MMMmmmm Food!

MMMmmmm Food!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup!

Almost Thanksgiving!!!  
Sadly, I have never been a fan of Thanksgiving - I think it is my least favorite holiday - I know, I know... you're probably thinking, "Wait, WHAT?  He has a food blog... Thanksgiving IS the food holiday... what gives?"  Well, there was actually a year when my mom made chicken parmesan in addition to turkey, etc... it was amazing!  But as I grow older, I'm finding I really enjoy the fall flavors in new ways!  
(Inspiration from Ina Garten's butternut squash soup recipe)

So you will need:

1 good size butternut squash
1 large vidalia onion
2 macintosh apples
2 boxes of unsalted chicken stock
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp butter
1-2 tbsp olive oil
a few sprigs of thyme

 First peel the squash...
 I like the cut just above the base area - where it starts to round out...

 Then cut these two sections in half.... so we have four parts.  You will notice the bottom, more roundish part has the seeds.
 Use a spoon to scrape and discard the seeds.
 Cut the squash into small, one inch chunks.  Do the same with onion and apples (peel and core the apple).  Then give it all a good toss with some olive oil.
 Divide it all between two baking sheets.  You want a single layer.
 Roast everything for about 30-40 minutes at 425 degrees.  Half way through, I gave everything a good toss and switched the top pan to the lower rack and lower to higher...
 In a large pot, warm up one box of chicken stock.  I added some salt and pepper along with the curry powder and butter.  Add the contents of one baking sheet to the hot stock.  Use an immersion blender to puree it all together (Or use a food mill or food processor in batches).
 Once the first pan of squash/onion/apple has been broken down, add the second pan and do the same.  You may need to add more of the second chicken stock box to keep it from getting too thick!
 buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....  don't splatter!
 Yummy!  Love that color!  You will probably need to add most of that second stock box to thin it all out.
 I took 3 sprigs of thyme, used cooking twine to tie it all together, and just let it simmer away covered.
 Now I wanted to add something to make this a bit more substantial for dinner.  This would be amazing as a first course though.  So it was between shrimp or some type of stuffed pasta...  You see which direction I went!  Once I saw pumpkin ravioli - I was done.  So I boiled those for about 3-4 minutes (since it was fresh pasta!) and added them to the top of the soup - delicious.  
Now as Thursday approaches, I'm looking forward to the herb turkey, roasted potatoes, veggies, and most of all, the apple pie.  Happy Thanksgiving!!!  Don't forget what it is all about as well...
Find ways you can help those less fortunate - especially during the holiday season.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pumpkin Spice French Macaroons!

Halloween was not too long ago... but I felt the need to travel back in time to little Tazzy's first costume!
 TACO TAZ!!!!!!

ok... back to the task at hand:
 You will need:

1 & 1/2 cups finely ground almonds
1 & 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3 egg whites
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
8 drops yellow food coloring
2 drops red food coloring
1/2 cup pumpkin butter

 Measure out the almonds and toss them in a food processor.  
 You want them to be VERY finely ground.
 Measure out the powdered sugar...
 And pumpkin pie spice!!  (If you don't have this, just make your own - just google it, super easy!)
 Put all of those into a medium bowl and mix together with a fork!
 Next prep some baking sheet with parchment paper.  I ended up needing 4 sheets in all.
 Quick tip (cream of tarter is not used!) - I found something to make about 1.5 inch circles.  Use a pencil to lightly mark the parchment - then after you've got all 12 marked, flip the paper over so the pencil doesn't get on the batter.  It will help you make nice circles.
 Separate the whites and yolks from 3 eggs (use yolk for something else).  Put a pinch of salt in a metal bowl and add the whites.
 Beat the whites until frothy - then increase the speed and add the granulated sugar one tablespoon at a time until fully Incorporated.  Stop beating when you've got a stiff peak.
 Pour in the sugar/almond mixture to the whites - fold it all together - then add the food coloring drops.
 Ugh... this has finally been the thing that is forcing me to go get a real pastry piping bag!  The plastic zip bag was "ok" - just snip the corner off... but a nicer circle would have been great!
 Pipe circles onto the parchment.  Preheat oven to 325.  Let them sit for about 20-30 min before baking - you want the tops to set.
 I baked these for about 5 minutes, gave them a turn in the oven and then another 5 minutes.
 Let them fully cool on the baking sheets - then you can pop them off the parchment paper.
 PUMPKIN BUTTER!!!!  I had never heard of it before!!!!  And I sure as heck wasn't going to make this myself!  Just go to whole foods and buy it.  It is like apple butter (not really butter - more like a jam spread).  Put a small amount on the flat side of one "cookie" - then top with another to make a little "sandwich."
 These are super delicate and light!  Be careful to not break them!!!
 YUM!!!  These are so fun!  Light, crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside!  Now I want to try to make these again and have them puff up a little more - Must make these for Thanksgiving!
Hope you try to make these too!!!!