Tag Archives: vegetarian

Green garden gazpacho

8 Sep

photograph of homegrown green zebra tomatoes, tomatillos, cucumber, basil, and chives

Gazpacho is one of my favorite things to make when the weather is warm. It’s tasty, healthy, and you can throw in just about anything.  We had a number of green zebra tomatoes, so I wanted to try making a green gazpacho using only veggies our garden.  To the tomatoes I added a few tomatillos, a small cucumber, and a ton of fresh basil and chives.  A little red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper rounded things out nicely.

Keep in mind that this is a special tomato variety that is green when ripe.  Unripe tomatoes will not be the same!  Using red tomatoes is fine.

quartered green zebra tomatoes on a pink cutting board

Most gazpacho recipes recommend peeling your tomatoes.  I never do this because I’m lazy and I think that putting them through the blender/food processor is fine.  So I just core and quarter my tomatoes.  Into the blender they go.  Easy as pie.

I did peel and seed the cucumber, though.  I guess I’m not very consistent.

green gazpacho topped with greek yogurt, basil and chives in a bowl with a green and blue retro starburst pattern.

Topped with a little Greek yogurt and some more olive oil, basil, and chives, this made a delicious (and good looking) lunch, and almost all of it came straight from the garden.

The best part, though, is that I didn’t need to turn on a burner to make it.  Hot weather food, for the win!

Stay cool

4 Aug

Here in the Pacific Northwest we’ve managed to avoid the heatwave that’s been plaguing the rest of the U.S up until this point.  That’s all supposed to change this weekend as we make it into the triple digit temperatures for the first time this year.

While I’m looking forward to some of the effects of this heat (hello, homegrown tomatoes!), I’m not much of a fan of hot weather.  So, I’ve been trying to keep in mind some of my favorite tips and recipes for staying cool.

The kitchen is the prime source of unwanted heat, so I try to switch up the kind of cooking that I do when the sun is out.  The key is to avoid turning the oven on at all costs, and the stove-top should be used as little as possible.  Thankfully, there are tons of recipes that are seasonal, tasty, and use little to no heat.  The Kitchn just did a recipe roundup of 20 no-heat or low-heat recipes.  Lots of smoothies and salads there.  I’ll be making lots and lots of gazpacho once our tomatoes come around.

If you do want to cook with heat, keep your wits about you.  I’ve found that using the crock pot to cook dried beans takes longer but keeps the house much cooler than using the stove.  Couscous takes less time and heat to cook than pasta does.  Cook extra so that you can reuse leftovers rather than heating your house again to make another batch.  And just about anything can be made outdoors if you have a decent grill.  Grilled pizza is a favorite around here.

When it’s hot out, there’s no shame in cheating a little.  Pre-cooked food items are fair game.  Shred some chicken from your local deli for taco night or slice a little roast beef to use as a salad topper.  Tofu and tempeh are pre-cooked and can be added to your dinner straight from the package.

One of our favorite hot weather foods is the classic salad roll.  It’s great because you can adapt it to include whatever ingredients you already have around.  These bad boys are vegetarian, with chunks of tofu and hard-boiled egg inside.  You could easily vegan-ize them by leaving out the egg, if you so desire.  Lots of fresh veggies and herbs are required, though!

Salad rolls:

  • 1 package of rice papers
  • rice noodles, cooked according to package directions (usually soaked in hot water for 10 minutes and drained)
  • 2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • 1/2 package tofu, sliced
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Bean sprouts
  • Fresh herbs (mint, basil, cilantro)
  • Peanut sauce (see below)

Soak the rice paper wrapper in warm water until pliable, about 30 seconds.  Place on a work surface and load on your desired ingredients.  Wrap up like a burrito, both ends folded in and rolled up tight.  They don’t have to be perfect!

Perhaps the best thing about salad rolls is that they act as a vessel for one of the world’s greatest condiments: peanut sauce.  Here’s my go-to recipe; it’s super easy and you probably already have all the ingredients already.

