I recently started following a page on Facebook called Cheese Sex Death. It’s basically cheese porn. All manner of cheeses: soft, hard, smelly, earthy are introduced and pairings suggested. It’s pretty brilliant actually, and makes me want to become a certified fromagier and play with cheese all day. (Adding that to the bucket list.) In any event, on CSD, I came across an interesting recipe for a goat cheese dill pasta with acorn squash. These are all things that I enjoy, particularly in the fall, so I picked up a few items & planned to give the recipe a spin when I got home.
“The best laid plans of mice & men often go awry.” – Robert Burns
These were not particularly well-laid plans, as I was missing a few of the things I needed for the dish. I did, however, have some butter, wine, and black garlic & was able to whip up a different but equally sexy dish.
Sexy Little Dish
(Orecchiette with a Black Garlic Brown Butter White Wine sauce and Roasted Acorn Squash)
16 oz orecchetiette pasta
2 tbsp unsalted butter
4-6 cloves Black Garlic
Dry white wine (I used the end of a Sauv Blanc from my fridge.)
4 oz goat cheese (cut into small pieces & softened)
1 acorn squash, peeled & diced
Roast the squash:
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Peel the acorn squash. Cut it in half & remove the seeds. Cut into evenly- sized cubes.
Drizzle with EVOO and toss to coat. Sprinkle with a little dill and Kosher salt.
Roast for about 30 mins until softened & browned.
While you are making the sauce, cook the pasta according to package directions. I like orecchetiette for this recipe; the tiny ear-shaped shells are a great vehicle for the creamy sauce.
Make the sauce:
In a sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
When butter has melted, add the black garlic. Mash the garlic as it cooks & cook the butter and garlic slowly until it is browned & fragrant, 5-10 mins
Pour in the wine (enough to cover the bottom of the pan) and cook on medium high until reduced, 5-10 mins.
Whisk in the goat cheese over medium-low heat. Keep whisking until all the goat cheese is worked in and smooth.
In a large pot heat a few tsp EVOO over medium-high heat.
Sweat pearl onions until translucent.
Toss in the black garlic & toss until onions are coated & mixture is fragrant.
Add potatoes and toss to combine.
Pour in stock. If it doesn’t cover the potatoes, add enough hot water to cover.
Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover & lower to medium heat.
Simmer over medium heat until potatoes are tender, 10-15 mins.
Lower heat & purée mixture with a hand blender until smooth.
Whisk in the cream. *Hint: If at this point you feel that the soup isn’t reaching your desired thickness, you can sprinkle in the dry instant potatoes, a little at a time, whisking constantly until you reach the desired thickness.*
Heat soup gently, over medium-low heat until heated through. Serve with crusty bread.
I know, I know… it’s pumpkin-spice-everything time! But there’s a reason everyone goes loco for all things pumpkin & spice at this time of year… BECAUSE IT’S DELICIOUS! And not to toot my own horn or anything, but this is the tastiest flavored kombucha I’ve made to date. Real talk. Usually, what I do when I’m flavoring kombucha is do all the brewing & fermenting, then after the booch is filtered I will add some frozen fruit & let it sit on my counter in the jar with the lid loosened for another 24 hours. Usually I will end up with some secondary fermentation & a little fizziness. Some of my favorite flavors are peach & basil, black cherry, and mixed berry (cranberries, raspberries, and blueberries).
This kombucha contains actual pumpkin, which is great for your eyesight, reducing “bad” cholesterol, and keeping your skin wrinkle-free! And it’s tasty too!
In a small bowl combine pumpkin, brown sugar, and spices.
Pour kombucha into a large pitcher.
Add pumpkin mixture to kombucha & stir well to combine.
I used this type of whisk.
Pour mixture into two 1-quart jars. Screw lids on loosely. Let jars sit at room temperature for at least 8 hours.
Before drinking you will need to shake your kombucha, as the pumpkin mixture will sink to the bottom.
An alternative method is to place half the pumpkin mixture directly into two 1-quart jars of kombucha, put on the lids tightly & shake well. Then, loosen the lids and allow kombucha to sit at room temp for at least 8 hours before drinking.
Because I definitely don’t have enough random things living in mason jars around my house, I recently decided to try my hand at brewing kombucha. Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that is full of probiotics and other naturally growing healthy things. Check out some info about the health benefits of drinking kombucha on my new Pinterest board: IT’S ALIVE! To brew kombucha at home you will need to have a SCOBY, which is short for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. I know, it sounds a little gross. It kind of is. You can buy them, grow them yourself, or get one from a friend. Here’s a video of me meeting my new SCOBY for the first time:
one gallon of brewed tea, cooled ( I used PG Tips)
1 C granulated sugar
fruits or juice to flavor (optional)
a clean container to ferment in (I used a glass jug with a spout, the type you would use to serve drinks at a party.)
a big rubber band
some cheesecloth to cover the top of the fermenting container
mason jars for storage
coffee filters for filtering (This is optional, but I promise you will want to filter.)
Brew the tea. For a gallon of tea I used about 10 tea bags. I let my tea brew for about 3 minutes. Add the sugar while the tea is hot & stir until dissolved.
Brewing up the tea.
Let the tea cool thoroughly. This is very important. Much like baking bread, where you don’t want the water you put the yeast in to be tepid but not too hot, it’s important for the tea to be cooled or the live cultures won’t do their thing.
One the sweet tea is cooled, you can put it in the container and add your SCOBY.
Here’s my new buddy right after I put him in the tea.
Cover the container with a piece of cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band.
Here’s my set up all ready for a fermentation party.
Put container in a warm place. Colder temperatures will cause the fermentation to slow down. I put mine next to my kitchen sink, above my dishwasher where it stays nice & warm.
Now comes the hard part. Wait. Brewing kombucha can take anywhere from 7-28 days. It’s all a matter of your personal taste. It’s going to be tangy, because the SCOBY is devouring the sugar you put in the tea. It’s simply a matter of how tangy you want it. You can also back sweeten your “booch” with juice or fruit after the fermentation is complete. I tasted it at 7 days & it wasn’t quite there, I ended up fermenting it for a total of 11 days.
When the flavor is how you want it, you will want to remove the SCOBY & store him covered in a little kombucha in a plastic bag or tupperware container.
Here’s what my friend looked like when I pulled him out of the finished kombucha.
Next you will want to filter your “booch”. I used my usual filtering method; coffee filters and mason jars. If you need a refresher, check it out here. It’s a messy sticky process that’s definitely a little gross.
As you can see, brewing kombucha is not for the faint of heart…
I ended up with 4 quart mason jars mostly full by the time I was done. I left one plain (no sweetener or fruit), and I’m steeping some frozen fruit I had on hand (peach, cherry, and blackberry) & hoping for some sweetness and secondary fermentation (FIZZ!). **Update: I was able to achieve a little secondary fermentation & fizz after I added the fruit!
When your kombucha is done & filtered and you’ve added any juice or flavorings, you will want to store it in the fridge to prevent further fermentation. Even though it’s been filtered, and the big chunks (GAG) are out, there are still tiny bits that can (and will) continue to ferment. This can blow up the jars or bottles that you’re using for storage. Consider yourself warned.