November Edition of Sheila’s Spotlight

When it comes to one of the best times of the year for homemade wholesome cooking, there is nothing better than the autumn season. With the first brisk chill in the air, I know my husband begins to eagerly anticipate my turning on the oven that has barely been used during the hot summer season. It’s nothing for me during my day off to start roasting some vegetables, while whipping up a great quiche all the while having a pot on the stove filled with an incredible beef stock slow roasting with marrow bones and a mirepoix that will eventually become a demi-glace, slowly simmering on the oven for three days. It’s also the time of year to bring in the abundance of herbs we have grown during the summer to begin drying them, so we have them for the remainder of the year.
Probably one of my most favorite recipes I got from Chef Nick throughout the years is homemade Butternut Squash Bisque. It is by far one of the most amazing autumn treats we could ask for, and the ingredients are a list that make you feel like you are having something created that deserves five stars for the dish. All I do is roast butternut squash in the oven with some salt and pepper, then I add it to a pot with chicken stock that has been seasoned with olive oil, onions and garlic. I add a few celery leaves and I let it reduce for a little over an hour. While it reduces, I take advantage of the oven still being on and I roast some pumpernickel bread that I cut into squares making croutons topped with pink Himalayan sea salt and I roast pepitas or pumpkin seeds, also doused in olive oil, salt and pepper. After the squash has reduced, I just put it into the blender, and add heavy cream to the mix making an amazing bisque. If I really plan ahead before making it, I will also go the extra mile to make a homemade crème fraiche that really adds to the boldness of the dish. To do this, all you need is fresh pasteurized, not ultra-pasteurized heavy whipping cream and buttermilk. Make sure to use cultured buttermilk, otherwise you will wait a full day to see nothing happen. Then combine cream and buttermilk in a glass jar. Cover tightly with cheesecloth (or any breathable material) and let sit at room temperature (70 to 75 degrees F (21 to 24 degrees C)) for 24 hours. Stir, screw on lid, and refrigerate for 24 hours before using.
When it all comes together for the serving preparation, I will circle the bisque with the crème fraiche, top it with a bunch of the croutons, then add in the pepitas. It’s great having something warm to enjoy during this time of year when darkness falls just a little bit earlier.
Danny and I both share a birthday in October, so we normally take a week or so to spend some vacation time throughout the month enjoying all things autumn. Not only do we love to spend some time in the kitchen enjoying cooking our favorite recipes, but we take advantage of the time together to watch some scary movies. We also like to find events like an Oktoberfest where we can eat all things German that usually includes some great bratwursts, knockwursts and kraut, and a place to enjoy some hearty pumpkin beers. Fortunately for us we know a bunch of restaurants serving the wanted fares. You can be sure to check out each of our restaurants daily to see how great our chefs incorporate their cooking styles to the season, paired with those amazing beers.

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