Today I had the pleasure of stage managing Elizabeth and Brian’s wedding. More on that later, when I have some of the professional photos to show you. Right now I want to talk about the food I devoured at their reception, held at Spiaggia.

Roasted Beet, Apple, Prosciutto, & Goat Cheese Salad

The first course was this fantastic salad. Goat cheese, roasted beets, apples, tomato, and delicious, crispy, perfectly cooked prosciutto. It was heavenly.

Wild Boar Gnocchi

The second course was wild boar gnocchi. I was really excited to try it, since I’ve never eaten boar before. I’d expected that it would be rolled up in the gnocchi, but it was instead in the sauce, like a meatball would be. It was pretty tasty, too.

I didn’t get a picture of the cake, but it was delicious. (And you know what a cake snob I am.) A hazelnut cake with a light frosting – not too sweet.

So – if you have the chance to dine at Spiaggia, don’t pass it up!

Apples, Apples, Apples

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’re probably already addicted to our dear friend Keely’s Lollygag Blog. (If not, what are you waiting for? There is comedy, fantastic writing, and so much adorable kid-ness! Go.) And you probably already know that there is a very recent addition to their family. Last night, we got to meet three-week-old Susannah (Suzy or Zuzu for short) and hang out with the whole family for a few hours, which rocked, because they are awesome, and every time we hang out with them, we think, “yeah, we could do this kid thing and still be cool – after all, they’re doing it!”

Anyway, we thought it might be nice if they could eat dinner without having to cook it, so we put together a very fall* meal. Theme: Apples. It was two courses – Apple and Acorn Squash Soup followed by an Apple, Bacon, and Rosemary Tart. (In our fantasy world, there was Apple Crisp for dessert, but there is only so much you can do in 3 hours.)

So – the soup is a bit labor intense. Acorn squash is not easy to cut. But, it’s tasty and worth the effort. The tart is super easy, especially if you follow the instructions and use a store-bought pie crust (we don’t, duh) and it is delicious. Rumor on the twitters has it that you all might want these recipes, so here goes.

Apple & Acorn Squash Soup

What You Need:
1 large onion, diced
5-6 large shallots, diced
2 T. safflower oil (or other vegetable oil)
1 large acorn squash (about 3 lbs.)
6-8 apples, peeled, cored, and diced (enough for 3 cups)
1 T. fresh ginger, minced
4 cups vegetable stock
2 cups apple juice
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper (preferably white)
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 cup cream

How to Make It:
1. Heat safflower oil in a large stock pot and sauté onion and shallots until soft, about 5 minutes.
2. Add acorn squash, apples, and ginger. Sauté 5 minutes more.
3. Add vegetable stock, apple juice, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until squash is tender.
4. Using an immersion blender (please, do yourself a favor and get one if you don’t already have one), puree until smooth and creamy.
5. Stir in cream and adjust seasonings if needed.

Recipe adapted from and image courtesy of Serious Eats.

Apple, Bacon, & Rosemary Tart

What You Need:
1 pie crust (you can buy it or make it; I use the Free Form Tart dough from Baking Illustrated)
3 apples, sliced into 1/4 thick wedges
1/2 lb of bacon, cooked, drained and chopped into small pieces
2 T. fresh rosemary, chopped
2 T. butter, cut into pea-sized pieces
1 T. sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Then do all the chopping and slicing while it warms up.
2. Roll out the piecrust. I put mine on a piece of parchment paper so it doesn’t stick to anything, but it really should be fine on a cookie sheet or pizza pan.
3. Spread the bacon around the crust, leaving about two inches around the edge free of bacon. Sprinkle with with rosemary.
4. Arrange the apples in a pretty spiral (see the picture above), starting from the outside and working towards the center.
5. Dab with butter and sprinkle sugar evenly over the apples. Fold the outside edge of the crust over the apples to enclose it. (Alternately, you can do this whole thing in a tart pan, like the picture, but who has one of those?)
6. Bake for 40 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

Open mouth, insert yum. Enjoy!

*Naturally, we were there on the one fall day where it was 75 degrees and sunny out. That’s Chicago for you.