Friday, February 19, 2010

Fallbruary aka Warming Global

Squash.Shiitake.Pumpkin Seed.Hazelnut.Bacon
Butternut Squash Soup
Braised Shiitake Mushrooms
Cilantro-Bacon Vinaigrette
Pumpkin Seed Powder
Micro Oregano Leaves
Toasted Hazelnuts

Has anyone noticed the seasons are happening later and later every year? Maybe Al Gore has a point, everyone. Global warming might cause the seasons to completely swap in the far future. Not saying that Al Gore said that, I'm just piecing together some observation. With this theory in mind, my culinary receptors are longing for fall. It could also be that in Miami, fall does not exist. No one is raking up fallen palm tree leaves for suburban children to dive into. Rather, they sweep water off of porches and their children are forced to play with quivering mulatto canines. It's more Rottweilerian than Rockwellian.

Alas, one of the most beautiful things about food is that it can transcend your home's stubborn climate and give you access to flavors in seasonal and cultural representation. Global warming is exactly what food does. It warms our bodies while giving us a global tour of agriculture and resources.

The shiitakes were braised with fig marmalade, chipotle, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, soy sauce, fig vinegar and a couple throws of chicken stock.

The soup was made with roasted butternut squash (simply, with olive oil and thyme) then skinned and roughly cubed added to some sauteing ginger (lots of ginger!) and onion. Covered with chicken stock and water, brought to a simmer and thrown in the blender with couple pats of butter and salt to taste.

Toasted pumpkin seeds & hazelnuts. Grounded the pumpkin seeds to fine powder and chopped the hazelnut interiors.

Vinaigrette: bacon, cilantro, garlic: all diced with fig vinegar and olive oil.

Topped with picked oregano leaves.

Really a quite simple dish, it just takes a little care. You can make the mushrooms and squash soup at the same time, essentially. The point was basically to make a very simple squash soup and put all of the bold, intense flavors into the mushrooms, so it sort of pops in the middle. The pumpkin and hazelnut are for texture and familiar flavor. The acidity of vinaigrette with smokiness of bacon and freshness of oregano and cilantro round out the whole dish to achieve a "well-balanced fall"

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