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.

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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.

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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.

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Favourite Lunch: Avocado Toast

Today, I wrote the last exam of my undergraduate degree. In a week, I start my final clinical placement. In a little over two months, I will be done. Where does time go?  I mean, I am SO excited to be a Registered Nurse and there is literally nothing I would rather do and I know I’ll love it so much. But I am also terribly sad that my university life is going to be over… You might have to bear with my ranting and reminiscing about how great these past four years have been a bit over the next few months.

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I decided to share a simple recipe (if you can even call it that) with you today. I eat this pretty much every day for lunch, along with some almonds, chickpeas, a hard boiled egg, cottage cheese, etc. Notice how all the pictures are kinda different? That’s to show how I ate it on different days (smart). The most random combinations of foods are sometimes the best ones, right? Right.

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I actually don’t really know how this recipe came about. I think it started with the avocado on toast, and the sriracha naturally followed. A little olive oil, some salt & pepper… yum. You could mash the avocado, but I like to keep things simple, and slicing it works totally fine.

I actually don’t even know how to describe the taste of this to you, because it just tastes like all of the ingredients combined? But in a good way? (Duh) You probably already have all of the ingredients on hand, especially if you love avocados and sriracha as much as I do, so you should definitely give it a try!

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Avocado Toast:

Makes one serving

1 piece of Bread (preferably a nice, sturdy, whole wheat),

1/2 an Avocado

Sriracha Sauce, to taste*

1/2 tsp Olive Oil

Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste

1. Toast bread to your liking.

2. Slice half of an avocado four times length-wise, then use a spoon to scoop it from the skin.

3. Place the avocado sections on your toast. Squirt on a little sriracha. Pour on the olive oil (try to do it evenly). Top with salt and pepper. Eat immediately.

* You can also use Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, or one of your preference. I just love Sriracha!