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Month: October 2016

Tomolive Martini

Tomolive Martini

I’m a fan of a good martini on a Friday night after a long week at work, so decided to experiment with the tomolives that I have in the fridge and make a Tomolive Martini.  But first things first – you might be asking “what’s a tomolive?”  Tomolives are a lovely way to repurpose green grape tomatoes at the end of the season and give them a shelf life into December (if you can resist eating them all before that).  I had a bumper crop of green tomatoes at the end of the season (in fact, I still have quite a few on one tomato bush that just refuses to give in to the cooler weather, so will probably be harvesting them this weekend).  Here’s my favorite recipe for Tomolives, from Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen.

However, if you don’t have green tomatoes left in your garden or just don’t want to bother, you can also buy tomolives from Amazon and from World Market (and I’m sure from other places that sell specialty pickles as well).  Tomolives taste like, well, like a cross between a tomato and an olive.  In addition to making a great garnish for a martini, they would work well garnishing a Bloody Mary, as well as are a tasty accompaniment for hard-boiled eggs or as a substitute for olives on a cheese plate.   Plus, they look a bit like a science experiment, so make a good prop for a Halloween-themed cocktail photo shoot!




Tomolive Martini
Serves 1

2 ounces vodka
1 ounce vermouth
1/2 tomolive brine
3 tomolives to garnish

Combine the vodka, vermouth and brine in a cocktail shaker with ice.  Shake and then strain into a martini glass.  Garnish with tomolives.  Enjoy!

Black Bean and Winter Squash Quesadilla

Black Bean and Winter Squash Quesadilla

If you are looking for a quick snack to accompany the Black Garlic Tomato Soup from yesterday, look no further than these Black Bean and Winter Squash Quesadillas.  I’m starting the process of using up the winter squash I’m hoarding – I mean, storing – for the winter.  I roasted one of the honey nut squash from Trader Joe’s for this recipe.  These squash look like a small butternut squash, but the flesh is a darker orange.

My tip for roasting winter squash is to cook them whole – I posted a tutorial on how to do this with a pumpkin a few weeks ago, but it works for any winter squash.  I have been puncturing a few wholes in the squash before I put it in the oven, mostly because I’ve had a few small potatoes burst in the oven in our rental and don’t want to risk it with a much larger squash.

The quesadillas are great to serve with a soup for lunch.  They can easily be heated up in the microwave and are quick to make the night before.


Black Bean and Winter Squash Quesadilla with Black Garlic Soup


Black Bean and Winter Squash Quesadillas
Serves 4

1 small winter squash, roasted (or 1 cup of already prepared winter squash puree from a larger squash)
1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 tortillas
4 slices of cheese (Monterey Jack or similar)

Spread several tablespoons of the winter squash puree on half of a quesadilla.  Spread 1/4 cup of the black beans on top and then layer with a slice of cheese.  Fold the tortilla in half over the squash, beans and cheese.  Cook in a preheated skillet, flipping once to ensure both sides are golden brown.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.



Black Garlic Tomato Soup

Black Garlic Tomato Soup

I have a particularly hectic week going on this week with some sort of travel going on every day except for Friday.  I had unavoidable lunches out for two of those days (though in truth, today’s lunch of salad, crab cakes, and a trio of desserts was pretty awesome, especially since it was all made by culinary students in their first term of school).  In planning my week, I knew I’d need to prep things on Sunday that could frozen for lunch for later in the week.  At the same time, I’ve been really intrigued by black garlic, which has been showing up at various natural food stores around town, including Trader Joe’s.  Black garlic, which sounds scary, I know, is actually garlic that’s been fermented for weeks.  It’s possible to make your own, but since we are living in a rental right now, and black garlic is pretty pungent smelling, I’m going to have to rely on buying it for now.


Black garlic – still in the garlic pod on the left and a peeled clove on the right. 

