Happy 2016, everyone!
It’s finally started raining in these parts, and oh thank goodness because it is really depressing to have sunny warm days all the time. Really. Watching the earth shrivel and crack with the vegetation turning from brown to black is not fun. And now, the green is sprouting everywhere and it’s gorgeous!
Squash Stuffed with Leeks
The first recipe I made this month was the Squash Stuffed with Leeks. Fearnley-Whittingstall says we can use a squat butternut squash, if we so choose. Well, I’ve had 6 butternut squash sitting on my counter for a few weeks after being inundated by my CSA. I like that squash and all, but I don’t want to eat it every week or I get tired of it. So, I tackled the recipe with awkwardly-shaped squash. I ended up cutting a cylinder into the tops of the squashes to access the seeds and then struggled for a while to get the seeds out with a spoon via this narrow orifice. It was sort of frustrating and hilariously ridiculous. Next time, and oh there’ll be one(!), I’m just going to cut them in half and bake them that way.
The leeks are sautéed in butter for a long while to soften them, and then just add some English mustard and crème fraîche (I made a great batch of that last this time…don’t know what I did differently). Throw in some grated Gruyère and it’s good to go!
The verdict? Yum. Other than the prep for the squash, this is really simple and tastes fabulous. My sick-with-a-cold husband remarked how absolutely tasty and warming the dish was.
Tourte de Blette
I’ve been eyeing this recipe for months. Chard is one of those veggies with a tendency to all of a sudden be very prolific and this is a great way to use a huge amount of it. Actually, to make this I had to save chard for weeks and ended up using some beet greens (figured it was the same family so it should be fine), too, to reach the required amount of greens.
In a word, it was excellent. And so very different from the usual dessert fare. I soaked the raisins in Calvados for something like 5 hours. I have to admit that I thought the crust could’ve used a bit more salt just to add a tiny bit of oomph. I felt that way about the filling, too, though I generally very much liked this dessert. I gave some away to friends and one commented how nicely the stronger chard flavors were subsumed by the raisins, brandy, and apple.
Our daughter, however, was….not a fan.
So, this sweet pea, who in this photo was about to help me make lemon bars, was very excited for dessert. When I placed the plate in front her and she saw green stuff in there she was MAD. (If you’ve seen Inside Out–which you should–her little Disgust emotion was working overtime right then.) Her voice was shocked and almost hurt, like I’d let her down: “what is this?” she wailed. She was definitely thinking, “how dare you, mom?!?” She tried it and then promptly cried that I needed to “get this stuff out,” pointing to the filling. She ate maybe 2 bites of the crust after that and left dejectedly.
Thus was received the most time-consuming recipe I’ve yet made from the book.
Rutabaga (swede) with sage
I think I’m just going to start calling it swede. It sounds far more appetizing than rutabaga. Really. We didn’t eat a lot of this type of veg growing up because my dad hated it (apparently my paternal grandma made a lot of these root veggies/veggies of the underworld and he never liked them). This was nice and different and, as with nearly all the HF-W recipes, it was pretty darned easy to make.
Some Make-ups because I had the stuff in my fridge:
Brussels Sprouts, Apple, and Cheddar
This came about much as our lovely host, Andrea, encourages us to cook each month: seasonally. I had some bison burgers to go with the swede and realized I needed something green on the plate. Well, our CSA gave us a small bag of the first brussels sprouts harvest this season along with some apples in our box this week. I had a tiny bit of cheddar cheese left in the fridge. And, frankly, while brussels sprouts are generally not on my I-buy-them-on-purpose list, anything that has the trifecta of hazelnuts, cheddar, and apples is a win in my book. The salad was light, tasty, and had a good mix of textures. Yum!
Cauliflower with Toasted Seeds
We got some free cauliflower starts at one of our small town’s mid-summer markets. One plant survived and thrived, but didn’t flower until very recently as it was too hot. My husband has been nurturing the plants for the last months and was so excited to have this raw salad. It was lovely with some pepitas and sesame seeds sprinkled all over with sumac.
Herby, Peanutty, Noodly Salad
This came about because I had zucchini languishing in my fridge along with some cilantro and snap peas from my CSA. I spiralized the zucchini and obviously subbed the snap peas for the snow peas/green beans the recipe recommends. I should’ve halved the amount of dressing I used, but all in all this was a delicious, light salad that worked well as an accompaniment to baked chicken thighs marinated in harissa.