Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Roasted Acorn Squash with Goat Cheese and Arugula

We made this squash with risotto for dinner on one of our first nights back in Ohio, and it was FANTASTIC :)

While we were planning the wedding, we barely ever cooked together or had the time for creative experimenting in the kitchen. We mostly ate things that we could throw together quickly and easily. So on our honeymoon, I was dreaming of all of the time we'd have to REALLY cook again when we got home. I was especially excited since it would officially be fall when we got back, and since we received so many wonderful gifts for the kitchen (HELLO salad spinner)!! October is most definitely my favorite month of the year, and I was thrilled to see fall produce in the grocery store when we got home! I picked up a beautiful little acorn squash, the perfect size for two people.

We scrubbed the squash, cut in half, scooped out the seeds and stringiness, then sliced into pretty little pieces. We tossed the pieces in a bit of coconut oil, one chopped garlic clove, salt, and some of our homemade curry powder mix. We roasted in a 375 degree oven for probably 20-25 minutes. We served it over arugula with goat cheese crumblies on top. The arugula was lightly tossed in a homemade dressing, just balsamic vinegar, a little honey, a little dijon, rosemary, and olive oil.

These adorable little boxes were our wedding favors for our guests, along with a small packet of recipes we developed to use with them. The curry powder was simply cumin, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and cardamom (no exact ratios here, we started off with an exact mix and then sort of ended up throwing things in the bowl)! But the ingredients are listed in order of what the mixture has the most of, that's for sure. I know people associate tumeric with curry, but truth be told, I'm not a huge fan. I don't really dig the flavor, or the neon yellow color. So we left it out!

I'll share more about our little spice mixes in future posts! We have a ton left over, so I'll be using them a lot :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I'm back - I brought cookies :)

So I'm back!

JT and I got married 5 weeks ago, and we returned from The Big Island of Hawaii 3 weeks ago. The perfect amount of time to get settled in back at home, put away new gifts, clean the house, and get back into our normal routines.

As much fun as wedding planning and the actual wedding day was, it is SO NICE to have life back to normal. We have free time again, without a constant list of wedding planning items hanging over our head :) Now it's just fun stuff left to do, like picking out the photos for our album, officially changing my name, and finishing our thank you notes.

I've been really itching to get back into blogging. I had a blog a few years ago that I maintained through about 100 posts, then it just sort of fell away... I still read my favorite blogs religiously and I wish I had one of my own. I love to experiment in the kitchen, and so many times we make things up on the fly and I'd love to keep a record of what we make, what's successful, etc. etc.....

But for some reason (other than not having had any time in the past 9 months), I've been hesitant to get back into it. I've been thinking about it a lot, and I realized what one of the big issues is that I have. I HATE writing out recipes! I really hate it. Especially when I am cooking, I never measure anything out and most of the time I'm making it up as I go. I'd much rather just take a picture and explain what I did rather than try to estimate ingredient volumes, write it all out, etc. etc.

Also... I'm so intimidated by the amazing photography on many food blogs out there. I take my pictures on my iPhone, usually after dark when there is no natural light! And I honestly have very little interest in fancy cameras and techniques, it's not something I want truly want to invest my time, money, and energy into, it's the flavors that matter to me! So I feel like no matter what I do, I'll never be able to compete with the incredible designers and photographers out there...

So after thinking about all of this, I realize that I'm going about it entirely the wrong way. I want to write a blog for ME. I still have that old blog that I mentioned, I page through from time to time for inspiration and to review fantastic recipes that I've made in the past. I want that back! I want a visual and written record of the crazy-good meals that JT and I come up with. I also LOVE to bake and whenever I come across a killer cookie or quick bread recipe, I try not to lose it. Having everything in one spot online would be fantastic.

So the bottom line is that I want to do this again for me. I know the photography won't be spectacular, the design of my blog won't be competitive, it won't make me money, and my writing will probably be average... But that's okay. I am interested in it for the pleasure of doing it, and if other people want to drop by and read, even better! If I feel like writing out a recipe.... yahtzee! If not, then I won't, but I'll always give credit when credit is due. And if I find myself unable to post for 2 weeks or so... I don't want to beat myself up. This is supposed to be fun and relaxing, I want to keep it that way :)

I made a recipe for gingersnaps last weekend. I was intrigued by the addition of balsamic vinegar! There isn't enough to really come through in the flavor of the cookies, but I do think it makes the molasses flavor a bit lighter and sweeter.

With the exception of the bits of crystallized ginger, these cookies taste almost exactly like graham crackers! Only more flavorful and a bit chewier. Next time I make them, I'll leave out the ginger, slice them thinner, and make s'mores sandwich cookies with Nutella and marshmallow fluff :)

Gingersnaps on Real Simple