Black garlic has a subtle flavor – somewhere between garlic and licorice.  I decided to experiment and try it out in a tomato soup, which ended up being the perfect use.  The soup is very easy to make – it takes just a few ingredients and about thirty minutes to cook.  The best part – it freezes easily, making it a perfect lunch meal!

I’ve linked this up to Kahakai Kitchen’s Souper Sunday.  If you are looking for other really great soup recipes, check out the link and you won’t be disappointed.


Black Garlic Tomato Soup

Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves black garlic, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 16 ounce cans of diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan.  Add the black garlic and onion and sauté until the onions are translucent.  Add the tomatoes and their juice, the paprika and the salt and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.  Puree in a blender or use an immersion blender to get the soup to your desired consistency.  Enjoy!





Spooky Halloween Onigiri

Spooky Halloween Onigiri

Halloween is almost here!  This year, I’m feeling particularly inspired – I think it started with our neighbors decorating their yard with tombstones and skeletons, and I realized I’ve been sad that I haven’t done anything Halloween-y for the past two years (lots of reasons – but mostly around a work life that just ate all my enthusiasm).  It helped, too, that the movie for Food ‘n Flix for October was Beetlejuice hosted by Deb at Kahakai KitchenBeetlejuice is one of my favorite Halloween movies.  First, it’s a Tim Burton film and I love the Burton universe with its over-the-top weird. Second, it’s not a scary, slasher film – I’m not a fan of those.  I also discovered, as I was writing this post, that there is another Burton related challenge this month (Fandom Foodies) hosted on Witchy Kitchen.  It’s #Burtoween!

So in honor of all things beautiful and strange and Burton-esque, I made Spooky Halloween Onigiri for my Beetlejuice inspired post.  I love onigiri – they are such a simple lunch snack to make, consisting of sushi rice, filling and nori.  I did a Fubonn run after work on Friday (Fubonn is the spectacular Asian grocery store on 82nd and Division in SE Portland) and bought umeboshi, which are very tart, salty and sweet plums that are used as a filling for onigiri.  I used both umeboshi and tomolives (pickled green tomatoes – more about these later this week) as my fillings.  The Spooky Halloween Onigiri get their shape from some Wilton Halloween molds from Amazon.  These onigiri make such a good lunch.  They are perfect as part of a bento box and would be great served with some roasted squash or a small salad.  Wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, they survive fairly well for a day or two in the refrigerator, though if you are planning to store, I recommend keeping the nori separate until you are about to eat (it can get soggy).

I can completely see dancing sushi rice in the Burton universe, as well as onigiri decorated as spooks, bats, and Jack-O-Lanterns.  Nori is a perfect decorating tool for these onigiri.  I also realized belatedly that onigiri could so easily be decorated as Jack Skelington – I can just see it and probably ought to go make it.  I love having fancy onigiri in my lunchbox – it makes me smile in the middle of the day.


These are the molds I used for the onigiri.



That bottom thing is a bat – probably not the best mold for this purpose

Spooky Halloween Onigiri
Serves 2

3/4 cup sushi rice (be sure to use sushi rice – any other rice will not stick together as well)
1 cup water
1 sheet nori
Filling – umeboshi, tomolives, smoked fish, olives, etc. (the best fillings for onigiri are salty or tart – or both)

Combine the sushi rice and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Cover and turn heat to low.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let the rice sit for 10 minutes.

Cut the nori into various shapes to decorate the onigiri.  If you are using molds, the nori can be used to make eyes, mouths, etc. or can be used in one long strip to ring the onigiri.  Set the nori aside.

When the rice is slightly cool (but still warm to the touch), moisten your hands to keep the rice from sticking to them and shape the rice into the desired shape.  Create an indent in the middle of the rice and fill with your chosen fillings.  Cover the fillings with more rice or shape the rice around the filling.  Decorate with nori and enjoy!

