You might expect a recipe like this to be posted around Thanksgiving, but delicious homemade butternut squash rolls were the accompaniment to asparagus soup for Easter dinner. Usually the squash of choice in both sweet and savory breads is pumpkin, since I am still chipping away at my stash of butternut squash, it was an easy substitution.
I cut the squash in half lengthwise and baked it on a parchment lined baking sheet, cut side down at 375°F until it was very soft, about 45 minutes. I scooped out the squash then cooked it down a bit to get rid of any additional moisture to make a nice thick puree.
I slightly adapted a recipe from the King Arthur Flour site, with encouragement from a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars and 106 positive reviews. The only problem was that the ingredients were a bit too much for my Kitchen Aid mixer. Once the initial ingredients were mixed together I separated them into two smaller pieces so they could be kneaded in the mixer without taxing it too much. I cut back on the sugar called for in the original recipe, since I was not attempting to make a sweet bread recipe and unlike pumpkin, butternut squash puree has some natural sweetness.
The bread and rolls turned out great, I served the rolls with the soup, the bread is well wrapped, well labeled and frozen for future use. I’m thinking bread pudding sometime soon.
Butternut Squash Bread and Rolls
Makes two loaves or 1 loaf and a dozen rolls
2 T active dry yeast
½ c lukewarm milk
2 large eggs
1 ½ c butternut squash puree
2 T vegetable oil
6 ½ c unbleached all-purpose flour (I prefer King Arthur)
¼ c brown sugar
2 ½ t salt
½ t ground ginger
½ t ground cardamom
Place all the ingredients into a large bowl of a stand mixer and combine ingredients using the flat beater. Alternately, this could be done by hand or in a bread machine.
Once the ingredients are thoroughly combined, replace the flat beater with the dough hook and knead the dough until it is smooth and soft. I needed to do this in two batches.
Put the dough into a lightly greased bowl. Cover and let dough rise until doubled, 60 to 75 minutes.
Gently deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Divide it in half.
Shape the dough into loaves or rolls. The loaves can be placed into lightly greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pans or rolls placed on parchment lined baking sheets.
Cover the pans/baking sheets and let loaves/rolls rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bake the bread for 30 to 35 minutes. The crust will be a deep golden brown and a digital thermometer inserted into the center will register 190°F. Bake rolls for about 20 minutes until golden brown.
Remove bread and rolls from oven and turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Cool completely and store, well wrapped at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage.
Suvir Saran’s first restaurant, Devi was awarded a coveted Michelin star for his critically acclaimed Indian cuisine. He closed Devi in 2012, and more recently opened Tapestry, in May of 2016. The cuisine at Tapestry had a more global focus interpreted with an Indian viewpoint. Unfortunately Tapestry closed in March of this year after being open for only ten months in spite of positive reviews. The problem according to Mr Saran was “high rents and low covers”. I never had the opportunity to visit the restaurant, but Food and Wine magazine provided a recipe from Tapestry for Avocado and Cabbage Slaw in their January issue.
What gives this slaw its unique flavor is the addition of chaat masala. It is a sand colored spice blend, predominately flavored with dried mango powder, also known as amchoor, black salt and asefetida. It is a traditional accompaniment to a fruit snack, often sold by street vendors, phal-ki-chaat, four or five fruit selections sprinkled with fresh lime juice and chaat masala.
The avocado and cabbage slaw is a reimagining of the traditional snack. This time, crunchy colorful cabbage, creamy avocados and juicy tomatoes take the place of the fruit. Chaat masala is part of the dressing that includes lime juice, honey, fresh ginger, fish sauce, spicy sriracha, cilantro and mint. You could make your own chaat masala, some of the ingredients, cumin and coriander seed are accessible in any supermarket, others, dried mango, asafoetida powder, would require an online trip to an Indian grocer. I purchased my chaat masala on Amazon. It has a very pleasant light spicy fragrance and includes thirteen spices.
We enjoyed the salad, the chaat masala made it unique but never having the original dish I think we were at a disadvantage. I will have to try the fruit salad to make a comparison.
Avocado and Cabbage Slaw
3 T fresh lime juice
2 T honey
1 T peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
2 t sriracha
2 t Asian fish sauce
1 t white wine vinegar
¾ t chaat masala
¼ t ground cumin
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lb green and/or red cabbage, cored and finely shredded
6 scallion, light green and white parts only, thinly sliced
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
½ c cilantro leaves, finely chopped
¼ c mint leaves finely chopped
2 Hass avocadoes-peeled, pitted, and diced, plus more for serving
1 c roasted, salted cashews, chopped, plus more for garnish
Microgreens for garnish
In a large bowl whisk the first eight ingredients until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the cabbage, scallions, tomatoes, chopped cilantro and mint, diced avocado and 1 cup of chopped cashews. Toss to coat. Garnish with avocado slices, chopped cashews and microgreens.
