Squash Toasts with Ricotta and Caramelized Onions

Okay… if the name of this post didn’t grab your attention, I don’t know what will. Butternut Squash, Ricotta Cheese, and the most perfect Caramelized Onions piled into some nice, thick toast. Oh, and there’s maple syrup. And a bit of spice, too. This is seriously the most brilliant combination of some of my favourite ingredients – completely unexpected, but so amazing. Easy enough for a weekday lunch, but fancy enough to serve guests.

IMG_0006

Out of curiosity… Are any of you guys preparing for this blizzard that is hitting the Northeastern US? I mentioned last week that it’s been an uncharacteristically warm January in Calgary, but on Saturday I was walking to go for lunch, and even I was shocked to see multiple patios full. We’re pretty used to freezing temperatures and crazy amounts of snow, but we certainly know how to take advantage of warmer weather. Anyway, stay safe, if you’re in the blizzard zone – if I were you, I would probably spend my day making soup, but these winter-y squash toasts could be a perfect choice too.

IMG_0003

Squash Toasts with Ricotta and Caramelized Onions

Adapted from Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s ABC Kitchen, via NYTimes Cooking

Serves 4 as a Main, 8 as an Appetizer

1 2 1/2 – 3 lb Butternut Squash (or other yellow squash), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices

1/2 cup Olive Oil

1/2 tsp Dried Chile Flakes

3 tsp Kosher Salt

1 Yellow Onion, peeled & thinly sliced

1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

1/4 Maple Syrup

4 Slices Whole Wheat Country Bread, sliced 1-inch thick

1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese

Coarse Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1. Heat oven to 450. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Prepare butternut squash, then toss in a bowl with 3 tbsp olive oil, chile flakes, and 2 tsp salt. Transfer squash to prepared baking sheet, then roast in oven until soft – about 20 to 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are softened and beginning to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add vinegar and syrup and reduce heat slightly. Cook, stirring, until mixture is very soft and jammy.

3. Remove the squash from the oven, and pile the onion mixture on top of the squash, still on the baking sheet. Smash squash and onions together with the back of a fork and roughly combine.

4. Toast your bread – if it’s too thick for the toaster, put it in the oven on broil for a couple minutes.

5. Spread ricotta on toasts in a thick layer, then pile on the squash/onion mixture. Sprinkle with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve hot.

Advertisements

Apple Walnut Baked Oatmeal

IMG_0235_2

Random fact about me: I eat oatmeal, in some variation, almost every day. It’s just so filling, healthy, and delicious. Seriously, sitting on the couch eating a bowl of oatmeal and drinking some coffee with almond milk is the most ideal start to my day. Can you believe I didn’t have a single oatmeal post up until now? (Neither can I.)

IMG_0236_2

Most mornings, I’ll just microwave some oats with almond milk and whatever fruit/nuts I feel like, but sometimes I like to switch it up with something like overnight oats, or a different grain (like quinoa or buckwheat porridge), or steel cut oats. Or a baked oatmeal like this one, which is especially ideal because I can make it at the beginning of the week, and reheat some every morning – super easy and quick which is essential if you’re in a rush or just super slow to wake up, like I am.

IMG_0237_2

PS – If you haven’t been following me/you don’t know about The Oh She Glows Cookbook, you seriously need to go buy it. So much healthy recipe inspiration! You can thank me later. Also! Did you know that it’s apparently National Breakfast Week? It’s almost like I planned that… (I didn’t.)

IMG_0245_2

Apple Walnut Baked Oatmeal

Serves 6

Adapted from The Oh She Glows Cookbook 

2 1/4 cup Rolled Oats

2 tbsp Coconut Sugar

2 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Ginger

1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg

1/2 tsp Ground Sea Salt

1 tsp Baking Powder

2 cups Unsweetened Almond Milk

1/2 cup Unsweetened Applesauce

1/4 cup Pure Maple Syrup

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

2 or 3 Apples, peeled, cored, & diced

1/2 cup Walnuts, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 2 quart casserole dish.

2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, sea salt, and baking powder.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond milk, applesauce, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.

4. Pour the liquid mixture into the oats and stir to combine, then fold in the chopped apples.

5. Pour the oatmeal into your prepared casserole dish, using a spatula to spread evenly. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts, gently pressing them into the oatmeal.

6. Bake for 35 – 45 minutes, under the mixture is getting bubbly around the edges and the apples are tender. Serve warm, scooped into dishes and topped with almond milk and maple syrup. Oatmeal will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 5 or 6 days or in the freezer for 2 – 3 weeks.

Chalkboard Spice Jars

Hi, friends! I thought I’d shared a quick little project with you today… I say quick, because in reality it took less than a few hours to complete, but would you believe me if I told you that I’ve been living with spices in unlabelled jars for the last six months?

See, I had good intentions. When I moved into my new apartment, I was aware that I had to do something about the giant bag of spices in a million different containers. So I went to ikea, and I bought some jars, and I put all the little bags of spices into their own pretty, matching jars. I was supposed to go out and buy chalkboard paint and a pen and label them way back in September. Then somehow, I got busy and forgot/got lazy and there were multiple times that I looked at the cayenne, paprika, and chili powder and had absolutely NO IDEA which one was which. Surprisingly, I did not have any cooking disasters as a result of this (thank you, good sense of smell). All of a sudden it was January and I was driving by the craft store and I this big wave of productivity hit me and I finally bought the supplies and went home and labelled those silly jars. And they turned out so lovely – why on earth did it take me so long to do it?!

