Browned Butter Maple Glazed Delicata Squash with Hazelnuts

Delicata Squash that tastes like candy.

Behold, I have brought you another idea for your holiday table, the brilliantly easy to prepare delicata squash. Delicata squash has a special place in my heart since you don’t have to do any teeth gritted wrangling to slice it up. Man, slicing up acorn squash can be harrowing on the fingers, and can require a bit of muscle at times too. With the delicata though, the outer skin is so tender there is no need to peel, just slice, cook, and eat.

I have also absolutely fallen in love with browned butter. This is a direct result of an evening with Dorie Greenspan at Books Are Magic in Brooklyn last week, where she was holding court to promote her new cookbook: BUTTER. It’s one of 29 other small little books from the Short Stack Editions group. The books are simple pamphlet-like books all created around a single theme. They are just the most wonderful little gems and I just adore them. Sure, sure, you can get more for less- but there is something so utterly charming about this series. They are more like small art pieces than a standard cookbook, and I just love that about them. (stocking stuffers anyone?)

During the gathering Dorie served up some buttery treats, one of which was a Cinnamon Chili Caramel Corn that was sheer delight. I just became entranced with that nutty buttery caramely thing. Poor butter has been thoroughly ostracized for the past several years. I may have to single handedly bring it on back. Olive oil- I adore you- but butter? You must be my mistress. Browning butter is such a magic trick too. It doesn’t take any great skill (only a smidge of patience), and you get this amazing thing. Who doesn’t love that?

 

Browned Butter Maple Glazed Delicata Squash with Hazelnuts

serves 8

4-5 small delicata squash

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 tablespoons maple syrup (please use the real thing, it’s worth it here)

generous pinch of salt

1/4 cup of hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

 

Slice the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and slice into even 1/4″ slices. Set aside.

Place the butter in a small light bottomed saucepan and place over medium low heat. Melt and continue to stir. The butter will sizzle as the water is cooked out. Just as this subsides and gets quiet, you will start to smell the nuttiness and see small bits settle to the bottom of the pan. When the butter is toasty, but not overly burnt, remove from the heat and pour the butter into a bowl. This will stop the butter from continuing to brown and possible burn. This all takes about 3-4 minutes.

Add the maple syrup to the butter and the salt. Stir and set aside.

In a large skillet, prepare with cooking spray and warm over medium heat. Add the slices of delicata and cook for one minute. Add 2 tablespoons of water, over the pan with a lid, and steam the squash for 2-3 minutes. Remove the lid and cook off any remaining water.

Add the buttery syrup mixture and cook gently over medium low heat until the squash is caramelized by the syrup, about 3 minutes.

Transfer to a platter and sprinkle the chopped nuts on top.

 

 

Last minute party Hummus

 

Pomegranate Pistachio Hummus- A stack of Dishes

Pomegranate Molasses and Pistachio Hummus

Now that the summer is unofficially here I have begun to think about weekend entertaining. To make my life easier I have created a few variations on hummus. The idea is to have some easy fall back or go-to that is not the same ol’ same ol’. Let there be NO humdrum hummus!!

If you’re like me we have at least one or two impromptu cocktail hour get togethers. Keeping stock on some sprightly rose is fairly easy, but the snacks! I grapple with trying to come up with something different. Last summer I easily ate my weight in delicious cheese. Now there ain’t nothing wrong with that- and trust me, it will happen again and again- but it also can feel like a cop out sometimes.

White Bean Hummus with Dill Oil and Black Salt-A Stack of Dishes

White Bean Hummus with Dill Oil and Black Salt

And I will be honest- all that goodness did not do my waistline any favors either. (no complaints, it was deelish!!) The reality though is I would rather spend my time on the tennis court or relaxing on the beach. Futzing in the kitchen is ok on a gray or rainy day, but I pretty much want to open the fridge and pull out some magic.

So here you go my friends- You can make your hummus from scratch, or keep a master tub of plain hummus in the fridge- you know, next to the rose…. [Read more…]

How to Make Oven Crispy Root Chips

Crispy root chips- A Stack of Dishes

Let’s be honest, it’s not like I’m making a batch of snacks all the time. If you have company coming though, these crispy root chips are not tough to make and will make your guests feel oh so spoiled.

What I’m really imagining though is a cold Winter’s day where you decide to have a few pals over to sip and chat. It’s helpful that the oven will warm the house, and there is nothing like coming into a home where something good is cooking. I used parsnips and turnips here, but any ol’ roots kicking around your kitchen would work. Got a carrot or two in the drawer? How about a sweet potato, rutabaga and the golden child, regular potatoes! They don’t have to be the freshest either, so you would get a Home-Ec gold star from me from using all those latent bits in your veggie bin.

Sliced Turnips and Parsnips for crispy root chips- A Stack of Dishes

At first I thought I would slice the turnips with my favorite knife, but I then decided for best even cooking I should use my mandolin. So completely worth it. Whip whip whip and they are done. I was happy to cook and eat some turnips too. Who really eats those these days? I happen to love them roasted, but I can’t say they are anywhere near the top of my veggie hits list. Why is that? Perhaps I should do a turnip series, that could be fun…. parsnips are pretty miraculous too. The sophisticated cousin of the carrot. So refined, pale and delicate. They need to get their due also. [Read more…]