I am well aware that butternut squash is typically a sign that the cool crisp days of fall are approaching. But since I still have a large supply from last year’s garden, I will be looking for ways to use them into the summer. And why not, butternut squash has a sweet nutty flavor and creamy texture that pairs well with many ingredients and is loaded with vitamin A, C, potassium and fiber. Joe’s opinion on the last variety I made, butternut squash soup with cannellini beans and sage pesto was,”I really like it, but bacon would make it even better”. Since there are many who would concur that bacon makes just about anything better, I was up for the challenge.
Butternut squash, bacon and black bean chili is a delicious, hearty and slightly spicy chili that’s great any time of the year. The sweetness of the butternut squash contrasts nicely against the salty bacon and the savory richness of the black beans.
It all begins with bacon, cooked over medium heat to render out the fat. Restrain yourself from eating the bacon pieces, they will be added to the finished soup. Place the cooked bacon on a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess grease. Pour the fat through a fine strainer into a metal bowl. Don’t use plastic, if the fat is hot, it could melt the container, I know from experience. Add 2 tablespoons of the strained bacon fat back to the pan and saute the chopped onion. The garlic, butternut squash and red pepper are added and cooked until soft. Chili powders, herbs, a can of tomatoes with chilis, and cook for one minute. Stir in the chicken broth and drained black beans and simmer until the butternut squash is tender.
I made this recipe with fridge and pantry ingredients. I think the chipotle chili powder adds a complexity with its smoky flavor. Other additions to the soup could include a finely chopped chili en adobo, cooked corn, avocado slices and tortilla strips. If desired, top with a dollop of sour cream.The flavors get even more complex over the course a few days and makes great leftovers and lunches.
Butternut Squash, Bacon and Black Bean Chili
3-4 slices of thick cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
4 c cubed butternut squash
1 c minced red pepper
1 t chili powder
½ t chipotle chili powder
1 t ground cumin
1 t oregano (preferably Mexican)
1-15 oz can tomatoes with green chilis, I used Rotel
1-15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
3-4 c chicken broth
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Cook the bacon in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Remove bacon pieces to a towel lined plate to drain, strain the fat into a metal bowl. Add about 2 T bacon fat back to the pan and add onion and cook until soft, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, butternut squash and red pepper and cook until the vegetables are tender and the onion begins to brown, 12-15 minutes. Add more fat to the pan if needed.
Add chili powders, herbs and tomatoes with green chilis and cook for 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth and drained black beans. Simmer until the butternut squash is tender, 20 minutes or more. Add more broth as needed.
Stir in the bacon pieces, serve with sour cream and cilantro leaves.
A vibrant combination of juicy grapefruit, orange, lemon and lime sections, accented with fragrant and spicy habanero pepper, the Yucatan peninsula is home to this colorful and healthy salsa. The Mayan name for this dish is Xec, pronounced, shek which roughly translates, “mixed”. It is an easy to prepare dish, all of the fruit is cut vertically and sectioned, the way you would cut into your morning grapefruit. If you prefer, the citrus could also be cut into supremes or segments.
The salsa gets its heat from habanero chiles. Lantern shaped and bright red, orange or yellow in color, the habanero is the hottest chile available in grocery stores. For perspective, a habanero registers in at 300,000 to 475,000 units on the Scoville scale, the standard for measuring the heat of a chili pepper, the jalapeno only 2,500 to 10,000 units. Treat all hot peppers with a certain amount of caution, wear gloves when working with them and keep your hands away from your face. It is best to add a little bit of chili pepper to see what your heat tolerance is before ruining a dish with too much at once.
I am fortunate to have a supply of NuMex Suave Orange peppers from the garden to add to the salsa. NuMex Suaves have the citrusy flavor that most people miss in the habanero, without the numbing heat. I like this salsa with fish, but it would pair with chicken or pork as well.
Mayan Citrus Salsa (Xec)
Makes four servings
1 large orange
1 medium grapefruit
1 medium lemon
Finely chopped habanero pepper (according to your heat tolerance)
1 NuMex suave pepper
½ c finely chopped cilantro
Salt to taste
Cut orange in half horizontally and section it as you would a grapefruit. Do this over a bowl to capture all the juice. Remove the seeds and combine flesh and juice in a bowl. Repeat with the grapefruit, lemon and lime. Stir in habanero, NuMex suave and cilantro. Season with salt.