Roasted Butternut Squash Pie

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A slice of roasted butternut squash pie with Ronnybrook Farm's Hudson Valley Vanilla ice cream by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Last Wednesday was bittersweet. Not only was it our final CSA pick-up of the year, it was also the last Woodstock Farm Festival of the season. The weather was fittingly depressing - cold and gray with strong gusts of wind and needle-like rain. The tents at the farmer's market threatened to blow away a number of times.

At the market, I stocked up on essentials - carrots, onions and apples. Also, Twisted Jeanne's delicious pretzel croissants and the world's best apple cider doughnuts from Wrights Farm... The haul from our CSA included a dozen pasture-raised eggs, a bag of potatoes, a bag of sweet potatoes (though we're pretty well set in that area), two heads of beautiful broccoli, some lovely leeks, green lettuce, garlic and two butternut squash. I could barely see the kitchen countertops after unpacking it all...

Butternut squash halves by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Given my gray mood and the chilly weather, I decided to roast the butternut squash and turn them into a sweet, hearty pie. Why should pumpkins get all the glory, after all?

Roasted butternut squash halves by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

I could have steamed the squash but I love the way roasting deepens its flavor and enhances its natural sweetness. While they were roasting, I turned my attention to making the dough for the pie crust. Through some miracle, all you need is flour, fat (butter, in my case) and water. You can use a pastry cutter or a food processor to combine it but, either way, try to touch it as little as possible as you're getting it to clump together and then again when you're rolling it out in order to prevent it from getting tough. I wrapped my dough (hurray for an extra one in the freezer!) in waxed paper and let it rest for half an hour in the fridge before rolling it out and laying it in the pie plate.

Rolling the edges of the pie crust under by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Then I tucked the edges under and crimped them with the tines of a fork. I also poked the bottom of the crust with the fork to keep it from ballooning up when I blind baked it. If you're not familiar with the term, blind baking means baking the crust for a time before you add the pie filling and can be helpful when you're using a more liquid filling.

Crimping the edges of the pie crust by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

While the crust was blind-baking, I prepared the pie filling by blending two cups of the roasted squash flesh with pasture-raised eggs from our CSA (our last dozen until next spring, sniff), sugar, spices, vanilla extract and roughly half a can of organic coconut milk.

Hand holding an egg by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Puree it all then pour the mixture into the warm pie crust and into the waiting oven.

Roasted butternut squash filling and pie crust by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating copyright 2014

Bake until the filling is partly set but jiggles when you move it - basically the consistency of jello.

Sweet butternut squash pie by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

I recommend serving it warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream but it is also mighty tasty cold the next day for breakfast.

A slice of roasted butternut squash pie with Ronnybrook Farm's Hudson Valley Vanilla ice cream by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Roasted Butternut Squash Pie - adapted from Andrea Chesman's coconut-pumpkin pie in her excellent cookbook, Recipes from the Root Cellar
Makes one nine-inch pie

Ingredients

* 2 cups pureed butternut squash from 1 large or two small squash (you can use pumpkin, of course)
* 2 eggs (try to find pasture-raised eggs from a farmer near you)
* 1 pie crust (you can follow this recipe for pate brisee or use whatever crust recipe is your favorite)
* 1 cup coconut milk
* 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 1/2 tsp sea salt
* 1 tsp ground cinnamon
* 1/4 tsp ground cloves
* 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
* 1/4 tsp ground allspice

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the pie dough and lay it over the pie pan. Fold the edges under themselves and then either crimp the edges with a fork or flute them with our fingers. Using a fork, punch holes evenly across the bottom of the crust and put it in the oven to pre-bake for 15 minutes, checking once or twice to see if it is ballooning up (if it is, poke another tiny hole with your fork to let the hot air escape and gently push the dough back down with your fork) then remove it and set it aside.

2. Prepare the filling: place the squash, eggs, coconut milk, sugar, salt and spices in the bowl of a food processor or blender and process until smooth.

