Saturday, October 18, 2014

Maple-Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

We’re all moved into our temporary home, and I’m slowly but surely getting acquainted with the kitchen. I’m not at all happy about the small, shallow sink that makes it difficult to wash large pots and pans. And, I’m still trying to figure out the best way to use the limited amount of countertop space. Despite these little inconveniences and my ongoing complaints, I have managed to do some cooking since we’ve been here. I’ve just been tentative about taking on baking projects that require space for working with dough. But, now I realize I was being ridiculous. I just read a review copy that I received of The Bread Exchange by Malin Elmlid who has baked all sorts of sourdough breads in different situations all over the world. She travels with her sourdough starter or creates a new one when she arrives at her destination. She asks to borrow ovens and seeks out the best flour she can find wherever she happens to be and makes it all work. And, beyond making bread in all the places she’s traveled, she’s also brought about a fascinating project involving trades of bread for gifts from other people. The trades aren’t about any kind of monetary exchange. Rather, her handmade bread that she’s watched over for hours and baked to perfection is traded for new experiences to learn from or things handmade by other people. The book is about bread and how she makes her sourdough loaves, but it’s also about her travels and experiences all over the world. Beyond the initial instructions for creating a sourdough starter and a handful of bread recipes, you’ll find stories and recipes from different occasions and locations. I do want to try the Rosemary Bread with Goji Berries. Elmlid received a goji berry tree as a trade in Germany. I didn’t know goji berries grow well in Germany, and now I wonder if I could grow a tree here. The stories meander from Egypt to Sweden to Bavaria, Poland, the US, and Afghanistan among other locales. The recipes include things like Fig Confit from an event in Berlin, Blood Orange Curd with Rosemary from a stay at a farmhouse in Bavaria, a Midsommar Cake with a Rhubarb Compote inspired by the Midsummer celebration in Sweden, Afghan Leek Dumplings, and Belgian Waffles. Since I still wasn’t ready to bake while I was reading this, I opted to start by trying the recipe for Maple-Roasted Squash Salad which was part of a menu from a roof-top party in Brooklyn. 

In the book, the recipe is made with pumpkin. I knew I’d never be able to peel a pumpkin easily, so I opted to use a butternut squash instead. The squash was peeled and diced, tossed with maple syrup and sprinkled with ground coriander, and then baked until tender. The next element of the salad was the yogurt sauce. Plain yogurt was mixed with minced garlic, and some red wine vinegar was to be added. I had just received some beautiful bottles of oils and vinegars from O Olive Oil and couldn’t wait to try the fig balsamic. I used that in the yogurt sauce instead of red wine vinegar. The salad was built by layering the roasted squash pieces with some yogurt sauce and topping it with sprouts. I garnished with chopped walnuts for some crunch. 

This salad was a light and lovely intro to fall. The roasted squash was completely of the season, but the yogurt and sprouts brightened and freshened it up a bit. The fig balsamic could quickly become my new best friend in the kitchen. It would be a perfect condiment drizzled over any roasted squash all by itself. And, now I think I’m ready to put my sourdough starter back to work. I know I can find the space to knead and shape some loaves no matter how cramped this temporary kitchen seems. 

Maple-Roasted Pumpkin Salad 
Recipe reprinted with publisher’s permission from The Bread Exchange
Contributed by Renee Baumann, SERVES 6 

I traded a loaf of sourdough bread, baked in the NoMad kitchen, for this recipe. I asked Renee to help me create a vegetable dish to pair with a burger but that would steer clear of the more typical burger accompaniments. I wanted a veggie dish that would stand on its own, complement the flavor of the burger, and showcase the agricultural bounty of New York. Browsing through the seasonal produce at the Union Square Market, the idea came to her: kadu bouranee, an Afghan dish that she had recently fallen in love with. Traditionally, the sweet roasted pumpkin is served with hot lamb or beef and a cold garlicky yogurt sauce. She borrowed the flavor combination and then took some liberties, choosing simple culinary treatments, with just enough seasoning to highlight the ingredients. 

