Sous Vide Sweet Asian Butternut Squash

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Sous vide cooking is a girl’s best friend. Yes, a boy’s best friend, too. You see I cooked this incredibly delicious side-dish while I was out in the garden. It’s the beauty of sous vide…I don’t have to babysit the cooking process. Set it, forget it and get outside to soak up the vitamin D. Life is good and so is this butternut squash recipe.

I know. What the heck is black garlic molasses? It’s a complex flavor explosion in your mouth is what it is. Kind of like an orchestra of nutty, roasted garlic in harmony with savory and sweet dried fruit. A product of Japan it’s made from fermenting garlic and then slow-roasting the black garlic into this black gold molasses syrup. It’s expensive, but a little goes a long way.

Whenever vacuum sealing I recommend putting all liquid ingredients in the bottom of the bag. Fold the top of the bag back so not to get it wet or sticky with ingredients which could prevent the bag from sealing properly. Add the squash. The squash becomes like an obstacle so the vacuum sealer doesn’t draw the liquid up to high and into the machine. Just watch.

Now just drop the bag in your heated water bath and go do something fun for an hour……

When ready to serve just snip open the bag, pour into a serving dish and toss with a little green onion and cilantro. Perfectly fork tender and fragrant this side dish can pair well any protein, but equally as good served over rice as a main dish for my vegetarian friends.

Sous Vide Sweet Asian Butternut Squash

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 tablespoon sweet Asian chili sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

¼ teaspoon black garlic molasses

¼ teaspoon grated ginger

1 small butternut squash, peeled, cubed (2 cups)

Garnish

1 green onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Optional: add ¼ teaspoon toasted sesame oil to bag and then finish with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds.

Heat water bath to 170F. Place chili sauce, soy sauce, molasses and ginger in bottom of cooking bag. Add squash and vacuum seal bag. Cook for 45 minutes. Pour squash and sauce into a serving bowl. Add green onion and cilantro; toss. Serves 4.

last year’s harvest

Bacon Potato Roses

Next time skip the flowers and chocolate and make this delicious and surprisingly easy side dish for the love of your life. Truth be told I am not a huge bacon fan, but husband just adores it. If I am going to eat it, it has to be the meatiest looking package I can find. Choose “center cut” sliced bacon for this recipe. Lay two strips of bacon down slightly overlapping on one end.

Oscar Mayer center cut bacon is perfect

Now the only other thing you need to buy are some good old russet potatoes because I am pretty sure you already have cooking oil and assorted spices in your pantry. Right? Okay let’s do this thing. Thinly slice your peeled potato on a mandoline and toss with just enough oil to coat ( a couple of teaspoons). Season with salt, pepper and whatever floats your boat….garlic powder, smoked paprika, rosemary…it’s all good. Now lay those potatoes on top of the bacon, slightly overlapping each other, and aligning one edge of the potatoes with the edge of bacon.

Let’s roll

Rolling it up really is as easy as it looks. Place each in a muffin cup and bake at 400F for 45 minutes. Cover the top loosely with foil to prevent over-browning and continue to bake another 15 minutes to insure fully cooked bacon on the inside. That’s it.

Certainly if you want to gild the lily (I mean rose) sprinkle with some grated cheese or fresh snipped herbs. For the record 1 good size potato made 5 roses.

stop and smell the roses and love each other

Lemon-Lime Pudding Pie with Wild Berry Jam

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Let’s bake a pie. No pie dough involved, so no excuses. Just an easy cookie crust, filled with a sweet-tart pudding and a crown of berries. This pie is as flavorful as it is colorful. It’s the kind of dessert you mourn when the last piece is gone.

Here are a few tips to ease the pie preparation. First, use your food processor to mix all the crust ingredients. If you don’t like crystallized ginger just leave it out. It’s your crust and you have options. And use the bottom of a flat measuring cup to gently press the crumbs evenly into the pie plate. No fuss no muss. Now the filling. I love lemon and lime, but you can use any citrus. You can even use bottled juice if you want. Not saying I recommend it, but heck, it’s your pie. Just be careful to temper those egg yolks and not scramble them. When I instruct “slowly” I mean pour a tablespoon or two at a time.

love a clean slice

The topping is about the easiest thing on the planet to make. Just make sure you bring it to a low boil and let it go for at least a minute to properly thicken. Those wild blueberries are like precious jewels and while I enhanced them with sweet huckleberry preserves you can choose any berry preserves you like. Remember, it’s your pie. The preserves replaces sugar and adds a little something extra in flavor.

Lemon-Lime Pudding Pie with Wild Berry Jam

  • Servings: 8 to 10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Crust

2 cups shortbread cookie crumbs (only reason I buy girl scout trefoils)

3 tablespoons melted butter

1 tablespoon chopped crystallized ginger

Optional add-ins: ¼ cup flaked coconut, ¼ cup toasted nuts

Filling

1 cup milk, divided

¼ cup cornstarch

3 egg yolks

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

¼ cup fresh lime juice

¾ cup sugar

Grated zest of 1 lemon

Grated zest of 1 lime

1 cup 5% fat Greek yogurt (I use Fage brand)

4 tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces

Topping

2 cups wild blueberries, fresh or frozen

½ cup Huckleberry preserves (you may substitute elderberry or blueberry)

1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Heat oven 350F. Pulse all the crust ingredients in a food processor until combined. Press the mixture evenly over the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Bake 10 minutes. Cool. For the filling: In a heat-proof bowl or large measure with a spout, whisk ½ cup milk with cornstarch until blended. Add egg yolks, blend well and set aside. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, whisk the remaining ½ cup of milk with the lemon juice, lime juice, sugar and half each of the lemon and lime zest until the sugar dissolves and the mixture just comes to a simmer. Slowly whisk the hot mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, stirring constantly until it begins to thicken and bubble. Let cook for 1 minute more. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter, 1 piece at a time, until melted and incorporated. Whisk in yogurt until pudding is smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust. Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the filling to prevent it from forming a crust. Chill for 2 hours. Make the jam topping. In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine wild blueberries and preserves, stirring, until preserves are melted, blueberries release their juice and mixture begins to bubble. Stir in cornstarch slurry to thicken the mixture. Let mixture bubble 1 more minute or until fully thickened. Cover and chill jam before spreading evenly over top of pie. Garnish with additional dollops of yogurt or sweetened whipped cream. Sprinkle with remaining zest.

Hope your week is as easy as pie. ❤ Happy Valentine’s Day, too.