Food 'n Flix Club Logo



Roasted Spiced Apple Sangria

Roasted Spiced Apple Sangria

Apples, pumpkin pie spice and wine – the absolute perfect combination as far as I’m concerned.  I’ve been thinking a lot about the booze-forward sangria I had in Indianapolis several weeks ago and decided it was absolutely time for a sangria creation, so pumpkin pie spiced some apples,  roasted them, tossed in some Chardonnay and a good dose of brandy and came up with Roasted Spiced Apple Sangria.

Roasted Spiced Apple Sangria is a great drink for the fall days we’ve been experiencing here in the PNW.  Last weekend, we were thoroughly prepared for a massive storm, though what we got instead were some heavy winds and quite a bit of rain.  It was a good weekend to curl up with the dog, a book, and sangria, with either Madeleine Peyroux or Pink Martini playing on the I-Pod.  I was a little productive – I sorted through all of my summer clothes to decide what still looks good enough to be around next season and then finally un-boxed the box that was labeled winter clothes.  I moved all my sandals to another closet to resist the temptation to try to pretend sandal season is still here and end up, instead, with soggy feet.

I can only imagine how tasty these roasted and spiced apples would be with a little freshly whipped cream, so I encourage you to double or triple the recipe and have a few of the apples on hand for other purposes.  So pull out the blankets, listen to some jazzy music, and watch the rain fall with a glass of Roasted Spiced Apple Sangria in hand.


Roasted Spiced Apple Sangria
Serves 4

1 bottle chardonnay
1/2 cup brandy or apple brandy
2 apples, cored and sliced
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lay out the apple slices on a parchment paper covered baking sheet.  Sprinkle the pumpkin pie spice and brown sugar over the apples.  Roast for 50-60 minutes, turning the apples once or twice.  The apples are done when they are soft and caramelized on both sides.  Let the apples cool.

When the apples are cool, put them in a jar or carafe and cover with the brandy and chardonnay.  Stir or shake.  Let the sangria sit for at least two hours, but preferably overnight.  Serve with a few more apple slices and some of the roasted apples.  Enjoy!



Travel Thursday: Indianapolis and Atlanta

Travel Thursday: Indianapolis and Atlanta

I’ve been traveling a lot in the last two weeks – two trips, essentially back to back to Indianapolis and to Atlanta.  Both were for work and both involved flying in, hopping into a taxi, going to a hotel and staying in the hotel for two full days, heading back to the airport and going home.  So, sadly, this post is primarily about airport food and room service menus, as well as what you can see from various windows.

I’ve been traveling for work for the last thirteen years.  Some years involved one or two flights and some years have involved four or five trips – it’s depended on the job and organization.   The one thing I noticed this last round of trips is that airports seem to have really upped their game when it comes to food.  So in my Travel Thursday round up this go around, I’m starting with the Minneapolis airport, which is where I had a three hour layover on my way to Indianapolis.

negroni lobster-blt

I started off by wandering around the terminal in Minneapolis, scoping out my options.  I was impressed to see a deli that sold fresh fruit – farmer stand style.  I had three hours though, so opted for a sit down option and eventually ended up at Mimosa – a bar and restaurant that let patrons order and pay from a tablet on the table.  I opted to start with a Negroni, which was incredibly heavy on the gin, but really tasty in a bitters and aromatic kind of way.  The sandwich pictured above was a variation of a BLT with lobster – really, really tasty with thick cut bacon and a farm fresh tasting tomato.  This was my first time flying into Minneapolis, and I was really impressed.

My end destination was Indianapolis.  I had a pretty good view from my hotel room.