1 1/4 lb/570 g pumpkin, peeled and cut into cubes 
1/4 cup/60 ml maple syrup 
1/4 tsp ground coriander 
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper 

2 medium garlic cloves 
2 cups/480 ml tangy plain sheep- or goat-milk yogurt 
Sea salt 
1 tbsp red wine vinegar, plus more as needed (optional) 
Sunflower shoots for garnishing 
Toasted hazelnut or walnut oil for tossing 
Purple carrots, thinly sliced, for garnishing 

To make the pumpkin: Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C. Place the pumpkin cubes in a baking pan, drizzle with the maple syrup, and sprinkle with the coriander. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 12 to 17 minutes, or until al dente. 

To make the sauce: Cut the garlic cloves in half lengthwise. Remove any green shoots in the center. Finely mince the garlic. Stir the garlic into the yogurt in a medium bowl and let the flavors meld for 10 minutes. Season with salt and the vinegar, taste, and add more as desired. If you are using a tangy yogurt, you may not need any vinegar. 

Toss the sunflower shoots with a little nut oil just before serving. Arrange a pile of shoots on top of the pumpkin and top with the yogurt sauce. Garnish with carrot slices. Serve as a warm or cold salad, depending on your mood, season, or schedule.

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  1. I definitely want to read that book! I love my sourdough starter. This salad looks yummy!

  2. I actually love maple roasted sweet potatoes.. I am sure such butternut squash tastes equality delicious :)

  3. Roasted butternut is one of my weakness. Love those pretty sunflower shoots.

  4. I have one of these extra small sinks also and it is NOT FUN to do the dishes. Water gets everywhere! And it makes me dread using my dutch oven.

    Love this fall salad! The yogurt is such a fun way to dress it!

  5. Pleased to hear you are settling into your temporary kitchen! I very much enjoyed the book review. The Bread Exchange introduction will push me to look into cookbooks that might get lost in the shuffle of so many new books this autumn.

  6. Delicious and refined! This healthy salad is mouthwatering.



  7. What a lovely salad! I can't get enough butternut squash in the fall, and this is a great way to serve it.

  8. There is no doubt that you will be turning out some amazing food in your temporary kitchen :-) This is a beautiful salad with butternut squash.


  9. Not sure what happened to my comment. Where did it go?

  10. Your salad looks so healthy, I haven't had maple-roasted squash before! I bet the sweetness works really well!

    Choc Chip Uru

  11. Very interesting book, you always make me cave and order a cookbook, I will try to resist this one....

    Great to know you are dealing well with your less than ideal cooking situation... bread was the toughest part for me during our sabbatical...

    Loved this salad, I roasted some butternut squash this weekend, pathetic outcome - I used frozen squash in pieces, paid a huge price for the tiny amount in the bag (could not see through it, it was a paper type bag) - and they turned mushy and never crisped up. Still tasted great, but.... lesson learned. Go fresh next time

  12. what a delicious (and pretty) looking salad! perfect for the season. :-)

  13. Oh Lisa, I love the look of this maple roasted butternut squash...and yes, the yogurt sauce just sound delicious.
    Thanks for the recipe...have a great week :)

  14. you're really bringing both the sweet and the savory to this and i like it! your squash looks so perfectly tender too!

  15. What a great recipe! The flavor must be incredible. I feel for you in your kitchen, though -- it sounds like a challenge. We once had a kitchen with limited countertop space, and got a really big cutting board that could span the kitchen sink -- it helped add a bit of space. Good post -- thanks.

  16. I make something similar but with feta added for some savouryness and it's such a hit with hubby that there often isn't enough for me! :P I have heard about that book too-I must look into it further:)

  17. Smiling over using the barter system for a loaf of her bread....wonder what I could offer for a loaf? Bet it's fantastic. I love a cookbook with stories of how, where and when recipes were found (or bartered for :) ). Maida Heatter always has a story with her recipes.
    Nice idea to use the maple syrup..also of the season... and the yogurt sauce sounds wonderful. Will keep my eyes open for the fig balsamic; that would add another layer of flavor to the already yummy balsamic. Such a pretty presentation, Lisa.

  18. I just may have to go outside a harvbvest some of those sunflower seeds I'm saving for the birds, Lisa. Sunflower shoots, butternut squash? Sounds delightful! I am not only intrigued by that book, I love adventure cooking stores, lol., that yogurt dressing sounds wonderful! I've bookmarked that site and now for this recipe too.

    Thanks for sharing, Lisa...

  19. Dear Lisa, That certainly is a pretty and healthy salad. Catherine


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