Peanut sauce

  • 4 T smooth peanut butter (natural is best, if you use something else you may want to use less sweetener)
  • 1 T rice vinegar
  • 2 t soy sauce
  • 2 t honey or agave syrup
  • 2 t minced ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced fine
  • Water
  • Sriracha hot sauce to taste (optional)

Mix first six ingredients in small bowl.  Add water until desired consistency is reached, approximately 3-4 tablespoons.  Mix in a squirt of Sriracha if you so desire (you know I do).

Stay cool out there!

Happy spring

7 Apr

They say that sex, politics, and religion shouldn’t be discussed at parties.  But what about on blogs?

Tomorrow is Easter.  While both Nate and I were raised in fairly religious families, we aren’t currently practicing any religion.  However, we never turn down an opportunity to spend time with friends and family, so we’re planning on attending multiple Easter festivities tomorrow.

It’s always seemed weird to me that non-Christians would celebrate Easter, for some reason far stranger than celebrating Christmas.  I guess it’s because Easter hasn’t been quite as commercialized.  I’ve also always seen Easter and the story of Jesus’ resurrection as being a pillar of Christianity, a confirmation of Jesus’ position as the son of God.  It seems weird to me, then, that non-believers would celebrate such a religious holiday even if their celebrations are supposed to be secular.  Can you really have a secular celebration of a day that is so tied to a specific religion?

That said, now that I’m guilty of “joining the party,” it hasn’t really been bothering me all that much.  I’m just seeing it as an opportunity to spend time with loved ones and partake in some fun traditions.  Can you say hypocrite?!

But today the sun is out and the weather is beautiful.  It looks like spring is here (at least for now) and that is definitely a reason to celebrate!

Anyway, Nate is almost solely responsible for this asparagus gallette with goat cheese.  All I did is assemble it and snap some photos.  It’s super easy (I’m not just saying that because Nate made it) and would be perfect for your Easter festivities or just to help welcome the spring season.

Asparagus galette with goat cheese

Adapted from a recipe from Feast on the Cheap

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet of pre-made puff pastry
  • 1 half of an onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Splash of balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, tough ends removed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 3 oz. goat cheese

Preheat your oven to 400F degrees.  Roll out puff pastry into a rectangle approximately 15″ by 10″.  Make a score mark around the edge of the puff pastry, about 1 inch from the edge.  Pierce the puff pastry inside of the score mark with a fork, place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Heat a saute pan over medium heat.  Add 1 Tbsp of the oil, and then the chopped onion.  Saute until translucent.  Add the garlic and saute until fragrant.  Add the balsamic vinegar, if using.

Put the trimmed asparagus to a large bowl and toss with the remaining olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

Remove the par-baked puff pastry from the oven.  Evenly distribute the onion mixture over the crust, followed by the cottage cheese and goat cheese.  Place the asparagus on top.

Bake in your 400F degree oven for about 15 minutes.

Bella offered to act as a taste tester for you.  That’s so nice of her, isn’t it?

Slice and serve warm.  I bet squeezing a little fresh lemon juice over the top would be good too.  Happy spring!

Being green

21 Mar

I can tell I’m starting to become an adult.  I know that in the U.S. they say you become an adult when you turn 18, but let’s be real.  The first few years of adulthood happen to line up with the “college years” for a whole slew of people.  Not that I’m speaking from experience here, but I would say that, in many cases, there isn’t much that’s grown-up about the college years.  Sure, you have to feed yourself and do your own laundry and pay rent, but besides that?  Irresponsible choices galore.  Not that I’m speaking from experience…

Anyway, I can tell that I’m growing up because my idea of a fun St. Paddy’s day this year was focused on food rather than booze.  I donned my best 1950’s Irish housewife outfit and hit the grocery stores for corned beef, cabbage, soda bread, and Guinness (hey, I said it wasn’t focused on booze, not that it was booze free)!

Fat woman with light skin and short brown hair, wearing a pink headscarf, green dress and green cardigan. She is wide eyed and covering her mouth with her hands. Her fingernails are painted green.

Despite being named Margaret and having a brother named Cullen (two pretty darn Irish names), I don’t feel very in touch with my Irish heritage.  Or any heritage, for that matter.  I guess that’s the price you pay for being a western European mutt.  Recently, I was wondering if previous generations of my family have distanced themselves from these identities due to the negative connotations that have historically been associated with them.  We’re mostly Irish and German, after all.  Have any insight, Mom?