I also had a chance to actually leave the hotel to get dinner the second night I was here.  (The first night, I had a room service salmon Caesar salad – tasty, but not very photogenic).   A colleague of mine and I went to Nada, a restaurant that bills itself as “Modern Mexican.”  We indulged in really good guacamole to start and I ordered sangria – which I was warned by the waitress was very booze-forward.  It definitely had curacao and brandy in it, but it was no more boozy than most of the sangrias I make at home.  It also very much complimented the trio of tacos I had for dinner.

booze-forward-sangria traco-trio-nada-indianapolis

There’s the boozy sangria.  Next pic are the tacos – from upper left and going clockwise: a fried avocado with pepita pesto taco, a Baja fish taco, and a pork belly taco with a fried egg.  The pork belly taco with the fried egg was my favorite – the egg was just enough runny yolk to mix with the salty pork belly to make it the perfect brunch food (it was great for dinner, too).  If you happen to be in downtown Indianapolis, I highly recommend this restaurant.

Then it was back to the airport and back to Portland.  I spent several hours in the Indianapolis airport so had time to go to Wolfgang Puck’s Express and try out the chicken salad sandwich, which was the perfect autumn combination of chicken, apple, and grapes on wholegrain bread.


My flight was in the evening, so I was able to catch a bit of the sunset on my phone from 20,000 feet or so as we were taking off.


I had a few days at home, just enough time to stretch out the kinks in my back from my flights, and then left for Atlanta.

My room view wasn’t quite as exciting in Atlanta as it was in Indianapolis.


Room service was better than the view.

green-tomato-blt crab-cakes

The first night (the picture on the left) was a BLT with fried green tomatoes, bacon, lettuce and tomato jam.  It wasn’t a very photogenic sandwich, but it was so tasty.  Even better, it came with sweet potato and parsnip fries.  The second night (picture on the right), I had crab cakes served over a poblano aioli, with a jicama and mango coleslaw and potato wedges.  Black sheep definitely approved of that meal.  I’d also bought a small bottle of King Estate Pinot Gris on my way out of the Portland Airport, which was a little bit of home with my dinner each night.


My time in Atlanta was, unfortunately, consumed with work.  I really wish I’d had time to see something of the city and hope to go back someday for fun.

I’ve had connecting flights before in Atlanta, but before this trip, I never realized how big the airport is (5,000 incoming and outgoing flights a day should be a clue).  I had a few hours before my flight home, so walked the distance of all six concourses rather than taking the train that connects to each.  I don’t recommend doing this in heels, but on the other hand, I needed the exercise after those room service meals!  The great thing about doing this walk was I encountered this in between two of the concourses – airport art!


This was sculptural art on the ceiling between the concourses – I assume it represents the rainforest, as there was water projected on the floor in places and the sound of tropical birds and insects throughout.  It was well worth the walk to discover this.

My flight was scheduled out of the international concourse, which has a great selection of restaurants.  I settled on eating at the Pecan Bistro and finally got shrimp and grits – one of my absolute favorite Southern foods.


It was a good two weeks of food and travel, but I was incredibly glad to be back home and be back to cooking and blogging.

Fall Lentil Bowl

Fall Lentil Bowl

I spent the last two weeks traveling across the country to two very good workforce development conferences.  I ate some great food, but to be honest, I was so ready to be eating at home again.  This week, in addition to feeling like I’m going to have to crawl out from a mountain of paperwork and emails, I’m also eager to eat healthy, satisfying, and low-salt lunches at my desk, which is what inspired me to create this recipe for fall lentil bowls.

I also have been feeling like it’s time to clean out the pantry.  I have a habit of buying interesting ingredients, whether it be lentils or pasta or winter squash, and thinking that I’ll eventually get around to cooking with them.  In this case, I purchased some beluga lentils from Trader Joe’s months ago and decided today that I was really in the mood for a lentil dish.  Beluga lentils are tiny black lentils that keep their shape and don’t get mushy.  They are perfect for a base for adding various toppings.  And since it’s fall, I thought it might be time to start eating the winter squash that are hanging out in storage in our garage.

