Thursday, September 25, 2014

downtown week: butternut squash with lemon truffle yogurt sauce

Still living life in limbo.  Should be on my way to Sydney, but instead back in Carmel waiting fairly impatiently for our pretty family home to sell.  Trying optimism this week (tried it last week and we had a good weekend of legitimate potential buyers).  So that's all I'm going to say about the move.

To get out of my head, I went to church.  I think I forget that I no longer work Sundays (or any other day for that matter).  The good thing about church, it's always ready for you to remember how much better your week starts when you spend an hour being mindful of all of your blessings.  After the service I got to give my favorite minister a big hug and she got to tell me how much they needed help at two Habitat for Humanity houses they are building.  Perfect.  So I got up early Friday and Saturday and got nice and covered in dirt, sawdust, caulk, paint and sweat for two full days.  I love hard work with tangible results.  And I love the work of Habitat.  We are building for a very sweet Sudanese refugee and his family and a cute old single man (who works night shifts so you really have to keep an eye on him on the precarious jobsite).  I'm going back downtown for three more days later this week.  Can't wait.

Since it was downtown week for me it was only suitable that after my t-shirt and jeans dirt fests on Friday and Saturday that I showed up in head to toe all white for a fancy pitch-in dinner party outdoors on the circle in the shadows of the Soldiers and Sailors monument Sunday night.  The symphony quintet played.  The white table cloths and white balloons floated a bit in the cool breeze and it was all quite lovely.  My dear friend Amanda whose actual job is to know everything happening in downtown Indy invited me and our little group grew to ten eclectic people all in white and all bearing really delicious food.  I baked a pretty apple crostata or galette if that's what you like to call a free form rustic pie baked without a pie plate.  And I roasted two big butternut squash to toss with lemon truffle vinaigrette, Greek yogurt and chives.  One of my absolute favorite dishes.  One I couldn't believe I had yet to post.  So this brings me to actually sitting down and writing for the first time in forever.  All my new downtown friends heard all about my blog and they'll be looking for this and so I best get on it and write it up.  Since I swore it was already posted, I'm short pictures.  I'll add some in shortly because I have one more butternut squash and it really wants to be this dish.

You can buy the very user-friendly cubed butternut squash at Costco or Trader Joe's, the little tiny cubed frozen butternut squash from Whole Foods works too (but it's pretty smushy when roasted) or you can buy a whole butternut squash and cut it up yourself.  Buy a butternut squash that's mostly a nice thick long neck because that's where the peel and cube flesh is (the bulb shaped base of the squash is mostly seeds).  Cut off the bulb with a very sturdy sharp knife so you can stand up the neck and then use that knife to cut off the hard rind in vertical strips.  It's not that hard, but be careful.  I'm not going to drop a smiley face and tell you it's super easy.  It takes a sturdy knife and some muscle. Lay it down and cut it in half vertically.  Then slice it horizontally and cut each slice into cubes.  

This is an adaptation of a recipe from one of my favorite restaurants and cookbooks, Lemonade.   White truffle oil is a luxury.  Some of us are super lucky and we have very special friends who hand deliver bottles of white truffle oil from Italy.  If you aren't quite as lucky, consider a small bottle. It's so silky and a little adds so much to just about anything.  My stash is getting repackaged in a nalgene bottle and pretending to be hair oil so I can smuggle it into Australia.  Shhh.  Don't tell. 

Butternut Squash with Lemon Truffle Yogurt Sauce

1 butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cubed or 3 cups pre-cut cubes
3 T olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1 tsp white truffle oil
1/2 C lemon truffle vinaigrette (see below)
1/2 C plain Greek yogurt (2% works nicely)
1/4 C freshly chopped chives

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Toss the cut squash with the olive oil, 1 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper.  Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.  Roast until golden and tender, 20-25 minutes stirring once or twice.  Transfer the roasted squash to a big bowl and allow to cool.  

Stir together the vinaigrette, yogurt and chives and pour over cooled squash.  Toss to coat and serve at room temperature or chilled.  

Lemon Truffle Vinaigrette

2 lemons, juiced
3/4 C canola oil
2 T olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

In a small bowl, measuring cup or jar, whisk together to blend and emulsify.  Leftover vinaigrette can be covered and kept in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Here's a selfie from Yelp's Blanc Affaire




***I'll get you some squash pictures ASAP



  

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