Anyway, I’ve decided that there’s no time like the present to try to get in touch with those roots and there’s no better way to get in touch with a culture than through food.

Cabbage is a big deal to both the Irish and German, so my eyes lit up a little bit when I saw the recipe World’s Best Braised Green Cabbage in Molly Stevens’ book “All About Braising.”  I guess this dish is technically Italian (what with the balsamic vinegar) but it went perfectly with our corned beef.  Actually, it didn’t go perfectly with our corned beef; it blew our store bought beef out of the water!

On a side note, have you ever heard of Chef Molly Stevens?  I recently heard an interview with her on The Splendid Table and immediately put her cookbooks on hold at the library.  So far, Nate and I have made four of her recipes and they have all been stellar.  I’d never heard of her before so I figured I would spread the word in case you’re in the same boat.

The only negative of this recipe is that the cooking time is over two hours, so plan ahead.  It’s worth it!

Braised cabbage in a blue cast iron casserole

Best Braised Green Cabbage I’ve Ever Had

Vegetarianized straight from Molly Stevens’ All About Braising, check it oooout

Ingredients:

  • 2lb cabbage
  • 1 onion, sliced into large slices
  • 1 carrot, chopped into rounds
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. vegetable stock, divided
  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • Hot pepper flakes (to taste)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Lightly oil a large baking pan or casserole (I used our 3 quart cast iron casserole). Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage and slice into eight wedges.  Add to the pan or casserole in a single layer.  Sprinkle the onion and carrot over the top, then drizzle with the olive oil and 1/4 c. vegetable oil.  Season with salt, pepper and hot pepper flakes.  Cover (with aluminum foil or lid) and put into the oven.

After two hours, remove the pan from the oven.  Increase the oven heat to 400 degrees.  Turn the pieces of cabbage over.  Add the balsamic vinegar and, if things are looking dry, the remaining vegetable stock.  Return the pan to the oven and let cook, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, until the cabbage starts to brown.

Braised green cabbage in a blue cast iron casserole

Molly says that this could serve 6-8, but it was so good it only served four at our house.  It ain’t pretty, but appearances aren’t everything, right?  Especially when something is this delicious!

Banh mi, baguettes, and me

13 Mar

Banh mi sandwich (baguette with tofu, mushrooms, pickled carrots and diakon radish, cucumber, and cilantro)

Banh mi sandwich (baguette with tofu, mushrooms, pickled carrots and diakon radish, cucumber, and cilantro)

Only people who know me incredibly well know that I can be a perfectionist.  I try my best to hide it with cloak of nonchalance but sometimes people still get a peek.

Probably the main way that my perfectionism comes out is that I have the hardest time challenging myself.  One time I won a Guitar Hero contest at a bar in the medium level bracket.  I got 100% on a song I’d never even heard before.  (I won a rubik’s cube and about 20 minutes worth of bragging rights.)  I’m so ready for a harder level that it’s borderline pathetic but I just can’t bring myself to make the leap!

Basically, I have the hardest time bringing myself to do something that I might be mediocre or even (*gasp*) fail at.  I’d rather not attempt something than risk the possibility of failing at it.

For a while, it’s been time for me to take the next step in my bread-making.  It’s been time for me to tackle the world-renowned baguette.

Two freshly baked baguettes in a metal baguette pan

The first time I tried my hand at making baguettes, I tried the technique in the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day book that I won’t stop talking about. (It was even recommended to a caller by Lynn Rosetto Kasper on this week’s episode of The Splendid Table, so it must be good!)  They recommend rolling some refrigerator dough out into a 2-inch wide tube, letting it rise for 25 minutes, and then baking it on a preheated baking stone.

Well, I tried this technique but I don’t have any photos of the results.  I don’t have any photos because, quite frankly, the baguettes were awful!  They were horribly lumpy and misshapen and far too flat.  To top it all off, they had neither the crunchy crust nor the soft interior that baguettes are known for.

What was that I said again about how I feel about failing?

Thankfully, this is one kitchen mishap that can be avoided with the proper tool.  A baguette pan.

