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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Stuffed Winter Squash

Still wondering about that other side you will make for Thanksgiving dinner? This one will do. Hard winter squash, sliced open, baked until the cheerful inside is creamy, and stuffed with grains, apples, and leeks. It makes quite a few servings and looks beautiful on the table, right in between the turkey and cranberries.

I've made this three times already just to get the flavors right. The key is to add ginger and cinnamon to the filling; it complements the rich squash and zingy apples without overpowering it.

For a sweeter version, I used butternut squash for that ooh-aah creamy flavor. For the savory side, I used a new kind for me: baby blue hubbard squash. Not baby blue in color, but baby, as in small, blue hubbard. I like it a lot; the texture was very smooth and the flavor was nutty and sweet.

My dear sister Megan was visiting when I made this squash the first time around. It was a much needed vacation for her. We sat around marvelling over how tasty winter squash is, and talked about other things we like to cook. The day she left was close to 70 degrees and we sat outside at a cafe, drinking lattes and reading magazines. It was so relaxing.

I hope you have a relaxing and fun Thanksgiving!

Cranberry Butternut Squash

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cranberry Sage Cornbread

Hello, everyone! I've missed you. This post has been on my to-do list for too long. A new job and business classes have been keeping me busy.

I started bussing at a restaurant called The Dogwood and was able to work my way into the kitchen. For the past couple of weeks I've been training to run "the pantry," that is, the soup-salad-sandwich-dessert side of the kitchen. The Dogwood's mission is to source sustainable, seasonal food, and to offer a chance to individuals who are transitioning from addiction, incarceration, homelessness, and/or underemployment, which is similar to how I plan to run my future bakery cafe.

My business class through Women Entrepreneurs of Baltimore is helping me to research the market, determine feasibility, and learn how to be a business owner. It will also help me to write a business plan and figure out concrete steps to start selling granola at farmers markets and cafes (which will be my first step on the way to opening a bakery cafe). I am very excited for this perfect opportunity.

I made this cornbread recipe a month ago and have had the photos sitting in my camera to share with you. It started by baking out of The Bread Baker's Apprentice, by Peter Reinhart, and noticing a recipe for cornbread. Then, as summer gradually left and I fretted over how to best use up my herbs before they died, I eagerly paired a generous amount of earthy sage with tart cranberries and added them to the cornbread batter. With bated breath, I pulled the fragrant creation out of the oven and felt triumphant as I admired the golden crust and bright cranberries.