I used Delicata squash, parsnips, almonds, hard-boiled eggs, and avocado for this recipe, but you could certainly add other ingredients – other squash, other nuts, maybe even spinach or other greens.  If you wanted to create a vegan dish, leave the eggs out.  I would imagine that this would also be good with a fried egg or poached egg, but I didn’t think either would hold up well for a night in the fridge before I go to work.



Fall Lentil Bowl
Serves 4

1 cup beluga lentils
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 Delicata squash
2 parsnips
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup almonds
2 avocados
4 hard boiled eggs

Tahini Dressing
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup water
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
Pinch of salt
A few grinds of fresh pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan.  Add the lentils and salt, cover, and turn the heat down to a simmer.  Simmer for 20-25 minutes or until lentils are soft and water is absorbed.  Set aside.

While the lentils are cooking, prepare the squash and parsnips.  Cut the squash into 1/2 inch slices and de-seed each slice.  Cut the parsnips into cubes.  Put the squash and parsnip cubes in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Roast for 50-60 minutes, flipping the squash and parsnip cubes once so both sides get golden brown.

Make the tahini dressing by combining the tahini, water, lemon, salt and pepper in a small bowl or jar.  Whisk until thoroughly combined.

To assemble the bowls, split the lentils between four bowls.  Divide the squash, parsnips, avocado, almonds, and hard-boiled eggs between each.  Spoon the tahini dressing over the top and enjoy!

(I assemble part of the bowls in advance – the lentils, the squash, the parsnips, the almonds and the dressing, and then add the avocado and egg the night before I plan to eat the bowl for lunch).

“Magic” Chicken Orzo Soup

“Magic” Chicken Orzo Soup

I was delighted to see that Simona Carini was hosting another Novel Food edition on her lovely blog briciole.  I have such fun thinking about the various books I read and what food gets cooked and consumed in those books, as well as how food can play an important role on a character’s development.

This year, I decided to make an attempt to read my way through Popsugar’s Reading Challenge, which is a list of 40 or so categories of books like satire, or a book that will be made into a movie this year.  I thought it might force me out of my book comfort zone, which tends heavily toward the mystery aisle in the bookstore.  One of the categories was a romance set in the future.  I did some searching and came up with…a mystery that’s set in the future and is also a love story.  Ok, so maybe this didn’t push me out of my reading comfort zone, but it did turn me onto a new mystery series: JD Robb’s series featuring Detective Eve Dallas and her handsome hubby, Roarke.  To say that I’m hooked would be something of an understatement – I’ve been going to our used bookstore every month to add to my stash (there are over 50 books in the series so far and I’ve read 14 of them).  I’ll read three or four of these at a time and then take a little break, read something else, and then start again.

One of the things that has struck me is how much food plays into each story.  Eve Dallas is a tough but lovable character and her criminal turned civilian consultant husband Roarke spends much of his time taking care of her, including making sure she eats well.  Dallas’s tastes lean toward red meat, pizza, and coffee, but Roarke often makes her eat her vegetables and tries to get her to appreciate the finer things in life in between her saving people and finding murderers.

There is also a wonderful surrounding cast of characters that includes Dallas’s partner, Detective Peabody.  Peabody also likes to make sure that Eve eats while she is on the go and tracking down the bad guys.  In one of my favorite parts of Calculated in Death (book 45 in the series), Peabody and Dallas stop for soup in between interviews of murder suspects and Dallas calls the soup “magic” – it’s just how good it is.  I don’t recall that she actually ever reveals what’s in the soup, but magic soup becomes a touchstone throughout the book – later on, when Dallas and Peabody are back at their headquarters, Dallas eats some minestrone soup and sniffs at it, saying that it isn’t bad, but it isn’t “magic”.


Since soup is one of my favorite foods, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what my “magic” soup is and decided it would be chicken noodle soup of some sort.  This weekend, we’ve been inundated by rain and wind here in the PNW, so I thought it was probably time to make chicken soup.  Sadly, we just don’t have enough storage space in our kitchen in our Vancouver rental, so I don’t have any chicken stock stored.  I decided I was going to poach some chicken breasts, with both skin and bone still on and in, and magic up some stock.  Combined with a lot of garlic, a little bit of green chili, and orzo, I think this soup could make even Eve Dallas come back for seconds.