3. Pour the filling into the blind-baked pie crust and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes then lower the heat to 350 and cook for 45-50 minutes longer. The crust should be nicely browned (should it start to get too brown, you can remove it for a moment and cover it with a pie crust shield or some narrow strips of aluminum foil - just be careful not to burn your fingers in the process) and the filling should be partially set - it should jiggle a little when you shake the pie pan - similar to the consistency of Jello.

4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving with your choice of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or another creamy-non-dairy alternative.

You might also like:
For more delicious recipes, gardening ideas, foraging tips, and food-related inspiration "like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.

Gratitude

Monday, October 27, 2014

I'm guilty of wasting a lot of time on Facebook. But amidst the sea of shallow chatter that sucks me in, there is one meme that I think has real value - naming three things you're grateful for each day.


Unfortunately, I tend to view life's metaphorical glass as half empty, rather than half full. When Buzzfeed comes out with a "Which Winnie the Pooh Character Are YOU?" quiz I will most likely be Eeyore...  So I have to work at retraining myself to focus on the multitude of good things in my life.

But even I, dour little pessimist that I am, can't deny the surprising power that simply naming the things I am grateful for has to shift my perspective and let some light into my soul (though I did grimace as I typed the word "soul" just now - this new age sh*t does not come naturally to me.)



I often feel overwhelmed and exhausted - maybe it's life with two young kids, maybe I'm just a wimp, who knows? But when I feel kind of beaten down, I pause for a moment and repeat this little trio of things I'm grateful for in my head: "I am not pregnant, I do not have an infant, I do not have a dog."

Like magic, instead of feeling tired and put-upon, I start to feel lucky. Consider: I don't have to wake up umpteen times tonight to feed and soothe a crying baby! I only have to wipe the butts of two small humans, I do not have to pick up steaming dog turds! If I want to eat raw fish or brie or ham, I can do so without feeling terribly guilty that I might be harming my unborn child, nor do I have to spend the entire day (morning sickness is a sinful misnomer) feeling like I want to puke! This may sound a little snarky but it never fails to make me feel better.

While that is my quick, go-to gratitude list, I also approach this on a much more serious level. Here are a few:
  • I'm grateful that after multiple miscarriages, I have two beautiful, healthy little boys. 
  • I'm grateful to live in a beautiful place where I can step out the door and be in nature, breathe clean air, and get out of my own head. Below is the view from my living room.
  • I'm grateful for my husband who is a steady, loving, loyal, patient, playful, capable, and optimistic partner and quite possibly the world's best father to boot.
  • I'm grateful for my wonderful extended family - for their love, their support and all the fun we have together.
  • I'm grateful for humor.
  • I'm grateful for beauty.
  • I'm grateful for food and that I've always had enough of it. Also, that it tastes so good.
  • I'm grateful to live in a society where I have rights, access to education and the ability to make my own reproductive choices.
  • I'm grateful to have access to good medical care and vaccines.
There's much more, of course, but I'm much more interested in finding out what YOU are grateful for. Please share if you feel like it - I would truly like to know.

Autumn creeping in by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Sweet Potato Harvest!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Japanese purple skinned yellow fleshed variety of sweet potato grown from an organic supermarket potato by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Last weekend, we harvested our sweet potato patch. Hot damn, it was exciting! Like a very hands-on, dirty, Easter egg hunt. My husband and I were just as thrilled as the kids though, thankfully, our interest lasted significantly longer than theirs :)

Sweet potato leaves and vines by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

We started at one corner of the patch and began to pull back the thick carpet of beautiful green leaves and tangled vines that's been in residence for the last several months, growing vigorously enough to spill out through the fence and begin exploring the lawn.

Rahm and Will harvesting sweet potatoes by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

At each place where we'd planted a sweet potato slip back in June, there was a veritable trove of buried treasure. Scrape away the dirt and you'd find anywhere from three to ten perfect sweet taters!

A bunch of sweet potatoes, unearthed by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

And they just kept on coming and coming and coming. Luckily, the kids thought it was fun to ferry them over to the plastic milk crates we were using to collect them in, prompting my husband to remark that this was the most truly helpful they'd ever been.

