It’s officially fall.
Unfortunately, summer didn’t seem to get the memo.
It’s a balmy 94-degrees outside. And here we are, eating butternut squash soup. Hot and spicy butternut squash soup. Not exactly the cool and refreshing meal that 94-degree weather really calls for. To be fair, this soup was delicious. I think butternut squash bathing in coconut milk would be enjoyable under any circumstances. And I planned this menu early in the week, and I’m not going to let the gosh darned weather change my plans. Hot soup it is.
Our CSA has been delivering a bounty of winter squash, and I can only imagine it will continue steadily into the winter months. Since that first little spaghetti squash appeared two weeks ago, we’ve received squashes of all shapes, colors and sizes. Butternut. Pumpkin. Delicata. Acorn. Spaghetti. Dumpling. This is what happens when seasonal eating goes awry. Winter squash. First day of fall. Summer temperatures. Joy.
Buy hey, maybe you’re having more fall-ish weather where you’re at, and if so, this is the perfect dish to kick off fall in the right way. The right way involving temperatures significantly less than 94-degrees.
The question is, does anyone have any winter squash recipes that aren’t your typical hot and heavy winter meal? Can winter squash be light and refreshing? Please say it is so, because, frankly, I’ve got a boatload of winter squash to use, whether or not this weather decides to suck it up and accept the fact that it is, indeed, fall.
Butternut Squash and Coconut Curry
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces (about 4 1/2 cups)
1 cup canned vegetable broth
1 1/2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeño chili
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup canned light unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
12 ounces dried futonaga udon noodles (oriental-style spaghetti) or linguine (this dish also goes beautifully with jasmine rice in place of noodles)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add squash; sauté 4 minutes. Add broth, jalapeño and garlic; bring to boil. Cover; cook until squash is almost tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in coconut milk, lime juice and curry paste. Simmer uncovered until squash is tender and liquid is slightly reduced, about 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
Meanwhile, cook noodles in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain noodles. Return to pot. Add squash mixture and cilantro to noodles; toss to blend. Serve.
Congratulations to Katie R, the lucky winner of the set of reusable produce bags from Reuseit.com!
Enjoy your bags, Katie!
And don’t forget, Reuseit is offering an exclusive coupon for L&OO readers, but it expires today! Simply enter code OLIVEOIL (case sensitive) upon checkout to receive 10% off your entire order!
Thanks everyone for participating! Let’s do it again sometime. :)
Fact: even cookie dough can’t save bad ice cream.
It only took one bite of that flavorless and icy mistake for me to learn this valuable lesson. I hate seeing a perfectly good batch of cookie dough go to waste, but this ice cream wasn’t even edible. It went into the trash after just a spoonful.
But I’m not one to give up.
Take two, this time starting with a rich brown sugar and vanilla custard that would be plenty decadent on its own. The simple swap of brown sugar for white in a basic vanilla recipe makes the ice cream itself taste like cookie dough. Once you have a delicious foundation, then, and only then, do you add in the chunks of cookie dough.
The only thing that could make this ice cream better was if it was chocolate ice cream with cookie dough (um, yum?!). Don’t give me any ideas, though, it’s not like I have even a square inch of free space left in the freezer. I need to start eating more ice cream before I can make more. I envy those of you with space for a second freezer, though maybe it’s a good thing I don’t, I’d probably fill it full of ice cream and frozen balls of cookie dough.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 large egg yolks
Cookie Dough (this makes twice as much as you need, but I don't think you'll have any problem using up the leftovers!):
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup milk or soy milk
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the cream, vanilla bean and seeds, and salt in a medium saucepan. Mixture should be warm and steaming but not boiling. Cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream into a medium size metal bowl, set on ice over a larger bowl. Set a mesh strainer on top of the bowls. Set aside. Return milk mixture to burner, and heat until just barely steaming.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly spoon 1/3 of the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that the egg yolks are tempered by the warm milk, but not cooked by it. Scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan and whisk to incorporate with the rest of the milk mixture.
Stir over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula, about 10 minutes. Pour the custard through the strainer, pressing out and solids, and stir it into the cream. Return strained vanilla bean to custard. Stir until cool.
Cover and chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator (at least 3-4 hours, overnight is better).
To prepare cookie dough. Beat butter and sugars and in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add soymilk and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt and mix on low speed (or by hand) until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and chill until ready to use.
