Cottage Cooking Club: January 2016

Dumpling Squash

In northern climes, cooking vegetables in the winter can get a little dull.  For someone who tries to keep to seasonal vegetables, in the months when nothing is growing outside, the choices are mainly root vegetables and various crucifers.  As much as I love most of these vegetables, especially roasted, I can also get bored.

One of the percs of cooking with the Cottage Cooking Club is finding inspiration in the seasonal selections made by our leader Andrea, The Kitchen Lioness, from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s vegetarian cookbook River Cottage Veg.  These ideas are helpful to making the dinner table more exciting, especially this time of year.

Because the other eater at my house doesn’t enjoy the flavor of curry, I limited by choices to two of the recipes.  I also threw in a makeup.  In no particular order, here’s my review.

The first thing I made was the Rutabaga (Swede) with Onion and Sage.  Cubes of rutabaga are slowly sautéed with onions, which caramelize during the long cook.  Once the rutabaga is tender, the dish is strewn with chopped fresh sage.  I’ll admit that I struggle to enjoy this particular vegetable (turnips, too).  Though the onions were sweet, the rutabaga itself didn’t sweeten quite enough for me.  Roasting does a better job of that.  I did like the flavor combination, so perhaps I would add onions when next roasting rutabaga and finish it with sage, being inspired by Hugh’s recipe even if I don’t repeat his version.

Rutabaga with Onion and Sage

Next I tried Squash Stuffed with Leeks.  The problem with winter squash is that sometimes it’s sweet and flavorful, and other times it’s bland and mealy.  There doesn’t seem to be any way to tell just by looking at the vegetable.  I had some dumpling squash that I’ve been storing since late fall.  Unfortunately, it fell in the bland and mealy category.  On the other hand, the leek filling was delicious!  It reminded me of the topping for leek and cheese toasties that we made back in August.  The filling didn’t turn the stuffed squash into a hit, but it did make the whole thing edible.  I was disappointed that the squash didn’t pull its weight.  I may try this again some time, or try to figure out something else to stuff.  I can’t blame Hugh’s recipe for my mealy squash.  Certainly, the presentation was pretty even if the overall taste didn’t match up.

Squash Stuffed with Leeks

Finally, I made the Pizza with New Potatoes and Blue Cheese, a choice from June 2014.  One of the supermarkets near me sells frozen wood-fired pizza crusts.  I used one of these rather than making my own crust.  If you plan ahead and have the ingredients on hand (cooking the potatoes ahead of time), this pizza accompanied by a green salad is a quick and delicious weeknight supper.  The caramelized onions with garlic and rosemary provided a sweet foundation for the bland potatoes and piquant blue cheese.  I enjoyed Hugh’s version of white pizza (i.e. no tomato sauce).

Pizza with Potatoes and Blue Cheese

February’s vegetables at the market won’t be much better than January, so I’m looking forward to Andrea’s choices for next month to liven things up.  In the meantime, check out my fellow Cottage Cooking Club member’s blogs to read their reviews of January’s recipes.  Maybe you will be inspired too! 

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Posted on 29 January 2016, in Cottage Cooking Club and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. peggygilbey814628432

    Hi Betsy, sorry your squash wasn’t the caliber you had hoped but glad you liked the filling. The new potatoes pizza with blue cheese sounds very delicious and I like that combination. Hope you are doing well and making the most of the winter days (along with perhaps the accessibility of some other diverse ingredient choices at your market to liven up the days.) See you soon.

  2. Ugh for the mealy squash. I am so disappointed when that happens to me, too. It was really good with butternut squash, if that helps, and I agree that the filling is absolutely delicious. The pizza also looks tasty, Betsy. I’ll have to check that out sometime. Finally, I’m generally in your camp with swede. This didn’t sweeten it up as much as I’d’ve liked, but I did like not having to roast it, I suppose. Your version still looks pretty with that nice orange hue. Gosh, all the dishes do!

  3. I’m sorry to hear that some of the recipes didn’t work out as you hoped but I know what you mean about the root vegetables; I will be approaching my butternut squash with some trepidation this afternoon. I’m glad you enjoyed the pizza – how wonderful to have access to ready-made wood-fired crusts.

  4. With all you had going anddddd the snowstorm, I am surprised you got anything made this month. Those squash are just beautiful on their own, without having a playdate with the oven! Sorry those two dishes were not up to your taste standards but, I agree, nothing beats roasted. (Say, Mary, who finally joined the Team Roasted Garlic. Your pizza really appeals to me because I love blue cheese and this combo is interesting. Will try this. XOX

  5. TheKitchenLioness

    Dear Betsy, following the international weather news on TV, I must admit I am surprised you were all able to dig out of all that snow – we had a cold-spell around here but absolutely nothing compared to what you had! So, extra special thanks for participating this month! Sorry about the mealiness of the squash but as mentioned by my previous commentators, you might enjoy this recipe with some sweet butternut squash – you are right, the filling is reminiscent of the squash & leek toasties. The Pizza is one of my favorite pizzas to make with leftovers – I am not surprised at all that you enjoyed it and thanks for reminding me to make it again! The combo of potatoes and caramelized onions plus some lovely blue cheese is amazingly delicious.
    Hope you and Howard are doing well!
    Thank you for your continued support for the CCC!
    And “see” you soon!
    Andrea

  6. Hi Betsy, wow! have you had some crazy weather, love, love the potato pizza. That has been one of my all-time favorites.

  7. I’m sorry you get stuck down in the blizzard here. I hope you enjoyed the extra time with family! We didn’t lose power at all and had plenty of food in the house so I really can’t complain. I’ve always found squash to be inconsistent, but had never heard anyone else mention it. I’m glad I’m not alone! It’s disappointing because a good squash can be really delicious. At least the filling was good.

  8. I don’t think we’re going to see snow this year, except up on the mountains. The blizzard you endured sounded very powerful. I’m glad you were safe and warm. We didn’t have any dishes in common this month, but the leek-stuffed squash and the pizza both sound very tempting. I have trouble with rutabaga, too, often, so didn’t attempt that one.

  9. I’m sure it’s tricky finding interesting vegetables in the winter by you. I keep seeing the “swede” with the sage, and thinking it looks delicious. I’m sure that the sage and onions would make a wonderful combo with something root-ish – especially roasted as you say. I made the stuffed squash, but we didn’t love it – the filling was terrific though – I liked it better as the toasties too – in fact, I need to make those again!!!

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