Freshly baked baguette in a metal baguette pan

We received this baguette pan from Nate’s uncle Mark as a wedding gift.  It’s non-stick, perforated and it will cook up the crustiest, tastiest baguettes you’ve ever made (although I confess that in my case that’s not saying much).  What I especially love about this pan is that you proof and bake in the same pan; there’s no need to make a complicated transfer and clean up is easy (just remember to hand-wash it)!

My baguettes still aren’t the prettiest things ever.  They’re still a little knobby and misshapen, or as Nate said “funky and chunky.” I prefer to think of them as “rustic.”  Whatever their looks may be, they definitely taste like winners.

So then what do you do once you have fresh, homemade baguettes?  You partake in the current culinary craze and make banh mi.

Banh mi sandwich (baguette with tofu, mushrooms, pickled carrots and diakon radish, cucumber, and cilantro)

Everyone is always ragging on colonialism (myself included) but banh mi and other fusion foods are, I believe, concrete examples that there are some benefits to imperialism and globalization.  The combination of French baguette and Vietnamese fillings is awesome; if you haven’t had banh mi before, there is no time like the present to remedy that.

The banh mi you see here is a homemade baguette topped with mayo, sauteed mushrooms and onions, grilled marinated tofu, pickled carrot and daikon radish, plus chopped fresh cucumber, cilantro, and jalapenos.  Don’t worry, it sounds like way more work than it actually is!  That said, there is a lot of chopping so this recipe may be one to make with a cooking buddy if you aren’t super speedy with a knife.

Stack of grilled, marinated tofu and piles of chopped cilantro, cucumber and jalapenos.

Both the pickled carrots and daikon and the sauteed mushrooms and onions were made using a banh mi recipe from my lovely and hilarious friend Caroline.  We added grilled tofu to her recipe because we were hungry.  For the tofu, we grilled it in a grill pan on high heat after marinating a few large slices in a mixture of rice vinegar, Sriracha hot sauce, brown sugar, and light and dark soy sauce.  If, like us, you have left-over fillings, you can cook up a little jasmine rice and, wham-bam, you have a perfect lunch (or two) for the next day.

The coolest thing about this recipe is that you don’t even realize that it’s vegetarian.  If you leave off the mayo (or use a vegan product instead), this would be a very satisfying vegan meal.

Banh mi sandwich (baguette with tofu, mushrooms, pickled carrots and diakon radish, cucumber, and cilantro)

Actually, I take that back.  The coolest thing about this recipe is how freaking good it is.  Feel free to add extra Sriracha to taste (Nate certainly did)!

Cold and spicy – roast broccoli

22 Jan

roast broccoli with flecks of red chili

A few weeks ago as I was making dinner for a get-together with a friend, Nate informed me that we would be having a few more guests than I had originally planned for.  Thankfully, we had some good looking broccoli in the fridge that I quickly prepped and threw into the oven.  Despite taking the shortest amount of time to prepare and being made of the cheapest ingredients, the broccoli stole the show.  Everyone who has eaten this has asked me how to make it; it’s so easy that I can’t help but feel somewhat embarrassed when I give them the directions.  If you make this, you will probably be surprised when you taste it.  In a good way.

roast broccoli on a plate, covered with specks of red chili

The secret to both the ease and the big flavor of this recipe is this pre-made chili garlic sauce.  A bottle of this stuff costs around $3 and you can buy it at pretty much any grocery store that has a mediocre Asian food section.  You can put it on just about anything, but for now I’m sticking to broccoli.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut your broccoli into florets and place in a medium to large bowl.  You can also slice up the stem and add that if you so desire.

Mix a spoonful of chili garlic sauce in a small bowl with high temperature cooking oil (veggie, canola, or peanut).  The sauce by itself has a chunky consistency; you should mix it with enough oil so that it resembles a thick salad dressing.

Pour your chili oil mixture over the broccoli and toss until fairly evenly coated.  Dump the broccoli onto a baking pan and roast in the oven until the edges of the broccoli are brown and crispy, it should take somewhere between 25-35 minutes.

roast broccoli with flecks of red chili

I think that this kind of cooking is really more of an art than a science.  If you like things hot and spicy, use more chili garlic sauce.  Add a little soy sauce if you want.  Have tons of broccoli?  Go for it.  It will shrink in size as it cooks anyway.  Add a little sesame oil when it comes out of the oven.  And a little salt and black pepper never hurt anyone!

