Indian Spiced Pear & Butternut Squash Soup

Every time of year brings memories of a few dishes with it that we all quietly pine for. Autumn and butternut squash is that mystical combo for my wife and I. In general, butternut squash soup is a pretty simple and straightforward thing, but to keep this from becoming something we grow tired of, I like to change it up every time I make it. In this case, I wanted a light starter as a prelude to a bigger dinner, but still something big and bold on flavor.

Indian Spiced Pear & Butternut Squash Soup

This soup was a delicious way to start a meal. It looks deceptively simple (like any other butternut squash soup), but has a surprisingly complex flavor. The pear added an almost unnameable but distinct tangy sweetness while the peppers and assortment of spices lent an incredibly full flavored back drop to the whole experience. I didn’t want to… click to read more…

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Lemon and Ricotta Pound Cake

Pound cake is a rare treat for me, and given how easy it is to make, I’m not sure why I don’t have it more often. Its delicious, rich, crumbly, and buttery on its own but is also easily tweaked to highlight other flavors.

Lemon and Ricotta Pound Cake

In this case, I chose to go with a more Italian inspired flavor profile: creamy and tangy ricotta with the bright flavor of lemon. The cake was delicious, and I topped it off with a simple, sweet, lemony glaze to further the lemon flavor. The final result was delicious with a sweet, crispy crust around the edges and a tender, crumbly, delicious cake inside. My only regret was using too small of a loaf pan (so I also had some free-form pound cakelet blobs to enjoy on the side, lol).

  • Cake
    • 1.5 cups flour
    • 2.5 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 3/4 cup/6 oz

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Roast Pork Belly with Garlicky Thyme Gravy

Have you ever had pork belly before? If you’re not sure, perhaps a simpler question will answer it: have you ever had bacon before? Bacon is a cured, (often) smoked, and then thinly sliced pork belly…so that should give you a vague sense of what this cut of meat is about. It can be a tough cut so it requires a bit of time to cook properly (low and slow is the way to go…I could keep rhyming), but when done right, it is incredibly rich and flavorful–oh and the roughly 50% fat striated throughout the meat also doesn’t hurt. This is the cut of meat for pork lovers who aren’t afraid of a succulent meal (if you’re strictly a chicken breast and/or pork tenderloin type, this might be a stretch).

Roast Pork Belly with Garlicky Thyme Gravy

For this particular preparation, rather than braising the belly (commonly done in an Asian style), I chose to roast mine.… click to read more…

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Butternut Squash and Sausage Lasagna

I’m not sure what it is about baked pasta dishes, but I can’t think of one that isn’t comfort food. Rich, creamy dishes like macaroni & cheese and pastitsio readily pop into my head. Another common craving: lasagna. I didn’t feel like putting in the time to make a good bolognese sauce to make that lasagna happen, so instead I opted for a lasagna with a bit of an autumny twist. The usual pasta, Bechamel, and cheese remain, but in place of a meaty, tomatoey sauce, I cooked up a butternut squash-centric sauce with a bit of Italian sausage.

Butternut Squash and Sausage Lasagna

The sauce reminded me a bit of a hearty squash soup I had made last season. It had sweet, smoky, spicy notes that warm… click to read more…

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Guanciale

It wasn’t very long ago when I had no idea what guanciale was. It sounded exotic, and while I know I’d heard the term here and there, I truly had no idea what it was, where to get it, or why I’d care. Being the curious food person I now am though, I learned a bit more about it, and now, with access to fantastic, locally raised pork, sought to make my own. So if you’re in the same boat I was and are wondering what guanciale is, the answer is simple: awesome.

Guanciale

If “awesome” didn’t do it for you, in more descriptive terms, guanciale is lightly seasoned, air-dried, cured pork jowl. Many people try to compare the end product to prosciutto or bacon. While those are both wonderful things, they really are nothing alike and if you have any inkling that they are adequate substitutes, dash that… click to read more…

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