Recipe Testing on a Fall Afternoon

Weekends for my family are usually chalk full of laundry, birthday parties, target runs, grocery shopping, family dinner and so on and so on. We are lucky enough though, to have wonderful parents/ grandparents close by that love spending time with our kids. This means that I get just a little window of time to myself. Of course, after the shopping and errands and laundry are all done, how do I like to spend my time? Well in the kitchen of course. Silly question ;)

Today was a cold, overcast dreary kind of day. So I was happy to be inside and tinkering away in my happy place, aka my kitchen. A few weeks ago I saw one of my favorite Food Network chefs (Ina Garden) post something about Butternut Squash Bruschetta. I saved the link but never actually gone around to reading the recipe. So today I was going to take my hand at it.


I keep a stash of frozen French bread slices in the freezer. They are a great item to store. They are a great base for appetizers, dipping in soup, croutons, etc. Also perfect for bruschetta. I preheated the oven to 425 degrees. Mix a few tablespoons of olive oil, a pinch of sea salt, garlic powder and dried parsley for some color. Using a pastry brush, coat both sides of the bread with the oil mixture. Place on some parchment paper and bake on each side for about 7 minutes until golden brown and toasted. Then turn the oven off. Set the bread slices aside.


I gathered all my other ingredients for the dish. I chopped into very small pieces 2 shallots. I sautéed them in olive oil, salt and pepper. Then I mixed them into about 2 full tablespoons of ricotta cheese. Seth that aside. In the same pan (no need to wash in between) I added small bite sized chopped pieces of butternut squash. Sauté in olive oil on medium high heat until fork tender and browned. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the squash then set aside- off the heat. Now we're ready to assemble. 



I spread a think layer of the ricotta onto the sliced bread. Then I added some squash on top. Using a fork, I drizzled some honey over the bruschetta. It was delicious. It felt sweet and savory at the same time, a bit of fancy comfort food. 

After I made my bruschetta, I went back and read Ina's version. Her's was pretty similar. She combined the shallots/ onions with the squash and she used maple syrup instead of honey. It made me feel good that I could come up with something comparable to THE Ina Garten. This recipe reminded me how much fun it can be to skip the recipe and just trust yourself in the kitchen. There is something to be said about letting the creativity flow and remember there is no such thing as a mistake when you're cooking. If it tastes good to you, then it works. I think this is a kitchen lesson to remember in life. Sometimes, if it works, than it's a success. As simple as that.