It’s taken me a while, but I’m finally becoming comfortable enough in the kitchen that I don’t always have to follow recipe.  I don’t know about you, but I think that cooking becomes so much more interesting when you give yourself the freedom to experiment a little!

Cold and spicy – kimchi babies

16 Jan

Tossing cabbage for kimchi

We didn’t have a white Christmas this year but we are currently enjoying a bit of a winter wonderland.  We woke up yesterday morning to about an inch of snow.  Now I realize that only in Oregon (and California, I guess) would an single inch of snow be worth mentioning.  We hardly get any snow (some winters we don’t see any at all) so when snow sticks around for more than an hour or so, it’s a big deal.

Bearded, bespectacled man in a red and white 49ers sweater playing in the snow and making a snowman.

Nate had today off of work so he spent the morning making a snowman.  Check out his awesome sweater.  As a kid his favorite NFL team was the 49ers so when I saw this sweater for a few dollars at a thrift store, I had to pick it up for him.

I think that one of the best types of food to accompany cold weather is spicy food.  Nate thinks that one of the best types of food regardless of the weather is spicy food.  So, we decided to make kimchi today.  Nate had picked up a giant package of Korean red pepper flakes in Portland over the Summer.  We walked a few blocks in the slush to the natural food grocery store and bought everything else we needed.

A metal bowl of chopped cabbage and a white plastic bowl of bright red kimchi paste.

After learning that they shared a love for it, one of Nate’s favorite customer’s gave him a recipe for homemade kimchi.  The recipe comes from online Korean cooking star Maangchi, whose website is a treasure trove of cute cooking instructional videos and tasty recipes.

Tossing cabbage for kimchi

We made a few adaptations to Maangchi’s easy kimchi recipe.  Instead of Napa cabbage, we used savoy (it was all they had in stock at the store) and we adapted the recipe for approximately four pounds of cabbage.  We also omitted the fish sauce in the kimchi paste, replacing it with a little soy sauce.  I don’t usually have an aversion to fish sauce but we had made this recipe before and with one cup of fish sauce, I found it to be a little too fishy.  Rather than just cut back on the fish sauce, we decided to cut it out entirely so that we could share the kimchi with our vegetarian friends (if we don’t eat it all ourselves first)!

Photograph of a man mixing red kimchi paste onto chopped cabbage.

I recently happened upon another recipe for kimchi on the Splendid Table website.  The recipe is from The Korean Table: From Barbecue to Bibimbap by Taekyung Chung and Debra Samuels.  I find it really interesting to see the differences between two recipes for the same thing.  Maangchi’s recipe has more julienning (a task I’m not particularly fond of) so next time I may try the recipe from The Korean Table.

Holding up a container of finished kimchi.

This large container of kimchi is now making itself at home in our refrigerator.  It takes a while to develop the sour, fermented taste when kept at cold temperatures, so we put a little kimchi in a small, separate container and left it on the counter.  Tomorrow, if it smells sour and looks bubbly, it will go into the fridge with a head-start on its fermentation.

Now we just need to figure out what to do with all of this kimchi.  We’ll snack on it little by little, but I’ve been eying a few recipes that should help use it up.  Maangchi has a recipe for kimchi stew with pork belly (or tuna) and tofu.  The Splendid Table has a recipe from Ming Tsai for pork kimchi with noodles.  And, of course, there is the ever popular kimchi fried rice.  Do you have a favorite recipe that uses kimchi?  With all of this kimchi, I’m definitely looking for recommendations!

We got the beet

14 Jan

A slice of tarte with small dark purple beets and chunks of parsnip.

Despite being known as an advocate of nose-to-tail eating, in his most recent program, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (my favorite British celeb chef, eat your heart out Jamie Oliver) decided to spend the summer as a vegetarian.  The River Cottage Veg series documented his journey and when I saw River Cottage chef Gil cook up a savory baby beetroot tarte tatin, I knew I had to try it.

