Winter Squash Roasted with Pomegranate Molasses and Thyme E.A.T. #33

 

 I am enjoying how we just slipped into Fall…no whimper, no bang…hardly a notice…just an opening of the eye and here we are. Fall foods are abundant. The deep green skins of acorn squash with a brush stroke of orange here and there.  Butternut squash so sweet when roasted turning to a deep rich gold.  Aren’t you glad Fall is here?

This bowl of roasted squash would be great for a holiday side.

 A couple of acorn squash and one butternut squash is quite enough for 4 people. Some fresh thyme scattered about and pomegranate molasses drizzled over before and after roasting gave the squash an amazing glaze with just right crisp edges. . The skin on both squash was soft enough to eat as well.  The key was using smaller size squash, which are easier to cut and naturally sweeter.Are you familiar with pomegranate molasses? It is pretty easy to find these days at larger supermarkets, but more often at import markets. I purchase it in Nashville at K & S Market on Charlotte Avenue.

There is no real recipe, just an easy how-to that can be prepped ahead of all the hustle and bustle. Add an easy roasted chicken, recipe here. It’s all as easy-as-this.

Pomegranate Molasses and Thyme Roasted Winter Squash

Ingredients:

  • 2 smallish acorn squash
  • 1 smallish butternut squash
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate  molasses
  • 1 handful of fresh thyme
  • large flake sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Carefully cut all squash in half and scrape out seeds. Cut acorn squash into rings and then cut rings in half. Trim top from butternut squash and cut into pieces lengthwise.
  2. Toss squash with a bit of olive oil. Spread out flat on a sheet pan.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Drizzle squash with 1/4 cup of the pomegranate molasses. Sprinkle on sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss fresh thyme leaves over all.
  5. Roast for about 20 minutes. Squash should be fork tender, but not mushy. Remove from oven. Cover loosely if not serving immediately.
  6. Right before serving drizzle with remaining pomegranate molasses and additional fresh thyme sprigs. Double or triple recipe for a crowd.

Teresa Blackburn    www. teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

 

Pondering the Fungi – Shiitake and Crimini Mushroom Cheese Crust Pie

Looking through the latest issue of Donna Hay magazine while pondering what to eat for dinner I turned a page and beheld the most fabulous photographs of savory pies, crusty quiches, deep dish tarts…whatever you want to call them…and knew exactly what we would be having for dinner. A quick trip to the market and a couple of hours, and much pondering later, our Shiitake-Crimini Mushroom-Cheese Crust Pie was in the oven.

While I was taking photographs of the mushrooms and later while the pie was baking I spent some time pondering nature and how fantastic it is that we have environments where these little, almost precious looking, edible fungi thrive.  Relaxing musings.

This  led to me pondering about what would make any foolish person or persons in charge of overseeing the balance of our natural world want to change, damage or undo environmental policies that protect such environments. Anxious thoughts.

This line of thinking led me to reading about the world of mushrooms. I needed a diversion from the political path I was going down while  waiting for my pie to bake.  I was pretty happy to learn how adaptable they are to multiple and risky environments. Fungi can adapt in amazing ways to changes in the earth and still thrive. Happy ponderings.

Which led me to realize we humans are not in any adaptable league with fungi.  Sad thought.

The last 10 minutes of bake time I spent writing a note or two to a few congressman and the White House about their recent disregard for the environment, fungi and life on earth as we know it.  Hopeful Act.

Pie ponderings. No matter how much I cook I still learn new “tricks” that make so much cooking sense.  Such is the making of this crust. Once the springform pan is prepped and the cheese dough is well-chilled I grated it into and over the bottom. It’s so much easier to press down and up the sides. Grating the chilled dough also created a finished baked pie with a ruggedly ragged crust that is very striking. Thank you Donna Hay.

It looks a lot like fresh pasta doesn’t it?

Sauted mushrooms, Gruyère shredded, eggs, cream, fresh thyme leaves fill the crust……

….to be baked to a toasty brown perfection.

This is one of the best things I have made in a while. Crisp crust, velvety filling with the earthy mushrooms and the sharpness of Gruyère cheese. After all that pondering so very satisfying with a salad and glass of wine. Delicious thoughts.

Shiitake and Crimini Mushroom Cheese Crust Pie

                        

Ingredients for crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour with 1 teaspoon salt mixed in
  • 1 1/2 cups cold butter chopped
  • 3/4 cup shredded aged white Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 large egg
  • a few tablespoon cold water if needed
  • parchment paper cut to fit 9″springform pan
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter for springform pan
  • a smear of Dijon mustard for the baked crust

Ingredients for filling:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped small
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt & 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound mixed shiitake and crimini mushrooms, trimmed
  • 1 cup heavy cream, warmed in the microwave
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese (divided)
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

Directions for crust:

