Unabashed richness, on and off the table. Happy Thanksgiving!

We’ve been having fun cooking with our malt vinegar.  Since it tests at a higher acidity than our usual standard, but hints at sweetness through aroma, it stands up well to other strong flavors.  In this dish, we’ve dressed roasted acorn squash with a brown butter malt vinaigrette, sat it in a garlic-parmesan fonduta, and tossed a few pecans on top.

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Brown Butter Vinaigrette

Makes a lot; lasts forever.

2 sticks butter

1/2 cup chopped leek

12 big sage leaves

1/4 cup Keepwell malt vinegar

1 tbsp maple syrup

Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter and continue to cook over medium heat in a 2 quart saucepan.  When it starts to foam and begin to brown, whisk it as it cooks, letting it deepen in color until it smells nutty.  Don’t worry if you get close to burning, because you can toss the leeks in (gently) as soon as you’ve achieved the color you desire. They’ll drop the temperature back down immediately.

Once the leeks are cooking, chiffonade the sage and drop that in the pan.  Let it cook, about 5 minutes over medium heat – the leeks should be contentedly bubbling away in the fat.  Once you see the leeks taking on color of their own, stir in the vinegar and maple, then salt and pepper. 

Now taste the vinaigrette – if it’s too sharp, let it simmer again for a minute or two,, which ought to dull the acidity a bit.  Nothing wrong with adding a pinch more maple.   Reserve warm to drizzle over your roasted squash.

Garlic-parmesan Fonduta

 

8 cloves of garlic, peeled

1 stick of butter

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup grated hard cheese

1/2 tsp nutmeg

salt to taste

Cook the garlic in the butter in a very small saucepan over the very low heat.  The aim is to get the garlic completely soft – don’t be tempted to chop it, as the flavor of the whole garlic is much gentler.   Once you can squish the garlic with the back of a spoon, add the milk and cheese.  Let it all get warm again over the low flame, and puree in a blender.  Pour it back into the pan, salt to taste, and reserve warm until it’s time to eat.