Yet another butternut squash recipe

I don’t post a lot of recipes, but you can bet if I do, it’s going to involve butternut squash. (See here, here, and here.)

A few years ago, I went to Meril for lunch with some work people, and I had this amazing salad. I think they called it a salad. I don’t know if I would call it a salad. But I’m not going to get into some weird argument about what makes a salad. Let’s just call it a bowl, okay?

Anyway, it was so delicious that I recreated it at home the very next day, posted about it on Instagram, and them promptly forgot about it.

A couple of days ago I suddenly remembered it, and I decided yesterday it was the perfect comfort food for a distressing, anxiety-filled day. And I wasn’t wrong.

Roasted Veggie and Other Stuff Salad or Bowl

There. That’s a descriptive name. Also catchy.

Ingredients:

  • Butternut squash (like, say, a medium one. The one I got was GINORMOUS and I only used about 2/3 of it.)
  • Brussels sprouts (like, a pound, maybe? Or more? I wish I’d had more.)
  • Olive oil, salt, pepper for roasting
  • Chopped walnuts (maybe half a cup?)
  • Blue cheese (just get a small chunk. a little goes a long way.)
  • Green grapes (probably a cup or so would do. get those really nice firm seedless ones.)
  • Steen’s Cane Vinaigrette (recipe here)

I recognize that if you don’t live in Louisiana, perhaps Steen’s Cane Vinegar isn’t as easy to procure as it was for me. I’ll bet if you used balsamic vinegar instead you’d be fine. The recipe makes two cups. I used about half in the salad, so you can make this delicious meal again next week!

Directions:

  1. Look, I’m not going to tell you how to roast butternut squash and brussels sprouts. Cut the squash into 1″ cubes (or better yet, buy them already cut) and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper and roast at 400 for 45 minutes or so. Do the same with the sprouts, but cut them in half after you cut off the bit at the bottom, but I don’t know, maybe that’s optional, but I always cut it off. The sprouts definitely cook faster, I think they came out after 30 minutes? I dunno. Make sure they’re cooked through but not burned. I shouldn’t have to tell you this. (I put them on two cookie sheets but cooked them together.)
  2. Make the dressing while the roasting is happening.
  3. Toast the walnuts in a hot pan (just a few minutes, you don’t want to burn them!)
  4. Put the warm veggies in a big bowl, and top them with the dressing. Cover the bowl and let it all sit together for a while to soak up everything and cool off a bit.
  5. Throw in the walnuts whenever.
  6. Wait til everything is closer to room temp before you crumble the blue cheese over it. You don’t want it melting.
  7. Quarter the grapes and toss ’em in.

The end! I mean, it’s easy, but not quick, really. But soooo worth it. This would be a fabulous side for Thanksgiving.

Here’s the bowl I had for dinner last night. Tastes better than it looks, I promise!

Good stuff.

Crunchy roll bowl – kind of a recipe

The boys love to get sushi. Well, what that really means is they love to go to sushi restaurants and eat their body weight in crunchy rolls. But they can only include rice, snowcrab, crunchy, and a seaweed wrap.

We’ve made them at home, but I’m terrible at the rolling part and not particularly interested in getting better at it. And I love a poke bowl, so it occurred to me that I could go this route with crunchy rolls.

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So here’s what you do:

Make a batch of sushi rice. That includes seasoning it with a vinegar mix. I wanted to use my Instant Pot, so this is the recipe I used. Use whatever recipe you want!

Get some krab. You know, imitation crab. Chop it up finely. Mix some mayo up in there. Just enough to bind it. I’m sure there’s some fancy Japanese mayo you could use but I sure as heck don’t have it. I use Duke’s. Not that it matters. Just saying.

Dig that package of nori out of the back of the pantry that expired last summer. I mean how bad could it be? Maybe tear off a bit and taste it. If it tastes okay, go ahead and cut it up into little strips or whatever. I used scissors, and it was very satisfying. If you don’t have nori sheets, maybe you have some of the seaweed snacks? I’ll bet those would be even better.

So layer that in a bowl, and then take a box of unseasoned panko and sprinkle that generously on top. You could be ambitious and make tempura batter and fry it and crumble it or something. I’ve thought about that, and even have a box of tempura mix in my pantry, but then I realized that panko is even easier. I also wonder if Rice Krispies would work. I mean, in a pinch.

Serve with soy sauce, maybe mixed with a bit of wasabi.

Now of course this is infinitely customizable if your kids are less picky than mine. Things you could add:

  • edamame
  • avocado
  • green onions
  • smelt roe
  • cucumber
  • omelette strips
  • raw fish!

I realize some of these options are unlikely these days, but after this is all over, GO CRAZY.

PS I’m fancy and I didn’t know it. A friend of mine informed me this is called chirashizushi.

Popcorn and murder

Ooh, a whole week has gone by without a post. My bad!

Wasn’t the most exciting week, though. Well, let’s see. The boys went to their friend Ian’s house for a sleepover Saturday night, and everyone stayed all night and had a great time, so that was a relief. Also their house is full of IKEA so I felt right at home and now I want to build a loft-like space above their bedroom. And I had poke for dinner after I dropped them off.