“Magic” Chicken Orzo Soup
Serves 4

For the poached chicken and stock
2 bone-in with skin chicken breasts
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1 carrot
2 celery stalks
1/2  red onion
1/2 leek
2 teaspoons salt

Cut the carrot in half.  Do the same with the celery stalks. Cut the onion into four chunks.  Cut the leek in half and make sure it is thoroughly clean.  Toss the bay leaves, peppercorns, carrot, celery, onion, leek and salt in a large saucepan.  Lay the chicken on top and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and then turn to a low simmer.  Poach for 15 – 20 minutes or until the chicken reads 165 degrees on a meat thermometer.  Strain out the chicken and other soilds and reserve the poaching liquid.

For the soup
Poached chicken breasts
8 cups chicken stock from the poached chicken
1 carrot
2 celery stalks
1/2 red onion
1/2 leek
8 garlic cloves
1 roasted Anaheim chili (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup uncooked orzo
Salt to taste

Chop the vegetables into bite size pieces.  Shred the chicken.  Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan.  Add the carrots, onions and celery and saute until the onions are translucent.  Add the garlic, leek and Anaheim chili.  Saute for another two minutes.  Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Add the orzo and cook for eight minutes.  Stir in the shredded chicken and cook for ten more minutes.  Season with salt to taste.  Enjoy!

This blog post is linked to two really awesome blog link parties, so please take a look at the other great recipes that are out there:


Kahakai Kitchen Souper Sundays

Novel Food #28 on briciole

Winter Squash Guide

Winter Squash Guide

Once upon a time,  there were only three kinds of winter squash in my life: pumpkin, acorn squash, and butternut squash.  My family grew acorn squash, and I remember eating them roasted with salt, pepper and butter, which is probably the most perfect way to eat an acorn squash.  I also have fond memories of one of our dogs when I was growing up hunting the acorn squash – she was convinced that they were a threat to our safety and would regularly bark at them.  Butternut squash came a little later in my repertoire of winter squash, right around the time I started finding pumpkin pie pumpkins in the grocery store.  I think it’s safe to say that these three squash were my go-to squash for a long time.  I added Kabocha squash when I lived in the Marshall Islands, as these green squash were sold as local pumpkin in the market and made a great addition to curry.

Then I moved to Roseburg, Oregon and joined a CSA.  Suddenly, each week in the early fall brought a new winter squash and brought me scrambling to figure out what to do with them all.  One squash led to another and then I was buying many winter squash from the farmer’s market and the u-pick farm and stashing them in the coldest room in the house so I could eat them all winter long.

Now that we live in the Portland area, we set aside a Sunday morning to make a trip out to Sauvie Island, which is a popular spot in Portland to find farm stands.  Bella Organic Farms on Sauvie sells a multitude of winter squash, and I had to contain myself as there’s just only so much squash I can eat in a season.  So here’s a tour of the squash I bought at Bella Organic Farms and links to recipes for each.  You’ll definitely be seeing some of my own recipe creations for these squash throughout the fall and winter.


Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is a great food for a low carb or carb free diet, as its stringy insides make a good substitute for pasta.  You can roast spaghetti squash whole and then cut it open, de-seed and pull out the stringy insides.

Favorite recipes
Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Garlic Spaghetti Squash with Herbs

Skinny Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

Spaghetti Squash with Kale and Chickpeas


Kuri Squash

Kuri squash is a lovely orange squash with an intensely orange interior.  It’s great as a pumpkin substitute for pies, as well as blends smoothly as a base for soups.

