musings from the kitchen

kitchen

Seems like we’ve been spending a bit more time in the kitchen lately, doing some produce preservation and also, with the cooler weather (baking weather!) sweeping in, whipping up a batch of sweets now and again. 

And as I was making my friend Melissa’s Crazy Apple Cake the other day, I found myself thinking how much I love using recipes that were passed on to me by family and friends.  I love that someimes I can remember the very first occasion when I tried a dish and those memories send me back to very specific times and places: my friend Emilee’s pizza dough, Julie’s gooey butter cake, and Amanda’s peppermint bark all take me back to the different cities I’ve lived in, places I’ve worked, celebrations I’ve shared in.  And then there are other foods that I’ve been eating since before I can remember, that are part of my family’s history, and have played a part in many festive holiday meals as well as ordinary weeknight suppers: kneopfla soup, baruschkas, Grandma Martha’s butterhorns, strudels and sausage, pumpkin cookies, and Aunt Doris’s Rice.  There are few things more special to me than having a favorite recipe written down in the hand of a woman who is dear to me.

And so, I would like to share with you this recipe that I attempted recently (albeit typed out instead of written in my own handwriting).  It is one of those “what do we do with all this squash?” recipes.

Simple Squash Bake
You will need:
olive oil
1 large squash or 2 smaller ones, peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes (I have used butternut and banana squash; both work well)
6 or 7 shallots, chopped (or 1 onion)
1 pound (or so) ground beef
1 to 2 cups shredded cheese (I used a Fiesta Blend one time and mozzerella the other)
3 to 4 tablespoons sour cream

Roast the squash & shallots.  Preheat oven to 350.  Combine squash and shallots on a baking pan and toss with olive oil and salt & pepper til coated.  Spread out evenly on the pan and raost for 35-45 minutes (depending on how large your squash cubes are).
Brown the hamburger.
Combine all ingredients. 
Once the squash is nearly done, combine with ground beef, cheese, and sour cream in a casserole dish.  Put back in the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes, until cheese is melted and ingredients are blended.

The first time I made this, I had roasted the squash and browned the hamburger the day before, then just combined everything the next day and let it heat up for about 25-30 minutes at 350. 

In other news from the culinary front, we’ve been enjoying some fall-weather favorites and looking forward to some harvest-time treats:
leek and fennel soup
apple pie
pumpkin pie
Grandma Elsie’s pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

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