September hasn’t been my best blogging month. To be sure, not a bad month all around, but I have missed out on more than I’ve participated in. And that’s not good. And maybe because I was so scattered, none of the recipes turned out as well as I expected. I know from experience, that “it’s not you, it’s me!”.
For me, this has typically been a busy time of year for the last 20 years. I am a construction manager in the retail industry – so everything has to be completed in the early fall. It can get a little stressful. I have two huge projects going live this coming week, and for a new company. The odd thing is, I totally love it. But. It does get in the way of my cooking right about now. A bit later in the year and through the holidays, I will be more relaxed than others, simply because I’m already kind of done! It all works out. But, alas, that means that my month has been a bit hectic – and I have fallen behind.
I love so many recipes in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Veg. It’s really encouraged me to think differently about the meals I put together. Though I am not a vegetarian, I know that it’s a good idea to have a more plant-based diet. With his meals, I never feel like I’ve been short-changed. And of course, The Cottage Cooking Club is a wonderful group of cooks who are learning and sharing together. What could be better?
On to the recipes! I only complete three of the recipes that I signed up for this month. The first – Roasted squash – is something that I often make, though not exactly per “Hugh”. I wished that I had remembered to bring some rosemary from my garden up north. I think it would have made this even more wonderful. Sage too. Those herbs mean fall to me, and while it was probably 100 degrees (F) at the time, well, it’s still September and our habits need to change. This is super-simple, something that I would do with any winter squash, or a combination of vegetables. In this instance, an acorn squash, some smashed garlic cloves, some fresh thyme and a bit of olive oil (along with some course salt and tellicherry pepper). This gets baked at a 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes. I like my roasted vegetables a bit caramelized. This would be terrific with a combination of squash as well.
I served mine with some lentils, other roasted vegetables and fresh pesto (including the honey-roasted tomatoes from the same book). (my ffwd friends will likely recognize this dish as presented with the French lentils!). Surprisingly, this wasn’t my favorite actual instance of roasting winter squash (though now that I think of it – using the same treatment for the squash as the tomatoes sounds pretty good!). But it was likely that actual squash – just not a particular flavorful specimen. But how pretty!
I have to come clean, I planned to use some of the same roasted vegetables for the Oven-roasted roots frittata. So, I gathered my roasted vegetables (the afore-mentioned squash and tomatoes along with red onions and celery root). The original recipe calls for root vegetables to be roasted in the pan that the frittata will later be cooked in. That ends up meaning that the eggs can be added and then just quickly baked for 10-15 minutes to get the eggs to set. The fact is, either method, it’s still a quick dish to prepare.
This wasn’t as good as I’d hoped, mainly because the squash I’d roasted (see above) was surprisingly flavor-less. Not bad, just not as good as I know it could be. I need to make this again with the squash, but also some beets and maybe sweet potatoes. I could certainly have used more herbs as well. Poor execution, not the recipe. (again)
Finally, I made Mushroom “risoniotto”. I had a combination of shitake, crimini and white mushrooms. These get sautéed and caramelized. While all of that is going on, the orzo pasta is cooked. Once the mushrooms are browned, garlic, thyme and balsamic vinegar are added to cook for a minute or two. Next, a bit of white wine is added and reduced. Then, cream is added and the mixture is seasoned. Finally, the pasta is added, and fresh parsley is thrown into the mix.
I served this dish with steamed artichokes, a perfect accompaniment. This was pretty tasty. I’m not sure that I’ve every had anything with too many mushrooms. This was getting close to that line. Since it already had cream, it wouldn’t have been too far of a departure to add some cheese. Parmesan would have been really good – though I’m sure others would have even better choices. But I did think it needed something else. I also enjoyed the leftovers (with a little cheese). This is a really good dish, just something that for my taste, could have used something else.
Alas, I did not get to the salad I’d chosen for this month. I hope to get to it soon. I’ve heard from my friend Andrea that it’s fabulous, and you can see her amazing writing and photography here.
So, all in all, I was a little disappointed this month – mostly in my execution of these recipes. But there was nothing that I wouldn’t make again, particularly if I had an extra 5 minutes to devote to the process. The truth is, none of the recipes that I made are difficult or time-consuming. Just not my best effort. But then again, there’s October? Right?
9 thoughts on “CCC – September recipes”
Hi Candy, everything you prepared looks fabulous especially the Mushroom “risoniotto”. Hope things calm down a bit for you, another great month.
Everything you made looks wonderful and it was such a smart move to use one recipe, the roasted squash, to complete another, the frittata (which looks so puffy and golden and gorgeous!) when you were so pressed for time. Hopefully you’ll be able to enjoy the recipes in the coming months a bit more.
It’s inspiring to hear someone so excited about her job. I hope it is all successful! I am adding the frittata to my “to do” list for fall. I make lots of frittatas, but never with root vegetables. I only made the risoniotto, and it was a hit. Sorry yours didn’t come out as you wished.
Dear Candy, hopefully thing will calm down a bit next month (this month – it is already October as I write this) – I also really love the idea of using part of your roasted squash and tomatoes for the frittata – it does look wonderful and is such great comfort-food. The mix of mushrooms that you used for the risoniotto sounds perfect – I used only one kind and when make this again, I will follow your lead and choose different varieties (they are so abundant these days).
The very best of luck with all your projects!
Thank you for participating again in the Cottage Cooking Club this month!
“See” you soon,
Ooh – the addition of cheese to the risoniotto sounds like a great idea! I can almost taste it now. Sorry this month’s recipes did not pan out as you may have hoped. I do feel Hugh’s recipes need a little extra boost when it comes to herbs and spices. So, maybe it is not you, and it is him! 😉
I hope things quite down sooner than later for you!
Finally I have learned what you do professionally, Candy. Through FFWD I’ve gotten a few clues but never the straight story. Glad that your projects are coming to successful fruition. I did two August recipes and only one September recipe this month so you are way ahead of me. You are the second blogger that thought the risoniotto (orzo) needed a kick. I am going to make this recipe as a side for a dinner party this month so I’ll report back as to how it worked out. As you know from FFWD, I love frittatas so I do plan to make this one. Thanks for your hints. Nice Post, even if each dish was not as tasty as you had hoped. I do agree, sometime it’s more us and our Life and our tastebuds than the recipe itself. Happy Fall. I know you still have heat. We have snow.
Thanks Mary! Since I already started, I actually a Sr. CM for Amazon. So my buildings were about 800,000 square feet each. They will eventually employ thousands at each location so lots of folks will have new jobs!! I had to get them complete do that 100 or so people could start “day one” on this past Wednesday at each location. Whew! Made it!!
A long way from when I started building mall stores, but still fun and exciting. Happily, I’m back to doing a bit of cooking this weekend!
Hope yours is wonderful. I can’t get my mind wrapped around your snow!
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Candy girl, your frittata came out beautifully and that risoniotto looks tempting – my hubby would love that. I only made the chili. Kudos to you for 3 lovely dishes.
I think that cooking at home during busy stretches is a success in itself. It sounds like the dishes just need a little tweaking to make them hits for you. And I’m looking forward to October’s selections, too.