Squashlets, Kale, and Chèvre

I’m slightly behind in bloggingness. AGAIN.

But that’s okay, because I have some pretty freaking amazing stuff to share! Like…

SUPER SQUASH STRIKES AGAIN! Remember all that silly business with the epic mega tons of squash I ate last winter? Welllll, yeah. It’s back. Complete with kale, it’s trusty sidekick. Oh. And goat cheese. Because… REALLY?! You expect me to give you a savory dish without goat cheese??

Psshhh.

Let’s be real. Cheese is where it’s at.

I could probably eat goat cheese all day until the cows came home, and then I would look at the cows and say: “COWS! Why are you here?! I need GOATS for goat cheese, obviously” and then go back to eating my goat cheese. Forever.

This dish is easy and comes together quickly—the only longish part is all the prep work of wrestling the squash and chopping the kale (both of which can be done ahead of time to save on dinner prep when you’re starving). Squash and chèvre complement each other beautifully, and are perfect with kale. Besides all that, you get antioxidants galore from the squash and kale, as well as a ton of other health benefits. AND goat cheese is good for your soul, obviously.

Butternut Squash and Kale Skillet with Goat Cheese

Serves 3, with enough leftovers for 2 dinners and one small lunch. Recipe adapted from Fitness Magazine.

Do yourself a favor and be liberal with the goat cheese, you’ll thank me later!

  • one enormous butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1/2″ cubes
  • a good glug of olive oil
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 4.5 c kale, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 tsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice (From the lemon you just zested… you see what I did there?)
  • 1/2 c low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 c dried apples, chopped and soaked in water for a few minutes to soften
  • chicken sausage, casing removed (optional: mine was smoked apple chardonnay)
  • small log of goat cheese, crumbled

In a LARGE (no, really. LARGE) skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add squash, onion, and garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, until squash is lightly browned and tender: about 7 minutes. Add kale, lemon zest and juice,  and salt/pepper to taste. If using sausage, add now. Cook until kale is wilted and squash is fork tender, about 5-7 minutes more. Add in chicken broth and and apples, and simmer for a few minutes before serving, so everything is heated through. Serve immediately, and top with goat cheese! (liberally, of course)

awkward shadow…

I could easily have an affair with goat cheese.

goat cheese=food of the gods.

So yesterday, after doing MEGA brain pushups (thanks, thesis), I. Was. STARVING. Because researching and finding sources takes a lot of brain power, despite being assisted by the wonderful goddess of research, our research librarian Doreen (LOVE  HER!). But. All this came to fruition, and I now have a much beefier works cited. Hooray! Moving right along…

Besides, it had been a long day, due to a computer virus (who invents these, anyway?!) that derailed my initial thesis plans… and it was Wednesday… and this week needs to be OVER! But thankfully it almost is because tomorrow is FRIDAY, wheee! Anyway. Suffice it say that I was so in need of some delicious dinner with my roomie.

Which is why this happened.

YUM.

And I am SO GLAD it did.

I mean, really. How can you go wrong with goat cheese?! Answer: you can’t. Like I’ve said before, if I could marry a food, goat cheese would totally be it. But I can’t say I would be entirely faithful in that relationship… I do have an ongoing (and very committed fling) with peanut butter. And chia seeds. See? Picking one would be waaay too hard. There would have to be significant bribery involved, if I was to stay with just one food.

But this. This is a match made in gastronomical heaven: goat cheese and sweet potato! Just trust me: it’s aaaa-mazing. And on pizza?! Send me! Besides, I was even able to sneak some chia seeds into my pizza crust, which meant that three of my favorite foods were all being pally together. Gastrowin! Besides, like I said, I was bloody starving, which meant that something along the lines of a sock would have tasted good, had I cared to try it (I didn’t. For the record).  But this pizza… mmmm. So good. So good that Kira and I had no trouble polishing off the entire thing in one sitting. Because we’re awesome like that. Like bosses!

mmm, beta carotene, antioxidants, and goat cheeseee

Sweet Potato, Goat Cheese and Kale Pizza (With or without sausage)

Makes 1 pizza! Served 2 massively hungry girlies in their 20s. Adapted from here.

