SIGH

suuuuuuuper bummed i missed lucero at first ave last night. but after about 6 years of going to their shows, paying $35 to see them as an opener just wouldn’t do (they are touring with social distortion). i was hoping my extreme internet luck would result in the winning of tickets, but alas, i’ll have to wait until next time, ben nichols.

fall squash with pasta recipe

i love when recipes i encounter come at a time when all the same ingredients happen to already be in my kitchen. for this pasta dish – the only thing i had to pick up was the pasta. and of course, i had to add some good bacony salty goodness in there to compliment the sweet squash. this was great for a dinner and even better for lunch the next couple of days. i revived it with a tiny drizzle of olive oil when reheating.


PASTA with BUTTERNUT SQUASH, BACON, SAGE & PINE NUTS
(adapted, ever so slightly, from here)

6 strips bacon, cooked, blotted and chopped
1 medium butternut squash
1 small sweet onion, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup fresh sage leaves
1 pound whole wheat pasta (I used shells)
3/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
4 ounces high quality Parmesan, shredded or shaved (about a cup total)

Heat the oven to 375°. Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the strings and seeds the middle cavity. Flip the squash halves upside down and peel them. Cut the squash into 1-inch cubes. Toss with the onion, garlic, a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper. Mince about half of the fresh sage leaves and also toss with the squash (I forgot to mince half the sage and didn’t realize I didn’t until 10 minutes into the roasting – I just threw them in them and it didn’t seem to be a problem – you know, in case you also forget)

Spread the squash mixture in a thin layer on a large baking sheet and roast for about 40 minutes or until the squash is soft.

Heat salted pasta water to boiling and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.

While pasta is cooking and squash is roasting, fry up the bacon. Place strips on paper towels to blot and once cooled, chop into bits.

As the squash finishes roasting, heat about two tablespoons of olive oil in a large high-sided sauté pan. The oil is ready when it pops and sputters. (Don’t let it start smoking.) Drop in the rest of the sage leaves and fry for about a minute, or until they begin to just shrivel up.

Remove with a slotted spoon and salt lightly. Crush with the back of a spoon.

Add half the pasta to the pan, along with half the roasted squash mixture and half the crumbled bacon. Crumble in half the sage. Cook, stirring frequently, for five minutes or until the pasta is heated through and getting crispy on some of the edges. Add the pine nuts and cook for another minute. Stir in half the cheese and serve.

*recipe note: the original maker split the cooking of the ingredients in half because you really want the pasta to get pan fried – it makes for a great flavor and yummy slight crunchy texture – don’t crowd the pan!

astonishingly accurate homemade oreos

when i saw a recipe for homemade oreos, i had two thoughts. the first one was, “whoa, those look good” and the second, “there is no way you can replicate a factory made cookie filling.” let me tell you, my friend, this filling is DEAD ON. make these and be amazed. the cookie part is close too, especially if you lessen the amount of sugar like the original recipe note suggests.

also, i don’t know if i’ve ever talked about it on here, but one of the reasons that i grew to love baking so much (aside from the obvious ones), is that taking the time to prepare the cake, pie, muffin, etc., actually helps me eat LESS of them. i don’t know why, maybe because i get so much satisfaction out of the process that i don’t feel the need to gobble it all up. however, in the case of these oreos – i think i ate 10 that first night. be warned!


HOMEMADE OREOS (originally found here)

For the chocolate wafers:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

For the filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.

In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg.

Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.

Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. *don’t flatten too much – i made this mistake and some of the edges were too thin and got a bit burnt. i still ate them*

Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.

To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.

