Friday, June 03, 2005

The Challenge

I had a long, cozy phone conversation with the incomparably sassy Spicyflower yesterday evening, and as most of our conversations do, the topic eventually came around to fabulous gourmet food.

I know, big surprise, right?

I have to say that Spicyflower has one of the most amazing culinary minds I've had the privilege to meet... and she hasn't even started culinary school yet! But when we get to talking about recipes we've made or would like to try, the ideas started flowing, and we get on to the most delectable riffs about flavor combinations, wine pairings, and the like.

It's thanks to Spicyflower that I developed the wicked brownies earlier this year... and then refined the recipe... thanks to our conversation about chocolate pasta dishes and then combining chocolate and chili powder. See? Isn't she brilliant?

Anyway, last night we got to discussing fresh pasta and butternut squash... and yes, you guessed it, fresh pasta filled with butternut squash and the wonderful ways you could dress it up. She voted for her decadent cream sauce laced with cloves, while I proposed a variation on the Afghan squash recipe I made over the winter, with a marinara sauce infused with cinnamon and cloves and topped with a garlic-herb yogurt sauce.

I then mentioned that I had seen a recipe recently for butternut squash gnocchi, regarding which she gasped in delight... and away we went, planning the perfect presentation for such a dish. We agreed that it would have to be served on a bed of wilted greens and topped with the aforementioned cream sauce, then sprinkled with toasted nuts and perhaps fresh chopped herbs.

So, come fall, I think we will end up having a little challenge contest of our own... perhaps a mini "Is My Blog Burning?" event. After all, I hope to harvest a fair amount of butternut squash from my garden this year, and I'll have to find delicious ways to use it.

I'm pretty sure I'll find help in eating it up, too.

Stay tuned!

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