Sunday, January 16, 2011

Agent Orange

Agent Orange is one of my (many) nicknames for my cat. (It sounds mean, but she has her diabolical moments. You should see her killing a moth!)

She gets irritated when I pay attention to my blog rather than to her.

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Orange is one of my favorite colors for many reasons. There’s Sheila, of course; it’s the color of my room that makes it oh so cozy and inviting; and,of course, there are orange vegetables. Sweet, comforting, nourishing, stick-to-your ribs orange vegetables.

You all know of my passion for sweet potatoes. True story: at work with my kids (I work for an afterschool enrichment program for low-income kids in an Americorps position) I did a “Veggie of the Week” lesson on sweet potatoes. It was awesome. They read about them, they mashed them, they ate them. I said in a suggestive tone, “Does anyone want to try sweet potato skins? I dare you…” and they were ALL OVER IT. I love my job.

Anyway, I spent several days last week in love with the sweet potato’s cousin, the butterynutty… butternut!

My favorite recipe for squash soup can be found in… Favorite Recipes. Easy, eh? However, it takes a bit more time than I was willing to invest on a weeknight. Thus, a recipe-ish.

I sauteed apple and sweet onion in olive oil until tender (I gave the onions a 5 minute head start, this probably was 10-15 minutes total on medium heat).


Meanwhile, I roasted my squash in a 400 degree oven until tender (you could toss with olive oil and the seasonings of your choice at this point- I just used cooking spray).


Once the apples and onions were tenderized, I added some stock (could’ve been either chicken or veggie- I always have some homemade stuff on hand in the freezer. Anytime you have a chicken carcass or have amassed enough veggie trimmings, make stock!).


Then added my squash, then brought everything to a simmer, then let cool and immersion blended.

Finished off with a bit of cumin (for smoke) and apple cider vinegar (for a sweet tang). Lovely.


Another itty bitty squash.

I roasted it, but did it just whacked in half rather than cubed (and thus could use my itty-bitty tray and my itty-bitty countertop oven!). Then, obviously, I roasted its seeds along with it (note: itty bitty squashes have smaller seeds which are significantly less fibrous and more delicious when you roast them!)


For filling, I remembered something tremendously delicious I’d made… a year ago. The benefits of a food blog, seriously.

In October 2009, I made squash stuffed with white beans. It was delicious.

And I had squash. And white beans!


Anyone who does not buy Goya beans is paying TOO MUCH MONEY for NOT VERY GOOD beans. Though confidential to Goya: I wish you did a low-sodium incarnation of the Cannellini.

So I preroasted the squash for awhile, just to give it a head start (as I recall, I was cooking like 19 other things at the same time, so this wasn’t a big deal). Then I pulled it out and stuffed in some GOODNESS!

I was going halfsies with my mom, so in my half I did white beans and (a LOT) of dried sage (when I made this the first time I was in college, where I had nearly no herbs. I made a recipe with cumin like my first month of having an apartment, and the cumin cost like $8. And I went, “Well, guess you’ll be using fewer herbs.” And didn’t buy any more. So used a *lot* of cumin.) Plus a bit of salt and a lot of pepper.


On my mom’s half I did some white beans, the sage, and some leftover chicken.

Then I grabbed a fork and sort of smooshed the filling into the squash, trying to peel off some of the top layer of squash that was already tender (this was good because the moist squash protected the filling from drying out in the oven).


So squooshed, I returned to the oven and baked off until tender.

The ensuing dish was delightful. So hearty!


1 comment:

Jess said...

Your job sounds like SO much fun!!