After my initial promise of presenting all recipes from the other day, I realized that there were at least half a dozen to discuss. Which is why I decided to share two of my favorites. That’s not to say I’ll never discuss beer roasted chicken (maybe I should leave that for my dad to guest post on?) or garlic infused red potatoes. And there will be more than one opportunity to talk roasted veggies.
In the meantime, however, I really just want to talk about butternut squash.
Down the road from where I live, there’s an old old wooden wagon with a handwritten sign that reads in bold letters, “butternuts: $1:00.” Really now, how’s a girl to resist?
True to its name, butternut squash pairs deliciously well with butter. There’s really no skirting the issue. This soup is the perfect example of how a little hunk of rich butter can go a really long way in making your meal irresistable. Trust me on this one.
As soon as the onions are transparent and juicy, the chicken stock and chopped butternut squash are added and brought to a simmer.
Fifteen minutes plus a quick zip in the blender later and voila! You have your soup. It could not be easier. Unless of course, the squash decided to magically peel and dice itself. ;)
Butternut Squash Soup
1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
2 T. butter
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cups chicken stock (vegetarian stock would work fine, I’m sure!)
Dash of nutmeg
Dash of ginger
Salt and Pepper to taste
Melt butter in a large pot. Add your onion and cook for about 5-8 minutes, until onion is juicy and transparent. Add squash and stock.
Bring soup to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Once squash is tender (about 10-15 minutes later), turn heat off and let soup cool for about 5-10 minutes. Transfer to a blender (or use an immersion blender if you’re lucky enough to have one!) and puree. Return to pot and season with nutmeg, ginger, salt and pepper. Reheat if necessary on low. Serve and ENJOY!
When it came to desserts, my Memere was constantly cooking with lemon. Lemon squares. Lemon lush. Lemon meringue pies. Lots and lots of lemon.
I can remember taking a bite of her lemon squares, straight from the oven. Bits of sour mixed with an intensely sweet crumb. The smell alone was enough to make your mouth water. They were both mouth puckering and addicting, all at the same time.
For some reason, I was craving lemon for my birthday. I could have went with the lemon squares or my Memere’s fabulous lemon lush. Instead I chose a new (to me!) recipe from Epicurious. Lemon Icebox Pie. The lemon is brought to an entirely new level of intensity, but the graham cracker crust and cream are delicate enough to balance it all out. Best of all, this dessert stays true to the lemon. I think Memere would have approved.
The chantilly cream that the recipe calls for is best used the first day. You’ll get a nice stiff peak (see above).
However, day old cream isn’t such a bad thing, either. It’s a little like the texture of fluff, which is a treat in and of itself.
courtesy of Epicurious (this is not a light recipe, but I highly recommend it for those special occasions )
- 14 whole graham crackers
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still warm
For the filling:
- 2 (14-ounce) cans condensed milk
- 1 1/4 cups strained lemon juice (from the 2 zested lemons below plus an additional 4–6)
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 8 large egg yolks
For the chantilly cream:
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
To make the crust:
Heat the oven to 325°F. Break the graham crackers into small pieces and place in the bowl of a food processor along with the sugar and salt. Pulse 8 times, until the cracker crumbs are semi-fine (they shouldn’t be powdery but not in large shards either) and the crackers and sugar are combined. Pour in the butter and pulse until the butter is blended in and the mixture isn’t crumbly and holds its shape when you squeeze it, about twelve 1-second pulses. Transfer the crust to a 9-inch springform pan and push and press the crumb mixture into the bottom and two-thirds of the way up the sides of the pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the crust into place. Set aside.
To make the filling:
Whisk the condensed milk with the lemon juice and set aside. Whisk the zest with the egg yolks in a medium bowl until pale, 30 to 60 seconds, and then whisk in the lemon juice-condensed milk mixture.
Place the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet, pour the mixture into the crust, and carefully transfer the baking sheet to the oven. Bake until the center jiggles slightly, like a soft-setting custard, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 1 hour on a cooling rack. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap (be careful not to let the plastic wrap touch the top of the pie) and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight.
To make the chantilly cream:
Pour the heavy cream into the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer). Add the vanilla and sift in the confectioners’ sugar. Whip on low speed to combine and then increase the speed to medium-high and whip until medium-stiff peaks form, about 1 1/2 minutes.
Before serving, wrap a wet, warm kitchen towel around the edges of the springform pan to release the pie from the pan’s sides. Unclasp the pan and remove the pie. Fill a pitcher with hot water, dunk your knife in, wipe off the blade, and slice. Top with a dollop of chantilly cream and serve immediately, or keep in the freezer for up to 1 week.