Recipes & How-to's

Spaghetti Squash.

In the midst of the holiday season, as we are inundated with yummy treats, parties, and excessive everything consumption, it’s time to take a stand.  Carbs are officially the enemy.

 

I’m trying to keep the holiday pudge at bay by eating clean during the week so I can let loose (and loosen up my belt) on the weekends.  That means lots of low calorie, low carb weekday dinners.  Like last night’s Spaghetti Squash.

spaghetti squash with tomato and olive tapenade

spaghetti squash with tomato and olive tapenade

Do you eat spaghetti squash, too?  This little magical guy is only 40 calories per cup and when cooked, the flesh falls away from the fruit in strands like spaghetti.  It is a perfect replacement for evil, pound-packing pasta.  Never tried it?  Here’s how to cook spaghetti squash:

 

Heatherland Spaghetti with Artichoke, Tomato, and Olive Tapenade

Preheat oven to 400.

  • 1/2 spaghetti squash, seeds removed
  • olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/4 cup artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers, minced

Prepare squash by cutting it down the center (CAREFULLY), scooping out the seeds. Rub olive oil and a little sprinkle of sea salt on flesh, and place it cut side down on a baking sheet.  Roast for 30-40 minutes until the side can be poked easily with a fork.

 

Meanwhile on the stove, heat a tbsp of oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add shallots, stirring, until beginning to color, about 2 minutes.  Add tomatoes and artichoke hearts, gently stir a few times until softened.  Then add olives and capers, cooking for about 30 seconds more.

 

When the squash is done, remove it from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes, then scrape the insides out with a fork onto a plate and spoon the tapenade over it.  Freely season with sea salt, fresh basil leaves, or any dried spices that float your boat!

 

Additional Tip:  If you are short on time (or patience) you can make the squash in the microwave.  Put 1/2 squash cut side down in a glass dish.  Fill dish 1/2 way up with water.  Microwave on high for about 10 minutes. Carefully remove it and let squash cool before handling.  

 

Thanksgiving Menu.

This year will be the first annual Heatherland Thanksgiving.

photo bucket

photo bucket

 In preparation for it, I have scoured the internet and complied a collection of recipes that will inspire my menu:

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

Apple Cider Brined Turkey

Pancetta and Sage Stuffing Muffins

Cranberry Sauce

Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Wild Mushrooms 

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes 

Biscuits with Whipped Honey Butter

Gingered Pumpkin Creme Brulee

Between mimosas in the morning, some baked brie and apples for lunch, and all this for dinner, I would say I need big, big, workouts in the days that follow.

Unless I want to surrender to stretch pants through December… Not hot.

Salted Caramel Sauce For All.

When the seasons change from Summer to Fall, there is one thing that tastes like that change:  Salted Caramel Sauce.  Rich, warm, velvety sweetness dripping over baked apples, or cheesecakes.  Yum.

 

The only thing better than buying a jar of this stuff from your favorite sweets shop is to make your own.  Let’s burn some sugar!  Here’s the best sea salted caramel recipe:

salted_caramel_spoon

Heatherland Salted Caramel Sauce

 

This recipe moves quickly, so gather up everything you need and keep it on a tray near the stove before you begin.

  • 1cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4cup water
  • 1/2cup heavy cream
  • 6 Tbsp salted butter- cut into pieces
  • 1 pinch fleur de sel
  • Candy Thermometer
  • Whisk
  • Get a heavy-bottomed pan set up over medium-high heat. Pour in water and sugar, stirring just enough to get the sugar to dissolve.
  • Set up the candy thermometer (mine clips to the pan) and let the sugar boil to 320-330 degrees.
  • Immediately add the butter to the boiling sugar and whisk until melted (it will bubble and foam so be careful).
  • Remove from heat and whisk in cream (it will bubble again), then whisk in a generous pinch of fleur de sel.
  • Let the caramel rest for five minutes before pouring it into a glass jar. It will last up to two weeks in the fridge.

Quick Tip: Sometimes a burner will get hotter in one spot than others, pay attention to your boiling sugar, if you notice a hot spot that is browning quicker than the rest, carefully turn your sauce pan so that one spot won’t burn.

 

This is a quick recipe to throw together in a pinch. I made a Pumpkin Cheesecake this past weekend and I could actually feel the light bulb go on over my head: “It needs salted caramel sauce!” 20 minutes later it was done.

 

And it was great.

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