make-ahead meals status report, part two

By Thursday, January 21, 2010 , , , ,

Last Tuesday night was carry-out night, which gave me time to prep my squash and mushrooms for Wednesday and Thursday's dinners: squash and mushroom tacos and gingery squash soup, respectively.

This combo of dishes was a little less time-consuming to execute than Dinners 1 and 2, but equally satisfying. We may make this a regular duo in our weekly repertoire.

I had two medium-sized butternut squash, one that I peeled and cubed into 2-inch pieces and the other I just halved and removed the seeds. For the cubed squash, I mixed up a spice-infused olive oil to provide a boost of flavor. I roasted everything at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Then I added cleaned mushrooms to the cubed squash and roasted it for another 15 minutes. Everything came out caramelized and yielding to the touch. I let everything cool and then stored it in the fridge for the next night.

The tacos were great; the spice oil, smoky from the cumin, Spanish paprika and ancho chile powder, was a perfect counterpoint to the inherent sweetness of the squash. To serve, I heated a little olive oil and butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat to reheat and recrisp the edges a little. I served the filling with warm corn tortillas, local goat’s cheese and crunchy scallions, which added a burst of freshness. Each taco was topped with a tuff of micro greens.

We had leftovers from both meals, allowing Pickle to eat cold mushrooms (I know, weird) and squash as supplements to his other meals and for all of us to have a lovely and warming soup lunch after spending a very cold Sunday afternoon outside looking for bunnies (Pickle’s latest fixation!).

Here’s my recipe for the tacos … the soup is again from Ethan Becker’s revision of his grandmother and mother’s famous tome, The Joy of Cooking.

Winter Squash and Mushroom Tacos
Serves two adults, one hungry bambino, with some leftovers

2 medium winter squash — butternut, Hubbard or kobucha are my favorites — one peeled, deseeded and cubed into 2-inch pieces; the other just halved and deseeded
16 oz. button or crimini mushrooms, cleaned and large stems trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
½ teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
3 scallions, cleaned and sliced thinly on the bias
A large handful of micro or baby greens
6-8 corn tortillas
3-4 oz. goat cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and place the halved squash, cut side down, on half the baking sheet.

In a large bowl combine the olive oil, cumin, paprika, chile powder and salt; stir to combine. Toss in the cubed squash and coat evenly with spice oil. Spread out on the other side of the baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, fold the mushrooms in with the cubed squash and roast 15 minutes longer. Remove from oven to cool slightly. If not using right away, store in the fridge over night. Reserve the halved squash for making the soup.

To reheat: heat a large sauté pan over medium-high and add ½ teaspoon each of olive oil and butter. When hot, add the squash and mushrooms in one layer and cook for 2-3 minutes, until golden and crisp along the edges. Use a spatula to turn the filling and cook the other side in the same manner. Serve warm with toppings.

Happy eating, -s.

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  1. You've got seasonal, vegetarian, and time saving all wrapped up in a corn tortilla. Very excellent.