For our dinner with Gabe last week, Anthony and I decided to adapt recipes from the article Nigel Slater’s Vegetarian Feast, which appeared in the Observer before Christmas. I was particularly intrigued by…guess…the “pumpkin cakes,” so of course we made them, though we actually made squash cakes because I couldn’t find any cut and peeled pumpkin. We also made the mushroom with mozzarella and crumbs. Both dishes turned out fabulously.
The roasted squash cake roll ups celebrated the season in a new way, I thought, by emphasizing wintry tastes in a sandwich. Slater called for pumpkin but I used butternut squash, which I dressed in olive oil, garlic, allspice, and a tiny dash of cayenne (for heat) before roasting. Once the squash was soft and cool, I mashed it into a pulp and, with floury hands, shaped round little patties that I pan fried. I laid down a bed of arugula and onion on the tortillas, placed the hot cakes on top, and drizzled everything with a cooling yogurt-cilantro dressing. The squash was inherently sweet and the spices added a toasty warmth to the little cakes. They worked well nestled in between bitter lettuce and cheeky red onion. The yogurt-cilantro dressing (which would taste good atop a variety of foods) pulled the sandwich together.
Our mushrooms with mozzarella aren’t much to look at, but they tasted like a walk in the woods while bundled up and warm. Obviously combining mushrooms, onions, and cheese is going to yield delicious results, but the addition of rosemary in this recipe added a piney, forest scent to the sweet earthiness of the baked mushrooms. It made the dish more complexly satisfying than it would have been without the herb, which is awesome considering that mushrooms, onions and cheese are quite possibly the tastiest foods on earth.
Roasted Squash Cake Roll Ups
adapted from the Nigel Slater article
For 4 people, we used the following proportions-
2 packets cut and washed butternut squash from Trader Joe’s (each packet was around 800g)
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1-2 Tbsp. of olive oil, just enough to coat the squash
salt, pepper, allspice, and cayenne to taste
a packet of flour tortillas (we used about 6, but it depends on the appetites of your guests)
a bunch of arugula
1 red onion, sliced
for the dressing:
8 Tbsp. yogurt
1-2 cloves minced garlic (to taste)
2 handfuls of cilantro, chopped fine
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Put squash in a bowl and coat with just enough oil to cover each piece. Add garlic, salt, pepper, allspice, and cayenne and mix well. Spread pieces on a pan and bake for 50 minutes-an hour, until the squash is soft and easily squashable with a fork.
Take out of oven and let cool. Mix lettuce and onion and set aside.
In a bowl, mix yogurt, garlic, and cilantro and taste for salt. Put in fridge after mixing.
With a fork, mash all the cooled squash in a bowl. Using generously floury hands, form small round patties with all the squash. Warm a non-stick pan over medium heat and cook the patties for a few minutes on each side. They should become a little brown. In the same pan, warm each tortilla by flipping it a few times, just so it’s not very cold from the fridge.
Assemble and eat your squash cake roll ups by spreading the salad mixture on your warmed tortillas, placing the patties on top, drizzling the cilantro yogurt dressing, rolling up the tortilla, and biting into deliciousness.
Mushroom with Mozzarella and Crumbs
from the Nigel Slater article (so just find the recipe there because we didn’t change it much).