Monday, August 18, 2014

Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar

A couple of weeks ago, we brought home a lovely little acorn squash in our box from the Colvins. I let it sit contentedly in its happy place on the counter for about 2 weeks before I remembered it in the chaos of starting up school. I don't have any pictures of the final dish because we scarfed that bad boy down in all its buttery, sugary goodness. One acorn squash made enough for my family to eat at one meal with zero leftovers. Petite portions, too. The recipe below is for 2 squash, but, obviously, you could halve it.

Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar
~Cook's Illustrated Cookbook

  • 2 acorn squash (1 1/2 pounds each), halved pole to pole and seeded
  • salt*
  • 3 T. butter*
  • 3 T. brown sugar
*if using salted butter, go easy on the salt; if using unsalted butter, salt away!

  1. Sprinkle squash halves with salt and place, cut sides down, in a pan big enough to hold them (13x9-inch pan, large bowl, etc.). Pour 1/4 cup water in bottom and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for about 15 to 25 minutes, or until squash is tender and pierces easily with a knife (or fork). Remove pan from microwave and place on hot pad on counter (if your counter is too cold, this could be dangerous without a hot pad--the pan/bowl will be HOT).
  2. Preheat broiler. Melt butter and brown sugar together (add 1/8 t. salt if using unsalted butter).
  3. Transfer squash to rimmed, broiler safe baking sheet (tongs work well). Place them cut-sides up and brush with butter/sugar mixture. Broil until brown and caramelized, 5 to 8 minutes. You may need to remove some portions before others if they brown faster. Serve immediately.
~Serves 4-6

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Cookbook Review: Brassicas

Laura B. Russell
Ten Speed Press, 2014

I was intrigued by this cookbook as soon as I read the description--it's full of recipes for vegetables in the brassicas group (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, greens of all sorts, Brussels sprouts, turnips, kohlrabi, etc.). These are often the vegetables that appear in our CSA box and are the new experiences for shareholders (especially the leafy ones) when compared with vegetables like green beans, tomatoes, and onions.

This is my new favorite cookbook. No doubt about it. Everything I've tried has been delicious!!! And, there is very little dairy added to cover up the taste of the vegetable; instead of heavy cheese sauces or casseroles, the vegetables are cooked in such a way that they really taste delicious on their own merits. For instance, I've tried Brussels sprouts several times over the years--even roasting them, but it wasn't until I roasted them the way this book instructed that I really liked them. Liked them enough, in fact, to make them a second time the same week. 

Broccoli is a regular feature around here, yet I still found that the manner in which it was cooked in this book raised the bar. Kale and Sweet Potato Saute is my new favorite breakfast. I can't wait to try the other recipes!

Photography is well done, organization is top notch, recipes are easy to read and follow, and recipes require little special equipment. Notations are provided for vegan, dairy free, and other dietary concerns. Perhaps the only downside to the recipes is that some of them require a fair amount of oil. Not more than an ordinary person uses, but if someone is on a diet like Weight Watchers where fat is penalized pretty severely, these recipes might be out of reach. 

If you want to eat more vegetables or are a CSA shareholder who needs some ideas for those mysterious brassicas in your box, check this cookout out.

For more information, check out the following links:
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this unbiased review.

Kale and Sweet Potato Saute


This is amazing topped with a fried egg and eaten for breakfast. It reheats great. The sweetness of the potatoes contrasts perfectly with the taste of kale--and the Southwestern spices complement the whole mess beautifully. We get kale regularly from the Colvins, and, while I always enjoy it, this week I was desperately hoping they'd come through for me because I wanted to make this again! (And, thankfully, they did.) The author of this recipe notes that the mixture is also good topping a tostada (add queso fresco, cilantro, avocado cubes, etc.).

Kale and Sweet Potato Saute

  • 2 T. olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (2 medium), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3/4 t. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 T. chili powder, divided
  • 1 1/2 t. ground cumin, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium bunch kale (about 10-ounces), center ribs and thick stems removed, leaves chopped and shredded
  • 1 T. water--or more
  1. Combine: 1/2 t. salt, 2 t. chili powder, and 1 t. cumin in a small bowl. Combine 1/4 t. salt, 1 t. chili powder, and 1/2 t. cumin in another small bowl.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet. If using a stainless steel skillet, you will need more oil. Add potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. When the potatoes have started to soften, stir in the first spice mixture (and more oil if the pan is too dry). Continue cooking and stirring until potatoes are golden brown and cooked through. This will take anywhere from 8-10 minutes if your potato chunks are pretty small to quite a bit longer if you just roughly chopped them like I did.... When cooked, transfer to a bowl.
  3. Heat remaining oil and the garlic in the same skillet. When garlic sizzles, add kale a handful at a time (turning it over with tongs) until it all fits in the skillet. Stir in second spice mixture and water and cook for 5 minutes, until kale is wilted and tender. Add potatoes back to the pan and heat through.
  4. Serve as is, or top with fried eggs for breakfast, or on top of tostadas for a light dinner.
~Serves 4