Monthly Archives: October 2009


Faux2croute picture sent in by reader Craig! It certainly looks like fauxcroute, and he reports that it was delicious.












I like this field report… if anybody else has pictures of things we talk about here, send them along!



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Butternut Squash Risotto

012Risotto’s a good weeknight meal. I’m not sure I do it exactly right, since, as far as I can remember, the only time I’ve ever had someone else’s risotto was a long time ago at a restaurant in Italy. S definitely has only had my risotto, due to his cheese aversion. I pile my portion with grated parmesan, and while he’ll still make a face if he gets a whiff of my plate, it’s a compromise that we can both live with.

This is what I do, but I’d be curious to hear if anyone else does anything differently. The other frequent variation is mushroom and peas.

Butternut Squash Risotto
(kind of from Sally Schneider’s A New Way to Cook)

1 medium/small butternut squash
5 cups stock (the better the stock, the better the risotto; use any kind, chicken/veggie/mushroom, as long as it’s good)
1/2 tb butter
1 ts olive oil
1/4 c finely chopped shallot (or red onions, or cooking onions as a last resort)
1 1/2 c Arborio rice (I’ve used very cheap short grain domestic varieties for very good results.)
1/2 c dry white wine

Peel, core, and cut squash into 3/4 – 1″ chunks. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast at 400 degrees until soft and browned on the edges. I always loose track of time, and overdo it, but probably 20 minutes? It can be hot, warm, or cold when adding to the risotto, so just set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the 5 cups of stock until simmering in a medium saucepan. Cover, and put on low to keep warm. In a large heavy bottomed pan, melt the butter and 1/2 ts oil. Add the shallot and saute until soft, ~ couple minutes. Add the rice, and stir constantly over medium heat. When the rice is opaque (~ 5 minutes), add the wine. Stir constantly until absorbed. Now start adding the stock; add 1/2 c at a time, and keep stirring constantly, until the stock is gone. It’s really hard to screw up, as long as you keep stirring.

Once all the stock is used up, stir in the roasted squash chunks (or whatever else). Now would be the time to stir in copious amounts of cheese, if that’s your thing. Sally Schneider says 1/2 c of aged cheese (parm-reg, pecorino, manchego, etc). Season with salt and pepper (watch the salt if using store stock). Fini!

Nutritional Info (from

per very large serving (1/3 recipe) (with parmesan in parens):
Fat 9g (13g)
Calories 372 (444)
Sodium 25% DV (36%)
Vitamin A 461% DV !


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025Fauxcroute is our version of choucroute. We first had choucroute when in Alsace last January, and it’s probably not my most favorite food. Choucroute is french for sauerkraut (chou means cabbage, choufleur is cauliflower and S’s friend Marc’s favorite French word, and chou is also a term of endearment for a loved one, kind of like our honey– so many fun chou word facts!). The idea is a big plate of its namesake piled high with lots of sausages and fatty meats and boiled potatoes. It has a certain charme as a regional dish, but we didn’t exactly run back to the States to recreate it.

But that’s what kind of happened. Back when S and I met, I started making a red cabbage and sausage dish that my dad made growing up. Basically, it was a big pan of canned red cabbage with a Hillshire Farms sausage nestled in the middle. It was a good day when the sausage was cheese filled. My first change was to use fresh cabbage, and eventually we subbed more high brow sausages. After our trip to Alsace, we adapted it further. S had the brilliant idea – use green cabbage, add bacon and white wine.

Unlike choucroute, we cooked the cabbage less and less, until our most recent version had the crispness of a coleslaw rather than the sogginess of sauerkraut. Although our fauxcroute is a pretty far cry from both its sources, it brings up fond memories whenever we make it.

6 links sausage (we usually use Cibola Farms French tarragon)
1/2 package bacon (the thicker cut, the better)
1 onion; cut in half, and sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic; sliced thinly
1 c white wine (we use whatever’s open, but an Alsace varietal, gewurtz or riesling, would be best)
1 small green cabbage; cut in half, cored, and then very thinly sliced (as thin as possible)
2 small apples; in small chunks
Ground black pepper (no salt, though!)

Cook the bacon in a very big skillet (14″) until cooked but not crisp. Remove bacon and drain on a paper towel lined plate, but keep most of the bacon fat in the pan. Meanwhile, cook the sausage in another pan. To keep the sausage from sticking, slowly add a little bit of water to the pan. Cook until browned and cooked through, then remove to a plate. Deglaze the pan with half of the white wine, and scrape up the sausage bits. When everything’s scraped up, turn off heat and set aside.

In the bacon skillet, cook onions and garlic on medium to low heat until the onions are lightly browned. Add cabbage and apples and saute until the fat and onions are evenly distributed. Nestle in the sausage links and bacon slices. Grind a healthy amount of pepper over top. Pour over the rest of the wine and the deglazing wine from the sausage pan, mix, and then cover. Reduce heat to low, and let simmer for maybe 10 minutes or so.


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Meal Plan: October 24, 2009


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Apple Crisp

009We went apple picking the other weekend and I wanted to make a pie, but when it came down to it I couldn’t bring myself to make the crust. Besides, I remembered again that we don’t have a pie plate. Well, who needs a pie when crisps are even more delicious?

I started with the Better Homes & Garden fruit crisp recipe and changed this and that to make it a little more healthy. We ended up eating it for breakfast. Jump through for the recipe.

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Meal Plan: October 10 & 17, 2009

On Sunday we get back to town pretty late, so we planned out next week, too.  The meals so far have been very good. The fauxcroute and kale soup were the best they’ve ever been. I’ll try to write down what we did so next time they can be just as good.


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Meal Plan: October 3, 2009

So much for the plan this week! We changed our minds and did the peanut noodles on Monday night after HH and it was inedible. I think that third bourbon and coke lead to my overestimation of “a big dash” of fish sauce. Ew. So now the duck has been marinating for days. I’m home sick today, so S says he’ll make it tonight. Hopefully tomorrow I can do the empanandas, and then on Friday I might now have dinner plans out.



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