The first time I fixed the beet tarte wasn’t without incident; when I went to return the skillet to the oven after adding the puff pastry, I grabbed the skillet handle with my bare hand.  Here’s a tip: don’t do that.  Not only do you feel like an idiot, but your hand hurts like hell for the duration of the party you were making the beet tarte for.  Thankfully, it wasn’t anything an ice-pack, liquid lidocaine, and some gin couldn’t fix.  And the tarte turned out well.  We were having a holiday feast with Middle Eastern food so the tarte was served sliced, drizzled with a tahini-yogurt dressing and sprinkled with chopped parsley and crumbled feta.

A slice of tarte with small dark purple beets and chunks of parsnip.

Yesterday’s lunch was leftovers of a parsnip and beetroot adaptation of the tarte.  I cooked it following the same directions and Nate made a dijon mustard vinaigrette.  Next time I might top it with this sweet-tart fresh mint sauce from Lynn Rosetto Kasper instead.  If you want to make a baby beetroot tarte tatin (with or without parsnips), I have a few tips:

  • Gas mark 5/190 degrees Celsius is roughly 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  • You can easily use frozen puff pastry instead of the homemade stuff (I did. Shhh, don’t tell…)
  • Don’t grab the hot skillet without an oven mitt!

Mother hubbard squash pie

13 Jan

Baked hubbard squash pie with a pie crust decoration of the state of Oregon with a heart cut out of the middle.

“Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard
To get her poor dog a bone;
But when she came there
The cupboard was bare,
And so the poor dog had none.”

I’m familiar with this old Mother Goose nursery rhyme but I’m not sure what, if any, connection it has to the mighty and delicious (or should that be mighty delicious?) hubbard squash.  We planted one hubbard squash plant this past summer, which should have yielded several squash.  Due to an unfortunate (but understandable) mix-up of the hubbard with a globe zucchini plant, we ended the growing season with only one full-sized hubbard squash.

A diptych with two photos of a bearded man with plastic framed glasses holding a large, green, hubbard squash. In the second photo, he is tossing it in the air.

Due to the “rarity” of homegrown winter squash at our house, it was of utmost importance that we put it to good use by fully utilizing its deliciousness.  I’m not sure why, then, I decided to use it as the filling in my first fully-homemade pie, considering that homemade pie crust is infamously finicky and difficult to get “just right.”  Now, I’d made several pies before, but always with store-bought crust.  Any purists out there may be scoffing at me, but honestly those Pillsbury refrigerated crusts aren’t half bad.  And they save a ton of time, as I found out from this cooking session.

Start to finish, it took me several hours to make a single pie.  That said, some of the extra time was due to using fresh squash rather than stuff from a can.  I peeled the squash, chopped it, roasted it in the oven, and then pureed it in the food processor.  The cool thing about making a squash pie is that from this point on you can follow any standard pumpkin pie recipe.

Image of a piece of pie crust cut into the shape of Oregon with a small heart cut out of the middle.

Back to the crust.  I followed the single crust recipe in The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.  One of the benefits of making your own crust is that you have the freedom to be more creative.  A trick that my dearest Momma often uses to add some visual pizzazz to her pies is to cut a shape out of the leftover crust.  She often adorns her pies with dainty little pie crust leaves and swirling vines.

Not wanting to be too much of a copy-cat (and, quite frankly, doubting my ability to handle something so fragile), I instead free-handed a rendition of my second favorite Oregon iconography.  Baked on a cookie sheet until brown, this tasty treat waited on the counter until the rest of the pie was finished baking.

Baked hubbard squash pie with a pie crust decoration of the state of Oregon with a heart cut out of the middle.

Upon first taste, I found the pie to be a great success.  If you’ve never had a pie with homemade squash or pumpkin, you’re really missing out.  I don’t want to be a culinary elitist; pie made with canned pumpkin is perfectly decent and I doubt you’d ever see me turn down a slice.  That said, once you try the alternative it’s difficult to go back.  As far as the crust goes, the critic in me thinks that it could have been flakier but I didn’t receive a complaint from any of my taste-testers.  In fact, people cleaned their plates!

While I’m on the topic, what’s the plural of squash?  Is it also squash?  I’m guessing that it isn’t “squashes” but I could be persuaded otherwise!