Impressive Collection

Now that the squash have cured upstairs in the warm dry air, they’ve been moved to the much cooler dining room and have become, in effect, an awesome tablescape, to borrow a phrase. There’s delicata, buttercup, butternut, acorn, sweet dumpling, and sweetmeat, which is the large greyish-blue one in the top corner. I roasted it last night to use for making “punkin” pies, which, accompanied by huckleberry pies, will be the big extent of our quiet, stay-at-home Thanksgiving dinner.

Nutritious, delicious winter squash is great served a number of ways. I mentioned plain roasting above, and to take this a few easy steps further, try the following method for cooking squash and any number of vegetables, to be chosen according to your own personal preference.

Peel and trim your choice of squash, however much you think you will eat, then cut into large chunks or strips, and put into a large bowl.
Next, quarter up a couple of small onions (peel and trim the onion, but leave the root knob intact and cut through it so as to leave all the onion layers connected), put into bowl with squash.
Peel and trim 1 small apple, cut it into chunks, put into bowl.
Peel and thickly slice 1 or 2 baking potatoes, put into bowl.
NOW (and this all takes longer to explain than to actually do) sprinkle with plenty of salt & pepper, dabble with olive oil and just a bit of balsamic vinegar (Napa Valley Naturals imports a scrumptious cask), then mix together with your hands.
Take a little taste of the marinade and see if you need any more seasoning.
Spread the veggies evenly on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment, and place in a 400-degree oven for about 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350-degrees until veggies are tender and caramelized.
You can turn up the heat for 15 minutes or so if you want them browner.

I was going to give you a recipe for Sweet & Creamy Winter Squash Soup, but I guess I got over-enthusiastic about roasting… Yum…

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Berry Season is almost here!

I have a wonderful recipe for a simple salad dressing. My daughter Rose got it from her former employer Carl at Cassano’s Italian Grocery, at the corner of Mission & Napa in Spokane. The business is situated in an officially recognized historical building; it used to be Piccolo’s Italian Grocery, and before that, it housed several businesses. It feels good to me when I go there, and I’m not a “city person”.

Rose served the dressing on a crisp salad of romaine, sliced Granny Smith apples, and pomegranate seeds…luscious! Then there was the slow-cooked spaghetti gravy and pasta, and the garlic bread…mmm…

Carl’s Raspberry Vinaigrette

Mash together:

1 cup fresh raspberries (frozen would probably work)

2 teaspoons sugar (or to taste), pinch of salt

Add:

1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar, which is basically just sweetened (could use plain rice vinegar and just add a bit more sugar to taste)

1/4 cup mild flavored oil, such as sunflower

Stir together and steep at least 1 hour. Toss with fresh romaine, apples, strawberries, or your choice of fruit. (Avocado is good too.)

Cassano’s is a wonderful place to visit, and offers a nice variety of imported Italian groceries including olive oil, balsamic vinegar and pasta of course, but there’s also a deli (I’m telling you, real mortadella is a sublime treat), a cafe for the regulars (it’s a good thing I live so far away, I would become a pest there), and the Mission Bistro, where the word on the street is go for the stromboli … You can even find them on Facebook at Friends of Cassano’s.

Did I mention that I wasn’t the only grandma at dinner that nite, oh no. That was just a prelude to the third showing of the play OUR TOWN by Thornton Wilder, of course, put on by East Valley High School. Tonite’s the final showing, followed by a cast party. Whoaaa Bessie!

So, thanks for the recipe, Carl.
p.s. the photo is from Raspberries.us/

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