It’s a two recipe post day (I guess I’m trying to catch up for a slight slow down in recipes as of late.) This post is all about appetizers because besides being fall, we’re also entering party season (at least for me!) There is nothing better then getting together with a group of friends around good food and wine. I have a few rules for when I have people over and it usually goes: There has to be food. There has to be wine. The food must be fairly easy to throw together (I like to actually enjoying being in the party and not always in the kitchen)!
You may be thinking that using ‘easy’ when talking about butternut squash and sweet potatoes is along the lines of a lie but these two recipes use one of my favorite ways to skirt around the peeling and the chopping: roasting them both whole at the same temperature. While it takes some time for them to bake, I usually toss them into the oven and come back later to check them. There is a time and place for cubed squash and sweet potatoes but I love the recipes that use the no-fuss puree/mashed version (like these!)
I kept the ingredients simple for both of the recipes to let the seasonal produce shine with the Danish blue cheese and walnut toppings (you might have noticed I have a penchant for blue cheese and fall produce!) Of course, no get-together would be complete without the wine. I don’t talk a lot about wine on this site only because my knowledge is still in the learning phase (and what better place to learn then in Northern California.) However, I always keep a bottle of Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir on hand to go with the appetizers.
Sweet Potato Crostini with Walnuts and Danish Blue Cheese
- 1 medium sweet potato
- 1 small baguette
- 1 clove garlic
- 1-2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Toasted Walnuts, for topping
- Danish Blue Cheese, for topping
- Preheat oven to 425˚. Place sweet potato on a rimmed baking tray, pierce with a fork a few times and bake for 45-60 minutes, until the sweet potato is tender. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before handling.
- Turn the oven broiler on. Cut the baguette into 1/2" thick slices. Cut the garlic clove in half and rub over one side of the pieces then brush with olive oil. Place until the broiler and bake until crisp, 60-90 seconds (watch closely!) Remove from oven and set aside.
- Remove sweet potato from the skin and measure approximately 1 cup mashed and combine in a bowl with butter, maple syrup, salt and pepper to taste.
- When ready to serve, spread a spoonful of the sweet potato mixture on top of each piece of bread and sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles and walnuts.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Pinches salt and Pepper
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons ea: fresh thyme, rosemary, and oregano
- 4 cups butternut squash, diced
- 3-4 cups veggie broth
- 1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400˚.
- Peel and cube 1 small butternut squash. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a sheet tray (I cover the tray with aluminum foil.) Bake until the squash is softened (20-30 minutes.) Set aside.
- Heat remaining olive oil over medium heat in a large sauce pan. Add onions and saute until fragrant (4-5 minutes.) Add in garlic, thyme, rosemary, oregano, and continue to cook for one more minute. Stir in roasted butternut squash and three cups of veggie broth, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and using either an immersion (or regular) blender, smooth out soup, adding extra veggie broth as needed.
- Return to heat and bring soup back up to a warm temperature. If add heavy cream, do it now and serve.
[This post was sponsored by Skagen, Denmark, the Danish-inspired watch and accessories company. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]