Thursday, October 12, 2006

Warming up the House with.....

...peanut butter and butternut squash, but not all in the same dish.

While the boys were at school and a stiff, chilly wind was blowing, I warmed the house by baking the latest treat from the CLBB to tempt me. Val, one of the resident bakers who frequents the CLBB, posted a recipe for peanut butter brownies. Mmmmm......peanut butter. I happened to have some Hain Turbinado Sugar in my cabinets, just sitting there. Here was the perfect opportunity to finally use up this little bag that's been hanging around for quite a while - me not quite willing to toss it out, but not sure what to do with it either. So, why not peanut butter brownies?

Oh, my, these are really good. I doubled the recipe and baked them in a 9x13-inch pan for about 30 minutes and they seem to have turned out perfectly. They have a nice dense, chewy texture - just what I like in brownie. I did have to substitute a scant 1/2 cup of granulated sugar for a 1/2 cup of the turbinado or raw sugar and that seems to have worked just fine. My mind is already churning over a couple of minor tweaks that might add to these brownies.

A chilly, blusterdy day is also the perfect time to pour a glass of wine and stire a pot of risotto. We are not big squash fans in this house, but we do like to challenge ourselves to try new things in new ways. When I try new things, I try to pair them with things we already love, and we love risotto. I knew I had to make this recipe when I stumbled on it in my Williams-Sonoma catalogue. I may not be able to afford most of the stuff in the catalog, but I CAN make the recipes. In typical fashion, I forgot to check the recipe before going to the grocery store, so I came home with the butternut squash, but not the rosemary or sage. Not to worry, I just substituted a bit of these herbs in their dried states. Not as good as fresh, but worth a try.

Oh my again. This is one of those recipes that entirely lived up to my expectations. It's fantastic. I did tweak a bit here and there. For one thing, I've made several risottos and 7 tablespoons of butter seemed excessive. I scaled it back to 2 tablespoons and the risotto was still plenty rich and flavorful. It is a little on the sweet side, in part because of the caramelized onions, but I wouldn't change a thing.

This dish is time-intensive - even more so than most risottos because you need to bake the squash and caramelize the onions - but it's worth the effort. I tend to serve risottos as a main dish anyway - not only are they a lot of work, but they are filling and for me, they are usually the star of the meal anyway, with everything else on the table coming in a distant second. So why compete?

Mmmmm....what a tasty way to spend the day inside while the wind roared outside.

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  1. I've never made risotto but may just need to start with THIS!

  2. What a lovely looking and sounding recipe. I've just c&p'd - thanks a lot

  3. Hi Alanna - am I seeing things or have you updated your photo??? Pretty picture!

    Risotto is one of my favorite comfort food dishes. A bit of effort - but so worth it.

  4. French Fancy - Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy the recipe. :)