Despite my recent acquisition of "Dirt Candy: A Cookbook" and previously mentioned resolve to try some fancy-pants vegetable cookery, I peaced out and made some yogurt and granola instead. Making yogurt is ridiculously easy, I have discovered that extending the culture time and the draining time results in the thickest yogurt, almost like labneh. It just needs a little fruit and crunch to turn it into a perfect breakfast.
3 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup olive oil (I used orange flavored olive oil, and it was the best decision I made all day)
1/2 cup honey or agave nectar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup coconut chips
8 oz dried cherries
1 cup roasted pepitas
Preheat oven to 300F. In a large roasting pan toss oats, coconut chips and salt together then using your hands mix in the olive oil and the honey. If you use honey, heat it up a little first so it will be a little thinner. If you want to use raw pepitas, add them now too. Cook for about 30-40 min, stirring every 10 minutes until uniformly golden. Remove from pan and allow to cool slightly, then add dried cherries. Store in an airtight container.
Ian has been forbidden from eating this as straight-up cereal because it would be gone in 2 days. It made me not regret impulse buying flavored oil at a specialty oil and vinegar store. That chocolate balsamic has a future macerating some strawberries when they are in season.
Roasting pan, second verse: butternut squash. Cut squash in half and place cut-side down in an inch or so of water. Roast at 350F for 30-45 minutes. What to do with all the whey I have left over making yogurt? Typically I use it in dough, but another excellent use is as a soup stock. It adds a little yogurt tang, and I don't feel bad pouring it down the drain a week later. Just kidding, if I don't use it in the kitchen I dilute it and throw it on my plants. Bear in mind this may attract cats to said plants.
Butternut Squash Soup
1.5 lb. butternut squash: roasted as above and flesh scooped out
1 quart whey or whatever whey you have and some water or stock to make up the difference
1 cup chopped onion
Saute the onion over medium heat with a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a stock pot. Cook until translucent but not browned. Add whey/stock/water and squash. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Puree in blender in batches. Salt and pepper to taste. This technique would probably work well with other squashes or carrots. You can gussy up with sage or other fresh herbs you have on hand, just add to the individual bowls.