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Carrot soup photo by Dani Vincek

Peter Volz and Gail Zucker share their winter feast recipes for:

♦ Butternut Squash Toasts with Whipped Ricotta and Mint
♦ Apple Galette
♦ Carrot Soup

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Butternut Squash Toasts with Whipped Ricotta and Mint

1 butternut squash
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, peeling and thinly sliced
1/4 cup apple-cider vinegar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
Large loaf of white, country-style bread of your choice
1 cup ricotta
1/4 cup chopped mint
Finishing salt of your choice

  1. Peel and seed the butternut, then cut the squash into 1/2-inch pieces.
  2. Place the squash in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan (with a fitted lid). Toss with 3 Tablespoons olive oil, pepper flakes and salt, and turn the heat up to medium high. Cover and cook 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally and adjusting heat as necessary, or until the squash is tender.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the onion jam by heating a small saucepan over medium heat. Add 3 Tablespoons olive oil and onions. Keeping the heat on medium, cook until the onions become translucent and then darken, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in the apple-cider vinegar and syrup, which should bubble up nicely. Reduce until the onions reach a jam-like consistency.
  5. Once squash is tender, add the onion jam, stirring carefully to preserve some of the butternut’s chunky texture.
  6. Slice your entire loaf of bread horizontally, as if for a giant submarine sandwich. Toast both halves in the broiler.
  7. Spread a layer of ricotta over the toast, then top with veggie mixture. Sprinkle with mint and finishing salt. Slice yourself, or allow guests to slice off their own serving.

Apple Galette

Adapted from the New York Times

Dough

1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 egg
Cream, as needed
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into tiny cubes
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Filling

3 cups sliced unpeeled, thinly sliced apples
1/2 cup white sugar
Pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
4 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon crystallized or turbinado sugar

Special tools

Food processor

  1. To make the crust, combine flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor outfitted with a steel blade. Pulse to mix.
  2. In a 2-cup measuring cup or larger, break the egg and beat it. Then add cream until mixture reaches 1/3 cup. Whisk together.
  3. Dump the cold, cubed butter into the food processor. Pulse to break up mixture until all chunks of butter are the size of oats. Do not over mix!
  4. Set aside one Tablespoon of the egg and cream mixture. Pour the rest of the egg and cream slowly onto the dough, pulsing occasionally. Continue to pulse until the dough begins to stick together. Mix in lemon juice and zest.
  5. Dump dough onto floured counter top or board, and press the dough together into a flat disk. Chill the dough for at least 2 hours.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
  7. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out in the dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer to the prepared cookie sheet.
  8. To make the fulling, toss the apples, white sugar, salt, lemon juice and cornstarch.
  9. Scoop fruit onto the dough, leaving dough border of 1 inch all the way around. Then gently fold over that border to hold the fruit in.
  10. Brush the pastry using set aside egg and cream mixture, then sprinkle with crystalized sugar.
  11. Bake galette for 35-45 minutes or until the apples bubble and the crust is golden brown. Cool for at least 20 minutes on wire rack before serving.

Carrot Soup

1 Tablespoon olive oil (or butter, if desired)
1 leek (white section only), sliced
2 shallots, roughly chopped
2-3 lb. Oxford Gardens carrots, sliced
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock (or more)
1 Tablespoon cumin, freshly ground from seeds if possible
Salt to taste

Optional toppings: cilantro or parsley, a swirl of Greek Yoghurt or creme fraiche, drizzle of high-quality olive oil, finishing salt

  1. Sauté leek and shallots in olive oil or butter until softened, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon cumin and continue sautéing, but do not allow veggies to brown.
  3. Add carrots and sauté 3-5 minutes couple of minutes.
  4. Add stock until it fills an inch above the veggies.
  5. Cook for 20 minutes, or until carrots are fully tender.
  6. Season with salt to taste.
  7. Purée the vegetables either in batches in a blender or food processor or with a stick blender. Check seasonings again.
  8. Top as desired and serve