Originally posted on my former blog Twenty by Sixty on February 6, 2012
Here's something fun. I'd been thinking about how it would be good to be involved in a cooking community of some sort, but hadn't pursued it beyond that thought. Then I stumbled upon an invitation for a cooking community based on Mark Bittman's Food Matters Cookbook, the idea coming from Sarah of 20 Something Cupcakes and Kate of Cookie and Kate. What they dreamed up was the Food Matters Project, launching today, and this is our first post. Each week, a different member will choose a recipe for the rest of the members to try out and post about. This first week's choice was made by Sarah, that choice being Bittman's recipe for Chipotle-Glazed Squash Skewers. A kicky dish to kick off the project... I love it! And I had my friend Michele here for the weekend to try it out on.
I made a couple of variations to the recipe, basically out of need. For one, after soaking the wooden skewers, I discovered that they were going to fight me tooth and nail in my attempt to skew them into the squash cubes. Yes, the squash was that hard. So given that I didn't feel like spending the next hour or two fighting that battle, I decided to simply spread them across the oiled sheet pan, pour over the chipotle-flavored marinade, and toss it all together with my fingers. Just like I do with roasted veggies.
Next, I had a sweet potato that I wanted to use up, so based on Mark Bittman's suggested variations, I mixed cubes of that with the squash. I love the sweet mellowness (or mellow sweetness?) of roasted sweet potatoes, so I figured it was a can't-miss.
Lastly, I didn't have canned chipotles in adobo sauce, but I did have a can of chipotle sauce, which I figured was close enough since it is plenty hot and spicy. Maybe a tad less hot than chipotles in chile sauce, but it would do the job just fine. However, once the squash was out of the oven and cool enough to taste, we both felt the spicy heat wasn't quite what we expected, a little too much on the mild side, so decided the addition of some chipotle powder would help. I sprinkled it across the top, tossed it with a spatula, and that did the trick. Next time, I think I'll try the actual chipotle pepper in adobo sauce just to see what kind of difference it will make. But don't get me wrong, this dish was plenty delicious just as it was.
The most time-consuming part about putting this dish together is slicing the squash. All tolled, it took maybe 10 minutes to toss together, and about another hour to braise. I tossed the cubes once during that time and checked the salt and pepper, so I'd hardly call this labor intensive.
And the final product? The kick of the chipotle and garlic, the sweetness of the honey and braised veggies, the slight crispness of the edges of squash and sweet potato, topped with just enough salt and pepper to complement the rest-- not bad at all. But then we added a little squeeze of fresh lime, which we felt was a perfect added touch and a highly recommended one. Michele had the thought to add a little fresh cool plain Greek yogurt atop the toasty cubes of lime-juiced squash and that, my friends, is even more highly recommended.
For the original recipe for Chipotle-Glazed Skewered Squash from the Food Matters Cookbook, please click on this link to Sarah's post. But whether you use the original or my slightly altered version, I can assure you that you won't be disappointed with this dish. Easy, adaptable, healthy, and delicious. How can you beat that?