Squash and Salsa

Happy weekend! We made it.

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THIS WEEK

Homemade Salsa

I eat a lot of salsa. There’s something about the combination of spice, salt, acidity, and gentle sweetness that hits the spot every time. Unfortunately, because I eat so much salsa, I’ve developed what I like to call Strong Salsa Opinions, which roughly translates to me being disappointed by the majority of jarred salsa options at the grocery store.

In the past, I’ve relied solely on my local Mexican restaurant, ordering a quart or more of salsa with every takeout order. Given that I’m trying to minimize my time outdoors, this has been challenging. Rather than succumb to a salsa-less life, I’ve turned to making my own. I’ve now made the recipe below three times in the past two weeks, because it disappears the same day I make it (my family likes it that much).

Look at how beautiful this salsa is! The picture above is from my first batch.

Note: You don’t need habanero peppers to follow along, but I would recommend some heat. Jalapeños are a safe bet, as are chipotle, poblano, and serrano peppers. You will need some acid (I prefer lime) to cut through the heat, as well as a blender to combine it all.

Ingredients

4 small sweet peppers, sliced lengthwise and seeds removed

1-2 habanero peppers, or spicy peppers of your choice (see above), whole

2 - 3 large tomatoes, quartered

1/2 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup cilantro, stems removed (optional)

1 tbsp salt

Juice of 1/2 lime

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F, or if your oven can broil, set it to “high”.

  2. Lightly oil a baking sheet or cast-iron pan, then roast peppers in the oven until slightly charred.

  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

  4. Remove seeds and stem from spicy peppers, and if using habanero, rinse in cool water. (I’m too lazy to soak the peppers in alcohol to dial down the heat, but if you have time and patience, let me know how it goes.)

  5. Blend sweet peppers with tomatoes, onion, and garlic. Add in spicy peppers one at a time, to taste. Blend until you find your desired consistency, then pour into a large bowl.

  6. Stir in cilantro, salt, and lime juice. Serve immediately.

This salsa keeps for about a week in the fridge (if you can make it last that long!)

Roasted Butternut Squash Rounds with Mint Yogurt

I know, another winter squash recipe and it’s not even winter. However, in these Uncertain Times (lol) I’m all about the squash. They’re comforting, sweet, and super low-maintenance: all the traits we want in a significant other, bundled up into one sturdy winter squash.

I know these are called winter squash, but there’s something so summery about the bright yellow of these rounds!

Feel free to play around with your squash sauces, especially if you’re vegan and/or not a yogurt fan. The mint yogurt sauce below is excellent and makes this squash more seasonally appropriate, but in cooler temperatures, I’ve had luck with a tahini and nut butter base.

Ingredients

1 butternut squash, rinsed

1 tsp salt

1 cup yogurt

2-3 tbsp water

1 bunch mint, leaves removed and finely chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. Slice butternut squash in half, width-wise. Cut thin rounds out of both halves, scooping seeds out when necessary. (Save your seeds and roast them later, with some red pepper, turmeric, and salt. They’ll be an excellent snack.)

  3. Brush butternut squash rounds with olive oil, coating both sides.

  4. Roast until browned (about 15 minutes), then flip and allow to cook for an additional 5 - 8 minutes.

  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Meanwhile, make the yogurt sauce - stir together yogurt, water, mint, and salt. It should have the consistency of creme fraiche or sour cream - if it feels too thick, add a little more water to thin it out.

  6. Serve the squash with a hefty dollop of the mint yogurt.

That’s all for this week, folks! Happy cooking.