Simply Roasted Simply Seasoned…Simply Delicious

Misc. / October 20, 2013

Those words could be the name of a cookbook, with every page filled entirely by recipes for the warm, and caramelized goodness that emerges when you roast something. Sweet or savory, meat or vegetable, fruit or bread; let the mouth of your waiting oven swallow all of them whole. Each exiting transformed and tinged with dark crusty morsels of heaven, each a beautiful flavor bomb that will whisper with honesty why cooking is so wonderful.

Still in service to this day, the old Revere Ware my mother cooked with is visibly fatigued by age and frequency. The lid on the dutch oven is nearly out of its screw hole, and has worn down so much there are only rounded edges to grab with her red, crocheted oven mitt. It was the go-to roast beef meal each Sunday that aged the old girl, (The pot, not my Mom. She still looks GREAT.) and we were nearly bent over in anticipation as we sat down for a taste of 1 soft, moist slice of heaven. It was covered with gravy — dark, speckled with pepper and the fatty charred edges of meat juices — blanketing everything in carnivorous joy, that sent a prayer of thanks skyward. If you didn’t bring your plate to the sink decorated the tell-tale skid marks of a roll that sopped up every bit of it, everyone thought you were out of your gourd. It was that good.

And speaking of gourds, how about let’s give a round of applause for that beautiful photo above, featuring one of my favorite things to roast: butternut squash. Orange, sweet, earthy, vibrant and patient; the odd shaped and lightly colored orb lay in my kitchen for three weeks before it became dinner and would have remained perfectly fine for a bit longer if I hadn’t come home from the store feeling a chill to the bone and needing something roasted. It’s truly a favorite, and so easy to make. For me, what doesn’t get devoured hot, gets put in the fridge for another day, and enjoyed cold with a lunch of  ham and cottage cheese, or mushed up with a cheesy pasta. Or drizzled with honey and enjoyed with crusty bread and kalamata olives.

You can’t mess it up and you can’t resist it. Enjoy…


Better Roasted Butternut Squash

INGREDIENTS:
Squash (I used a small one. Each quarter was about 4 inches long and 2 inches high)
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil
Ground Allspice
Garnish with fresh flat leaf parsley

Rinse the gourd. Cut it in half, then half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cover a roasting sheet with foil and place squash on foil. Drizzle about 1/2 T oil on each upper facing half. Cover with Salt and Pepper and a smidgeon of allspice. Roast in a 375 degree oven for 40 minutes or so. Remove and devour!

Spinach Ham Stuffed Butternut Squash with Chipotle Honey Cream Sauce

A side dish that is full of all your favorite flavors! 


Ingredients:

2 small butternut squash, washed, halved, seeds scooped out, placed on an oiled baking dish
1, 10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, and moisture squeezed out
6 ounces honey ham, diced
1/3 C celery finely diced
1/4 C white onion finely diced
4-5 ounces hard English cheddar cheese grated
2 ounces heavy cream – for stuffing
3 T mayonnaise
¼ t dried dill weed
Salt and pepper
1/3 C chipotle mayo
1/3 C creamy Caesar dressing
1/3 – 1/2 C heavy cream for sauce
3 T honey
Salt and pepper
3 T olive oil


Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil the bottom of a small roasting pan. Brush the squash with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in pan. Cook squash, uncovered for about 45-48 minutes.
  • While cooking, thaw the spinach by putting in a saucepan with about ½ C water, on medium low. When unthawed but NOT BOILING, strain and press out all the water.
  • Add the diced ham, grated cheese, cream noted above for stuffing, mayo, salt and pepper, dill weed, onion, and celery and stir.
  • In a small sauté pan, add the cream for sauce, Caesar dressing, chipotle mayo, and honey. Set aside until ready to heat and serve.
  • When the squash has cooked for 45 minutes, pull the squash out of the oven, keeping the pan on the rack, and stuff each round opening with a mound of the spinach, ham, cheese mixture. Push back in the oven for about 20 minutes or until you can see that the onions are transparent, the ham curled from being cooked, and of course a fork pushed into the deep part of the squash yields a cooked, soft center. Remove from oven.
  • Now, heat the sauce, plate each squash wedge, and ladle the sauce over the top to serve.


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