It seems my recent posting style has been ‘mish-mash.’ Very preoccupied down here, and I’ve sorely been neglecting my blogging, among other things. Pulling things together soon is a priority. In the meantime, one more mish-mash post of what we’ve been eating:

Grecian sun-dried tomato turkey burgers with feta and red onion.

DSC02207Split pea and ham soup with toasted bread croutons.


White bean chili with jalapeño bulgur


Babycakes, of the bran persuasion.


Molly’s coffee crunch bars Oh baby! And the pièce de résistance: Giada’s unusual, incredible, butternut squash and vanilla risotto with added chunks of smoked ham

DSC02254Butternut Squash Vanilla Risotto with Smoked Ham [serves 2 as an entrée]

Printable recipe

2 c vegetable broth

1/2 large vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise, seeds scraped out

1/2 to 3/4 c roasted butternut squash cubes

1 T unsalted butter, plus 1 T

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped

3/4 c Arborio rice

1/4 c dry white wine

1/4 c freshly grated Parmesan (or other grating cheese)

1/2 c smoked ham, cut into small chunks

1/4 t salt

1 T finely chopped fresh chives

In a medium saucepan, warm the broth over medium-high heat. Add the vanilla bean seeds and the bean to the broth. When the broth comes to a simmer reduce the heat to very low and cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan, melt 1T butter over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with butter. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2c of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2c at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, 15-20 minutes total.

Discard the vanilla bean pod. Turn off the heat. Gently stir in the roasted butternut squash, Parmesan (or other cheese), remaining 1T butter, ham and salt. Transfer risotto to bowls and sprinkle with chives. Serve immediately.

From Everday Italian