Friday, September 17, 2010
Yesterday fall was in the air. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, the sun was shining bright and there was a nice cool fall-like breeze. It was heavenly.
It made me think about pumpkins and Halloween coming up and all the great fall foods, red and yellow colored leaves that will be changing soon and of course the bees that seem to start coming out in force.
So when I went to the grocery store yesterday to pick up something for dinner all I could think about were fall veggies and fruit. I immediately laid eyes on the Butternut Squash an all time favorite of mine. I love sweets and to me, when I eat Butternut Squash it's like eating candy. So I grabbed one of those along with a couple of pears.
Since my husband and I are empty nesters now, I don't need to purchase groceries in large quantity and of course in turn my bills are substantially less.
After picking up both Butternut Squash and Pears, I decided I needed to make something using those for our evening meal. What could I make? Hmmm!
I decided to make a Roasted Butternut Squash & Pear Salad on a bed of Arugula topped with goat cheese and candied pecans and drizzled with a homemade Cider Vinaigrette. The end product was satisfying and delicious! Plus the dish as you can see from the photo above was beautiful and looked like fall on a plate.
Although this may sound like a lot of effort to go to just to make a salad I assure you it's well worth it. If you don't just want to make it for yourself then make it for guests. It makes a stunning presentation.
First I peeled and removed the seeds from the butternut squash then cut it into 1/2 inch squares and lightly tossed in extra-virgin olive oil. I also peeled two pears and cut them in 1/2 and removed the core. I brushed the cut sides with a very small amount of melted butter and sprinkled it with sugar.
With my oven set to 400 degrees I put both veggies and fruit on a heavy duty foil lined sheet tray and baked in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until both were soft. (I wouldn't suggest purchasing rock hard pears otherwise it will take too long for them to soften up in the oven).
I took both out of the oven when softened and cut the pears into small squares, as close to the size of the butternut squash.
Piled each plate with Baby Arugula, then topped with the Butternut Squash, Pears, Goat Cheese and Candied Pecans. Then I drizzled with my homemade Apple Cider Vinaigrette over it all. It was outstanding! If you didn't want to use that vinaigrette then I think a balsamic would be just as good. For an even heartier entree you could add chicken.
Apple Cider Vinaigrette
3 Tablespoons Apple Cider or Juice
2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon or orange juice
teaspoon of lemon or orange zest
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Whisk all ingredients together and lightly drizzle over the salad and serve.
You can purchase ready-made candied pecans but the ones I make are truly delightful. In fact I often give them for gifts during the holidays.