Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happiness is a New Cookbook

     On my recent trip to the Portland area I picked up a new cookbook, "Recipes from the Root Cellar",  by Andrea Chesman.  The primary reason I was attracted to this book was that it has more than 30 winter squash recipes. We currently have a very good supply of winter squash, in spite of the number of squashes I have given to friends and family. My goal is that none of them will go to waste.  I thought I might be able to sell Linda on eating more squash if I can find a few more recipes that she likes.  Up to now, as far as Linda is concerned, I've been a one trick pony when it comes to squash. She really likes a squash soup that I make, but hasn't liked much else in the way of winter squash. I guess that I should say two trick pony as she does like pumpkin pie, regardless of what sort of funny shaped "pumpkin" I use to make it.
One recipe down, a few hundred to go. 

    My first attempt from the new cookbook was something called Whipped Winter Squash on page 197.  The recipe called for one large winter squash, but their suggested varieties included butternut, buttercup, and red kuri, none of which are large squashes in my book.  I would consider a blue hubbard and larger to be large squashes. So I used what I consider to be one medium size Oregon Sweet Meat squash.  The squash is split, seeds removed, and baked in the oven for 60 to 90 minutes until it is done.  The cooked squash is separated from its skin. Then add 4-6 tablespoons of butter, 4-6 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey, and 3-4 tablespoons of either whole milk, half and half, or light cream. This mixture is then beaten with a mixer and salt and pepper are added to taste.  I was very happy with the results. Linda liked it too, but I think I probably ate most of it. That puts me up to three squash recipes that Linda likes.  The next recipe I planned to try was Winter Squash with Caramelized Apples.  I think a girl like Linda who loves caramel apples is bound to like that one.

    A good friend dropped by the Beez Neez yesterday and left me a nice bag of beets.  The squash recipe will have to wait until after I make borscht.  This led me to discover a flaw in my new cook book. Their borscht recipe did not include cabbage in the ingredients.  I think I will stick to the borscht recipes in my two Russian cookbooks, all of which include cabbage. I did find a recipe for Harvard Beets in the new cook book which I am going to try.

  I made a very simple borscht using the following ingredients:

1. One chopped onion, sauteed in butter.
2. About two pounds of beets, boiled for about 40 minutes, skins removed and cut into fairly small pieces. I saved the liquid in which the beets were cooked to add to the borscht as it makes a big contribution both in color and flavor. Normally I cut the beets into thinner pieces than seen in the bowl of borscht below, but I sliced up the beets after I had sliced my thumb so I was a little less thorough.
3. One quart of chicken stock
4. 1/2 head of cabbage, shredded.
5. Salt and Pepper to taste.
6. One dollop of sour cream added to each bowl of borscht as it is served.

     Normally I would also use garlic, but I cut my thumb doing the onions and was not in the mood to slice anything else it it wasn't absolutely necessary. I even enlisted Linda to shred the cabbage for me.  It turned out very well so it didn't seem to miss the garlic.  Linda and I both found it to be delicious.
I love the wonderful color of borscht

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