Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Autumnal Dinners

What's with the title?  Who uses a word like this?  The first time I heard it was when a simple fall wreath on Martha Stewart's front door became her "festive autumnal entry".  After a momentary are-you-kidding eye roll, I rather swiftly chose to embrace its nerderrific awesomeness and have since made efforts to employ this adjective as often of possible during this season.  After about a half dozen uses this past weekend in Colorado (I mean, the foliage was could I not?), my sister finally looked at me and said, "what is it that you are saying?".  Okay, so maybe not everyone appreciates Marthisms as I do. 

On to the food.

Butternut Squash Flatbread with Cheddar and Pine Nuts (Click here for recipe)

With the start of cool, crisp evenings upon us, I couldn't resist this cozy sounding recipe.  You may know that we are fairly flat bread obsessed and always seeking more flavor combinations.  This one is darn tasty, and the kids loved it too.  The rich butternut squash plays beautifully off of the sharp cheddar, toasted pine nuts, and fresh and peppery arugula.  Yum. 

In lieu of baking in the oven as the recipe suggests, we grilled them.  Shocker.  This required us to pre-roast the butternut squash (400 degrees for 15ish minutes), and I did this the day before.  While it may seem like another cumbersome step, it was actually ideal since it cut down same-day prep time.  My other changes included swapping the sliced red onion for caramelized onions (also done in advance) because I am just in love with them, and also adding a layer of fresh mozzarella on one of them as a taste test.  Need I say that this version won?! 

I so recommend this recipe!  If you're limited on time, try a pre-made pizza crust, flat bread or even a pita!  It's the fresh stuff on top that shines anyway.

Salmon with Apples and Fennel  (Click here for recipe)

We celebrated Ryan's birthday with this feast.  For once, I convinced him not to grill, and I actually cooked this on the stove.  Taking less than 30 minutes to prepare, this is dish is totally weeknight friendly.  More importantly, we really, really enjoyed it.  The crispy breadcrumb coating on the salmon was a happy surprise and added a perfect texture compliment to the smooth, sweet apples and fennel.  The best part was that despite our mountainous heaping slightly generous portions (ugh, need to work on this), it was light enough to afford room for what Ryan surely considered the actual star of the meal: his triple layer carrot cake.  If you're interested in that recipe - which totally rocks - click to last year's post!


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