Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mashed Butternut Squash with Sage & Garlic

A few weeks ago I made a variation of Greek mousaka using butternut squash instead of the traditional eggplant. I only used half of a butternut squash for the recipe, and wrapped the other half in plastic and placed it in the freezer to use later for some distant, unknown recipe. Well, my freezer has been pretty packed lately and that butternut squash was taking up quite a bit of space, so I took it out to thaw and began brainstorming about what to make with it. I've been craving mashed potatoes like crazy lately, but I'm also trying to stay away from empty, nutrient-less starches like potatoes, so I decided to try mashing up the butternut squash with some spices and butter and sour cream. I also added garlic, both fresh and powdered, since it goes surprisingly well with butternut squash. Butternut squash is a bit stringy in texture, even after you roast it, so after I mashed it by hand with my potato masher I then put it in my food processor to give it that really smooth and fluffy texture that's such a staple of good mashed potatoes. I wasn't quite sure how it would turn out, but when I tasted it all of my squash-related anxieties were put to rest. The sage, butter, garlic and  squash  went together wonderfully, and the sour cream really helped to give it that nice and fluffy texture. Definitely a tasty and healthy alternative to mashed potatoes. Makes about 3 Cups of mashed butternut squash.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pear Berry Galette


One of the greatest things about being home in Oregon is the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. The other day me and my brother, Pantelis, went berry picking in the West Union Gardens and got a pint of marionberries, a pint of gooseberries, and a half pint of raspberries for $1.80. Not only was it a great deal, but the scenery was absolutely beautiful, just rows and rows of fresh berries and rolling green hills in the distance. While I was home I also noticed that my parents' pear tree was looking a bit weighed down with fruit, so I, being the kind and thoughtful daughter that I am, decided to help them out and pick a few to include in this galette. This was my first time making a galette, but I was very pleased with the results. The crust is easier to assemble than one that has to be trickily laid into a pie pan, and it makes a great summer dessert (tastes amazing a la mode too!) The marionberries can be substituted with blackberries if you're unable to find any nearby. I wasn't able to bring my camera with me on my trip home, and only brought a few of my lenses, but my good friend Jade Sheldon let me borrow her Canon 5D Mark II, which was definitely an upgrade from my good ol' T2i. So a big thanks to Jade for letting me borrow her awesomely expensive camera and use it in messy food situations.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Lavender Toffee Blondies

This is going to be a good week. Yesterday I flew out of Long Beach airport and into Portland, Oregon where I am going to be visiting my family for the next week. It is also why I wasn't able to post yesterday, since I kind of put off packing until that morning, and then had to go through the whole airport debacle, and then got home and chatted so much I ran out of time. But now I am all settled and comfortably enjoying a lazy Sunday with my laptop in front of me and the Hillsboro clouds above. Yes, it is cloudy here right now. I am kind of dissapointed, as August is one of my favorite months in Oregon because it is usually really nice and hot but still super green outside. Right now it feels like upper 60's, which is meh. BUT, my mom said it is supposed to get up into the 80's later on this week, which I am verrry excited about. I made these blondies a few weeks ago because I hadn't used any of my giant bag of dried lavender in a while and was really craving blondies, so I decided to put two and two together and make these. Toffee bits happened to be on sale at the supermarket that week too, so I picked some up and tossed them in, which ended up being a wise decision. Who knew lavender and toffee went so well together? They were quite tasty, and between me and Jeremy they pretty much only lasted 2 days. Makes about 9 blondies.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Citrus Swordfish with Cilantro Butter

As you could probably tell from the frequency of my posts over the past several weeks, I am only going to be posting once a week now instead of twice a week because of my work schedule. I am still cooking away, but doing so on the weekends since by the time I get home from work on weekdays there usually isn't enough daylight left for me to take adequate photos. Work has been going really well, though. I worked NBC's press tour this past Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday which was a blast. The days were long, but I learned a lot AND Aziz Ansari came up to me and my 3 other page friends at the after party and chatted with us for a minute, which basically made my entire year. He is sooooo adorable. Seriously, so incredibly charming and funny, and even cuter in real life than on TV! Ahhhh what a wonderful evening...but enough about my mildly obsessive psuedo-geeky Aziz-crush, let's get to this food business! I am a big seafood fan, but don't eat it as often as I could because of the fact that seafood is usually fairly expensive. However, the other week I was perusing Trader Joe's frozen foods section and came across 2 swordfish steaks for $4. My first reaction was "whaaaaaaa? Have swordfish steaks always been this cheap?!" And my immediate second reaction was "Who cares?! I'm buying it anyway!!" So I picked them up, brought them home, and tossed them in the refrigerator to defrost. I decided to place them in a citrus marinade and to create one of those herbed butters I keep seeing online. I used fresh cilantro for this one, since it pairs really well with lime and fish. I also broiled the fish in the oven, but wrapped the steaks in tin foil first so that they would stay nice and moist,  since there's really nothing worse than a dry and depressing piece of fish....well, almost nothing. It turned out super well, the flavors blended together perfectly and the melted herbed cilantro butter tasted great over the hot steak. And best of all, it was really easy to make! The steaks take a bit of time to marinade, but making the marinade is very simple, as is the herbed butter.