Freeze thoroughly chilled custard (remove vanilla bean prior to freezing) in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions until it is the consistency of soft serve. Stir in bite-sized chunks of cookie dough before transferring to a freezer-safe container. Freeze until firm.
Fall is in the air.
The days are getting shorter…
The nights are crisp (by Nashville standards, anyway)…
The first winter squash appeared in our CSA…
Yep, it’s fall all right. And I can’t say that I’m sad about it, either. We’ve had an incredibly hot summer here, and I’m looking forward to the relief of the cool fall nights. I know I’ll probably be grumbling about the lack of daylight in a month or so, and then complaining about how cold it is the month after that… but right now, I’m resigned to the fact that fall is here and I’m ok with that.
That first winter squash was a spaghetti squash, quite possibly the cutest little spaghetti squash I’ve ever seen. Spaghetti squash is one of those things… it may sound like a silly name, but once you actually take one apart it makes complete sense, because it looks exactly like spaghetti. Spaghetti squash may just be the most logically named vegetable out there. Not to mention that when tossed with fresh tomatoes, basil, and oregano, it makes a darn good replacement for spaghetti. It’s like faux-pasta. The Parmesan doesn’t hurt, either.
Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes, Basil, and Parmesan
Makes 2 servings or 4 side servings. Recipe from Epicurious.
1 small (1.5 lb) spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise, and the seeds discarded
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup shredded fresh basil leaves plus additional for garnish
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup thinly sliced cherry tomatoes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a glass baking dish, arrange the squash cut side down in about 1/2 inch of water. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 20-30 minutes (depending on the size of the squash) or until it is tender and easily pierced with a fork. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
In a large bowl whisk together the oil, 1/4 cup of the basil, the oregano, and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan, stir in the tomatoes, and season the mixture with salt and pepper.
When the squash is cool enough to handle, scrape it with a fork to form strands, add the strands to the tomato mixture, and toss the mixture until it is combined. Divide the mixture between 2 bowls, sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan over it, and garnish it with the additional basil.
And now… on to the giveaway (because we all LOVE giveaways!) and I have to say I’m in love with this product. Let me introduce you to Reuseit.com’s Recycled PET Mesh Produce Bags. I’ve been a fan of Reuseit’s products for some time now, including their Mesh Workhorse Shopping Bags (we’ve been using a set of these for years in place of plastic grocery bags, and aside from the occasional, “these look like pantyhose,” comments from store clerks, they are tough and durable and truly fabulous). We’re also big fans of their Produce Saver Green bags. The green bags work wonderfully, keeping even delicate greens like cilantro or spinach fresh for far longer than a typical bag. However, they are bit of a pain to wash, and probably aren’t the most sanitary things in the world after being used a dozen times. The new bags are machine washable. I’m sold.
So when Natalie at Reuseit offered to send me some of their new mesh produce bags and a produce saver pack, I couldn’t say no. The bags are made from recycled PET plastic, and work very well in combination with the Produce Saver packs to keep produce fresher longer. They are perfect for CSA members, since it’s not like that produce comes bagged like grocery store produce. These bags are also so lightweight you could bring them with you to the grocery store and use them in place of the plastic ones. And I’m all for replacing single-use plastic with reusable, recycled plastic.
Here’s the best part: Reuseit.com is giving away one set of (4) reusable mesh produce bags, plus a set of two Produce Saver packs to one lucky L&OO reader.
Not only that, but they are also offering you an exclusive coupon for 10% off any order, good through next Wednesday. Simply enter code OLIVEOIL upon checkout. I know I’m going to be taking advantage of this offer… as 4 bags is definitely not enough, not to mention this little gadget looks pretty awesome too.
TO ENTER: simply leave a comment on this post. I’ll be randomly selecting the winner the morning of Wednesday, September 22nd. One entry per person. Prize will be shipped to the winner directly from Reuseit.
You can also get yourself a BONUS entry by twittering about this giveaway, sharing it on facebook, or mentioning it on your own blog. Simply leave an additional comment with a link to the tweet and/or blog post. One bonus entry per person (multiple tweets won’t get you multiple bonus entries).
Be sure you enter a valid email address, because if your name is drawn and I can’t get a hold of you within 72 hours, I will choose an alternate winner. You may also want to add me to your address book (lindsay AT loveandoliveoil DOT com), as I’d hate for your congratulatory email to end up in the spam folder.