Mashed winter squash

Orange squashes are supposedly a superfood so I want to eat more of them. I like mashed things and of course anything that has butter and sugar in it, so I found this recipe in The Joy Of Cooking for mashed winter squash. Like the chicken I made before, it’s sort of a no-brainer and doesn’t really need a recipe, but who knows, maybe I’ll learn something new about squash.

Joy calls for whole winter squash that’s been cut up and skin left on- I bought it already cut up and skinned because I am lazy. And because I thought that’s all Trader Joe’s had—when I noticed out of the corner of my eye that they had the whole ones, I quietly snuck away and didn’t look (I’m sure it’s like 10 times cheaper in whole form). It’s hard to cut up butternut squash (I do not recommend it) so it’s better if I just pretend they don’t have it!

Pre-cut butternut squash from Trader Joe's

Pre-cut butternut squash from Trader Joe's

Now, to make pureed or mashed squash normally I would boil it. But no, Joy calls for baking it at 375 degrees. Sort of…with water. So, like steaming it in the oven? I dunno, but I did it anyway. I was supposed to put the cut-up squash onto a rimmed baking sheet then add 1/4 inch of water and cover with foil. First of all that sounds messy and easy to spill—seriously, 1/4 inch of water on a rimmed baking sheet is practically to the top! And second, I don’t have a rimmed baking sheet. So I used a pie pan. The squash fit perfectly in the pie pan! And the 1/4 inch of water was not anywhere near the top, so no spillage risk.

Joy says that “if desired” halfway through cooking you can brush some butter and sprinkle some brown sugar and nutmeg (or another spice) on it. Well, OF COURSE I “desire” to do this, but since I’m going to be mashing it with butter and brown sugar later, I’ll just leave it alone for now. I wonder if doing that halfway through would add some depth to the flavor. Or if it would just caramelize and get weird and lumpy when mashing later. I dunno, maybe next time I’ll try it. It took about 40 minutes to get to the tender point.

Wow, so this recipe calls for lots of things! Some are optional. Here’s what I opted to use. Since my kitchen is SO SMALL you also get to see things that aren’t in the recipe but are in the kitchen. Like onions. And bananas.

All the stuff needed to make delicious mashed squash.

All the stuff needed to make delicious mashed squash.

I bet you’re curious now, huh? What is all that stuff? You’ll see.

Ok so Joy says to mash the squash with a fork or masher. Then, for every cup of squash mix in 1 TBS butter, 1 tsp brown sugar or maple syrup (I used brown sugar), 1/4th tsp salt, 1/8th tsp ground ginger, 1/8th tsp ground cinnamon (optional). Then you’re supposed to beat it well with  warm heavy cream or orange juice (doesn’t say how much but just to make a soft, smooth puree, also I am going to use a little of both). Then serve it sprinkled with (optional) raisins or chopped nuts. Raisins OR chopped nuts? As if those are interchangeable. Gross. Raisins. I don’t have any chopped nuts laying around, so no on those.  Also optional topping: 1/4 cup well drained crushed pineapple. I have fresh pineapple here! So, what the heck. Let. Us. Do. This. Thing.

All the ingredients, ready to mix.

All the ingredients, ready to mix.

I used a hand mixer to puree the squash. It came out tasty but a strange texture. Not smooth. Not sure if I didn’t cook it long enough or what. I pureed it for like ever and the texture never got any better. Also, it was a bit on the thin side. I probably used too much juice/cream. But the flavor was really good. The pineapple was good, made it sort of festive. It wouldn’t lose much without it, tho. Then again, whenever you can get extra fruit into your diet, you should. Spices like cinnamon and ginger, too for that matter.

Festive pineapple topping.

Festive pineapple topping.

Served with leftover chicken and some green beans.

Served with leftover chicken and some green beans.

 

European Cafe, Manitou Springs

We were looking for someplace different to go for breakfast recently. Of course we love Smiley’s and Maggie Mae’s but just wanted a change of pace. Also, Smiley’s is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

So we wandered up to Manitou to see what we could find.

I had been to the European Cafe last summer and had a latte that was really good. Plus there was a parking spot right in front, so we went in.

First Mike had some coffee and I ordered a latte again.

Cafe latte at The European Cafe, Manitou Springs, CO

Cafe latte at The European Cafe, Manitou Springs, CO

They have a decent sized menu with the usual egg dishes on it. The only thing I found to be a problem was that just about every egg dish came with FOUR eggs. That’s excessive. I suppose you could ask for fewer eggs. Anyhow, I ordered the potato pancake with one egg. It was really really good! Not greasy, or soggy, or overly oniony like they can sometimes be. The veggies were really good and even the melon and banana garnish were fresh and tasty.

Potato pancake with veggies and eggs at The European Cafe, Manitou Springs, CO

Potato pancake with veggies and eggs at The European Cafe, Manitou Springs, CO

Mike had a scramble with the four eggs and a bunch of veggies. It was also good but not nearly as delicious as my potato pancake. They also serve real butter, which of course you’d expect at a place called The European Cafe. But I’ve expected real butter at lots of places that should have it and don’t so it’s worth mentioning.

Some kind of scramble at The European Cafe, Manitou Springs, CO

Some kind of scramble at The European Cafe, Manitou Springs, CO

So, we will for sure go there again when we’re wanting breakfast in Manitou. You should check it out when you’re in the area, too. Tell us what you think!

Dinner!

DM liked the dinner I made tonight SO MUCH that he wanted me to do a post about it, so here goes.

Last night I made a sort of veggie tortilla soup with an onion, a carrot, a celery stalk, two cloves of garlic, some mexican oregano, a spoonful of chili paste, and 4 small zucchini. I sauteed it all for awhile then I added some homemade chicken stock, boiled it, then simmered it till everything was soft and soupy. Then I added some instant brown rice and a handful of crushed up tortillas and cooked it till it was thick. It was good last night but it was even better tonight with plain yogurt and avocado on top.

Veggie Tortilla Soup

Veggie Tortilla Soup

Tonight I also made Teeny Tiny New Potatoes With Lemon and roasted asparagus. Plus grilled cheese with sauteed mushrooms on homemade whole wheat bread.

New potatoes with lemon, roasted asparagus, and grilled cheese with mushrooms

New potatoes with lemon, roasted asparagus, and grilled cheese with mushrooms

The grilled cheese was stuffed with sauteed mushrooms and made with home made whole wheat bread

The grilled cheese was stuffed with sauteed mushrooms and made with home made whole wheat bread

So there you go. I thought maybe later I’d make some dessert with bananas and vanilla ice cream but we’re pretty full and DM is sleeping on the couch, so maybe not.