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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Simple Things in Life

Roasted Asparagus

Alright I have a confession to make, I am obsessed with asparagus. My favorite way to cook asparagus is to roast it, getting those green stalks good and crispy. Medium sized asparagus works best for roasting as it shrinks while roasting. Works great as a side dish to pork tenderloin, roasted chicken and even in a nice pasta dish. Or, as I eat them...alone. No hollandaise necessary, as some of the best dishes utilize the simplest ingredients.

Roasted Asparagus Recipe

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

1 pound asparagus, medium
Garlic Salt
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
Good olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Break off the tough ends of the asparagus. Place asparagus evenly on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and roll around to make sure all of the asparagus is covered. Sprinkle asparagus liberally with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the garlic salt only on the tips of the asparagus (this is the key to perfection).

Cook for 25 minutes until asparagus is crispy. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Winter, Please Enter

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash is the perfect vegetable to help us finish up the fall season and enter us into the cold of winter. What better way to warm up than with a simple, rich soup. I am not a fan of 'brothy' soups; therefore, I tend to steer toward the potato and creamy soup family. To give this creamy soup a boost, I roasted the butternut squash. This technique allows for more of the squash's flavor to be released, which gives the soup more depth. The garnish of fresh sage and crumbled blue cheese puts it over the top! So cuddle up with a great book, soft blanket and enjoy this glorious soup.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 1 hr. 30 min.

1 large butternut squash ( 2 lb.)
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cups vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
8 fresh sage leaves, 4 shredded and 4 for garnish
2 teaspoons salt (add more if needed)
1 teaspoon pepper
ground nutmeg to taste
Blue cheese or Goat Cheese crumbled, garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Prick butternut squash with knife in numerous places. Place whole squash on baking sheet and roast until the squash becomes soft, about 1 hour. Remove and let cool. Cut in half, remove and discard seeds. Scoop out flesh from skin of squash and place into a bowl. Set aside.

In a large saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the onions, red pepper flakes and half of the sage. Cook onions until translucent, approximately 10 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and squash. Mix to combine. Raise heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes to combine flavors. Remove from heat. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir to combine.

Puree soup in a food processor or blender. Pour mixture back into large saucepan and reheat over medium-low heat.

Serve in soup bowls. Garnish with blue or goat cheese crumbles with fresh sage leaf. Serve immediately.