Tag Archives: butternut squash

christmas sides: soup and popcorn

27 Dec

For Christmas I hung out with Iliya and a few other friends who were all still in Boston for the big night. So it was a jolly snowy night of fooding. I made an appetizer to hold us over while cooking, and two side dishes, one of which was popcorn mushrooms. The other real popcorn was something I learned after eating at OM in Harvard Square: white truffle oil popcorn in parmesan and herbs. And for the actual dinner I made a carrot and butternut squash soup, which even Iliya said, “For something with carrots in it (which I hate), this is really good.” Thanks, Iliya!

White Truffle Oil Popcorn in Grated Parmesan and Herbs

Ingredients

1 bag microwaveable popcorn
1 jar white truffle flavored olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
rosemary
thyme, oregano, or other herbs
salt and pepper

Pop the popcorn in a microwave. With the microwave we used, there was an automatic setting that popped all but two kernels without burning any. It was amazing.

Generously sprinkle the olive oil over the popcorn in a large serving bowl. We could only buy truffle flavored olive oil (instead of truffle oil) but that turned out to be a good thing, because you need a lot of olive oil to coat all the popcorn. With pure truffle oil, it would probably be smarter to buy popping corn, oil the unpopped kernels, then pop them with the oil already applied.

After generously sprinkling the oil, sprinkle all the parmesan cheese over the popcorn. Crush some rosemary and thyme and add to the mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste as well.

Using a large spatula, mix the popcorn around in the bowl until the oil, parmesan, and herbs are more evenly coating the popcorn on the bottom. Or, take the whole bowl and toss the popcorn. The flavoring steps can be repeated after mixing or tossing once.

Time procrastinated: 5 minutes
Ways to prolong procrastination: Rent a movie.

Savory Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients

1 half butternut squash, peeled
2 large carrots or three small carrots
1 onion
Chicken Stock
1 cup milk or 1/2 cup cream
Salt
Nutmeg

Peel and slice the carrots into chunks. Cut the butternut squash into chunks. The squash I bought came peeled and halved so it was much easier to deal with than peeling a whole squash. Peel and cut an onion into chunks.

In a soup pot, heat some oil, and cook the onion for around 2 minutes until it is soft and translucent but not quite caramelized. Toss in the carrots and butternut squash, and immediately add the chicken stock. The stock I used was made a while ago from boiling chicken and herbs, so it was already very rich and flavorful. If you do not have chicken stock, you can use water, plus a good mix of salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaves, rosemary, oregano, and other spices. Adding chicken bouillon is helpful but not necessary.

Heat the pot until the stew is boiling, then let simmer on medium to low heat for 15-30 minutes, until the carrots are easily mashed with a fork. Remove the stew from heat, and make sure to remove any bay leaves.


Pour stew into a blender, filling the blender about 1/2 way up. Add 1 cup milk or 1/2 cream for each time you fill the blender to this amount. Blend until the whole mixture is smooth. Add salt to taste and keep blending. Serve with a sprinkle of nutmeg or cinnamon.

Time procrastinated: 45 minutes
Ways to prolong procrastination: make dipping pastries, perhaps filo dough twists?

Three-Cheese Spinach and Butternut Squash Bread Pudding

22 Nov

Well, that’s a mouthful. I basically listed all the ingredients you need to make this dish in the title. Anyway. Bobby and I made this (plus an obligatory apple pie) for a pseudo-Thanksgiving potluck when he came to visit last weekend. We actually didn’t have any of the ingredients necessary to make this dish, so we winged it.

I’m going to list the ingredients I used, but I would highly recommend checking out the original recipe for the real thing. It’s pretty funny when you compare the two recipes, actually.

Three-Cheese Spinach and Butternut Squash Bread Pudding
Adapted quite liberally from Ezra Pound Cake

1 large butternut squash
3 tbsp olive oil
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
6 tbsp white wine
liberal dash of oregano
1 week-old baguette, cubed (I would not recommend leaving your baguette out for this long. It’s really hard to cut.)
salt and pepper to taste
half an onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
squirt of Sriracha sauce
1 1/2 lbs fresh spinach, chopped
3 handfuls of Trade Joe’s three-cheese mix (cheddar, Asiago, and something else I can’t remember)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut butternut squash in half and scoop out the seed and guts. Brush tops with olive oil and bake face-up on a cookie sheet for 30-45 minutes, until soft. The original recipe said to peel the squash and cut into cubes prior to baking, but I hate peeling butternut squash with a passion. They’re slippery little buggers. And the cubes degrade into mush when you mix it into everything else anyway.


Meanwhile, beat the eggs and mix in the heavy cream, wine, and oregano. Dump in your bread cubes and mix to coat. Let sit for at least 30 minutes. My bread had poppy seeds that we tried to scrape off, with moderate success. Don’t accidentally buy a poppy seed baguette, kids.

By this time, your squash should be nice and soft. Grab a spoon or a heat-resistant boyfriend and scoop out the flesh. You’ll want smaller chunks than in the picture below, else you’ll be munching on humongo pieces all dinner. Not that that’s always a bad thing.

Decrease the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat up the rest of your olive oil in a large pan and saute the onions and garlic. Add the Sriracha sauce, salt, and pepper to taste. Add spinach and cover for about a minute. The greens should be wilted, but not bodiless mush.

With a slotted spoon, transfer a layer of cream-soaked bread into a well-buttered baking dish. Add a layer of spinach and another of squash, then cover with a layer of cheese. Repeat until you run out of ingredients, then pour on the remaining egg ‘n cream.


Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 20 minutes or so, until the custard has set. Om nom nom nom…

I wasn’t a huge fan of the bread pudding part because, well, it was my first time eating bread pudding. I hadn’t expected it to be quite so mushy. The spinach and butternut squash were incredibly tasty with cheese, though.

Length of Procrastination: 1.5 hours

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