Putting sweet potatoes into the crate by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Some of them were tiny and will be perfect for roasting or in stews or soups, others were normal and a few were simply MONSTROUS! Like this one who we nicknamed "King Coil". I'd never seen anything quite like its shape - probably because stuff like this specimen does not make it into grocery stores - it probably gets tossed or left in the field to rot - such a shame and a waste.

Will holding a just-harvested sweet potato from the garden by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Speaking of which, have you seen this brilliant campaign by Intermarche, one of France's biggest supermarket chains? They're significantly cutting food waste by creating a special "ugly foods" aisle in their stores for produce like "King Coil" that looks odd but tastes just fine. And they're charging 30% less for the "cosmetically challenged" fruits and veggies. The French appear to be eating it up! Very, very cool. We need to do the same thing here in the states.

A bunch of sweet potatoes, unearthed by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

It took a couple of hours, but we got all (or almost all, it's hard to tell for sure) of the sweet potatoes out of the ground. But here's the thing about sweet potatoes, unlike potatoes, you can't eat them right out of the ground. Or rather, you could eat them but you wouldn't want to because they are NOT sweet right away. They need time to cure and to develop their natural sweetness - it takes several weeks. But I'll write more about that next time - the adventure continues...

In the meantime, I'll just sum up by saying that it is, in fact, not hard to grow your own sweet potatoes from whatever your favorite organic variety is at the grocery store, farmer's market, farm stand, etc. It is more work than just ordering slips from a seed catalog but it's also way more fulfilling and magical, in my opinion.

And as for the other part of the Great Sweet Potato Experiment, I am pleased to report that I saw very very few bits of Japanese Silvergrass or other weeds. The spring will be a better test of how well the sweet potatoes may have outcompeted them but I was pretty impressed by the initial results - seems like the weeding followed by cardboard followed by sweet potatoes worked pretty well to smother them.

Will holding a just-harvested sweet potato from the garden by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

You might also like:
For more delicious recipes, gardening ideas, foraging tips, and food-related inspiration "like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Roasted Butternut Squash Pie

A slice of roasted butternut squash pie with Ronnybrook Farm's Hudson Valley Vanilla ice cream by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Last Wednesday was bittersweet. Not only was it our final CSA pick-up of the year, it was also the last Woodstock Farm Festival of the season. The weather was fittingly depressing - cold and gray with strong gusts of wind and needle-like rain. The tents at the farmer's market threatened to blow away a number of times.

At the market, I stocked up on essentials - carrots, onions and apples. Also, Twisted Jeanne's delicious pretzel croissants and the world's best apple cider doughnuts from Wrights Farm... The haul from our CSA included a dozen pasture-raised eggs, a bag of potatoes, a bag of sweet potatoes (though we're pretty well set in that area), two heads of beautiful broccoli, some lovely leeks, green lettuce, garlic and two butternut squash. I could barely see the kitchen countertops after unpacking it all...

Butternut squash halves by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Given my gray mood and the chilly weather, I decided to roast the butternut squash and turn them into a sweet, hearty pie. Why should pumpkins get all the glory, after all?

Roasted butternut squash halves by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

I could have steamed the squash but I love the way roasting deepens its flavor and enhances its natural sweetness. While they were roasting, I turned my attention to making the dough for the pie crust. Through some miracle, all you need is flour, fat (butter, in my case) and water. You can use a pastry cutter or a food processor to combine it but, either way, try to touch it as little as possible as you're getting it to clump together and then again when you're rolling it out in order to prevent it from getting tough. I wrapped my dough (hurray for an extra one in the freezer!) in waxed paper and let it rest for half an hour in the fridge before rolling it out and laying it in the pie plate.

Rolling the edges of the pie crust under by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Then I tucked the edges under and crimped them with the tines of a fork. I also poked the bottom of the crust with the fork to keep it from ballooning up when I blind baked it. If you're not familiar with the term, blind baking means baking the crust for a time before you add the pie filling and can be helpful when you're using a more liquid filling.

