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Squash: A Primer for the Holidays

by & filed under Portraiture.

Left to right: Butternut, Delicata, Buttercup and Spaghetti Squash

Winter squash is here in array and abundance. Great for any time, especially Thanksgiving, it actually beats sweet potatoes with fewer calories per serving and lower carb and sugar counts, as well. Quick to prepare, these squash can be served as a side or as a main course vegetarian dinner! Here are some ideas by variety, that we love.

Butternut- firm orange flesh, great steamed and pureed for a silky soup with vegetable stock and plant creamer or chicken stock and cream. To eat as-is halve, seed and bake at 425F cut side down for 30 minutes, turn, brush with butter or olive oil, salt, pepper and a drizzle of maple syrup, roast 20 minutes more- serve.

Delicata – also orange-fleshed, a bit less dense than butternut and usually smaller (one squash generally serves 2 people as a main course, stuffed or as a side) These are wonderful as a vegetarian side dish with a filling or vegetable sautee. Use a rice mixture, bread stuffing or a grain like farro or fonio. Halve the delicata, bake cut side down at 425F for 30 minutes (until soft) then flip,season with salt and pepper, stuff and serve.

Buttercup- This adorable round squash is about the size of a softball and would make a lovely holder for a pumpkin hummus or squash soup. To use as a container carefully remove the stem  and seeds insert a ball of foil (to help keep its shape) and cook the squash at 425 until just tender. This is also a perfect squash (halved or whole) for stuffing with any of the suggestions above. You can also halve, steam and scoop this squash and serve mashed with butter or olive oil, sauteed onions, garlic and thyme.

Spaghetti- Usually bright yellow or light orange thus squash has a wonderful cappellini-like texture that makes a perfect base for any pasta sauce from pesto to ragu or even chili. Cut and seed the squash and bake at 400F cut-side down for 30-40 minutes- the squash is done when the interior “shreds” easily with a fork and is crisp-tender. The skin becomes rigid with cooking and makes an excellent container for presenting your dish!

 

 

Holiday 2020: Shop Differently

by & filed under Portraiture.

The days of Black Friday deals and strolling stores will likely be shelved for 2020 to keep us safe from crowded situations. Now is the perfect time to draft a plan for getting holiday shopping done safely. We have a few thoughts:

1- Shop local! Small businesses are struggling, especially restaurants. Consider the gift of “Dinner on Me” with a gift certificate. Salons are also challenged- the gift of a treatment is always welcome. Most businesses will send a certificate digitally and you can make your own card announcing the gift.

2- Bigger means sooner- If you are buying this year’s hot toy or device from Amazon, Target or any big box store, now is the time to buy. With stores like Target, Walmart or Kohls avoid the shipping costs and uncertainty of delivery by arranging curbside pickup

3- The gift of giving- many of us are blessed with more than we need. As fundraising has also been challenging for charities unable to host events consider giving a donation to a meaningful charity in lieu of a gift.

4- Go door to door- Creating and delivering gifts throughout the holiday season (not just at Christmas or Chanukah) add a bit of light to a neighbor’s day as sunshine is in shorter supply.
5- Give yourself- we will likely be sheltering indoors as the weather turns colder. Send a craft or activity kit that can be done via Zoom with the recipient. Last Spring was made a lot more bearable by friends sharing sourdough starter, plant cuttings and other items that offered productive ways to spend time inside.

November 29th is Small Business Saturday and many local main street shops will be creating special offers. Choose one of our local downtowns in Hoboken or Jersey City to support!

How will you shop differently this year?

Salted Caramel Apple Galette

by & filed under Portraiture.

  • Prep Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes Cook Time: 35 minutes Total Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes Yield: 1 galette; about 8 servings

As delicious and impressive as pie, but half the work! This salted caramel apple galette is the easiest fall dessert.

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (190g) all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g; 1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed*
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) ice cold water*

Filling & Topping

  • 2 – 3 large apples, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices (about 4–5 cups slices)*
  • 1/4 cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons (12g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (to prevent apple browning)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • salted caramel sauce
  • egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon milk
  • optional: 1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions

  • Make the crust: Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Using a pastry cutter (love this one) or a couple forks, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse, pea-sized crumbs. Add the water and stir until the flour is moistened. Add 1 more Tablespoon of water if the dough seems dry. Gently knead the dough a few times on a lightly floured work surface until it all comes together. Shape the dough into a ball and flatten it into a thick disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days (or freeze up to 3 months).
  • As the dough chills, prepare the filling: Mix the apples, brown sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl. Cover tightly and let sit until the dough is ready. I usually cover it and keep it in the refrigerator during this time.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
  • On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle (or any shape, really!). Trim the rim of the circle to make a clean cut if desired. Transfer dough to the prepared baking sheet.
  • Arrange the apples (not the juices) into the center of the dough, leaving a 2-3 inch border all around. Gently fold the edges of the dough over the apples, overlapping the dough as necessary. Press gently to seal the edges. Drizzle 3 Tablespoons of salted caramel over the filling (not the crust). Brush the crust edges with egg wash and sprinkle the whole thing with walnuts, if using.
  • Bake until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown, about 35-38 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
  • Serve with extra salted caramel sauce drizzled on top.

Notes

  • Make Ahead Instructions: Both the dough and filling can be made ahead of time and chilled in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The dough can be frozen for up to 3 months after prepared in step 1. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before rolling out and filling.
  • Cold Ingredients: Make sure the butter and water are SUPER cold. Cold ingredients, as well as chilling, help the crust keep its shape.
  • Apples: You can use any apple variety, but here are my favorites for galettes: granny smith, honeycrisp, pink lady, or fuji.