IMG_0253_2

If you are like I was, and your spice drawer/cupboard is a mess, or your spice rack is 10 years old and could use some refreshing, then I would really recommend you set aside a night in the next week or so and tackle this one.

Right now I have this little rolling kitchen cart, and the spices occupy their own little shelf, but I have visions of making wall rack/shelf for them in the future, when I have a bit more wall space in my kitchen. They’re seriously pretty enough to be displayed! You could use any little jar that you like, but I’m a fan of the ikea ones because they’ve got an opening that is wide enough for a teaspoon, and because they’ve got two flat surfaces so that I can display them in different ways. I used black chalkboard paint, but you could really buy any colour that you like – I was thinking white paint with some sort of pastel chalk would be really cute!

IMG_0252

Supplies:

Spice Jars (I used these ones, from Ikea)*

Chalkboard Paint

Paint Brush

Chalk Pen, or thin Chalk

1. Paint a thin coat of chalkboard paint over the lid of your spice jar. Let dry for one hour, and then paint over with a second coat. Let dry overnight.

2. Use a chalkboard pen or chalk to label each spice jar.

3. Using a small funnel, pour each spice into it’s own labelled jar. Seal and display.

*I’m using about 25 jars right now, but I think you should individually determine what spices you use/need, and figure out how much you have room for. I bought some extra jars for when I have more space!

Chili Lime Chicken Burgers & Homemade Buns

IMG_0256

Burgers always remind me of summer. Barbecue season, camping, etc. And even though it’s the middle of January, it’s been uncharacteristically warm in Calgary, so burgers (and even barbecuing, if I had one) are actually super reasonable. Even when they’re flavoured with lime and spices, making them even more summer-y. I think I need to buy a barbecue soon here, now that I think about it.

IMG_0254

 

IMG_0258

These burgers are ridiculously easy, super light and healthy, and so, so flavourful. The buns, of course, take a little more work, but sometimes I just find myself in the mood to knead dough, you know? It’s actually kind of therapeutic (I can’t be the only one who feels this way…) If you’re not crazy , though, you could definitely just buy buns at the store, or even wrap these in some lettuce for an even lighter option.

IMG_0255

Chili Lime Chicken Burgers

Makes Four Burgers 

Adapted from Against All Grain

1 lb Ground Chicken

1/4 cup Red Onions, diced

1/4 cup Red Bell Peppers, diced

1 clove Garlic, minced

1 tbsp Fresh Cilantro, minced

1/2 tsp Sea Salt

1/4 cup Lime Juice

1/4 tsp Red Chile Flakes

For serving: homemade buns, sliced avocado or guacamole, sliced tomato, mayonnaise, romaine lettuce, pepper jack cheese

1. Saute onions, bell peppers, and garlic in a bit of olive oil over medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until soft.

2. Place all of the ingredients, including the cooked onion mix, in a medium bowl and use your hands to combine well. Divide and shape the meat into four patties.

3. On a barbecue or grill pan, cook for 6 minutes on each side, over medium heat, or until internal temperature registers 175 degrees.

4. Serve, and top with anything you like (but the avocado is super necessary!!)

Homemade Burger Buns

Makes 8 Burger Buns

Adapted from The Kitchn

1 tbsp Active-Dry Yeast

1/2 cup Warm Water

1/2 cup 2% Milk

1 large Egg

2 tbsp Vegetable Oil

2 tbsp White Sugar

1 tsp Salt

3 cups All Purpose Flour

1 tbsp Unsalted Butter

1. In a large bowl, combine the yeast and warm water and let sit for 5 – 10 minutes until the yeast dissolves.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, oil, sugar, and salt. Add this to the yeast mixture, and whisk to combine. Add all of the flour, and stir with a wooden spoon until it is roughly combined.  Take out the dough, and knead for 10 minutes, flouring your hands/working surface as necessary. The finished dough should be smooth, slightly tacky, and spring back when poked.

3. Return the dough to the mixing bowl and cover. Let the dough rise in a warm spot for about an hour until doubled in size.

4. Place the dough back on your floured work surface and divide the dough into 8 pieces, shaping each into a tight ball. Transfer the dough balls to a baking sheet and let rise until puffy and hamburger-sized, about 30 – 45 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Melt the butter and brush it over the risen hamburger buns. Bake the buns until nice and golden, about 15 – 18 minutes. Allow buns to cool to room temperature before slicing and serving. Buns will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a week, or in the freezer for a month or two.

A Few Thoughts

6b0af1de256b1299f32f3c6b71bb6218

Okay… I’m finally back from what was about a month-long hiatus, during which I was mostly very busy but also doing a lot of thinking. About this blog. See, when I started it, my goal was mainly just to post recipes so that I could remember the things that I’ve made, and watch as my cooking skills improved. Over the last couple of months, as I started to include travel posts, I realized that I might want it to be a little bit more… DIY projects, wish lists, and home inspiration, among other things.

The problem is that even though I like blogging, it seems to lose in the priority race between work, cleaning, spending time with my friends/boyfriend, binging on Netflix, etc. This inevitably leads to me only posting once every week or so, which I don’t think it exactly fair to the blog or to my (lovely, but few) readers. So over the next couple of months, I’m going to try to spend more of the Netflix-binging/random-Buzzfeed-article-reading portion of my time sharing recipes, but also other exciting things, here.

As always, I would love to hear your feedback on these changes, and if you have any suggestions or requests for new posts, please let me know!