when you shape it out on the cookie sheet. I probably should have let them cool a little longer before slicing them between bakings, but in the end, they came out fine.

The only part that was kind of a pain was that I didn't have slivered almonds, so I had to soak the whole salted ones I had in warm water for a few minutes, then peel and sliver them by hand, but it wasn't that big a deal.