Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad and a Cottage Saturday

Part of the annual Thanksgiving weekend tradition involves all the people on the street taking the docks out of the water. There's a lot less enthusiasm for this activity (versus putting them in on the Victoria Day long weekend), mostly because the water is so much colder. 

Dad walking down the street wearing hip-waiters.

I see my role, as official photographer, to be a pretty damn important one.

The beach, with more than half of the dock gone.
You see, there are dogs that need portraits done.

Promptly after running into the water.
And... well... do you want to go swimming at Thanksgiving?

Yar. Look at that strength!
After everything at the beach seemed under control, Jenn and I took a walk down towards Snake Creek.

More milkweed pods!
And, you know, because we were tired after that, we sat around reading at the cottage.

The living room
Phil and I took a quick walk before dinner just up and down River Road.

River Road at Murray Hill
I love autumn up here. I swear, no one does autumn like Ottawa-Gatineau.

View from another beach.

And what would the cottage be without eating? Nothing, I tells you.

See the plaid shirt I'm wearing? I wore it practically every day in grade 8 (it was the grunge era). Now I reserve it for fall at the cottage, where it's kept permanently!

We're eating a poorly plated, but totally delicious Roasted Butternut Squash Salad recipe. I swear, it's the best dish ever.

Well. best dish for fall anyway.

Roasted squash, red onions, bacon, melted goat cheese, walnuts, maple... this salad has a whole lot of awesome goin' on!

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Sherry Maple Vinaigrette and Port-Soaked Raisins.

1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup port
1 butternut squash (about 2 lb.)
1 small red onion
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. maple syrup
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium heads Belgian endive
1 small head frisée
1/2 small head radicchio
3 cups loosely packed spinach leaves, stemmed
Sherry Maple Vinaigrette
6-oz. log fresh goat cheese
1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts
4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)

Cover the raisins with the port and let sit overnight.

Heat the oven to 400°F. Cut off the bulb end of the squash; reserve for another use. Peel the cylinder end and cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch dice. Thinly slice the red onion. In a bowl, combine the squash, red onion, olive oil, and maple syrup. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine thoroughly. Spread the squash and onions on an oiled sheet pan and roast, stirring occasionally, until the squash is just cooked through and the squash and onions are browned, 20 to 25 minutes.

Cut the endive into 1/2-inch slices. Cut off the stem end of the frisée, separate the leaves, and cut them into smaller pieces. Core and roughly chop the radicchio. Combine the endive, frisée, radicchio, and spinach in a nonreactive mixing bowl; toss with 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette. Arrange the greens on six plates.

Heat the broiler. Slice the goat cheese into 6 rounds and arrange on a baking sheet. Broil until just soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Top each plate of greens with the still-warm squash and onions. Drain the raisins and sprinkle them, the toasted walnuts, and the bacon, if using, around the plate. Garnish with a round of warmed goat cheese. Drizzle a few teaspoons of the remaining vinaigrette around each plate and serve. Reserve extra vinaigrette for another use.

Sherry Maple Vinaigrette

1/3 cup sherry vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
2 Tbs. maple syrup
1 Tbs. finely chopped shallots
1 cup peanut oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, and shallots in a bowl and slowly whisk in the oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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