So, as it turns out: I’m not super woman after all.
It’s been a month since my last blog update, and the lack of posts have been nagging at my subconscious.
But I’m not the type to post random stuff for the sake of it. I work from inspiration so that I can pass it on to you. However, sometimes, ‘other things’ take over and it can be tricky to find a balance. I’ve been caught up in a whirlwind of life stuff, work, wrangling kids, and sadly still grieving the passing of someone very close to my heart.
In addition, I’ve been working on an exciting new project (more details soon!) that has pretty much consumed my thoughts and creativity.
But for now, I’ve come up for air.
How are you all doing?!
Last weekend, I hosted a cooking demo at Golden Earthworm Organic Farm.
I’ve talked about this beautiful place many times before. We go strawberry picking in the springtime, and enjoy weekly deliveries of their farm fresh produce.
Live demos are always a little nerve wracking. This year, knowing a little bit more of what to expect, everything was packed the night before, with my box of supplies, notes and cookbooks stacked near the front door. Talking points were rehearsed in the shower.
Warmer temperatures graced our weekend which was fantastic. (last year it was freezing). Dillon even got ‘The Clever Carrot’ tattooed onto his arm at the face painting station. He’s my biggest fan.
The dish I created for everyone was a silky butternut squash risotto.
Maggie, who runs the farm with her husband Matt, was kind enough to roast the squash ahead of time. To do this at home, simply slice it in half, lengthwise, and roast cut-side down until soft.
For the risotto, I sautéed leeks and onion as the base. I also threw in 1 clove of garlic, which I almost never do because it can be over powering. But this garlic was so unbelievably fresh, it was a mellow flavor in the background. The pan was deglazed with some organic white wine (gift from my hubby!) and finished with stock. I also added the roasted butternut squash, parm and a pat of butter.
Thirty minutes later, it was done…
I also burnt the bottom of the pot.
Oh, and I almost forgot!
At the demo, I finished each portion with flecks of maple-glazed pancetta and crispy sage. In the pictures above, I used applewood smoked bacon to switch things up. The salty-sweet flavor is such a nice compliment to the earthy butternut squash. If you are a vegetarian, you can substitute with toasted bread crumbs.
All in all, it was a beautiful day. It felt good to re-charge at the farm, surrounded by nature, family and good food! I’ll be back with more blog updates soon- I’ve missed you all!
- 1 small butternut squash
- olive oil
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 bunch of leek, white and light green parts only, washed and trimmed
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 2 cartons of organic stock (or homemade), chicken or vegetable
- handful of Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 6 slices of Applewood smoked bacon or 4 oz, diced pancetta
- handful of fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped (the more the merrier)
- splash of pure maple syrup
- Preheat your oven to 425 F. Slice the squash lengthwise, keeping the seeds intact. Coat both halves with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and place cut side down on a lined baking sheet. Roast for about a ½ hour (or more) until perfectly tender.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter and olive oil in a large pot over medium low heat. Slice the leeks into ½ moon shapes and add to the pot. Add the onion. Saute until the veggies are soft but not colored.
- Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, 30 seconds.
- Deglaze the pan with the wine and cook until most of the moisture is evaporated. Add the rice and stir to coat.
- Scoop out some of the flesh from the butternut squash. I used half of one of the halves to start. Add to the risotto.
- Then, add a little bit of the stock. Stir gently until the rice fully absorbs the liquid. Then, add more stock. Repeat this process until the rice has fully swelled and is tender. You may, or may not need all of the stock. Season with salt and pepper.
- While the rice is cooking, add the bacon to a non-stick pan with 1 tsp of olive oil. Cook over low heat until golden. Towards the end of cooking add the sage. Pour in the maple syrup and cook for one minute. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
- To serve, add a handful of parmesan cheese to the risotto along with a small pat of butter. Portion into bowls and top with the maple-glazed bacon. Enjoy!