Favorite Recipes

Roasted Red Kuri Coconut Curry Soup

Roasted Kuri Squash Soup with Smokey Harissa and Chickpeas

Red Kuri Pumpkin Pie with Chocolate


Black Futsu Squash

Black futsu squash is one I haven’t cooked with before.  I saw it at Bella Organic Farm and thought it looked interesting.  So here are two recipes to check out if you find one of these beauties:

Black Futsu Squash in Sweet Coconut Cream

Roasted Black Futsu Squash with Hazelnut Sage Pesto


Galeux d’Eysines Squash

The Galeux d’Eysines squash is another squash that I haven’t cooked before.  I also couldn’t find many recipes that feature this winter squash, so I’m sure I’ll be posting a recipe or two of my own before too long.  In the meantime, here’s a soup recipe that uses this unusual squash.

French Pumpkin Soup


Buttercup Squash

The Buttercup squash is another pretty squash that has a unique appearance. It’s also very versatile for cooking.

Favorite Recipes

Simple Roasted Buttercup Squash

Buttercup Sage Mac and Cheese with Bourbon

Black Bean and Butternut Squash Wraps with Chimichurri Sauce


Honey Nut Squash

These adorable squash are a smaller, sweeter variation on a butternut squash.  I actually found these at Trader Joe’s and thought they were just so cute!  You can use these in any recipe that calls for butternut squash.  Here are a few ideas:

Roast Honey Nut Squash with Rosemary and Gruyere

Twice Baked Honey Nut Squash

Butternut Squash Pancakes


Delicata Squash

I saved the best for last.  Delicata squash have a super nutty flavor and they roast like a dream.  Even better yet, you can eat the entire squash – skin and all.  I love eating thinly sliced and roasted delicata squash rings on a salad, especially with a few toasted hazelnuts and some pomegranate seeds.

Favorite Recipes

Midwinter Delicata Squash and Greens Salad

Smoky Delicata Squash and Black Beans Baked Quesadilla

Delicata Frittata


winter-squash-dog-photobomb trio-of-squash

This first photo is all the squash together…and a dog’s nose.  Daisy is keeping up the fine tradition of dogs in my family who are suspicious of winter squash. The second photo is a trio of squash – possibly my three favorite:(from left top clockwise) kuri, buttercup and galeux d’eysines.

pumpkin-field  pumpkin-in-the-field

These last two are just some pretty pictures of pumpkins in the pumpkin patch at Bella Organic Farms.

I hope you enjoy the bounty of winter squash that are available this time of year.  I’d love to hear about your favorite recipes for winter squash and your experiences cooking with different types of winter squash, so please comment below!

Tropical Granola with Apricots and Ginger

Tropical Granola with Apricots and Ginger

I made tropical granola today, because it rained all day today, and I’ve been having dreams of traveling to the tropics.  Instead, I have two full weeks of travel on my schedule – with one trip to the Midwest and one to the South and both because I’m presenting at conferences in my field.  I’ve been absent from the blog because of this (follow me on Instagram to see photos of my travels and, more importantly, my food on my travels).  I’ll be posting a foodie travel update in a couple of weeks to share and review some of the restaurants I’ve been to and the food I’ve eaten.

In the meantime, I have a few days between trips and decided to make some granola, which makes a great travel snack.  I used a combination of almonds, coconut, dried apricots, and chocolate covered ginger to spice things up.  It’s also a quick recipe to make – thirty-five minutes from start to finish.



Tropical Granola
Serves 10

4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup whole almonds
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup chopped candied ginger (chocolate covered ginger is optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine the oats, almonds, coconut flakes, olive oil, honey, and maple syrup in a medium sized bowl.  Make sure the oats are fully covered with the oil, honey, and syrup.  Pour the oat mixture onto a parchment covered baking sheet and spread so that it covers the sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes and stir.  Bake another 10 minutes and stir again.  Bake for a final 10 minutes and then set the granola aside to cool.  Add the apricots and ginger when the granola is cool to the touch.  Store in an airtight container.