Temporal DisIntegration. What a mouthful. I heard the phrase while listening to a morning talk show on NPR while on a recent COSTCO expedition. The speaker, who must have been a psychologist, was addressing the times we are living through now and how our equilibrium has been upset. Remember, a few weeks ago, every day was Tuesday. I could not get a hold of what day it was.
Anchor points – those routine activities around which our lived gravitate – the speaker continued, are missing from our lives in the past seven months. Perhaps that’s why I missed my regularly scheduled contribution to the blog earlier this week. So here goes … it will be next week and next month sooner than we can anchor onto!
Butternut squash seems to be one of the recent popular ingredients figuring large in cooking magazines and on-line recipes of late. I did not grow up with this winter squash; it’s not part of the Greek repertoire and my mother never adopted it as she brought many other new tastes into her kitchen. I’ve been trying it and the family enjoys it. For example, when I have it on hand, it’s one of the seven vegetables added to my couscous aux sept legumes (see Sept. 9 post).
This tough skinned winter squash, part of the crookneck family, has recently been available at a good price. It’s found its way into my kitchen in different variations. About a month ago, I was drawn to a soup recipe from the local newspaper. It was for butternut squash with chick peas. I substituted the squash with calabasa (pumpkin) I buy at one of the local Spanish supermarkets. A hit with the family. I’ll cook it again soon. Here’s what we’ve been enjoying with butternut squash.
First was another variation on frittata, a new favorite of daughter. This time, thanks to Bon Appetit. The fairly easy recipe calls for 1 small butternut squash peeled, seeded, and cut in half. Then slice in ¼” thick slices (next time, I’ll make it smaller cubes). Toss in oil on a baking sheet and bake til tender (I did about 1/2 hour.)
Next, dissolve 1 tsp. saffron in 1 Tbsp of hot water, After a minute, add saffron and water to a dozen well beaten eggs and ¼ cup chopped tarragon leaves (I used a smaller amount of crumbled, dried tarragon). Cook 1 thinly sliced medium onion in oil until softened (10-12 minutes), add 2 cups of chopped kale, and stir til wilted (5 minutes). Add the cooled squash and toss. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and cook while stirring.
When it begins to set, press down to flatten, and put skillet into a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Slide the finished frittata onto a platter and serve with an aioli* prepared while the frittata is in the oven.
*Aioli – whisk 1 egg yolk with 1 grated garlic clove, add a tsp of water. Whisking constantly, slowly add ½ cup of vegetable oil with ¼ cup of olive oil. When it’s thickened, stir in 1 tsp lemon juice and a pinch of salt. I actually used my small whisk and like the contestants on Chopped did it by hand. A great addition to the frittata.
Skillet Chicken Pot Pie. Keep your skillet out, the next butternut squash dish I prepared uses it from start to finish. A similar recipe appeared in a recent publication: https://forward.com/food/457380/for-shabbat-have-some-chicken-pot-pie-with-your-pre-election-anxiety/?utm_source=PostUp&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%20Newsletter%20USE%20THIS%20ONE&utm_maildate=10/30/2020).
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Using an ovenproof skillet, heat oil and brown 1 cup of pearl onions (I used small onions I had on-hand). Add 4 cloves chopped garlic and 1 Tbsp chopped sage, cooking for about 4 minutes over medium-low heat. Add 1 small bunch of chopped kale and season with salt and pepper, tossing for about 4 minutes. Sprinkle ¼ cup flour over this and stir constantly for about 4 minutes (this will make your thickener). Next, stir in 3 cups of chicken broth, ½ cupful at a time to prevent splattering. Next, add the ½ of a peeled, diced butternut squash.* Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer about 10 minutes. Add the ½ rotisserie chicken* cut or torn into bite-sized pieces, stir, and season with more salt and pepper.
*At a recent food distribution I got yellow zucchini and cooked chopped chicken. I added both to the recipe.
The recipe calls for puff pastry from the grocery store. I used pre-made pie crust to top the skillet. Brush with an egg wash (one egg whisked with a tsp of water), then cut slits in the top to vent. Bake the pot pie for 15-20 minutes til the crust starts browning. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake another 15-20 minutes. Let it cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Butternut Squash-Sweet Potato Stew – taken from one of my Moroccan recipes. I seek recipes from on-line sources and still scavenge through my wonderful cookbooks.
In a saucepan, start by cooking a finely chopped red onion for about 5 minutes. Add 2 cloves of chopped garlic, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp turmeric, and one cinnamon stick. You can also add ½ tsp of cayenne or harissa; daughter does not care for spice. Stir over a low heat for about a minute.* Add 2 cups of vegetable or chicken stock with 1/8 tsp of saffron; bring to a boil.
*Another cooking tip learned in my long ago Peace Corps days was to “fry” many of my spices to bring out their flavor. Thanks to friends Russ and Marcia Gregg.
Add a small, peeled, and chopped butternut squash and 2-3 peeled and cubed sweet potatoes. Seaons with salt and pepper. The recipe calls for ½ cup of raisins and 1 tbsp of honey, I did not add these ingredients. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Transfer to a serving bowl. Remove the cinnamon stick and garnish with cilantro leaves. Constant Companion enjoyed this dish that accompanied broiled salmon steaks.
We in the States have an important Anchor Point coming up – Election Day. This election will no doubt affect the world as we know it!