Wednesday, January 12, 2011

technology fails me; butternut squash gratin does not

Are you familiar with the term Luddite?  Apparently, it originated with some angry British folks around the time of the industrial revolution who were bent-out-of-shape about certain technological advancements that allowed unskilled laborers to do work that had previously required people with specific expertise.  Today the word is used to describe anyone who has a burr up their butt about the technology of the day.  You won't see a Luddite anywhere near an Apple store on the release date of a new i-(insert name of device here) or scoping the newest smartphone apps online.  You may, however, see one attempting to figure out how to text message on their flip phone from 1999.

I tend to be one of those people. 

One device that I do find life difficult to live without, though, is my computer.  Obviously I have a decent relationship with that one gadget, or these words would not be finding their way to your eyes at this moment.  For 5 years now, Mad Sweeney (yes, I named my PC after a fictional, alcoholic leprechaun) has been my keeper of secrets, my jukebox, my photo album, and my gateway to the universe of the interweb.  This last one nearly brought on his demise.

On Thanksgiving Day, while I was wrestling a turkey and preparing for a dozen house guests, Mad Sweeney came under attack.  One click on a Google link for a turkey recipe let all sorts of demons into the mix.  Poor MS didn't know what hit him (OK, is this getting too weird, referring to my computer by name?  I'm even getting a little creeped out here...). 

To make an epic story slightly less over-dramatic, my laptop has not been functioning up to par since that day.

Right now I'm in the middle of a complete re-install of my operating system.  All of my data is lingering on a random hard drive (hmm... Do I detect a euphemism?), and blogging in the usual fashion is on hold for the time being.  No sitting by the window, gazing out at the mountains while my keyboard goes clickety-clack.  Just the fluorescent bulbs of the office buzzing above and the interruptions and intrusions of my job duties.

On a brighter note, I made my butternut squash gratin for dinner the other night.  It's a recipe that I've been tweaking since the first appearance of winter squash a few months back.  It's finally ready to share.  

Unfortunately, I don't have a visual for you at this point in time.  Photo editing is also delayed.  I will assure you, though, that this dish looks good and tastes even better.

Butternut Squash Gratin
serves 6

1 T. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 T. + 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped, divided
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 C. quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 C. vegetable broth
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 3/4" chunks
1 C. (approximately) cooked cannellini or other white beans
1/2 C. + 2 T. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 small bunch kale, tough center stalk removed, coarsely chopped
salt, to taste
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 slice bread (gluten-free or not), made into breadcrumbs in food processor

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium.  Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to caramelize, about 6 minutes.  Add 1T. of the fresh rosemary, the cayenne pepper, and the garlic and continue to saute, stirring frequently another couple of minutes.
  • Add the quinoa and broth, bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the quinoa begins to plump up, about 5 minutes.  Add the squash and beans, stir and simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir 1/2 C. of Parmesan into the skillet until well incorporated.  Add the kale, carefully stirring it in, then cover the skillet and allow to cook until the kale begins to wilt, just a couple of minutes.  At this point, taste the mixture and adjust the salt and pepper level to your liking.  Add the egg and stir well to combine.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the fresh bread crumbs, 1 tsp. fresh rosemary and 2 T. grated Parmesan.  If your skillet is oven-safe, you can bake the gratin in it, or you can dump the gratin into a baking dish.  When your gratin is in your baking vessel of choice, sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the top, and put the whole thing into the preheated oven.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are a deep, golden brown (not burnt).  Scoop onto plates and serve.
We've been loving this meal, and I hope you will, also.  I'll try to have a delicious photo for you before winter squash season is over.  Prayers for Mad Sweeney are graciously accepted.

1 comment:

  1. Oh no, poor Mad Sweeney I hope he recovers fully. But the gratin sounds lovely, it's too bad you can't feed it to MS to nurse him back to health.
    Your blog is really great, I am glad I found it. You asked about subbing sucanat into my thai coconut bread pudding. My rule of thumb is to use 1/4 cup erythritol (a sugar alcohol) and some stevia to equal the sweetness of about 1 cup of sugar. So I'd say 1 cup of sucanat would be your best bet, but taste the custard a bit and see if you want it sweeter.


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