Squash ‘Bruschetta’ with Shrimp, Bacon, and Basil Topping

Yesterday was one of those days when I stand with my arms propped on either side of the open refrigerator door, and challenge it to a duel– random ingredients vs. chef. My eyes first zeroed in on a fresh package of raw jumbo tiger shrimp, and then meandered over to the beautiful yellow summer squash that I had just picked up from the farm stand. Once the dusty cogs and wheels of my culinary mind started turning, eyes darting furiously from item to item, the following fusion of Tuscany-meets-Tapas was born: Summer Squash ‘Bruschetta’ with Shrimp, Bacon and Basil.

Traditionally, Bruschetta refers to a crusty slice of bread, roasted or toasted, rubbed with garlic, and topped with an array of fresh, mostly Italian, flavors. Well, I’m not usually one to adhere to the confines strict rules, so I decided that a nice, thick slice of roasted squash would do the trick as a base replacement (also good for my Gluten-free friends!). This dish is great as a party appetizer, or even as the star of the show when accompanied by a light salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium yellow squash, sliced in long ¼ in pieces
  • 8-10 fresh raw jumbo shrimp, cleaned, peeled and deveined
  • ½ lb bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 2 tbs dry white wine
  • 1 tomato, sliced and roasted
  • approximately 1 cup of your favorite shredded cheese
  • Fresh basil, torn or thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper

Method:

1. Heat the oven to 425° F, and get the pan of tomato slices roasting (needs about 20 minutes). Remove and set aside for later.

Slice squash on a diagonal for longer pieces. Arrange on a spray coated baking sheet, dust both sides with S&P.

2. Coat a baking sheet with pan spray, arrange the squash slices onto the sheet, and sprinkle each side with a light amount of salt and pepper. Bake at 425° for 10-12 minutes, until you can see the bottom edges of the squash starting to brown. Remove pan from oven, flip each slice over, and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.

Roast and Flip!

3. Meanwhile, add the bacon to a sauté pan over medium heat. Render the bacon until it’s glistening and slightly translucent, about 2 minutes. If you’d like to drain a small amount of the bacon fat from the pan, now is the time to do so. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute or so.

Chop shrimp, chop bacon, render bacon, add garlic & shrimp.

4. Next, add the chopped shrimp, and stir to incorporate all ingredients. Allow to cook for about 2 minutes.

5. Add the white wine, and deglaze pan for another 2-3 minutes, giving the mixture a good stir every so often. Once all the shrimp pieces have cooked through (will turn bright white and orange in color), remove pan from heat and set aside.

Add toppings & broil until golden and bubbly.

6. Top each piece of squash with a heaping spoonful of the bacon & shrimp, a roasted tomato slice, and a sprinkling of shredded cheese (amount up to you!).

7. Broil on Hi for 1-2 minutes (keep an eye on it) until cheese is golden brown and bubbly. Top with fresh basil and serve.

Time to eat!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free!)

I LOVE these cookies. They are a fall addiction, and perfect for the season and as a treat for the Thanksgiving table. The recipe is for the gluten free version, however you can use all purpose flour instead (4 c.). Either way these cookies are divine!

  • 3 c. white rice flour
  • 1 c. potato flour
  • 1/2 c. tapioca flour
  • 2 teaspoons Xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 c. butter (2 sticks or 8 oz.) at room temp.
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 16-oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 14 oz chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350˚. In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. In  a mixing bowl, cream the sugars and butter until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Once combined, add the vanilla and pumpkin and mix until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed. When just combined, add the chocolate chips and continue to mix until chips are evenly distributed throughout the dough. Spoon onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Set on rack to cool.

Spaghetti Squash Pasta Primavera with Turkey Sausage (Gluten Free)

Well, unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last couple of years, I’m sure that you’ve heard of this whole ‘Gluten Free’ eating trend. While most people aren’t afflicted with Celiac disease (about 1 in 133 Americans), many do have a slight intolerance to wheat. A great friend of mine suffers from such an intolerance, so I’ve been trying to come up with healthy and delicious recipes that we both can enjoy without feeling like we are missing out on anything. Enter: Pasta Primavera with Turkey Sausage.. over Spaghetti Squash.

Believe it or not, the spaghetti squash has very mild flavor, and similar texture to al dente angel hair pasta, and is a great substitute. We grabbed veggies from the garden, poured a couple of glasses of Pinot Grigio and got to cooking.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 med – large spaghetti squash (approx 3 lbs)
  • 1 med head of broccoli
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1-2 tomatoes
  • selection of mushrooms: crimini, button, shitake
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 package of ground turkey or beef
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • fresh basil
  • parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • salt and pepper

Wash veggies, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In an oven safe stew pot, place the squash into about 3 – 4 inches of salted water. Bake for about 20 minutes, and then rotate. Continue to bake for another 20 minutes, remove from oven and set aside.

While the squash is in the oven, chop the veggies into large chunks. Split the garlic and onions into 2 equal size allotments, and proceed to sweat in separate pans until the onions are transparant.

In the first pan, brown the sausage and add salt and pepper to taste.

In the other pan, add the peppers and broccoli first, followed by the remaining veggies, adding the sliced tomatoes last. Salt and pepper to taste. Sautee until all of the veggies are just al dente.

Add 1/2 cup of medium bodied white wine. We used a California Pino Grigio. Continue to simmer for another few minutes.

With the last 2 minutes of cooking, add 1/2 can of tomatoes to each pan.

Combine the two pans.

Back to the squash. Cut it in half the long way. Run a spoon down the center of the squash, and you’ll notice that long ‘noodles’ start peeling off. In a bowl, continue to scrape the squash until you reach the shell. You should have a pretty substantial pile of squash noodles.

Portion out the squash noodles onto plates, and top with the sauce. Top with fresh basil and shaved parmesan cheese. Voila!