To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie on top of the filling and press to evenly push it out to the edges. *i initially put too little filling in the cookies and had to pull them apart to add more, so don’t be shy – fill the cookies up!*

-and now munch away! preferably with a cold glass of milk 🙂

re-purposed

i love thrifting. you know what i love more than thrifting? finding new uses for all the random thrifty items i bring home. i’m thinking about starting an etsy store for just my vintage and re-purposed things. seriously, i am super awesome at finding super great house things 🙂

homemade cake stands. so far i’ve only invested in black and white paint, but eventually i plan to branch out to other colors. i just love pops of color against black surfaces though.


my latest chalkboards! the green one is my current favorite. i love the little yellow and white flowers.


and some instax mini photos i took of some lovely fall foliage – just for fun!

mini apple galettes

you’ve probably guessed from all my blah blah blahing about it, that fall is one of my favorite seasons. when you live in minnesota, fall is the most perfect time of year – changing leaves, bonfires every weekend, sunny and crisp smelling days, sweet breezy nights and APPLES. i may be a little biased, but if you have not had a minnesota honeycrisp, you have not had an apple.

a couple weeks ago, when sweater and tights time rolled in, i got a craving for pie. warm, yummy apple pie to be exact. luckily, dave showed up one night with a 3 lb bag of haralsons – one of the best varieties for baking. smart guy. and since i have a deep love of miniature things, apple pie became (lots) of mini apple galettes.

MINI APPLE GALETTES

the basic crust recipe can be found here
*i ended up doubling the recipe – and still had to make it twice for the amount of filling i prepared. i rolled each ball of dough into a rough tube and cut each tube into 6 pieces, making 12 pieces (and galettes) total, with a little bit of leftover dough

FILLING
(per 2 cups fruit)
2 cups fruit
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
splash of vanilla extra
a couple shakes of cinnamon

*1 tablespoon unsalted butter per galette*

roll each piece of dough out onto a floured surface, as close to a circle as you can get it. no big deal though, you can trim the edges to even it out. put about 3/4 cup of filling in the middle (more or less depending on how big the galette is). start at one side and gather the sides and make little pleats as you go around, pinch slightly to hold the pleats together.

place galettes on a cookie sheet (i could fit 3 per sheet). put a pat of butter, in the middle, on top of the filling – bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling gently.

with 12 of these, i baked 6 and then vacuum sealed and froze 6. if you’re planning on freezing any, increase baking time to 55-60 minutes.

playing catch up

this morning, pineapple came upstairs with me when i was getting ready for work. he plopped right down on the bed and made himself comfy – it was too cute and i couldn’t resist squeezing in some cuddle time (even though i was already running late for work).

sorey for my lack of relevant posts lately. i’ve been cooking and baking up a storm, but have yet to have time to photograph anything in decent lighting. so next week expect to see:

-vietnamese crepes
-apple galettes
-homemade oreos
-irish car bomb cupcakes
-my mighty swell pop-up shop highlights
-maybe even a craft project or two

HAPPY WEEKEND!

curried red kuri squash & potato soup

i received one of these guys in my CSA box recently and thought it came at the perfect time since the weather had kind of turned and i was ready to make/eat soup again. so here is my thrown together recipe for a red kuri and potato soup. unfortunately, i ate almost all of it and still never took a photo of the final product. but if you’ve ever seen a squash soup – you can imagine what it looks like.

RED KURI & POTATO SOUP
1 red kuri squash
2 large russet potatoes, peeled, cubed
3 large carrots, peeled, cut into rounds
3 stalks celery, diced
half a purple onion, chopped
2 tablespoons curry powder (more or less, depending on your tastes)
2 tablespoons smart balance (or butter)
1-2 bay leaves
freshly ground pepper & sea salt to taste
4 cups fat free, low sodium chicken broth
2 cups water

*immersion blender or food processor/regular blender

preheat oven to 400. cut squash in half (or divide further if you want) – sprinkle with salt and pepper. roast for 30 minutes

while squash is roasting, prepare the potatoes, carrots, celery and onions

in a big pot, on low-med heat, melt the smart balance (or butter) and add onions – cook until onions are translucent and there are yummy smells emanating from the pot

add chicken stock & water and bring to a light boil

add potatoes, carrots, celery, bay leaf and simmer for 20-30 minutes

when squash is soft to the touch, remove from oven and let cool enough to handle – scoop out seeds, remove from skin and cube – add to pot and let the veggies all mix together for about another 20 minutes or so.

turn off heat, remove bay leaf , add curry powder and use the immersion blender until you have your desired consistency. add salt and pepper to taste (and maybe more curry).

ENJOY (preferably with a grilled cheese w/spinach sandwich!)