A few more days for your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to create your sexiest drink, alcoholic or non alcoholic.
The prize is the marvelous cookbook Quickies: Morning, Noon, and Night by the lovely Denise Fletcher.
Thank you for your much appreciated input regarding the Guest Post Spotlight Thursday. I was merely conducting a survey, my intention was never to stop it. I am thrilled that most of you enjoy this series as much as I do. Luckily, we are booked solid into March 2011 with many many more talented foodies.
This week I am happy to welcome Chef Dennis from More Than A Mount Full. Dennis is the Chef / Director of Dining Services at Mount Saint Joseph Academy in Flourtown, Pa. He is a passionate advocate for healthy cuisine and proper nutritional education at his school. When he is not working at the Mount, he is running his wildly popular blog, that was recently featured on CBSNews.com. Chef Dennis is a very nice person and one of the most generous bloggers around.
If you have yet to check out More Than A Mount Full, please do so. He makes some fantastic dishes there. I must warn you though, dude has a serious, and a bit alarming, zucchini blossom addiction. Fortunately it inspires him to make some creative courses with that ingredient.
Guest Post Spotlight Thursday
I would like to say hello to all of LC readers, if you don’t know me I am Chef Dennis from More Than A Mount Full. I work at Mount Saint Joseph Academy in Flourtown, Pa, where I have the privilege of feeding 560 High School girls everyday.
To say that I am a fan of LC, would be an understatement, I have enjoyed watching Lazaro create incredible new dishes and reconstruct classics. His commitment to organic and sustainable foods is truly inspiring, and has me thinking when ever I do make food purchases. When Lazaro asked me to do a guest post for LC, I was deeply honored! I would also like to thank Lazaro for being such a good friend and always leaving such positive comments for me, he has helped me more than he will ever know.
In the spirit of LC, today I would like to share with you a new creation of mine. I like to start off my Saturdays at out local farmers market in Collingswood. We are so fortunate to have such a great selection of local and organic produce, as well as organic eggs and meats. While strolling through the market last Saturday looking for something special to make for this post, I chose some items that I don’t use very often, let’s say I was inspired. I have to admit that all of my selections were not organic, but they were all from local farms in South Jersey.
For today’s creation I chose a medley of fall squash, Butternut, Acorn, and Heirloom Patty Pan. When I purchased them I knew right away they would be perfect for a Crostata. Those delicate wonderful flavors intermingled with flaky dough. My stomach was grumbling at the thought of such a wonderful treat!
As I was preparing the dough, I decided to change it up a bit, after all I wanted this to be extra special….so I used a combination of white and wheat flours, as well as some ground pistachio’s. I wanted to add a little sweetness to this dish without adding to much sugar. As I looked through my pantry I spied some white raisins, and dried cranberries…Perfect! I also thought a few pistachios would add a little more depth of flavor. But it still seemed to be missing something, I needed another flavor, something to add just a little more zip to this dish…..hmmm…..caramelized onions….and what a great addition that was. I wasn’t completely sure how it would be received, I mean it was a savory Crostata, not really sweet and it wasn’t fruit…..sigh….I did get a little nervous.
This Crostata was making an appearance at our neighbors BBQ, well it didn’t take long for it to get passed around and completely devoured….I think everyone was a surprised as I was at just how good it was, and that’s when I knew it was good enough to share with all the LC readers. I hope you all enjoy it as much as we did, and thank you all for stopping by to say hello!
1 cup All Purpose Flour
½ cup Whole Wheat Flour
½ cup Ground Pistachio’s
1 1/2 teaspoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/c cup cold Unsalted Butter (1 Stick) cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 Large Egg Yolks
1/4 cup Ice Water
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
I made my dough in a food processor, but feel free to do it the old fashioned way.
Add your flours, sugar, ground pistachio’s and salt in the food processor and pulse 3 times to mix.
Scatter the butter over the flour mix and pulse 7 or 8 times to cut in the butter.
Add Egg yolks one at a time and pulse 2 -3 times to incorporate.
Fluff mixture with fork and then add your ice water and balsamic vinegar and pulse 5 or 6 times or until the dough begins to form clumps, do not let the dough form a ball on the blade!
It should look like coarse crumbs, dump mix into a large bowl, form into ball, then flatten into a disc, wrap with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 1/ 2 hour. While your dough is setting prepare the Squash.
Fall Squash Crostata
1 half butternut squash, peeled seeded and sliced
1 Acorn squash, peeled seeded and sliced
1 Large Patty Pan Squash, peeled, seeded and sliced
1 small sweet onion diced
½ cup salted pistachios
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup dried cranberries
½ cup demara sugar or light brown sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoons cinnamon (more if you like cinnamon)
1 stick sweet Butter
In a large skillet, melt your butter and add the diced onions, allow to sauté for 2-3 minutes.
Add in all of the prepared squash and allow to sit and caramelize, you will see the butternut squash get some good color from the heat. Add in the remainder of the ingredients and mix together.
Allow this mixture to continue cooking for about 3-5 more minutes.
Remove the squash mixture from the heat, and place on a cookie sheet to cool.
Allow mixture to cool to the touch, before placing on the pie crust.
While the mixture is cooling, take out your prepared crust, to allow to warm up slightly.
Flour your working surface, and roll out your crust to about a 16 inch diameter.
Place the cooled squash mixture in the center of the dough, heaped in the middle, leave about 2-3 inches of dough exposed, without any mixture on it. Begin to make folds with the exposed dough, partially covering the squash mixture. Make 5 or 6 folds, it should look rustic, not perfect!
Brush the dough with a milk wash if you like, and then bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the dough is fully cooked.
Allow to cool for about 30 minutes and serve warm, or room temperature.
This is such a great way to showcase the wonderful flavors of Autumn, the often overlooked varieties of squash are such a wonderful treat, and truly shine in this wonderful Crostata. I hope you all have a chance to try it, you won’t be disappointed!
All the Best!
For more fantastic posts, check out Chef Dennis at More Than A Mount Full.