Cooking Up our Fall Favourites
Spice of Life
So, it seems like fall is officially here – whether we were ready for it or not. But, fear not, the arrival of cooler temperatures and earlier sunsets means we can start sharing some of our fall favourites!
This week’s Spice of Life, features 5 fall recipes with autumn & winter vegetables, a delicious salmon dish that’s sure to become a staple, an easy dessert for the whole family to enjoy, and a tasty warm cocktail full of fall flavours to help you wind down at the end of a busy week. So sit back and get ready to dive in!
From the Kitchen of Chef Eric: Butternut Squash & Prosciutto Quiche
by: Eric Marle, Executive Chef, Oak Room
As we embrace the fall season, a large variety of fruit and vegetables will be readily available to us from the annual harvests. Among them, the ever-popular squash. Winter squashes, such as butternut, acorn, hubbard, delicata, and pumpkin, are abundant from early fall through late spring. They have green, yellow, or orange skin and brightly coloured flesh in different shades of yellow and orange. Summer squashes include zucchini and yellow squash.
All types of squash are very nutritious and can be a healthy addition to your diet. Winter squash are typically high in fiber, vitamin A, and potassium, while summer squash are rich in B vitamins and vitamin C.
Most people think of squash as a vegetable because it is usually prepared like one. While some types of squash are mildly sweet, they’re not as sweet as a typical fruit. They are often seen as a savoury ingredient with an unmistakable earthy flavour and cooked alongside other vegetables, sometimes even offered as soup. The popular pumpkin squash is often used in desserts, such as pie and cake. Nowadays, you can find squash year-round in most grocery stores and farmers markets and they can be eaten in a multitude of ways. The entire squash plant is edible, including the flesh, skin, leaves, flowers, and seeds.
Here’s an interesting twist on a recipe using squash which can be made a day or so ahead of time and reheated at 300 degrees in your oven when you’re ready to serve. It’s a delicious recipe to help you welcome the start of fall!
Butternut Squash and Prosciutto Quiche
- 1 1/4 cups (310 ml) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt
- 1/3 cup (75 ml) cold butter, cubed
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) ice water
- 5 cups small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed small
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
- 1 French shallot, minced
- 8 medium eggs
- 1/2 cup prosciutto, diced small
- 2 green onions, chopped very thin
- 5 sage leaves, minced
- 1 cup (250 ml) 2% cottage cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Adjust the rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 400F.
- In a food processor,** combine the flour and salt. Add the butter and pulse for a few seconds at a time so the butter is the size of peas. Add the water and pulse again until the dough just begins to form. Remove the dough from the food processor and form into a disc with your hands.
- On a floured work surface, roll out the dough and line a 10-inch quiche dish. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- In a large ovenproof skillet, brown the squash in the oil for about 5 minutes. Add the shallots and stir to combine well. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bake for about 15 minutes or until the squash is tender.
- Spoon into the crust, add the prosciutto and spread evenly throughout.
- In a bowl, whisk the eggs and combine with sage and green onions. Stir in the cottage cheese, season with salt and pepper.
- Pour into the crust.
- Bake for approx. 40 minutes or until the quiche is golden brown.
- Serve with a green salad.
** The crust can also be made by hand if a food processor is not available
Louisiana Blackened Salmon
Blackened fish is a Louisiana staple. The technique involves seasoning the fish well, in this case salmon, and cooking it in a very hot pan with a decent amount of butter. The results are intensely flavoured salmon with a crust-like exterior that's dark, but not burnt, and tender flaky salmon that isn't dried out from being overcooked. The salmon will have a small kick to it, but isn't overpowering. If you’re looking to mellow out the heat, use a fresh squeeze of lime juice for a perfect bite.
- 4 salmon fillets, skin-on (about 6 ounces each)
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp cayenne (omit or decrease for a mild flavor)
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder (fresh pressed garlic)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Butter/olive oil substitute
- In a shallow bowl, mix together cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Pat seasoning mixture onto the flesh side of each piece of salmon.
- In a large skillet, heat about 1 tbsp of butter or olive oil over medium heat.
- Place salmon, flesh-side down, in the hot oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes, and then flip salmon with a spatula. Cook for about 2-3 more minutes, or until skin becomes crispy and fish flakes easily with a fork.
**As a side to your meal we love roasted potatoes, oven roasted carrots, baked asparagus, steamed spinach or broccoli, roasted green beans, roasted sweet potatoes, or any other side you love and is easy for you to prepare.
Butternut Squash Pasta
We hope you didn’t think we were done with the butternut squash recipes…it’s such a delicious ingredient, that we had to double up with our recipes starring this fall favourite!
Butternut squash can also be a great alternative to pasta. The winter squash roasts quickly and can go anywhere zucchini noodles can go. We love it tossed with just a little olive oil and parmesan, but marinara is another go-to for us! Serve them with your choice of protein for an easy and satisfying meal. These noodles are a wonderful way to welcome in the fall!
- 16 oz. butternut squash noodles
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- Freshly grated parmesan, for serving
You can either buy pre-made "noodles" or spiralize them yourself. If you’re going to spiralize them yourself, you definitely want to do so while your butternut squash is raw! You will need a spiral slicer for this task, or you can substitute with spaghetti squash, since cooked spaghetti squash can be shredded by a fork.
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Place noodles on a large baking sheet and toss with oil, salt, pepper, and pinch of red pepper flakes.
- Roast until tender and golden in spots, 10 minutes.
- Serve noodles warm with parmesan.
Two-Ingredient Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream
This easy banana ice cream is a great healthy dessert or snack. Kids and adults alike love this ice cream and it’s a great recipe for using up overripe bananas!
- 4 large very ripe bananas
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- Peel bananas and slice into 1/2 inch discs. Arrange banana slices in a single layer on a large plate or baking sheet. Freeze for 1-2 hours.
- Place the banana slices in a food processor or powerful blender. Puree banana slices, scraping down the bowl as needed. Puree until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Add the peanut butter and puree to combine. Serve immediately for soft-serve ice cream consistency. If you prefer harder ice cream, place in the freezer for a few hours and then serve.
Note: if you have a hard time creating a creamy consistency, you can add 1-2 tbsp of milk to help puree the banana slices. Make sure you use a powerful food processor or blender!
Grilled Peach Bourbon Cocktail
Life is complicated, but your after-dinner drink doesn’t need to be. And welcoming in fall doesn’t have to mean pumpkin spice everything! Mix up these delicious grilled peach bourbon cocktails to celebrate the end of another week!
- 2 peaches, halved
- 2 oz thyme simple syrup
- 2 oz bourbon
- Ginger ale
- Fresh peach slices and thyme for garnish
- Rub a tiny bit of butter on the cut side of the peaches and place that side on the grill grate.
- Grill 8 minutes, or until grill marks are prominent and peaches are slightly softened.
- Muddle peaches with bourbon and simple syrup.
- Pour mixture into cocktail shaker with ice. After a couple shakes, strain into highball glass.
- Top with ginger ale and garnish with fresh peach and thyme.
Questions? Have an ingredient you want us to feature in a future recipe? Email Ray.