Sunday, September 27, 2009

Butternut Squash Tartlettes

As I have already mentioned once, twice, or perhaps a few hundred times on this blog, I adore autumn. The flavors, colors, coolness, sense of newness and the beginning of all sorts of possibilities. One of my favorites of the season is the butternut squash. I love it in soup, in ravioli, roasted.... we'll you get the idea. I stumbled across a method of preparing this glorious vegetable described in Deborah Madison's vegetarian cooking for everyone - wrapping up a delicious combination of onion, sage, roasted garlic and butternut squash in a rustic olive oils yeast-raised gallete dough wrapper. It sounded absolutely fabulous, and I was not disappointed.

Butternut Squash Tartlettes
Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

1 large butternut squash
1 head of garlic cloves separated but not peeled
1 Tbs olive oil and extra for brushing squash
1 onion, diced
1 tsp dried sage
1/2 c freshly grated pecorino or parmesan
salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten

Make dough (instructions listed below). Preheat oven to 375. Cut squash in half, scrape out seeds, brush the surface with oil. Stuff garlic into cavities and place face down on a baking sheet. Bake until flesh is tender- about 40 minutes. When cooled, scroop out squash and squeeze garlic cloves. Mash together until fairly smooth - leaving some texture.

Warm 1 Tbs oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sage and cook until onion is soft and begining to color -about 12 min. Add it to teh squash along with cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

Roll out dough into one large tart or 6 small tartlettes ( I did the latter). Spread filling over it, leaving about 2'' around the edges. Pleat dough over filling, brush edges with egg. Bake until crust is golden about 25 min.

Yeasted Olive Oil Tart Dough

2 tsp active dry yeat
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 c warm water
3 Tbs olive oil
1 egg
3/8 tsp salt
1 3/4 c flour, as needed

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water in a meduim bowl and let stand until bubbly or 10 min. Add oil, egg, salt then stir in the flour. Knead with hands when mixture is too thick for a spoon. Knead until smooth and elastic or about 4 min. Place in oiled bowl and allow to rise, covered, until doubled in size - about 45 min. Turn out and roll out if making one large tart, or break into 6 equal pieces and allow to sit for 15 min.

Honey Cake

This was pure pleasure to bake. Sure, it's always a bit of an adventure to coax out the sticky, syrupy honey and molasses 1. out of their containers and 2. into a measuring cup and 3. back out of said measuring cup. That said, after all the mixing was done, the whole house filled with the deliciously aromatic scents of ginger, clove, nutmeg and molasses. And yes, it does taste even better than it smells. And I haven't even let it sit the overnight you are supposed to to get the 'real' flavor of the honey cake. I can't wait till breakfast...

Honey Cake

Chocolate and Zucchini cookbook

2 tsp olive oil for oiling pan
2/3 c good-quality honey
1/3 c mild-tasting dark molasses
1 c all-purpose flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c milk
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each of: ground clove, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger ( I used fresh ginger to delicious results)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease loaf pan with olive oil use parchment paper to line bottom if desired.
Heat milk, honey and molasses in saucepan on med-low heat until dissolved. Set aside to cool. Mix together dry ingredients. Form well in dry ingredients and pour wet ingredients into well. Slowly whisk in a circular motion staring from the center until all the flour has been incorporated. The batter will be very thin.
Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 40-50 min. until the surface is brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 20 minutes then loosen with a knife around the edges and invert onto plate. Let cool completely, wrap in foil and let rest at room temp. until the next day (or if you are impatient like me, mouth watering from the delicious smell of the bread filling the apt. for the last 40 minutes, slice yourself a delicious warm slice and wrap up the rest of the bread for breakfast;).