Sunday, October 23, 2022

ChezCindy: Delicata Squash Rings with Parmesan Cheese


Each fall season I gather up the different squash available at the market, always on the look-out for delicata squash among the more standard acorn and butternut.  Delicata squash is a winter squash meaning that it has a hard interior flesh.  But it crosses over to summer squash like zucchini in that the thin skin can be eaten.  A real bonus when it comes to winter squash as most have inedible skin and it can be difficult to peel away the skin.  

The delicata squash are the two sitting on top of the pile with a long shape and stripes.  The other squash are spaghetti, acorn and kaleidoscope which is similar to acorn.

The delicata squash rings were put together on a whim one morning.  The thought came to me that Parmesan cheese might pair really well with the squash.  I've made them numerous times now for breakfast as the flavor and texture remind me of potatoes, so think hashbrowns.  The squash rings would make a nice appetizer with a glass of crisp white Italian wine, or as a side dish to Chicken Parmesan. 

Delicata Squash Rings with Parmesan Cheese
1 medium or 2 small delicata squash
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons butter
2 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Making the rings is more of a process than a recipe.  Simply slice across the squash cutting the squash into 1/4-inch rounds.  Lay each round piece on the flat side, using a spoon scrape out the seeds. 

 Working with a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat, drizzle in a tablespoon of oil placing the squash rings in a single layer in the pan, sprinkle the salt over the rings.  Allow the rings to cook without moving them for 1-2 minutes, then add in the butter in small pieces to evenly distribute among the squash rings.  The butter will sizzle and bubble.  Keep the squash rings on side one for several minutes until this first side is golden brown.  The butter will help the squash to brown and add great flavor.  Once side one is brown and the squash is now mostly cooked through, flip over each ring to cook on side two for just a brief minute.  Sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese, then immediately turn off the heat.  Transfer the squash rings and Parmesan to a plate.  

Saturday, October 15, 2022

ChezCindy: Apple Cheddar Drop Biscuits


Fall is the perfect time of year to make these Apple Cheddar Drop Biscuits.  A visit to the apple orchard or just a variety of crisp apples from the market are great to have on hand for so many wonderful recipes, or just to eat out of hand.  Here are just few recipes from my blog site such as Apple Pumpkin Muffins combining the best of both fall ingredients.  And this surprisingly refreshing Apple Cucumber Salad.  When you are looking to impress make this French Apple Tart.

This biscuit recipe is an easy one to begin with if making biscuits is new to you.  It is a drop biscuit, so there is no rolling out the dough, no cutting and shaping the biscuits.  Just scoop it out and drop the biscuit dough onto the baking sheet.  Serve warm from the oven with some soft salted butter.  

The key to successful biscuit making is to have all of your ingredients ready before you start mixing by hand.  Once you start mixing, your fingers are covered in biscuit dough.  Stopping to measure out the cream or to line the pan with parchment paper is a bit of a problem with doughy fingers.  Read the recipe, have the ingredients measured, the baking tray in place, and the oven pre-heated.  Relax and enjoy the process.... and the biscuits! 

Apple Cheddar Drop Biscuits
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
4 tablespoons finely diced apples
4 tablespoons grated white cheddar cheese
5 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup cold water

extra cream for brushing on the biscuits
turbinado sugar to top the sweet biscuits

Makes 6 large biscuits

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.  

Key to successful biscuit making is to have all of your ingredients ready before you start mixing.  Because once you start, your fingers are covered in biscuit dough.  Read the recipe, have the ingredients measured, the baking tray in place, and the oven pre-heated.  

Cut the cold butter into small pieces.  I like to start with a stick of butter, cutting out 6 tablespoons, (setting the remaining 2 tablespoons aside for serving).  Then cut each of the 6 tablespoons into 9 tiny pieces. 

Cut the apple into small pieces, roughly 1/4-inch dice, set aside.  Grate the cheddar cheese, set aside.  

Measure out the cream, and the cold water.
Working with a large mixing bowl, add in the flour, sugar and baking powder.  Using your fingers, mix the ingredients to combine.  Add in the tiny cut pieces of butter, tossing them to coat with the flour mixture.  Begin working in the butter by using your fingertips to "snap" or rub the butter to combine it with the flour.  This will take 5-8 minutes.  The butter will no longer look like tiny cubes of butter but will be mostly combined with the flour.  It should look somewhat crumbly.  Add in the diced berries, tossing them gently to coat with the flour/butter mixture.  

Make a well in the center of the mixture.  Pour in 4 tablespoons of the cream, reserving 1 for additional use if needed.  This is where it gets really messy.  With your fingers, mix the flour with the cream to create a shaggy dough.  Add in the 1/4 cup of cold water, mixing to gently combine.  The dough should be wet but not gloppy.  Add in the additional tablespoon of cream if the dough is still a bit dry.  This is the judgement part of making biscuits.  The dough should be held together with no dryness of the flour bits.  Stop mixing.  

Using a 1/3 cup measure, spray the cup with oil.  This will help the biscuit dough to slip out of the measuring cup.  Scoop the dough into the measuring cup, drop the biscuit onto the lined sheet pan.  Repeat with the remaining dough to form 6 large biscuits.  Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops with additional cream.  Sprinkle a bit of sugar (turbinado raw sugar if you have it) onto the tops of each biscuit.  

Bake in the preheated oven for 15-16 minutes until deep golden brown.  Remove from the oven, cool on the sheet tray for about 5 minutes so the biscuits are fully set.  Serve warm with butter and honey if desired.