Butternut Heaven

Honeymoon’s over

Time to get back and be responsible. SIGH

Let me tell you how AMAZING my trip was. The doc and I had a fantastic time and of course it flew by way too quickly. We stayed at Excellence Resort at Playa Muejeres in Cancun. We were there for seven days and the resort was beyond gorgeous! We had a lot of fun outside of the resort too!

We went to visit one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza. It’s a Mayan temple that’s built out of stone and it took thousands of workers to build it to perfection.

The day I feared the most came by all too quickly. We also went on a tour called Xplor. It’s an underground natural adventure park. It consists of ziplining, driving an amphibious car through trails in the jungle and through caves, swimming in the underground river surrounded by stalactites and stalagmites, and rafting using your hands as paddles.

Why was I so scared? It combined two of my worst fears in one day; heights and swimming. Don’t laugh; I just don’t know how to swim! … or float. I gave the doc hell when we tried swimming. We were provided a life vest and the water hit my chin but I was terrified. I think I had a panic attack :/ And everyone was just staring. I was told I didn’t need to know how to swim! But it was pretty incredible.

Let’s just ignore the fact that I nearly passed out =) Ziplining was awesome. The adrenaline rush was like no other! We flew over the jungle and the last round had us plunging into the river! So much fun!

Anywhoo, apart from the relaxation at the resort and the adventurous, anxiety causing tour, we had DELICIOUS food. Nine restaurants folks! NINE! I tried a bunch new dishes I have never had before. The doc and I would compete as to who had the best dishes. Entrees were half and half but I conquered the dessert! I feasted on flan and crème Brûlée. OH SO GOOD. I need a torch so I can make it at home. YUMM.

I always get carried away with dessert! I took advantage of being close to the sea and ordered seafood. So delicious and fresh! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I tried lobster for the first time and could not stop eating! The tuna tartar and the ceviche were so light and moist. Ah, I want to go back!

Now, I’m back in the kitchen. I’ll miss all the deliciousness and no cleanup. But I’m glad I’m back in time to enjoy the best part about fall. Pumpkin and Butternut Squash.  I had butternut squash ravioli a few days back and it was SO-HOOO good. Butternut squash pairs really well with sage. So what better sauce to make than Sage Cream sauce. I’m still feeling lazy from vacation so I did not make the ravioli from scratch as planned, but I did find amazing ravioli from Costco.

Butternut squash ravioli with Mushroom Sage Sauce

Yields 4 servings

3 tbsp butter

1/2 cup chopped shallots

8-10 ounces mushrooms (If you don’t like them, you can make the sauce without it)

1 tsp chopped fresh parsley

1 cup chicken stock

2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

3 tbsp chopped fresh sage

1 tbsp olive oil

S&P

1 tbsp of flour or cornstarch

1 lb frozen butternut squash ravioli

Melt butter in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add shallots and sauté for one minute. Add mushrooms and parsley and sauté for 5-10 more minutes, until the mushrooms have browned.

Add chicken stock, scraping up any bits that may be sticking to the bottom of the pan. Stir in the cream. Bring to a boil and cook the sauce down.

While it’s boiling down, prepare the ravioli according to the package.

In a separate cup, add three tbsp of water and 1 tbsp of flour and stir until it looks like milk. Add the mixture to the sauce and let it thicken. Turn off the heat. Add S&P to taste.

Pour over ravioli and enjoy!

Guess what Sunday is? Pie day! :)

– Aisha

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Crab stuffed mushrooms!

There are days where I whip up something in 30 minutes with a pinch there and a dash here and usually it turns out decent.

But the other day, I guess my creative juices weren’t flowin’ because I made horrendous dinner. And the doc is sweet and says it was good, but I was not happy.

Not. At. All.

The chicken was alright but the pasta … I wanted to cry.

What saved me from bursting out to tears was what I made as appetizers.

They were so yummy that it made up for that sticky mess! Phew!

I love mushrooms, I put it in just about anythng I can. And I love seafood! While I was prepping the mushrooms, I kept thinking about my bff, DK.

[Yes, I have a lot of best friends, don’t judge]

She’s a pint-sized cutie who LAHOOVES crab and shrimp. But doesn’t like mushrooms. We lived next to each other on the island and I used to cook for her all the time. And I would sneak in veggies whenever I could (like a mother), but one day she found out and after that, she didn’t trust me.

There is no easy way of hiding the mushrooms in this recipe but I don’t care, the next time I see her I’m stuffing her face with these bite sized goodness!!

I took Paula Deen’s recipe and made my life a little simpler and did the following:

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

Yields 6 large mushrooms or 12 small mushrooms

1 cup crabmeat

1 cup of cream cheese with chives

1 tbsp milk

4 tbsp Parmesan + a little more for garnish

6 large mushrooms caps or 12 white mushroom caps **

½ cup breadcrumbs

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

2 tsp garlic powder

butter, room temperature

* If mushrooms still have stems, remove.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine crabmeat, cream cheese, milk, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Once combined, roll into balls and stuff mushrooms with mixture. Top with breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.

Brush the pan to coat and brush mushroom tops with butter to help them turn brown. Place in oven for 20-30 minutes until filling is hot!

Enjoy every warm bite you take!

– Aisha