fall dishes, roasting, side dish, vegetables

Autumn Hash

This time of year, it’s hard to not want to roast or braise every single dish I cook. It’s also hard to walk by full stalks of brussel sprouts at the Wednesday market and not pick one up, despite the fact that the Missus is hardly a fan. 

Food52 is a great source for ANY recipe need and it came through again, giving me something a bit different than the usual roasted vegetables. I loved the addition of using apple cider vinegar to deglaze the pan as it added a nice acidity and sweetness to the dish. This one is definitely getting filed away for future use.

by AntoniaJames

  • 2 cups of peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 2 cups cubed thin-skinned potatoes (red, white, Yukon gold, whatever)
  • 2 cups trimmed and halved Brusslies (Brussels sprouts)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 ounces of prosciutto, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 shallots, chopped (or 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion)
  • 1 medium clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 -2 tablespoons cider vinegar (preferably organic), to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Squash and potatoes should be cut into 3/4 to 1 inch cubes. Toss them in 2 teaspoons of oil to coat well. Sprinkle on a small pinch of salt and put on a baking sheet and into the oven. Roast for 20 minutes, turning after the first ten. They should be fork tender and just starting to caramelize.
  2. Toss the Brussels sprouts in 1 teaspoon of oil and roast for about 15 minutes. If you like them a little softer, cook them a bit longer.
  3. Heat a large skillet until fairly hot, then add the remaining tablespoon of oil and the prosciutto pieces. Cook until crisp, then remove them with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  4. Melt the butter in the skillet, then add the shallots. Cook over medium heat with a tiny pinch of salt, stirring constantly. When they are well wilted and somewhat translucent, add the chopped garlic and the rosemary and cook, stirring, for about thirty seconds.
  5. Deglaze the pan with the cider vinegar and, with the heat on medium, add the prosciutto, the squash, the potatoes and the Brusslies. Add the parsley and toss very gently.
daring cook challenge, risotto, roasting, something new

Daring Cooks Challenge: Risotto

This month’s Daring Cooks Challenge, comes in the form of: Risotto. Like last month’s ‘Hummus’ challenge, the base left a lot of room to play with flavors.
Over the course of a couple of weeks I made two variations, jumping off the base recipe around step 6 and taking a few tips from Mario Batali’s “Molto Italiano”

The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.

The Basics:

Risotto Base

olive oil 2 fluid oz 60 ml
1 small onion, quatered
rice 14 oz 400g
Any type of risotto rice will do. I use Arborio but the recipe itself says Vialone Nano. Another to look for is Carnaroli.
white wine 2 fl oz 60 ml
chicken or vegetable stock , simmering 2 pints 1 L


1. Heat oil in a pan and add onion. Fry for a few minutes to flavour the oil then discard. (We diced ours and left it in as we like onion).
2. Add the rice and stir for a few minutes to coat each grain of rice with oil and toast slightly.
3. Add the wine and let it bubble away until evaporated.
4. Add enough stock to cover the rice by a finger’s width (about an inch or two). Don’t actually stick your finger in, it will be hot. Just eye it off.
5. Cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time, until most of the stock has been absorbed.
6. Repeat Step 5 making sure to leave aside approximately 100 ml. of stock for the final step. .
7. Repeat, save 100ml for the final stage.
8. Once you are at this point, the base is made. You now get to add your own variation.

The first attempt was done with a rich homemade roasted chicken stock, Carnaloni rice, Parmigiano-Reggiano and peas. It was served with a roasted Rouge Poulet and a Coq Au Vin pan sauce.

After all of this time cooking, I’m actually kicking myself for never having made risotto before now. The recipe was extremely user friendly and the rich roasted chicken stock that I made gave the rice such depth that would severely be lacking in the second incarnatoin:

Dungeness Crab and Asparagus Risotto

The stock, quickly made with some of the shells of the crab, was extremely bland, even with the addition of Parm, Cappuccetto and minced, blanched asparagus. A very expensive ‘Meh.’ on my part…

carving, pumpkin seeds, roasting

Tis the Season

Last night a group of seven friends gathered on the West End for a good ole timey pumpkin carving. I’m more of a kid around Halloween than Christmas, so I get really into pumpkin carving as you can see from of my past ones:




2009–so far–i still have 2 to carve

I think it’s funny that I can do this–albeit not freehand–but I can’t muster more than a stick figure when I try to draw.

Now, because this is serious business to me, I brought several knives and a tupperware container to take home the guts for seed roasting. Because, let’s be honest… when you spend almost two hours meticulously sawing at the flesh of a large gourd, you better get something more out of the deal then the rotting shell.

So, on this bitter gray morning, I’ve started roasting up those seeds. Normally, I’m a straight olive oil/kosher salt girl. However, this year I’ve decided to break tradition and am doing a trio of pumpkin seeds using this recipe posted on Epicurious.com::

I tried a recipe for toasted pumpkin seeds based on one for toasted butternut squash seeds with outstanding results. Boil fresh pumpkin seeds in salted water for about 5 minutes. Drain seeds; salt damp seeds generously with popcorn salt (superfine). Spread out on nonstick cookie sheet and bake 20-30 minutes at 325 degrees until seeds are dried out and some very slightly browned.

The seasonings are: Maple syrup w/Denny Mike’s Cowbell Hell; Olive Oil and Pink Hawaiian Sea Salt; Olive Oil and Bacon Salt.

The Bacon Salt one was ok. Faint hints of smoke came through, kind of like a nice bbq sauce, but was neither very salty nor bacony. Next batch gets twice as much and perhaps instead of oil, I’ll use some rendered bacon fat that I have on hand.

The Hawaiian Sea Salt ones rocked. The texture of the very coarse salted offered a fuller crunch to the seeds which were perfectly crunchy in their own right.

The Cowbell Maple seeds were just about perfect–sweet, smokey and very spicy.

When we carve our other pumpkins on Sunday, I’ll try some other blends and am definitely open to suggestions..