The dough Kira and I used is the same as the last time I posted pizza on here. I had kind of a failed rise, since our apartment was probably a bit chilly for the yeasties… next time, I’ll let it rise in a warm oven. But I liked the way this one turned out, very much like a flat bread pizza.

For the dough:

The same recipe as before, here! Except this time, I added about a tablespoon and a half of chia seeds. Excellent choice, I will definitely be doing this again.

For the pizza!

  • 1 monster-sized sweet potato
  • 3 tbsp soymilk (or regular)
  • 1 tbsp dried sage (fresh if you have it! I didn’t)
  • 1 c chopped kale
  • 1/2 a large onion
  • 1 chicken sausage, browned and cut up*
  • one small log of goat cheese (5 oz), to your cheese-y preference.
  • olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
  • one pizza crust (no… really?!)

*Vegetarian without the sausage! It would be good either way.

waiting to be eaten

Preheat the oven to 400. While the oven is heating, roll out the pizza dough super thin, and place it on the cornmeal dusted baking sheet (or whatever you’re using). Brush a light bit of olive oil over the crust.

Cook the sweet potato. I like to do mine for 4-5 minutes, depending on size, in the microwave. Roasting is fine too. When cool, scoop the lovely orange insides into a small bowl. Mash! Add in soymilk and sage, and a bit of salt. Keep mashing, until smoothyish and combined. Spread this evenly all over the pizza crust, and then lick the bowl clean. You know you want to…I might have…

In a saute pan over medium, heat olive oil. When oil is hot, toss in onions, and saute until they begin to caramelize. Mine was about 15 minutes. When the onions are mostly done, dump in kale, and saute until soft and wilted.Brown a sausage, or two, in a small skillet. Chop. Add to kale/onion pan.

Spread onions/kale/sausage, and goat cheese over the sweet potato goodness. We used probably about 4 ounces of cheese, somewhere close to 3/4 of the log. Up to you, depending on your cheese preferences! We like cheese, and this was perfect. Insert pizza into oven, and bake for about 12 minutes, until kale is looking crisp and the crust is nicely browned on the edges. Devour, preferably while hot. Which means you should just eat the whole thing, clearly… what good is such a small piece for leftovers?!

Operation Release the Tart!

Finals?

What finals?

I’ve come to the conclusion (through careful analysis and methodological research) that I spend far more time baking, cooking, and planing what I’m going to bake and cook than I do actually studying. Oops. Whatever, I did well on my finals, so there! Besides, at least I know where my priorities are… food. And prohibitively (or not…apparently this isn’t stopping me) expensive active wear. As a close friend pointed out, I have been known to drop semi-ridiculous amounts on a pair of yoga pants, but there is no way on this earth that I would ever spend that same amount on a pair of jeans. Ha. Like I said, I have my priorities.

Anyway. To illustrate this ridiculousness (no, not the yoga pants…anyone who sees me on a regular basis is fully aware that they comprise a good 75% of my wardrobe), I’ll give you the example of *the * tart. I’ve been eyeing my tart pan with a removable bottom (a genius invention, might I add) for about three months. And thinking about it, likely when I should have been paying attention to some theory or other. Thusly: Kira and I stumbled upon a tart in my La Boulange cookbook, that combined several of our favorite ingredients, and which looked like it could fly us to gastronomical heaven in about one bite.

gorgey dough

So. On Sunday, when we went grocery shopping, we bought the necessaries… goat cheese… creme fraiche… mushrooms… and BUTTER. (and hilariously ran into my painting professor, who then subsequently remembered that I bought creme fraiche, and asked  me if I was eating my way through the store. Duh. What on earth would I be doing instead?!) I have spent ALL WEEK up until today greedily awaiting the tart to be, to the point of pretending it was Thursday (aka Tart-Day), so I could make it earlier. But… I waited! Aren’t you proud? I satisfied myself with making the dough yesterday, so I could pretend to do something useful and productive besides studying. I did this after going to happy hour at the Wild Pear for a Peartini… And then I made dinner. And then I was tired, so I went to bed. Hmm. Being a senior is mildly exhausting. Teehee.

