Monday, November 14, 2011

When life hands you an abundance of root vegetables...

Maybe it was because I had the first of two Thanksgivings this year at my boyfriend's parent's house this weekend, or because I just spent some time researching and otherwise contemplating the perfect pie recipes for Thanksgiving with my family in Texas, or maybe just because I have a natural tendency toward gluttony, but today's post will be about fall recipes. These are not necessarily Thanksgiving recipes, mind you, just things that I've created in the last few weeks through the bounty of my farm share. I'll be sad to it come to an end this week, but I chose to not sign up for the winter share, but rather rejoin next spring. I know I'll be traveling a bit more in the winter, so it's for the best. That and I'm thinking I need a break
from squash and carrots for a couple of months. But before I besmirch the good name of root vegetables and the harvest season, here's some of what I've been making lately (all photos are not of actual food I have made, but are thanks to the good people of the Internet and serve as suggestions of what my food looked like or would have looked like if I gave more emphasis on proper plating.)

Butternut Squash Ravioli:

Did you know that you can make ravioli without a pasta maker using wonton wrappers? Okay, likely you did, but I've been meaning to try this trick for years, and only recently discovered wonton wrappers are actually very easy to find in my grocery store (right next to the tofu--of course!). I don't remember exactly what I stuffed these bad boys with, but here's an approximation of my process:

1 small butternut squash (roasted with a little olive oil and salt in the oven for 30 minutes until soft enough to scoop and blend with a fork)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (or rather, I just grated until I got tired)
1 tsp chopped fresh sage
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 pepper
minced garlic (in whatever number of cloves you want)
wonton wrappers
1 egg white

Mix all ingredients together (well except for the last two). Scoop a small spoonful of filling onto the center of each wrapper. Beat the egg white and a little water in small bowl with a fork. Rub some of the egg white mixture on the edges of the wonton wrapper. Fold wrapper over filling so that it forms a right triangle. Press edges to seal and crimp with a fork. Once you've finished all the ravioli, put them in boiling water for about 5 minutes or until the ravioli float and the skins look slightly translucent. I served these with some browned butter with more sage, some toasted chopped walnuts, and a little more parmesan cheese. Excellent way to make squash as unhealthy as possible.

Sunchoke puree:
Cook peeled and chopped sunchokes with a peeled and chopped potato or two and whatever root vegetables (turnips, parsnips, what have you) you desperately want to rid of with enough vegetable broth to just cover. Simmer until vegetables are soft (takes about 30 minutes). Drain off some of the liquid, but retain enough to blend smoothly in a blender or food processor (or using an immersion blender if you didn't buy yours from Bargain Stop and find that it lacks the wherewithall to so much as froth milk). Once blended add a couple of tablespoons of butter, a tsp salt, and a little milk if it needs to be thinned. Serves nicely with a spice crusted salmon. Also, judging by the image I found, it would pair fairly nicely with a panko crusted scallop. Something to think about.

Green Tomato Bread:

At the end of summer, there is apparently always a plethora of green tomatoes left on the vine that never ripened. This is something I only learned when my farm share started heaving green tomatoes on us by the pound-ful. My first instinct was to fry them as that's the only use for green tomatoes I know of. However, in the interest of being healthier and not immediately giving into every impulse I have to deep fry something, I researched further. Turns out there are tons of green tomato recipes to choose from. I wasn't that interested in the relish or the chutney, so I opted for the green tomato bread (which, yes, I realize is arguably just as unhealthy as deep frying them). I didn't tweak the recipe at all, so I'm not going to write it out here. It was a pretty tasty bread though--similar to most spiced quick breads, but with an underlying tartness from the tomatoes.

So tell me, readers, what have you been making this harvest season?


  1. That's a great idea for butternut squash ravioli! I like it a lot but can never order them in restaurants because of all the cheese in them. I'll use this recipe to make a dairy free version and let you know it turns out. Thanks!

  2. I just made some parsnip/carrot/wild mushroom soup. It sounded great, but was too much trouble. Interestingly enough, the predominate flavor was parsnip -- which I seldom eat. I'm going to use my other parsnips to jazz up a basic potato/leek soup. I'll report back.

  3. Carolyn--Most recipes I've seen don't include ricotta. I just added that because I like cheese and I wanted to make the squash stretch farther. Also, I think it would be really easy to bathe them in olive oil and sage instead of browned butter.

    Anon--As you know, I'm not a big mushroom person, but the potato leek soup idea sounds like a winner!

  4. I made something really simple - I roasted butternut squash with an onion and olive oil. Then i drizzled on a little balsamic and dijon mustard and threw in some dried cranberries. It was very easy and tasty.

    My farm share also ends this week and I'm relieved.