  1. Place all ingredients except for the ice water in a food processor and pulse until well mixed. Remove lid and using fingers test dough to see if it will hold together. If not, replace processor lid and drizzle in, by tablespoons, cold water until dough starts to hold together. It can still be loose and slaggy.
  2. Dump dough onto a flat work surface and form into a firm ball. Cover with plastic and chill for 1 hour. (This could be done the day before just as well.)
  3. When ready to make pie preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9″ springform pan. Cut a piece of parchment to fit the bottom of the pan. Place in pan and butter paper.
  5. Grate well-chilled dough over the bottom of the pan evenly. Press in bottom and up sides of pan halfway leaving an uneven somewhat ragged edge.
  6. Line dough with a sheet of parchment or waxed paper, fill with pie weights or beans and bake for 25 minutes on a large sheet tray.
  7. Remove the paper and weights and cook for another 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown. Turn heat to 325.
  8. While crust is cooking saute onion and garlic, salt and pepper in olive oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium heat until onions are softened. Remove and set aside.
  9. Melt butter in same skillet and add mushrooms. Saute until lightly browned stirring often. Remove from heat.
  10. Slowly add the warm cream to the eggs, whisking as you add. Stir in half of the Gruyère cheese and thyme leaves. Add the cooked onion mixture.
  11. Smear the Dijon mustard over the bottom of the baked crust. Sprinkle mushroom over the crust. Gently pour the egg cheese mixture over the mushrooms. Sprinkle remainder of Gruyère and additional thyme if you like over the top.
  12. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, on a sheet pan, or until the center is set and pie is golden brown and puffy. Remove to a wire cooling rack for 30 minutes to cool before cutting. Serve cut into wedges to serve 4 or 6.

Adapted from a recipe from Donna Hay magazine.

Citrus & Thyme Soppin’ Good Roasted Spring Chicken

springchicken

Dear Readers, Lest you think that I, Food on Fifth, sit around my kitchen all day eating tartlets, upside down cakes, spoon breads and pound cakes I am branching out this week.  As it is Spring here in Nashville in the best and most perfect sense of the word I am sharing our dinner from a week or so ago, a juicy citrus & thyme roasted chicken. A fresh, bright flavor due to all the citrus, very crispy skin, lots of juice in the bottom of the pan served alongside a freshly baked baguette from flour.sugar.eggs. for soppin’ & a bowl of lightly dressed arugula….an easy Spring dinner…oh my, so good.

Here is what you will need:

a good quality, Plump Roasting Chicken (I got this beauty from my local                        CSA, “Fresh Harvest”. This is just the best as you can choose what you want each week, order & pay online and the variety of choices is just astounding…meats, vegs, flowers, cheeses, bread, eggs…all organically grown from farms in the Nashville, TN area.)

 Whole Fresh Citrus – mandarins, oranges, clementines, lemons, grapefruit, whatever you have + 1/2 cup Orange Juice & 1/4 cup Lemon Juice freshly squeezed

Fresh Thyme Leaves (I have a Lemon Thyme in my garden so I used that.)

A few whole, peeled roasted garlic cloves & shallots

Olive oil, salt & freshly ground pepper

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Here is what to do:

1. Wash chicken inside and out under cool running water. Pat dry. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of a roasting pan. Cut citrus into halves & chunks. Slice one lemon thinly.

2. Place the chicken in the roasting pan. Using your fingers (gloves if you prefer) gently loosen the skin over the breast of the chicken & insert a few lemon slices & thyme sprigs under the skin. Stuff the inside of the chicken with the shallots, a few sprigs of thyme & chunks of citrus. Tie the legs together using kitchen twine. Rub the outside of the skin with olive oil & sprinkle with salt & pepper & fresh thyme leaves.

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3. Place all the citrus pieces around the chicken along with the garlic cloves & thyme sprigs. Pour the orange juice & lemon juice into the pan. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thicken part of the breast reads 165 degrees. I basted the chicken every so often with the pan juices.

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Serve pieces of chicken with some of the pan juices & roasted citrus, a crusty baguette for soppin’ and a simple arugula salad.

Oh My, Hello Spring!

Borscht in a Bowl For Cold February Dinners

borscht

“Everything I do, I do on the principle of Russian borscht. You can throw everything into it – beets, carrots, cabbage, onions, everything you want. What’s important is the result, the taste of the borscht.” Quote by: Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Russian poet.

Ingredients  to make a pot of heart & body warming Borscht to ward off the Polar Vortex.

2 lbs. baby red potatoes, cut in half

3 lbs. red beets, peeled & cut into chunks

3 shallots or 1 small onion, chopped

Fresh Thyme

1/4 cup olive oil, kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

10 cups chicken stock/broth (divided)

1 generous tbsp Pomegranate Vinegar (from Trader Joe’s)

Serve with: a dollop of sour cream & additional thyme, warm crusty bread

(Adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe for Ukrainian Borscht.)

Instructions:

1. Place red potatoes, beets, shallots & a few sprigs of thyme on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Sprinkle overall with a drizzle of olive oil, salt & black pepper. Roast vegetables in a 400 degree pre-heated oven for about 25-30 minutes.

Roasted Beets for Borscht

Borscht Vegs

2. Remove woody thyme stems from baking sheet & scrape all the roasted vegetables into a large soup pot. Add 8 cups of the chicken broth. Place pot over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes partially covered. If more liquid is needed then add a cup of water while cooking. Remove pan from heat & use a potato masher to “smash” the beets & potatoes together. Leave soup/borscht chunky. Add the 2 additional cups of chicken broth, reheat right before serving. Dollop with sour cream & sprinkle with additional thyme leaves.

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BorschtBorscht

Borscht

Olympic Rings

Stay warm. Share. Think good thoughts.