Acorn Squash Slices

October 22, 2010

I had an acorn squash to use. My mom used to cut them in half and roast with some butter and brown sugar in the cavity. I never liked this though because it all ran out when you tried to scoop some out. It was never an equal distribution  of butter and sugar to squash! So I decided to slice my squash up and roast it on a baking sheet. It cooked very quickly. I had it at 400 degrees and I think it was completely soft in 10-15 minutes. I then melted some butter and mixed it with a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar. I spooned this over the squash, salted and peppered it and popped it back in the oven for just a minute or two.

I loved this. Mr. MarthaAndMe said it tasted like candy. It was sweet, but not overpoweringly. I loved the ease of serving the squash as slices.

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Butternut Squash Risotto

October 8, 2010

This is one of my favorite fall dishes. I make it every year. It’s hearty, warm, smoky, rich, and cheesy. It freezes well also. The kids don’t like this very much and Mr. MarthaAndMe is lukewarm about it, but I could eat this every night and be a happy camper.

Peel and cut one butternut squash into even 1 inch pieces. Roast on a baking sheet with a few tbsp of olive oil at 425 for about half an hour, until it is soft and beginning to brown.

Start with 4 ounces of chopped pancetta (you can use bacon if you prefer). Cook it in a large pot. Remove the pancetta when lightly browned, leaving grease. Add 1 chopped white onion, adding a little olive oil if necessary. Cook until translucent.

Add 1 cup risotto and stir to coat it with the oil and onion. Cook for about 2 minutes. Begin adding chicken stock, following instructions on your risotto package for how much water and/or stock to use (I use mostly stock with some water). Add salt and pepper to taste and 1 tbsp thyme. Cook until risotto is done. Add the squash and pancetta. Stir until heated through. Add 8 ounces of cubed fontina cheese. Stir and serve.

To die for. A bowl of this on a fall evening and I feel comfy and cozy and well fed!

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What’s for Dinner in November?

November 14, 2008

So I bought all the major ingredients for Martha’s What’s for Dinner? (p. 208) from the Nov issue of Living (plus one additional side). My total came to about $25 for 4.

The menu was for pan-seared strip steak with mushrooms, white-cheddar grits, and collard greens with lemon. I did not make the dessert since we don’t eat dessert on week nights (ok, except for that 9 pm dish of ice cream which neither of us seems to be able to avoid, but I don’t even consider that dessert and that’s all I have to say about that!). I also made roasted acorn squash with rosemary (p. 221).

I had this one all planned out and was in the kitchen getting things organized when my son said to me, “What time are we leaving?” “Leaving for what?” I asked. “Hockey!” Holy flipping cows – I totally forgot it was hockey day since the kids were off from school. I was completely off schedule. Good thing he said something! This meant I had to get the meal partly cooked, rush out to hockey, sit there for an hour, then rush home and attempt to get it all on the table at a reasonable hour. Whew!

First, I got the squash ready for the oven. Not hard. Then I got the grits going by dumping them in the boiling water. Next I trimmed and cut up the collard greens and got those going. Then I had to shut it all off (but left the squash in the oven on a timer) to go to hockey.

Steak and mushrooms

Steak and mushrooms

When I got home, the squash was just about done. The grits needed some serious cooking and stirring. The greens were just about done. So I got going on the steak. I bought strip steaks, but very thin ones (trying to save a little money). I seared them in the pan pretty quickly then covered them on a platter. I had the mushrooms ready to

Grits

Grits

go in next. I sauteed those. By then the grits were ready (I added double the amount of cheese, plus some butter which the recipe did not call for). I then added chicken stock and Dijon mustard to the mushrooms to make a little sauce.

Miraculously, it was all ready. We sat down to eat. Mr. MarthaandMe

Yummy squash

Yummy squash

and I took some of everything. The son (mini-Martha) took piles of steak and a tiny bit of grits. The daughter took tiny pieces of everything but the squash.

The verdict? Not so great. The steak was ok, but really we prefer our steak grilled (we have a Jenn-Air grill so grilling is possible year round).

Collard greens

Collard greens

The sauce was ok, but nothing to knock your socks off with. I like mushrooms, so those were good. No one liked the collard greens. They were a little bitter and peppery. I think that if I creamed them like I do with spinach they might be ok, but plain they were not exciting. The grits were not great. We are not a grits family and even with extra

The plate

The plate

cheese and butter, they were just plain and nothing really worth eating.

The real winner in this meal was the squash.¬† Somehow the butter, brown sugar and rosemary were just the right mix. I’ve never tried rosemary on a sweet squash like this and I have to say it was delicious. That recipe is a keeper. Not so much for the rest. So, Martha, I have to tell you that what’s for dinner wasn’t so great this month!

I have to say that at this point in this experiment I am more convinced than ever that there are some foods that are just not for me. Which is distressing since I consider myself adventurous and always eager to try new things.¬† I don’t know if Martha and I just have different palates or what, but her recipes are just not hitting it out of the park for me or my family. It’s interesting, because I’ve really long considered her a doyenne of good taste. I do have some Martha recipes that are fantastic, but in the past month of my intensive Martha lifestyle, I’m finding the things in the magazine are not doing it for me. Which is disappointing for me. I envisioned myself serving all these fabulous meals, and what I’m discovering is that the meals I was serving before were pretty darn fabulous!


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