The other great thing that came out of it was Ian’s recipe for cheesy popcorn, which we’ve made twice now. I hope he doesn’t mind if I post it here.

IAN’S CHEESY POPCORN

  1. Put one tablespoon of olive oil in a pot big enough for popcorn, turn on medium to medium high heat.
  2. Add 6 tablespoons of popcorn kernels (this is where Linus says, let’s just add a little bit more, so it’s usually more like 7.)
  3. Wait until one of the kernels pop. This takes an eternity. I guess it’s true, watched popcorn never pops.
  4. Put the lid on. If you’re lucky, your pot has a glass lid so you can watch all the popping action.
  5. Shake the pot while it pops. Is it necessary? Maybe not, but it feels right.
  6. When it’s all done, pour the popcorn into a big ol’ bowl.
  7. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil on the popcorn and mix it all up.
  8. Shake 6 tablespoons of parmesan cheese on top and mix it all up.
  9. Eat! And then look at all the parmesan cheese at the bottom of the bowl and decide next time to use a bit less.

I hope you enjoy this delicious treat as much as we do!

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What else is exciting? Hmm. Well, Steph and I are going to see a live show of My Favorite Murder podcast tonight, which I am very excited about. Not a podcast for the kids, though. Probably obvious from the title. Oh, and Sunday morning, Linus and I will be on the local news for three minutes talking about this little coding robot toy thingy. I’m sure that won’t be completely awkward or anything.

Oooh, my new glittery sneakers got here! Love them.

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Monday morning things

I wanted to blog about a few things that don’t really merit a post of their own.

I baked a king cake!

I’ve been wanting to try this for a while, and finally got around to it this weekend. I used the recipe in this blog post. [Please ignore the line, “(Pronounced Nawlins in case you don’t want to sound like a fool)” because that is absolutely, 100% untrue. Please don’t ever say “Nawlins” in my presence.]

The only changes I’d make next time are:

1. Three strands instead of two. It was very puffy. Not necessarily a bad thing, but there was definitely a higher ratio of bread: filling than I’d prefer.

2. Get a real baby, not a LEGO minifigure that I sterilized. Though it made for a hilarious photo. I crack myself up.

You're going to put me WHERE?
You’re going to put me WHERE?

3. Get the colored sugar to sprinkle on top. I colored the icing instead, but sugar would be prettier sprinkled on top of the icing (not in lieu of.)

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I was really happy with how it came out, though. So yum! And P was really happy to get the “baby.”

Hair product recommendation

Saturday night, I went with some friends to a walking parade, Chewbacchus. I think you can imagine what the theme was. I looked all over the house for the Princess Leia wig I had at one point, but then I remembered that I have long dark brown hair. No wig needed, just a Pinterest tutorial!

Worked like a charm, and I was so enamored with the bun-making technique, that I went and bought a hair donut thingy yesterday from Ulta.

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Oliver’s writing

Oliver had his writing journal from English class in his backpack and HOLY COW it was a treasure trove of cute. I can’t wait to get my hands on Miles’s and Linus’s. My favorite entry was the one that said, “Today I will inoy my dad.”

Am cooking genius (Butternut Squash Crack)

I have to tell you about this recipe that I like to think I invented (but I’m sure I didn’t, but maybe I did?) but either way, you must go make it right now. It is extraordinarily delicious.

I wish I had some pictures to share with you, but truth be told, it’s not exactly a pretty dish, and anyway, I ate it all too fast to photograph it.

Took some pictures! See below.

I call it

Butternut Squash Crack

or maybe I should call it something more descriptive like

Butternut Squash with Italian Sausage and Sage (and Goat Cheese If You’re Not Going Dairy-Free For a Little While Like Pam Is)

Take your pick.

Ingredients:
A butternut squash (are you surprised?)
1 package of turkey sweet Italian sausage (the kind I buy has 5 links in the package)
1 bunch of fresh sage (or dried, but fresh smells so nice), chopped
1 chunk of goat cheese (2-3 oz)
2 tbsp Olive oil (I cannot type the word “Olive” without typing “Oliver” and then going back and deleting the r)
Salt and pepper

heaven

Here’s a picture of the actual ingredients, right before I turn them into the yummiest dish you’ll eat maybe ever.
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Directions:
1. Peel and chop butternut squash into smallish chunks. 1.5″ or so? I feel like this part should take up more than one line, because it takes forever, and for some reason the outside of a peeled butternut squash makes my skin feel very dry and cracked. Very odd. Here’s an interesting explanation.)
2. Toss butternut squash with some oliver oil (see?) and salt and pepper and the sage.
3. Cut Italian sausage into chunks. It’s easier if it’s still a bit frozen.
4. Arrange all willy-nilly into a casserole dish. Mix everything up.
5. Dot with some of the goat cheese, crumbled.
6. Cover with foil and cook at 375 for a while. 45 minutes or so? Until the squash is all squishy. Take the foil off and cook for about 20 more minutes until the squash on top gets all brown and caramelized.

Eat, and contemplate when you can eat it again.

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It’s so good because the juices and seasonings from the sausage get all up in the squash, which are like little flavor sponges. And it’s kind of mushy and caramelized and the goat cheese adds a nice um other flavor, as does the sage.

Enjoy!