What's For Dinner in October/New Book

Posted by Brette in Food

dinner at homeI make Martha’s What’s for Dinner section in Living every month, but I don’t always make it all on the same night. For October, I decided to put it all together. I made Roasted Pumpkin Soup, Cheese Flautas with Cilantro Pesto and Black-Eyed Peas with Baby Greens for dinner. This recipe is also in the new Martha Stewart Dinner at Home book, coming out this month (my thoughts on the book are at the end of the post).

This dinner was not something you can quickly

pumpkin soup

pumpkin soup

whip up. It took some time. First, I started with the pumpkin. For the life of me, I could not get my pumpkin cut up so I could roast it. Mr. MarthaAndMe stepped in and did the grunt work. This pumpkin was nearly impossible to hack up! He was really sweating. Finally I got in the oven and roasted it with onion, garlic and mushrooms. Once it was roasted and peeled, it’s simple to get it to be soup. You puree it with some vegetable stock and heat it and that’s it. It was horribly bland though, so I added some cumin and also added a little bit of cream. Even so, I didn’t find it particularly flavorful. I have made butternut squash soup in the past and that is much tastier. I’ll stick with that in the future.

black eyed pea salad

black eyed pea salad

The black-eyed pea salad with baby greens was a breeze to put together – peas, chopped tomato, cilantro, garlic, greens and dressing. I liked this and ate the rest of it for lunch the next day.

Now for the flautas. This was something completely new to me, so I was excited to give it a try. You start by cooking pumpkin seeds (green ones you buy at the store – NOT seeds from the pumpkin you roasted – I found mine in the bulk section) with garlic. You pulverize it into a pesto with fresh cilantro, lime and oil. I found this to be new and exciting. I love

spreading the pesto

spreading the pesto

the taste of cilantro and lime and the pumpkin seeds were a new ingredient for me. You spread the pesto on your tortillas, then add some Monterey Jack cheese and roll them. Then you fry them in some oil.

There wasn’t much to these when we ate them. Mostly, they tasted greasy from the oil. I am not big on deep-fried foods, so this didn’t appeal to my palate. I could barely taste the pesto, even though I slathered it on pretty thickly and

frying

frying

it had a nice flavor when I sampled it before making up the flautas. There wasn’t a lot of cheese in proportion to tortilla. They were just not worth the effort. Now, I can see making this pesto and using it with chicken and adding some tomato or avocado and not frying the tortillas – that would appeal to me then, but this just did not. It would be a fun twist on tacos.

Out of three dishes, one was quite good, one was ok and one was just not

taking a bite

taking a bite

worth it. Pretty disappointing!

Now, as for Martha’s new book, I have an advance copy and it is definitely a gorgeous book. It’s divided into seasons and then within each season are complete meals. Each meal is set up like the “What’s for Dinner” section in Living – 4 items that go together. The book is meant for easy entertaining or at home meals and the ingredients are meant to be accessible. There are certainly a lot of interesting things in this book – things you won’t find elsewhere, so I like it for that. However, although the ingredients are meant to be accessible, these are not meals you can make on nights where you pull out the cookbook and 5 pm and see what you can pull together. For me at least, I would not have most ingredients lying around and would need to plan in advance to make these dishes.  There are many things in here I would never make just for us at home for dinner. Who makes truffles as a weeknight family dessert? Not me.  I also felt as though many of the meals were not complete enough for me – they needed more vegetables, so more work would be involved in making them into a complete meal. That being said, it is a fun, inspiring book.

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