ANYWAYYY. I digress. Today was THURSDAY! TART DAY! The day I’ve been waiting for alllllll week, since my finals/semester is donezies (wheee!), and I got to make and eat this fab tart. And it was fab, believe me… Kira can attest, since after we ate it, we had to do some serious lying on the floor working on digesting. It was that good. I mean, I know it sounds a little sketchy, but just trust me. Such a gastronomical tasty win. Even better: We have TWO tupperwares of leftovers. Hellooooo, cold tart. Mmmm, you are going to be so delicious when I eat you. For every meal. Until you’re gone. At which point I will be terribly sad but probably also day-dreaming about the next gastronomical adventure. I’m just fickle like that.

creme fraiche is a beautiful thing

Tarte aux Champignons et Fromage de Chevre

From The American Boulangerie Cookbook. Makes… one tart, in an 11″ tart pan (or you could make smaller ones).

I found it easier to make the dough the night before, and then roll it out and put in the pan, so that it was ready to fill the night we wanted to eat it. Makes the dinner a little simpler.

Pate Brisee

  • 2.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 5 oz (10 tbsp) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4″ chunks (I happened to use sweet cream butter and it was still amazing—it was what we had around)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 c cold water
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

In the bowl of a standmixer (hello Kitchenaide I LOVE YOU!) fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour and salt. Add cold butter and mix on low speed, until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs (1-1.5 minutes). Add egg, cold water, and lemon juice, and mix until large lumps form. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead with the heel of your hand until the dough holds together. Shape it into a disc, and wrap it in plastic wrap (I stuck in a plastic bag). Refrigerate for at least and hour or overnight. I did mine for an hour and then rolled it out.

On  lightly floured work surface, roll out chilled dough (this is probably sacrilegious to the baking gods, but I zapped mine in the microwave next to a bowl of water for 15 seconds, to get it a little less dry to roll out. It seemed to work, and didn’t compromise the flakiness of the dough later). Try to roll it out to about 1/8″ thickness, and carefully transfer to the tart pan. Remove excess, and prick the bottom with a fork. Cover with foil or plastic, and refrigerate for an hour or overnight (mine was overnight).

The TART!

  • 1 pound mushrooms (we used half cremini and half white button)
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 c creme fraiche
  • 8 oz log of goat cheese, cut crosswise into 1/4″ rounds (ish, mine were inexact) (we also used a honey chevre, which was aaaaa-mazing)
  • 1 chilled, unbaked tart shell

Slice the mushrooms, reserving the 12 prettiest slices for a garnish. In a large saute pan, melt butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute mushrooms until they render their juices, and then until most of the juice is absorbed. Ours had a bit too much juice, so we drained them prior to use. Season with salt and pepper and let cool.

Preheat the oven to 425. Spread 1/2 c of creme fraiche into the bottom of the chilled tart shell. Top it with sauteed mushrooms, and then with the goat cheese rounds. Garnish with the reserved mushroom slices, and then dollop (what a great word) the tart with the remaining 1/4 c of creme fraiche. Bake immediately until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling, 25-30 minutes (ours was more like 30). Let cool in the pan, on a wire rack (do not attempt to release the tart while it’s still hot… it’s a bit difficult, and may require 2 people…) (whatever. we were hungry). Serve with salad and bread, mmmmm.

I am DEFINITELY making this again. As soon as I get my hands on more goat cheese.

it kind of looks like pizza. believe me, it's not.