Posts Tagged ‘squash’

squash tart

What to do with all that awesome homemade ricotta from last week (other than boasting about it incessantly)? Here’s a recipe I dreamed of, and the reason I made the ricotta in the first place — the ricotta’s raison d’etre, if you will.

I’ve been seeing ricotta-squash tart everywhere recently, by which I mean at both Buttermilk Channel and Vinegar Hill House, both in Brooklyn, both homey new American style restaurants with a farmhouse decor. Aww.

And both with food that — while delicious — I felt pretty confident that I could duplicate at home. Well, this isn’t either of their tarts exactly, but it was pretty good nonetheless. What did I learn? I learned that if you make a good enough tart crust, and have good enough ricotta for the filling, and have good quality toppings,  you can make just about any kind of savory tart you want. (more…)


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Butternut Squash Gratin


It’s squash time, baby, so head on over the the Yale Sustainable Food Project’s blog to read all about how to make this tasty gratin while keeping all of your limbs intact and avoiding the dreaded impenetrable crust.

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As a recent college graduate, I’ve found that the meals I eat at home tend to fall into three categories:

1. Take-out

2. Cooked meals for one

3. Elaborate dinner parties with extensive menus that for some reason always involve cornbread.*

* I think for some reason cornbread satisfies some latent longing I have for home because it is warm, involves bread, and tastes like comfort, which is weird because I’ve never had cornbread at home.

Don’t even get me started on take out.


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As the proud owner of a part of a CSA share — and thus the owner of 2 lbs of summer squash every week for the last month and a half –- my recent discovery of the “Recipes for Health” series in the New York Times’ Health section has been a real boon. Operating on the premise that cooking for yourself is the best way to eat healthily, Martha Rose Shulman offers recipes that use seasonal ingredients in, at least to my sometimes uninventive culinary mind, off-the-beaten-path ways. It helps that she’s not a skimper on eggs and cheese, but that’s perhaps for another post. Over six days about a week and a half ago, she printed five recipes that revolved around summer squash. A fan of things Spanish and eggy, I made the Pisto Manchego to bring in for lunch at work (but, sadly, ended up forgoing the eggs since they’re not transportable as prepared in the dish).  Below is my adaptation of the recipe. (My comments are added after the dashes where I made changes.) (more…)

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Many people think of squash as a winter vegetable, or at least I do. But summer squashes – the best known of which is zucchini – are a terrific vegetable that bear little resemblance in taste to their hearty winter cousins.

Summer squash is quick and easy to prepare, but unlike many vegetables, it is actually well served by somewhat longer cooking. You only need to heat summer squash for 5-10 minutes to soften it and make it tasty, but 25 or 30 minutes of cooking will enhance that squashy flavor.

Here’s what I did to the squash above:


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This is an original Food Junta recipe, with no inspiration from anywhere other than my own imagination. Carbonara is typically pasta — usually spaghetti — with eggs, cheese, pork, and black pepper. You add the raw eggs directly to the pasta after it’s done cooking, and the heat of the pasta cooks the egg and makes it into a kind of sauce (though most recipes have you throw the whole thing into a skillet for a minute, just to be safe).

Mine is not technically a carbonara, nor is it even really following the exact method of making a carbonara. I just add the eggs on in here, and use the whole egg, not just the egg yolk, because what am I really going to do with a bunch of extra egg whites? But it is in the spirit of a carbonara, and the idea of a carbonara is what made me think of my last minute innovation to add the eggs (because I already had pasta, bacon, cheese, and black pepper…I felt like something was missing, and there was only one thing that could be). (more…)

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Last night, I had a immense craving for capellini (angel hair pasta, for the lay-pasta-people in the audience) with tomato sauce and shrimp. I wanted to make it myself, but I also didn’t want to spend a lot of time doing it. And so, dear reader, while one day in the near future I am sure I will be sharing my homemade tomato sauce recipe, today is not that day. That’s right, I bought the sauce. And I bought the shrimp already peeled and cleaned and frozen. And cooking pasta basically requires knowing how to boil water, not that that’s necessarily an easy task, as our new Junta idiot could probably tell you.

This is all to say something very important: it is perfectly okay to use pre-made foods. Even we at Food Junta do it. Because cooking should never be a chore, and making tomato sauce from scratch would have been, at least the way I felt last night.

That is not to say, however, that all you should do with pre-made foods is heat ’em up and eat ’em. You can do that. But why not take five minutes (or less) to make the food your own, just a little bit? The number one way to do this is to adjust the seasonings: I added fresh ground pepper, a good pinch of kosher salt, and about 2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper to my sauce). The number two way to do this is to add a few additional ingredients: I chopped a few tomatoes that were going bad, fried them briefly, and threw them in; I also got a small yellow squash, diced it, sauteed it, and added that for a little more vegetable matter. (more…)

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