Squash – Autumn’s Culinary Star

Pick the orange squash most readily available to you, and make it the center of your fall and winter menu planning! Acorn, butternut, pumpkin – all relatively inexpensive, plentiful, loaded with Vitamins A & C, and delicious in so many different ways. You can buy it whole, at the farmer’s market or grocery store to peel and cube yourself, or take a shortcut and buy it already cubed.

We loved this pasta dish I threw together yesterday for a potluck with friends.img_9598

Fall Pasta

Ingredients
2 lbs cubed squash (butternut, acorn or pumpkin)
2 T. vomFASS Herb Garlic Sunflower Oil
2 t. vomFASS Bruschetta alla Toscana spice blend
1/2 t. vomFASS Peppercorn Mix
1 Box pasta (I used gluten free rotini)
1 T. vomFASS Rosemary Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 T. toasted pine nuts
Finely grated parmesan cheese

Directions
Toss squash in sunflower oil and spices. Roast in a 400 degree oven on a baking sheet for 20 – 30 minutes, stirring about halfway through roasting time.  Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain pasta and toss with Rosemary EVOO. Add roasted squash, pine nuts and adjust seasoning to taste. Serve with parmesan.

Lots of easy flavor variations, simply using different vomFASS spice blends and oils.

Vegetarian, as described. Easy to make gluten free by using GF pasta. Easy to make vegan by using egg-free pasta and deleting or replacing parmesan with a vegan substitute.

 

 

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Fall party recipes

Thanks to my friend and vomFASS colleague Melissa B, owner of vomFASS Des Moines, for the inspiration for these fun recipes for witches, goblins and scary clowns. Well maybe not scary clowns! I think they were axed from the season this year. I won’t miss them at my party, will you? 🙂

Morgue-a-rita – 1 serving

1/2 oz vomFASS Mango Balsam Vinegar
1/2 oz lime juice
1/2 oz vomFASS Passion Fruit simple syrup
1 oz Tequila
1 oz vomFASS Blood Orangecello
vomFASS Basil Citrus Sea Salt, for rimming glass.
vomFASS Grenadine for goulish garnish.

Mix ingredients in a shaker and serve on the rocks, in a salt rimmed glass, and garnish by dripping grenadine down sides of glass. This recipe is easy to multiple in a batch for a crowd.

Ghostly Guacamole! Serves 4 – 6 mango_guacamole_rs

2 ripe avocados
1 small red onion, finely diced
2 Tbsp fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 Tomato, diced
1 Jalapeno Pepper, finely minced
2 Tbsp vomFASS Calamansi Balsam Vinegar
1/8 tsp cumin
vomFASS sea salt and Peppercorn Mix, to taste

Slice avocado in half and remove pit. Scoop avocado into medium bowl and coarsely smash with a fork, leaving some chunks. Add remaining ingredients to bowl, stirring gently to incorporate.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately or chill for up to 1 hour with plastic wrap placed directly on top to seal out air.

Deadly Delicious Pumpkin Soup Serves 4 – 6pumpkinOilonSoup.png

1/2 Medium Onion, diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
3 slices Bacon, minced
3  Anchovies (optional)
2 T vomFASS Chili Oil
1 small Pie Pumpkin (3-4#)
2 Mangoes
1/4 cup vomFASS Mango Balsam Vinegar
4 cup Chicken or Vegetable Stock
1 T. vomFASS African Rub Seasoning
vomFASS Salt and Pepper to taste
1 T vomFASS Styrian Pumpkin Seed Oil

Halve and seed the pumpkin. Place cut side down on a baking sheet with 1/4c water and place into a preheated 400° F oven. Cook the pumpkin for 40 -45 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. In a 2 qt pot over medium heat add the chili oil, anchovies, bacon, garlic, and onion. Sautee until the onions are translucent. Peel, seed and dice the mangoes. Add the mangoes and African Rub seasoning to the pot. Continue to cook stirring occasionally until the bacon gets slightly crisp. Remove from the heat and add the Mango Balsam Vinegar. In a food processor place the peeled roasted pumpkin, the contents of the 2 qt pot, and 1 cup of stock. Puree until smooth., add more stock as needed. Return the mixture to the pot and place over medium heat. Adjust the consistency to taste with the stock, then season with salt and pepper. When serving the soup, drizzle a small amount of Styrian Pumpkin Seed oil over the top.

Calamansi Fish Tacos

Serves 4 (2 tacos each)

Salsa Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh orange, peeled and segmentedfish-taco
  • 1/2 pound avocados, peeled, pitted
  • 1 T. vomFASS Calamansi Balsam Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • crushed red pepper flakes to taste
  • vomFASS Basil Citrus Salt, to taste

Fish ingredients

  • 4 cod fillets (or other mild, firm white fish)
  • 4 tablespoons vomFASS olive oil
  • ½ t. vomFASS Orange-Pepper seasoning, or to taste
  • 1 T. vomFASS Calamansi Balsam Vinegar
  • ¼ t. vomFASS Basil Citrus Salt, or to taste

Condiment ingredients

  • ½ C. plain Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream
  • 2 T. vomFASS Fig Balsamic Star

Other ingredients

  • 16 Corn tortillas (6 inch)

Directions

  1. Prepare salsa: cut oranges and avocados into 1/2 inch chunks. Combine with Calamansi Balsam Vinegar, onions and cilantro in bowl. Add pepper flakes and salt to taste. Set aside until ready to serve.
  2. Prepare condiment: Stir Fig Balsamic Star into yogurt or sour cream. Set aside.
  3. Season fish with olive oil and orange-pepper. Saute, broil or grill. Sprinkle fillets with Calamansi Balsam Vinegar and Basic Citrus Sea Salt. Break fish into chunks and stir.
  4. Warm tortillas in aluminum foil on grill or oven, or between two plates in a microwave.
  5. Spread corn tortilla with a light layer of condiment. Spoon fish and salsa onto a double layer of tortillas. Fold over and serve.

Wine pairing suggestion: Riesling, Moscato,  Gewurztraminer if you like a lightly sweet wine with your spicy citrus flavor profile. Otherwise a nice Pinot Gris would be great. 

Simply sophisticated basil pesto

Pesto pasta always seemed so much more exotic to me than a red sauce, or even Alfredo. When I finally decided to make it myself, I was amazed at how easy it is! If you have a mountain of basil to use or freeze before Mother Nature nips it with frost – or if you have a great farmer’s market or local grocery that can supply it, I encourage you to make a batch to eat immediately, and another one or two for freezing.

Pesto pasta is one of my granddaughter Olivia’s favorite meals, and she’s asked me to img_9206make it for her birthday the past few years. Now she knows how to make it too!

Basil Pesto

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
2/3 cup vomFASS extra-virgin olive oil, divided
vomFASS Pyramid Sea Salt and freshly ground Peppecorn Mix, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese

Very briefly blanch the fresh basil in very hot water to set the bright green color (thanks for the tip, Splendid Table!) Dry the basil in a salad spinner or on paper towels. Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the olive oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese. If you are using it on pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of hot pasta water and add to pesto to melt cheese and liquify enough to easily coat the pasta. Add pasta and toss to coat. I like also like to marinate chicken or shrimp in pesto before grilling.

If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Stir in cheese after thawing.

I hope you enjoy making and eating this pesto as much as Olivia and I did!