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Butternut Squash Dip

Jan 19 2014 053 Edited Butternut Squash Dip

Week 12 of 12 has arrived. I chose a butternut squash dip for my 12 Weeks of Winter Squash finale, picking the recipe with a thought along the lines of “this will be quaint.”

I did not expect to love it, but I do. My love for it runs so deep that saying it took me by surprise is an understatement. I was actually shocked by love for it.

I maintained a semblance of control and served it with roasted carrots and parsnips (I also forgot how much I love roasted parsnips) and a few pita chips. But really, I wanted to dip potato chips in it or slather it on a sandwich like pimento cheese.

Jan 19 2014 037 Edited Butternut Squash Dip

I have never been a fan saying that something is so good I want to stick my face in it. I simply can not get over the image of that mess and the idea of food stuck in my eyelashes or stuffed up my nose. However, this dip comes close to making me use that phrase.

I do not wish to stick my face in it, but I would be willing to figure out a way to turn it into a facial mask.

Although I jumped in at week 4, I appreciated having this project to hold me accountable to this space at least once a week. I enjoyed getting to know some other bloggers and seeing their creative recipes. I hope you will check out their creations and find some that make the rest of winter a little tastier. Enjoy!

Jan 19 2014 056 Edited Butternut Squash Dip

Butternut Squash Dip
 
Author:
Serves: 2½ cups
Ingredients
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling if desired
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup tahini paste
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Toss the butternut squash with the olive oil and garlic and season with salt and black pepper.
  2. Distribute evenly across a baking sheet and roast at 425 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes, turning occasionally, until tender.
  3. When roasted and cool enough to handle, transfer the butternut squash into a food processor.
  4. Add the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice and cayenne pepper.
  5. Puree until smooth, adding a bit of water if the dip is too thick for your liking. Transfer the dip to a serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil if desired.
  6. Serve at room temperature with roasted root vegetables, pita chips or any food of your choice.
Notes
I used minced garlic from the jar, but the original recipe called for roasting one head of garlic. Here’s how: Cut 1 inch off the top of the garlic head and place it on a piece of foil. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and wrap it tightly. Roast the garlic along with squash, but allow it to sit in the oven for about 1 hour instead of 35 to 40 minutes. The garlic should be soft when done. Allow it to cool, then squeeze the cloves from their skins into the food processor along with the other ingredients.

Not sure where to find tahini paste? At my store, it is located next to the peanut butter.

 


Carrot Coconut Soup

January 13 1013 082 Edited Carrot Coconut Soup

The odds of me winning the lottery are probably higher than the odds of me reaching for a raw vegetable to eat. This is a significant statement when considering I recently told my sister, “I don’t think I even know how to buy a lottery ticket.”

The carrots and celery and broccoli and occasional leafy greens I buy with the best of intentions typically get little attention until they start to seep some sort of brown liquid into the produce drawer. It’s always one of those things I say I will eat tomorrow, but then so many tomorrows pass that the vegetables transform into a rotten mess.

Carrot coconut soup has saved at least the carrots from this fate. Plus, I am a sucker for anything with coconut milk, and this soup is much healthier than a pina colada.

January 13 1013 078 Edited Carrot Coconut Soup

With just six main ingredients, it is quick and easy to make. The only thing I thought odd was to use chicken broth in a vegetarian soup, so I used vegetable broth instead. And please do not let the Thai-style chili sauce turn you away.

I am not an adventurous grocery shopper, but I have learned to have a little more patience in searching the aisles and asking for help to find ingredients that are unfamiliar to me. I found Thai-style chili sauce rather easily in the international section of my grocery (which makes up only about an eighth of one aisle), and there was both a name brand and a store brand from which to choose.

This recipe does not yield a lot of soup – I got two large servings out of it – but it looks to be easily doubled if you need to serve a large crowd. Or if you want to enjoy a bit more of it yourself. Enjoy!

January 13 1013 101 Edited Carrot Coconut Soup

Carrot Coconut Soup
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
  • 1, 13.5 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons Thai-style chili sauce, plus additional for serving if desired
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the carrots and the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until the carrots are softened. This should take 15-20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the broth, coconut milk and chili sauce.
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very soft. This should take 40-45 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. When cool enough to work with, use a(n) (immersion) blender or food processor to puree the soup.
  6. Return the now-smooth soup to the pot (unless you used an immersion blender, then it is still in the pot), and reheat as needed to serve.
  7. If desired, thin with water and season with additional salt and pepper. Serve with additional chili sauce for a spicy kick.

 

Butternut Squash Bread

January 13 1013 014 Edited Butternut Squash Bread

Week 11 of 12 Weeks of Winter Squash features ugly, but delicious, butternut squash bread. I am fairly certain I lament nearly every time I bake a quick bread that I really can not get the darn thing to come out of the pan right to save my hide. I wait too long and it sticks, or I don’t wait long enough and it falls apart, or something altogether different happens that results in weird-looking bread.

This time, I lost the bottom crust. To add insult to injury, I could not cut through the tough crust without destroying the tender crumb underneath. The silver lining to this ugly bread is that it is incredibly delicious. Perfectly spiced and packed with flavor.

January 13 1013 023 Edited Butternut Squash Bread

If you use canned butternut squash puree, it is a snap to whip up. If you are unable to find canned, pureed butternut squash at your grocery store (my grocery carries the Farmer’s Market brand alongside the Libby’s pumpkin puree), the recipe includes instructions for how to make your own at home. It’s as simple as roasting the squash until tender, then pureeing in a food processor.

Enjoy the bread on its own, or take a cue from the cookbook and serve it with a scoop of ice cream. Top it off with a dollop of butternut butter to really spice things up. Until our final week next week, enjoy!

January 13 1013 017 Edited Butternut Squash Bread

Butternut Squash Bread
 
Ingredients
  • 1⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup pureed butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons water
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Set aside.
  2. Stir together the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, butternut squash puree and water until well combined.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix together until well incorporated.
  4. Pour the batter into a greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and even out the top.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 60-90 minutes. The top should be well browned, and a toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean.
  6. Allow to cool to room temperature before slicing.
Notes
To make a butternut squash puree, simply cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and membranes. Place the squash cut-side down in a baking dish filled with ½ inch of water. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-60 minutes or until tender. Remove the squash from the oven, turn cut-side up, and allow to cool until it is able to be handled without scorching your fingers. Scoop the flesh from the squash and process in a food processor until smooth. You may need to allow the puree to drain to remove excess water. Place the puree in a mesh strainer set over a bowl (to catch the liquid) and allow to drain for about an hour.