I have discovered the REAL reason I need to be a member of Costco. Do you want to know? It’s because I’ve become addicted to purchasing the latest cookbooks there for way less than I can find them anywhere else! Now, they don’t always have everything I have on my never-ending wish list, but last weekend I was pleasantly surprised to find Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook there! I’ve been eyeing this one since I first heard it was coming out this year. You see, I love cookbooks that are all about teaching techniques so that you can apply them on your own without recipes. Don’t get me wrong, I ADORE recipes, but one of the things I am striving for this year is to learn more cooking techniques and what goes well together so that I can come up with great recipes on my own. I am getting better at it, but there’s so much more to learn!
Before I talk about what I made, I wanted to share my overview of this cookbook. Even if you don’t like Martha, you have to give the woman credit when it comes to putting together a cookbook that anyone can use. She shares step-by-step photos of each technique and many of the recipes. In addition to the photos, there are many tips on what tools and ingredients to have on hand. Each technique is explained so that it is easy to understand each step and even the novice cook can jump in and feel comfortable right away.
I would recommend this book to anyone just starting to cook or even a more experienced home cook who may want it as a reference. It’s not nearly as comprehensive as say The Joy of Cooking, but it is very user-friendly and it is geared for the home cook.
I plan to work my way through many of the techniques in this book, but first I wanted to introduce my family to roasted vegetables. Some of you may say, that’s not a difficult technique and that you’ve been doing it for years. Well, I haven’t so I needed a bit of a guide as to how to do it. It also gave me a chance to share a new vegetable with My Boys – butternut squash.
I had purchased some pre-cut butternut squash last weekend when I was at Trader Joe’s. I’m not a big fan of cutting into the large squash with my chef’s knife… things seem to slip on me and I figure My Husband doesn’t really want to have to take me to the ER for stitches anytime in the near future. So, I pulled out my rimmed cookie sheet and covered it in aluminum foil (I am a big fan of making clean-up as easy as possible), then tossed the butternut squash cubes right into the pan. Next, I drizzled some extra virgin olive oil over the squash followed by a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Martha recommends a number of seasonings for squash, but I opted to use some fresh thyme that I had from my last trip to the produce market. I let it roast for about 20 minutes, then drizzled about 1 tablespoon of honey of the squash pieces before letting it finish cooking another 10 minutes.
The result was a sweet and delicious roasted butternut squash! You can see how the honey carmelized in that last 10 minutes of cooking. My Oldest asked if we could have this more often because he loved it (of course, we can!). My youngest wasn’t convinced enough to try it. He took one taste, and wasn’t crazy about it but said he’d try it again next time I make it. My Husband… well, there was no comment made, which leads me to believe he didn’t care for it. So, in our house it was a 50-50 split on this dish. So, we will be having it again (since I’m in charge of the meal planning!).
Here are some more ways you can use butternut squash:
HoneyB at Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch (don't you just love that blog name?) made tender, buttery Butternut Squash Rolls that look like a perfect accompaniment to a roast chicken dinner.
Teresa at I'm Running to Eat has a newfound love of butternut squash as well and decided to make Mashed Butternut Squash that even her daughter ate!
For another take on roasting butternut squash visit Dragon's Kitchen for Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage and Balsamic Syrup.
Now, go and get some butternut squash since now is the perfect time to find it!