Summer Squash Sauté with Goat Cheese

Hello!  I feel like I should apologize for my long absence.  In the last several weeks, real life has trumped cyber life and I decided it would be best to wait until things settled down before getting back into the kitchen and on dishesanddishes.  There was the wrap-up of my final term in nursing school, graduation(!), a visit from my parents, and a trip up to beautiful Orcas Island off the coast of Washington.

The view from outside our hotel.

The San Juan islands are amazing.

On the ferry to Orcas.

Even Dan got to enjoy his favorite activity.

I’ve been catching up on sleep, reinstating some self-care (hello exercise and yoga!), and working through the process of getting my nursing license and looking for jobs.  I tend to shy away from instability and uncertainty and so I’m sure these next few months of battling it out in a tough job market and seeing what turns up will be a real learning process for me.  The up-side of unemployment?  I have time to cook.  🙂

Yay cast-iron!

My mom gave me a cast-iron skillet as a graduation gift and a used it for the first time with this simple sauté of crookneck squash, red onions, spinach, and goat cheese.  It was a delicious side dish and the perfect answer to the end-of-summer’s glut of squash.

Enjoy it while it lasts.

How do you deal with change?  Do you welcome it or dread it? 

Summer Squash Sauté with Goat Cheese
makes 6 servings
inspired by Happyolks taco version

Ingredients
– 1 tsp olive oil
– 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
– 3 crookneck squash, cubed
– 1 tsp red wine vinegar
– 1 tsp dijon mustard
– a few handfuls of spinach
– 2 oz goat cheese

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until softened, about 4 minutes.  Add squash, increase heat to medium-high, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Stir in red wine vinegar and mustard until well incorporated.  Add spinach and stir for another minute, just until wilting.  Remove pan from heat and crumble goat cheese over vegetables.  Toss a few times and serve warm.

* I shared this post with this week’s Superfood Sunday and Seasonal Celebration Sunday.

Toast Points with Onion Marmalade and Chèvre

Hello everyone!  I hope your week is off to a good start.  I wanted to get this post in before my long, long day tomorrow.  I’ll be be up before the sun rises and driving out to the Oregon coast to spend the day providing community health screenings to low-income kids.  Then I’ll be rushing back to Portland, getting dolled up, and letting my wonderful boyfriend take me out to dinner and Cirque du Soleil for my birthday!  That’s right, I’m turning 27 tomorrow.  🙂

My life has been such a whirlwind recently, I can hardly believe another year has gone by. At this time last year, I was just learning that I would be going to nursing school (I was so excited!) and Jeremy and I were looking for our first apartment together.  Now, I’m studying for my RN licensure exam and happily settled into a cozy apartment.  My goals for this year are to (1) have a strong final few terms at school, (2) find a job I like, (3) continue experimenting in the kitchen and making regular blog updates, (4) stay physically active, and (5) take a vacation.  A real one.  The feasibility of which depends entirely on my success at goal #2.  It will be exciting to see what this year brings!

But now, on to the food.  This is a recipe I chose based on the fact that I had all the ingredients already available in my kitchen.  I love it when I can find new ways to transform items that otherwise seem commonplace.  For example, that half-loaf of sourdough bread hanging out in my freezer became toast points!  Which is way more exciting than regular toast.  I think the Queen of England probably eats toast points.  And humble yellow onions were magically transformed into rich, sweet onion marmalade.  Topped with crumbled goat cheese, this is a light lunch or appetizer fit for royalty.  Enjoy!

Toast Points with Onion Marmalade and Chèvre
adapted from Vegetarian Entrees that Won’t Leave You Hungry by Lukas Volger 

For the onion marmalade:
– 2 Tbsp butter
– 3 yellow onions
– 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
– 1 bay leaf
– 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
– 1/2 cup red wine
– 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
– 1/4 tsp salt

Peel the onions and cut in half lengthwise.  Cut halves into thin strips.  If you are like me and likely to cut yourself with the knife given half a chance, just go as thin as you safely can.  Thicker strips may just need to cook a bit longer.

In a large saute pan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic, and bay leaves and cook until onions are soft, about 15 minutes.  They should not get too browned at this point.  Add wine, vinegar, and sugar and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 15-20 minutes.  Season with salt.

Keep stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
For the toast points:
– 2 pieces of bread per person, I like sourdough
– olive oil

Lightly brush the bread with olive oil on one side.  Toast until just beginning to brown.  Then, cut the toast in half horizontally.  Cut the halves vertically, so that they look like triangles.  Each piece of bread will yield 4 toast points.
To assemble:
– prepared toast points
– prepared onion marmalade
– a few tablespoons chèvre

Spread about a tsp of onion marmalade onto each toast point.  It is quite flavorful, so you don’t need a lot.  Sprinkle with goat cheese to taste.  Serve immediately.

More onion marmalade ideas you might enjoy:
Spicy Red Onion Jam from the Homesick Texan
Grilled Cheese + Onion Marmalade from Urban Baker
Caramelized Onion Jam from Shutterbean (I especially love their brainstorm of what to do with your finished product!)