Mashed Fall Vegetables with Bacon and Thyme

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This is one of those recipes that just came out of the blue and kind of made itself, when I had set out to make something completely different.  Or so I thought....(cue dramatic music, or just click here.) Anyway, what I thought I was making was roasted fall vegetables.  I had me some nice cut up butternut squash, some red potatoes, a couple of onions and some carrots, and I was right in the middle of roasting them to go with some roasted chicken, and that's when it hit me. What if I took all those delicious tender roasted vegetables and mashed them all up together with a little chicken broth?  What if I added just enough half and half to make them just the right amount of creamy? What if I mixed in a little but of chopped fresh thyme? What if I added...BACON? Sometimes it pays to just completely ignore whatever recipe you think you are making, and listen to your inner voice.  Especially if that inner voice is saying the words "mashed" and "bacon" in the same Read More & Get the Recipe

Butternut Cider Bisque

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Okay, so this is one of my blog posts that has a long involved back-story, and since there is nobody here to tell me to cut to the chase except for the dog (who can't talk) and the Southern husband (who is WAY too smart to say anything of this nature) I'm going to go ahead and tell it.  Take comfort in the fact that it will be broken up with some entertaining pictures.  At least I think they are entertaining. So to start at the beginning, a while back I was invited to take a series of pictures of chefs from restaurants in our area.  For a food groupie like me, this was a fabulous assignment, and I met a bunch of terrifically talented people this way (and got to sample some rocking good food along the way.)  Here's the first chef I photographed for this project: Chef Chris Calcagno.  I know, it was a hard assignment, but someone had to do it. Anyway. Part of the assignment was to photograph each chef holding a copy of their favorite cookbook, which worked out to be double Read More & Get the Recipe

Roasted Vegetable Lasagne

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I am always a little skeptical about whether lasagna is really, truly worth it. I mean, we've all had it one million times, and it's always kinda the same. But every once in a while I run across a recipe that restores my faith in lasagna, and this was one of them. Roasted vegetable lasagna that involves a sauce made of roasted tomatoes and a filling that includes roasted butternut squash and sauteed spinach. It all comes together for a beautiful layered look that melts the heart of even a lasagna-doubter like myself... I used lovely fresh mozzarella and ricotta and that helped (and in case you have not heard me go on and on about my adventures in ricotta-making, please click here. Or you can do what normal people do and get your fresh ricotta at Whole Foods.) So if you are looking for a delicious and different lasagna, this ones for you. It also uses those no-boil noodles that I never think are going to work but they always magically DO! It's one of the great mysteries in Read More & Get the Recipe

Butternut Chai Soup

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I fell head over heels in love with chai tea several years ago when my friend S took me by the hand, led me into Starbucks, bought me a chai tea latte, put it in my hands and said, "Trust me." Ever since then I have been a complete sucker for anything with the word "chai" in the title. And so when I ran across this recipe for butternut soup cooked with chai spices...well, they had me at hello. When you think about it, it is kind of genius...butternut is a close cousin to pumpkin, chai spices include a lot of the sweet and spicy flavors you find in pumpkin pie...so it kind of was a match made in heaven. And to (literally) top it all off, the recipe also calls for a quick and wonderful topping that you make by stirring together a little creme fraiche, a little apple cider and a little cinnamon. Creme fraiche is usually in whatever part of your supermarket where they keep the refrigerated fancy things, but if you have trouble finding it, sour cream will work for this too. You drizzle Read More & Get the Recipe

Butternut Cheddar Soup

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I do love a nice simple soup for supper, don't you? On a cold winter's night? When the wind is blowing outside, but you are safe and warm inside in your cozy little kitchen? I do, and this is a perfect one for that -- quick and easy and creamy and comforting. It is the perfect blend of butternut squash and sharp cheddar cheese, mmmmmmm. Some warm crusty bread, a glass of red wine...I don't think there's a fancy restaurant anywhere that can top this. So here's what you do. Get your hands on a nice piece of butternut squash. If you are really lucky, your supermarket will either have peeled butternut halves that you only have to cut up into chunks, or they will have already peeled and cut up butternut squash chunks. If they do, go for it. Yes, it is more expensive, but you only go around once and you might not want to spend your time cutting up rock hard butternut squash. Or maybe you do, in which case, go for it. Anyway, you simmer the squash chunks in some nice chicken broth until Read More & Get the Recipe