Crimping the edges of the pie crust by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

While the crust was blind-baking, I prepared the pie filling by blending two cups of the roasted squash flesh with pasture-raised eggs from our CSA (our last dozen until next spring, sniff), sugar, spices, vanilla extract and roughly half a can of organic coconut milk.

Hand holding an egg by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Puree it all then pour the mixture into the warm pie crust and into the waiting oven.

Roasted butternut squash filling and pie crust by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating copyright 2014

Bake until the filling is partly set but jiggles when you move it - basically the consistency of jello.

Sweet butternut squash pie by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

I recommend serving it warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream but it is also mighty tasty cold the next day for breakfast.

A slice of roasted butternut squash pie with Ronnybrook Farm's Hudson Valley Vanilla ice cream by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Roasted Butternut Squash Pie - adapted from Andrea Chesman's coconut-pumpkin pie in her excellent cookbook, Recipes from the Root Cellar
Makes one nine-inch pie

Ingredients

* 2 cups pureed butternut squash from 1 large or two small squash (you can use pumpkin, of course)
* 2 eggs (try to find pasture-raised eggs from a farmer near you)
* 1 pie crust (you can follow this recipe for pate brisee or use whatever crust recipe is your favorite)
* 1 cup coconut milk
* 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 1/2 tsp sea salt
* 1 tsp ground cinnamon
* 1/4 tsp ground cloves
* 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
* 1/4 tsp ground allspice

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the pie dough and lay it over the pie pan. Fold the edges under themselves and then either crimp the edges with a fork or flute them with our fingers. Using a fork, punch holes evenly across the bottom of the crust and put it in the oven to pre-bake for 15 minutes, checking once or twice to see if it is ballooning up (if it is, poke another tiny hole with your fork to let the hot air escape and gently push the dough back down with your fork) then remove it and set it aside.

2. Prepare the filling: place the squash, eggs, coconut milk, sugar, salt and spices in the bowl of a food processor or blender and process until smooth.

3. Pour the filling into the blind-baked pie crust and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes then lower the heat to 350 and cook for 45-50 minutes longer. The crust should be nicely browned (should it start to get too brown, you can remove it for a moment and cover it with a pie crust shield or some narrow strips of aluminum foil - just be careful not to burn your fingers in the process) and the filling should be partially set - it should jiggle a little when you shake the pie pan - similar to the consistency of Jello.

4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving with your choice of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or another creamy-non-dairy alternative.

You might also like:
For more delicious recipes, gardening ideas, foraging tips, and food-related inspiration "like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Gratitude

I'm guilty of wasting a lot of time on Facebook. But amidst the sea of shallow chatter that sucks me in, there is one meme that I think has real value - naming three things you're grateful for each day.


Unfortunately, I tend to view life's metaphorical glass as half empty, rather than half full. When Buzzfeed comes out with a "Which Winnie the Pooh Character Are YOU?" quiz I will most likely be Eeyore...  So I have to work at retraining myself to focus on the multitude of good things in my life.

But even I, dour little pessimist that I am, can't deny the surprising power that simply naming the things I am grateful for has to shift my perspective and let some light into my soul (though I did grimace as I typed the word "soul" just now - this new age sh*t does not come naturally to me.)



I often feel overwhelmed and exhausted - maybe it's life with two young kids, maybe I'm just a wimp, who knows? But when I feel kind of beaten down, I pause for a moment and repeat this little trio of things I'm grateful for in my head: "I am not pregnant, I do not have an infant, I do not have a dog."

Like magic, instead of feeling tired and put-upon, I start to feel lucky. Consider: I don't have to wake up umpteen times tonight to feed and soothe a crying baby! I only have to wipe the butts of two small humans, I do not have to pick up steaming dog turds! If I want to eat raw fish or brie or ham, I can do so without feeling terribly guilty that I might be harming my unborn child, nor do I have to spend the entire day (morning sickness is a sinful misnomer) feeling like I want to puke! This may sound a little snarky but it never fails to make me feel better.

