Sunday, September 29, 2013

Roasted Butternut Squash

butternut squash*
olive oil and/or butter
herbs, spices, other seasonings - suggestions pictured and below

* Other firm squash would also work (acorn squash, kabocha, pumpkin). Smaller squash (like pattypan) or a softer squash (like zucchini) would need much less cooking time, but the same method would work.

Preheat oven to 375°. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil or coat with non-stick cooking spray.
Slice the butternut squash in half lengthwise. (You can remove the ends if it's easier. I cut the top off mine.) Scoop out the seeds using a spoon. Place the halves cut-side down on the baking sheet. Bake 30-35 minutes until squash is just tender.
Remove from oven. Use tongs to turn squash cut-side up. Drizzle with olive oil or dot with butter. Season with salt. Sprinkle with your choice of herbs, spices or other seasonings. Return to oven for an additional 10-20 minutes until the top of the squash just begins to brown. If the squash is fully cooked yet not browned, use the broiler for just a couple minutes before serving.

Pictured: One squash I dotted with butter and seasoned with brown sugar, a little cinnamon and just a dash of cayenne; the other I drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with a little minced garlic, and fresh chopped rosemary.  Try curry powder, splashed with a little coconut milk if you have it, or topped with coconut flakes to toast brown at the last couple minutes. Any combination of pepper/herbs/spices that you like! I sprinkle the seasonings generously as it's only on the surface. You can eat the cooked squash with a spoon, scooping right out of the shell, and I want enough seasoning to distribute through the depth of the squash.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Peach Cobbler

Pictured: Peach-Blackberry Cobbler, baked (20 minutes) in individual custard cups rather than a 9x13 pan. -- I had about 4½ cups peaches and made up the difference with blackberries.

¾ C sugar
1½  C flour
1½  tsp baking powder
¾  tsp salt
½ C cold butter, diced
¼ C + 2 Tbls warm milk

Peach Filling:
2 Tbls cornstarch
¼  C cold water
¾ C sugar
¾  tsp ginger
1½  Tbls lemon juice
6 C sliced peaches

Preheat oven to 400°.
Prepare Topping: In a bowl, combine sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Cut-in butter, blend until mixture is coarsely mixed and crumbly; add warm milk and stir until mixture just forms a dough. Set aside.

Fruit Filling: In a large saucepan, dissolve cornstarch in coldwater. Add sugar, ginger and lemon juice; combine gently. Bring mixture to a slow boil over medium heat. Add peaches. Return to a boil, stirring very gently, cook 1 minute.

Pour fruit mixture into 9x13” baking dish. Drop dough topping by spoonfuls over top of fruit filling. Bake 20-25 minutes at 400°.

Pomegranate-Molasses and Mint Marinade

Pictured: marinated caribou steak - one of the leanest meats I've ever had, so it appears very dark. I'd have never thought of garlic with pomegranate, but this was positively delicious! - and complimented the caribou very nicely.

¾ C chopped mint leaves
½ C pomegranate molasses*
2 Tbls lemon juice
2 Tbls olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt

Whisk together all ingredients. Put meat into glass baking dish and pour marinade over, turning to coat. Bake or broil, basting occasionally with marinade...  Makes enough for about 2 lbs meat.

* Find pomegranate molasses at well-stocked grocery stores and Middle-Eastern markets, or make your own pomegranate molasses.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Cream Cheese Frosting

½ C butter
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
5 C confectioner's sugar
¼ C whole milk
½ tsp vanilla
pinch salt

Beat butter and cream cheese on high speed until well combined, pale and creamy. Reduce speed to medium; add confectioner's sugar 1 cup at a time. Add milk, vanilla and salt; beat until fluffy (about 3 minutes).

Anchovy Lemon Marinade

I found this recipe when I was looking specifically for "wild game" recipes to cook up some caribou steaks I'd gotten from my dad. With capers and anchovies added to the citrus, it's a briney, zesty marinade, and I think it's well suited to fish, seafood and chicken as well as red wild game meats. (Pictured here on pork chops.)

½ C chopped flat leaf parsley
3 Tbls olive oil
2 Tbls lemon juice
1 Tbls chopped capers
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp minced anchovy
½ tsp salt

Whisk all ingredients together. Place meat in glass baking dish; pour marinade over meat, turning to coat. Bake, broil, grill...  Makes enough for about 2 lbs meat.