Our Gregorian Chant Retreat has just come to a close today, ending on a very positive and productive note, with a number of first timers wanting to return! Always a rewarding finale to any retreat.
In addition to the new faces in attendance were a number of new menus that brought many sincere compliments from the eaters. One of the new dishes was this warm autumn salad, featuring golden roasted butternut squash topped with smooth soft goat cheese.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine butternut squash, pecans, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and brown sugar.
- Spread on rimmed baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool on pan.
- Assemble salad by topping mixed greens with squash mixture, dried cranberries, goat cheese, and green onions.
- Drizzle with maple mustard vinaigrette.
Today was another beautiful snowy day. I love the snow. I also love the smell of something cinnamon baking, especially on a snowy day. And I have an affinity for small ramekin-sized servings of breakfast, dessert, or whatever. So today I thought it would be fun to try out an individual french toast souffle. It was so easy! Perfect to serve to friends or family on a wintry morning.
French Toast Caramel Individual Souffles
- In a small saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, and syrup and simmer until the mixture thickens.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk cinnamon, and salt.
- Pour the brown sugar mixture into the buttered ramekins.
- Evenly distribute the bread cubes over the brown sugar mixture.
- Pour the egg mixture over the bread, evenly coating it. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- In the morning, bring ramekins to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bake the souffles for about 25 minutes.
- Then increase heat to 375 degrees F and bake another 15 minutes more. Remove from oven.
Can be eaten right from the ramekin with additional syrup or inverted onto a plate with a drizzle of syrup and your own choice of toppings.
It is officially Autumn. Lots of pumpkins and apples at farm-stands, color coming in the trees, leaves falling, and that nip in the air that reminds us that summer is at an end. I love fall. I love the colors, the crisp air, the clear light. And the food! Summer was great and I enjoyed all of the fresh food, but who doesn’t welcome back hot soups and stews, butternut squash, and apples? I recently was looking for a fall salad and thought apple, frisee, and endive would be a good combination. I decided to stack it! Not only does it look great, but it also tastes amazing with the crunch of apples and greens and the subtle hints of maple and bacon.
Stacked Apple Salad with Frisee and Belgian endive
- Core and thinly slice apples, place in a bowl with water and a dollop of lemon juice.
- In a small bowl combine shallots and vinegar. Set aside.
- In a heavy frying pan over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp and brown, drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 3 Tablespoons of the bacon fat and return pan to low heat.
- Remove shallots from vinegar and reserve.
- Add vinegar to hot bacon fat, whisking until emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Break frisee into sprigs and mix with endive. Dress lightly with bacon fat vinegar combination, reserving some dressing to drizzle on salads.
- On salad plates arrange 2 apple slices, then some of the dressed greens and some shallot slices.
- Repeat using single apple slice, then the other components 2 times more ending with an apple slice. Drizzle with warm dressing, sprinkle with bacon and serve.
I have been thinking a lot about pumpkins lately. I think they are the underestimated vegetable, often relegated to our doorsteps and pies at thanksgiving. When I say to the other sisters that I want to plant pumpkins I get skeptical looks like I am indulging in a hidden sin by taking up garden space for something so frivolous. Of course I can buy canned pumpkin in the store — if I remember to get there before the holiday rush — but what about fresh? It is a lot of work to peel and seed and reduce down to what we can so easily take out of the can. But did you know that pumpkin is also a great squash for roasting and enjoying with roast chicken, turkey, pork or Cornish hen? And even better when you do a medley of butternut, acorn and pumpkin?
A Medley of Roasted Fall Squashes
A Medley Of Roasted Fall Squashes
- De-stem pumpkin, cut in half, seed, then cut into wedges about 1 1/4 inch wide.
- Repeat with acorn squash and butternut squash (I usually just use the bulb of the butternut and save the rest for soup.)
- Mix together melted butter and maple syrup.
- Arrange squashes on a baking sheet and brush each wedge with butter/syrup mixture.
- Roast at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes until tender.
- Finish with salt and pepper to taste.