Date Night – Homestyle

There’s no denying it: a weekend is not a proper weekend for my fiance and I without the enjoyment of some really delicious food. We truly enjoy food, love the experience of trying new things together and appreciate good flavor combinations and textures. We do eat out quite often on the weekends, often indulging in things we tend to avoid during regular weekday meals. However, when cash, calories, or time is tight, we’ll sometimes decide to stay in. And usually on these nights, I try to make something a little more special than I would during the week. Tonight, the two ingredients I wanted to incorporate into my meal were pecans and fresh sugar pumpkin which I needed to use up. I decided to make a risotto with roasted pumpkin and fresh sage, alongside pecan crusted salmon filets.

For this entry, I’d really like to emphasize my love of cooking without a recipe and hopefully inspire those less comfortable that it’s really ok to trust your instincts and throw something together. Just think about what you want to taste, look around in your pantry, and see how you can get there. To compliment the pecans and salmon, I wanted something sweet but with a little bite as well. I combined equal part maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and cider vinegar, and seasoned with garlic powder, salt and pepper. I brushed this on my salmon filets, pressed a layer of crushed pecans on top, and baked at 350F for about 20 minutes. For the risotto, I took the opportunity to again incorporate a few different layers of flavors. I started by peeling and dicing up some fresh pumpkin I had leftover in the fridge. I really wanted to deepen the flavor, so I tossed the diced squash with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and nutmeg before roasting. Meanwhile, i began preparing a risotto with sauteed sweet onions, earthy sage, and tangy pecorino romano to create a backdrop for the sweet autumn pumpkin. The result? A delicious dinner for two at home, healthier and cheaper than anything we would have enjoyed outside the house!

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