After over a month of letting this here blog lie dormant, I’m back (again!) and hoping to update more frequently. The redesign isn’t really much to write home about, but I wanted a brighter, lighter look for Tuna Toast and this is what I came up with! So I hope you’ll come back around and check it out from time to time.
Cool weather is upon us, even here in usually-sunny Los Angeles. I’ve always loved cooler weather, and it’s nice to actually feel the seasons change for once! Watch, now that I’ve said that we’ll get some freaky heat wave next week which wouldn’t be too surprising, but I hope the grey clouds stick around because it’s more fun to spend long hours in the kitchen.
One of my favorite things to make this time of year is butternut squash. Sometimes I’ll just roast it and eat it with garlic, salt and pepper; other times I’ll toss it with farro and make a warm, fall salad. Last night was particularly chilly and it made me crave soup, so I decided to prepare a pureed butternut squash one that I’ve made in the past. It’s pretty simple and involves only a few steps.
To go with the soup I made another staple – stuffed mushrooms. I love making these because you can tweak them based on whatever you need to use up in your refrigerator or pantry; this time I had some leftover ground turkey so I made them meat-based, although they’re perfectly good vegetarian style as well.
I’ve included the recipes for both, and if you add some garlic-rubbed multigrain bread and a green salad, it’s a healthy and hearty supper, perfect for fall.
Pureed Butternut Squash Soup
1 small to medium butternut squash
3 cloves of garlic, peeled but left whole
1 TBS olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 ribs of celery, diced
4 to 5 sage leaves, chopped (you can use a teaspoon of dried if you don’t have fresh)
4-5 cups low salt chicken broth or veggie broth
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400. Peel the butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds. Chop the squash into 1 inch cubes and toss in a bowl with the garlic cloves, olive oil, salt and pepper. Lay onto a sheet pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until tender.
While the squash is roasting, heat a bit of olive oil in a pot and sauté the onions and celery with some salt and pepper until translucent; add the chopped sage and stir. Add the stock and bring to a simmer.
When the squash is ready, add it and the garlic cloves (which will be buttery soft at this point!) to the pot, bring to a simmer, turn off the heat. If you have a hand immersion blender, use it to puree until smooth; alternately carefully ladle the hot soup in batches into a blender and puree until smooth. Reheat and serve.
Turkey Stuffed Mushrooms
6-8 larger crimini or button mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ onion, minced
2 sage leaves, chopped (you can use ¼ teaspoon dried if you don’t have fresh)
½ teaspoon thyme
Splash of vermouth or sherry (optional)
¼ pound ground turkey
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375.
Pull the stems from the mushrooms, then use a spoon to scoop out some of the gills. Mince the gills and the stems, set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a small pan and add the garlic, onions, minced mushroom stems/gills, sage, thyme, salt and pepper and sauté until soft; add a splash of vermouth or sherry if using until it evaporates. Set mixture aside to cool a bit.
Spray both sides of the mushroom caps with cooking spray or drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and season both sides with salt and pepper. This is very important since mushrooms tend to be pretty bland and they need the seasoning!
In a small bowl, combine the ground turkey with the cooled mushroom stem mixture, then take a small spoon and scoop it into each mushroom caps, rounding the tops out.
Place the filled mushrooms on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; bake 15-20 minutes depending on the size of your mushrooms.
Note: If you want to make these vegetarian, increase the amount of onion to 1/2 of one, then add 1/4 cup bread crumbs and a tablespoon or so of egg (add more if you need more moisture) to the onion/mushroom stem mixture and fill the caps with this.