Nov
24

#PGMinseason | Two Red Bowls

#PGMInSeason is coming back, but with renewed purpose!

Cynthia Chen Two Red Bowls
Because of the inspiring success of our last round of #PGMinseason we have decided to do it all over again! But this isn't going to be the same #PGMinseason as before. In fact it is the beginning of a larger community project that we sincerely hope you join in on! Our hopes are high, our dreams are big, and we love you all so much we wanted to pull out all the stops, and do something amazing and involve all of you. We don't mean to be cryptic (mmm, well maybe we do, we want you to be curious and excited!), but we're still getting all our ducks in a row to make sure this bigger version of #PGMInSeason goes off without a hitch! We'll be sharing the details over the next couple of weeks, so there's not long to wait.

In the meantime, since the American Thanksgiving, and the holidays in general, are coming up (which is such a nice time of year, we hope your tables are laden with good food and the love of family), we wanted to get you in the mood and thinking in terms of eating in season once again. Cynthia of Two Red Bowls, a blogger we love and admire, is helping us do that with this beautiful post on eating in season with a mouthwatering recipe you could include in your Thanksgiving meal.

#PGMInSeason will officially kick off again in January 2015, but we want you to be looking ahead and thinking about your best, in season recipes! For now, enjoy Cynthia's delightfully delicious post and we look forward to spilling all our beans very soon!

For me, cooking seasonally will always be inextricably tied to cooking with my mother. Though it's as much the seasons as a gift for knowing fruits, I still think my mother has always had an exceptional sixth sense for picking the sweetest, ripest fruits and vegetables for us to eat. I have endless memories of her bursting through the door from the garage, the car trunk still agape, plunking a cantaloupe on the counter and gleefully slicing it open, or running the water over a punnet of strawberries. There'd be a moment of silence when she'd bite into the first piece, and then pure triumph -- "It's so sweet! Here, try it! You have to try it." (And if you weren't interested, she'd be sure to let you know how much you were missing out.)
Frangipane Galette
I am certainly not the produce whisperer that my mother is, but since I've left home and started tackling the task of buying my own fruits and vegetables, I find following the seasons to be just as rewarding as it always seemed for her. I think there's something about the anticipation, the idea that things are meant to come at their own pace and their own time, that makes that first fava beans of the spring or those first plump, ephemeral figs of the fall taste that much better. Food has always had vivid associations for me, and for my family -- and I think, in that sense, associating food with the seasons makes each moment of the year seem that much more significant.

And that might just be truest for the holidays, times for celebration and family and feasting. Just the mention of Christmas has me dreaming of peppermint and gingerbread; Chinese New Year of hot pot and longevity noodles. With Thanksgiving coming up, naturally I had squash on my mind -- so I thought these acorn squash galettes would make for a fun alternative to Thanksgiving pies. The squash is sliced thin, roasted in fall spices, brown sugar, and a bit of brown butter, then layered over a generous layer of rich, fluffy frangipane and a flaky, buttery crust. The touch of sage in the crust is optional but lively, and I found the simplicity of the squash balanced out the sweetness of the frangipane just right. Topped with a healthy dollop of vanilla creme fraiche, they were the perfect treat for a crisp fall afternoon.
Frangipane Galette
I chose acorn squash for these galettes because I couldn't resist how perfectly cute and tiny they were, just the size for slicing and layering into mini galettes. But I think slices of butternut squash or kabocha (my new obsession) might work even better, since they're a bit sweeter. Feel free to substitute any squash here, as long as you feel confident wielding a knife to slice them open.
Hope you all have wonderful, food-stuffed Thanksgivings ahead and thank you so much to Pure Green Magazine for having me here! (Get the recipe at the bottom of the post!)

5 QUESTIONS WITH CYNTHIA:

Three words that describe you best? Happiest when eating ;)

What food could you never live without? Cheese!

Craziest recipe you've ever made/ tried to make? I'm struggling to think of one, which makes me think I should try crazier recipes! These char siu pork pineapple buns might be the most time-consuming recipe I've ever tried. So worth it, though!

Favorite ingredient? I can't decide between soy sauce and gochujang! I use soy sauce more often, but gochujang's smoky sweet-spicy flavor is so unique (and so good!)

In a sentence, what does seasonal cooking mean to you? I think it's the idea that respecting the natural course of things, recognizing that they have to come at their own pace and their own time, ultimately makes us feel more connected to the world and makes our food feel more special -- it's the magic in anticipating that first truly fragrant nectarine in August or the first long-awaited box of plump figs in September that makes the fruit taste that much better when the time comes.

Frangipane Galette

Frangipane Galette

Frangipane Galette

Frangipane Galette

Frangipane Galette

ACORN SQUASH & HAZELNUT FRANGIPANE GALETTES

makes four small (5-inch) galettes. 

for the crust:

1 1/4 cup (about 156 grams) flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1/4 to 1/2 tsp finely chopped sage (optional)

1/2 cup (1 stick) frozen butter

2 tablespoons ice cold water

for the squash:

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground ginger

small pinch ground cloves

2 tbsp unsalted butter

one small acorn squash

for the hazelnut frangipane:

1/2 cup hazelnut meal (or a scant 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, skins removed and cool)

2 tbsp all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

1 large egg

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

for baking:

1 large egg and a splash of milk, for egg wash

turbinado or other sugar for sprinkling (optional)

for serving:

Vermont Creamery vanilla creme fraiche (or equivalent)

1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar, and sage and mix until well-combined.  Using a box grater, grate the frozen butter into the flour, then mix gently with your fingers to incorporate it into the flour, just until the butter forms pea-sized clumps.  Add the ice-cold water and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together into a dough.  Pat into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.

 3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. In a small saucepan, melt the butter until it crackles, turns a deep brown, and smells nutty and fragrant. Set aside.

 4. Using a sturdy, sharp knife, slice the acorn squash in half.  (Be careful!)  Scoop out the insides of the acorn squash and slice into thin, 1/4- to 1/8-inch slices.  Toss the slices in the spice mixture, then add the brown butter and toss again until well-coated.

Lay in a single layer on a parchment- or Silpat-lined baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until squash is tender and caramelized.

5. While the squash is roasting, make the hazelnut frangipane.  Combine the hazelnut meal and flour in a small bowl and whisk until well-combined. In a medium bowl, combine sugar and butter.  Using an electric mixer, beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the egg and beat again.  Finally, add the extracts and the hazelnut-flour mixture, and beat on low speed until just combined.

 6. Once the pie dough has had enough time to chill, remove it and separate it into four balls.  One ball at a time (keeping the other three chilled), roll the dough out to about a 6” circle. I find that rolling the dough is easiest between two pieces of parchment paper, but do whatever you are used to.  

 7. In the center of each dough circle, spread 1/4 of the frangipane to about a 5” circle. Arrange the roasted and cooled squash slices in an overlapping single layer (or however you like, really) over the frangipane. Fold in the outer edges of the dough over the filling, forming a 1" crust all the way around. Return the assembled galettes to the fridge while you work with the remaining ones.

 8. When all four have been assembled, beat an egg with a splash of milk, then brush the crust with the egg wash, sprinkle it with sugar, and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until crust is a deep, golden brown.

 9. When ready to serve, use an electric mixer and beat about 1/2 cup of vanilla creme fraiche on low speed, just until it forms soft peaks -- a few minutes was all it took for me.  Let galettes cool briefly, then serve with whipped creme fraiche on the side.

PHOTOS courtesy of TWO RED BOWLS for PURE GREEN MAGAZINE

TREATYOURSELF


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