Eat consciously. Eat joyously. Eat well.
November 17th
12:04 AM EST

Ménage à Trois

Vintage 1950s kitsch foods from cookbook

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Here is a trio of some rather traditional vegetable sides to get you started. Let’s get back to basics.

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Acorn Squash
A lot of people “candy” their acorn squash. Why not just microwave a Snickers bar on top of it? While I won’t deny that the earthy rich flavor of maple syrup goes exceptionally well with squash, mix it up a bit with some cayenne. The contrast will be welcomed.

•    1 acorn or dumpling squash
•    1 tablespoon butter
•    2 tablespoons brown sugar
•    2 teaspoons maple syrup
•    Cayenne pepper to taste
•    Dash of salt

Preheat oven to 400°. Using a heavy knife, cut the acorn squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to end. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Score the insides of each half several times with a sharp knife. Place each half in a baking pan, cut side up. TIP: Add about a 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the baking pan so that the skins don’t burn and the squash doesn’t get dried out.

Coat the inside of each half with butter. Add a dash of salt if you are using unsalted butter. Add Cayenne pepper, brown sugar and maple syrup to each half.

Bake in the oven between 1 hour and 1 hour 15 minutes, until the squash is very soft and the tops are browned. Do not undercook. When finished, remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving.

Spaghetti Squash
I always forget how hot and how long to cook spaghetti squash. So here it is. Think outside the “red sauce” box when it comes to dressing it.

•    1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
•    2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°. Place spaghetti squash cut sides down on a lightly greased baking sheet, and bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance. Remove squash from oven, and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled. Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash, and place in a medium bowl. Can I suggest a drizzle of sage butter?

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Don’t mess with a good thing. Please keep it simple.

•    1 ½ lbs Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and yellow leaves removed
•    3 tablespoons olive oil
•    1 teaspoon kosher salt (smoked salt, if available)
•    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°. Place trimmed Brussels sprouts, olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper in a large resealable plastic bag. Seal tightly, and shake to coat. Pour onto a baking sheet, and place on center oven rack. Resist the temptation to add bacon, marshmallow fluff or whatever else Rachel Ray is probably telling you to do. Good olive oil and freshly ground black pepper will really bring out the beautiful flavor of Brussels sprouts.

Roast in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes, shaking pan every 5 to 7 minutes for even browning. Reduce heat when necessary to prevent burning. Brussels sprouts should be darkest brown, almost black, when done. Adjust seasoning with kosher salt, if necessary. Serve immediately.

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