While that is my quick, go-to gratitude list, I also approach this on a much more serious level. Here are a few:
  • I'm grateful that after multiple miscarriages, I have two beautiful, healthy little boys. 
  • I'm grateful to live in a beautiful place where I can step out the door and be in nature, breathe clean air, and get out of my own head. Below is the view from my living room.
  • I'm grateful for my husband who is a steady, loving, loyal, patient, playful, capable, and optimistic partner and quite possibly the world's best father to boot.
  • I'm grateful for my wonderful extended family - for their love, their support and all the fun we have together.
  • I'm grateful for humor.
  • I'm grateful for beauty.
  • I'm grateful for food and that I've always had enough of it. Also, that it tastes so good.
  • I'm grateful to live in a society where I have rights, access to education and the ability to make my own reproductive choices.
  • I'm grateful to have access to good medical care and vaccines.
There's much more, of course, but I'm much more interested in finding out what YOU are grateful for. Please share if you feel like it - I would truly like to know.

Autumn creeping in by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sweet Potato Harvest!

Japanese purple skinned yellow fleshed variety of sweet potato grown from an organic supermarket potato by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Last weekend, we harvested our sweet potato patch. Hot damn, it was exciting! Like a very hands-on, dirty, Easter egg hunt. My husband and I were just as thrilled as the kids though, thankfully, our interest lasted significantly longer than theirs :)

Sweet potato leaves and vines by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

We started at one corner of the patch and began to pull back the thick carpet of beautiful green leaves and tangled vines that's been in residence for the last several months, growing vigorously enough to spill out through the fence and begin exploring the lawn.

Rahm and Will harvesting sweet potatoes by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

At each place where we'd planted a sweet potato slip back in June, there was a veritable trove of buried treasure. Scrape away the dirt and you'd find anywhere from three to ten perfect sweet taters!

A bunch of sweet potatoes, unearthed by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

And they just kept on coming and coming and coming. Luckily, the kids thought it was fun to ferry them over to the plastic milk crates we were using to collect them in, prompting my husband to remark that this was the most truly helpful they'd ever been.

Putting sweet potatoes into the crate by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Some of them were tiny and will be perfect for roasting or in stews or soups, others were normal and a few were simply MONSTROUS! Like this one who we nicknamed "King Coil". I'd never seen anything quite like its shape - probably because stuff like this specimen does not make it into grocery stores - it probably gets tossed or left in the field to rot - such a shame and a waste.

Will holding a just-harvested sweet potato from the garden by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Speaking of which, have you seen this brilliant campaign by Intermarche, one of France's biggest supermarket chains? They're significantly cutting food waste by creating a special "ugly foods" aisle in their stores for produce like "King Coil" that looks odd but tastes just fine. And they're charging 30% less for the "cosmetically challenged" fruits and veggies. The French appear to be eating it up! Very, very cool. We need to do the same thing here in the states.

A bunch of sweet potatoes, unearthed by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

It took a couple of hours, but we got all (or almost all, it's hard to tell for sure) of the sweet potatoes out of the ground. But here's the thing about sweet potatoes, unlike potatoes, you can't eat them right out of the ground. Or rather, you could eat them but you wouldn't want to because they are NOT sweet right away. They need time to cure and to develop their natural sweetness - it takes several weeks. But I'll write more about that next time - the adventure continues...

In the meantime, I'll just sum up by saying that it is, in fact, not hard to grow your own sweet potatoes from whatever your favorite organic variety is at the grocery store, farmer's market, farm stand, etc. It is more work than just ordering slips from a seed catalog but it's also way more fulfilling and magical, in my opinion.

And as for the other part of the Great Sweet Potato Experiment, I am pleased to report that I saw very very few bits of Japanese Silvergrass or other weeds. The spring will be a better test of how well the sweet potatoes may have outcompeted them but I was pretty impressed by the initial results - seems like the weeding followed by cardboard followed by sweet potatoes worked pretty well to smother them.

Will holding a just-harvested sweet potato from the garden by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

You might also like:
For more delicious recipes, gardening ideas, foraging tips, and food-related inspiration "like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.