Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Derivative works

At least half the fun about blogging about my food adventures is sharing in the adventures of others. We're all out there cooking...scouring our recipe books, or our fridges and pantries...looking for inspiration. We're also looking at each others posts. Since we're all doing this in real time, we're all cooking with seasonal produce, food that's appropriate to the season. So there are times you see what other bloggers have posted, and you think...I HAVE to make that.

Such was the cast a couple of weeks ago, and the reason I have that luscious looking butternut squash up top. Squash was one of those things I just stayed away from....too much work. I was always afraid I'd slice my hand off cutting them open and peeling them. And those seeds were such a pain to remove. But then I saw this recipe on 101 Cookbooks called Borlotti Bean Mole with Roast Winter Squash. Squash, beans, kale. I had to make it. And risk severing my hand. (They do have peeled and cubed squash available from the grocery, but Whole Foods had butternuts on sale...)

Fortunately, Susan's sister was in town, and she doesn't eat meat, so I had the perfect excuse to make my version of this. Truth be told, I followed the recipe pretty much verbatim, but I substituted in Anasazi beans (which I could find in the local health food market) for the borlottis (which I'd never seen, much less heard of). I won't repeat the recipe, because it's done in nice detail in the original.

I will give some warning though...make sure you're willing to spend the afternoon. When I fell in love with this recipe, I hadn't quite figured out how much time it would take. But, after you've soaked and cooked the beans, which you can do ahead of time, it was about 3 1/2 hours, start to finish. Which was no problem at all, because I had plenty to do at home, and the house smelled great. But this was one time where I had to sit down with the instructions and lay out a time line so that I could figure out how far in advance I had to start.

It was all worth it. I'd never made a mole before, and it was fun chopping up the chocolate, dumping it in the pot, and watching it slowly disappear, coating everything with chocolate and infusing it with a rich, slightly sweet, but not too much, flavor. And a little heat from some long red peppers I had lying around made it perfect.

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