This past weekend, Jones Family Farms hosted a “Best of CT” event. This was a chance to celebrate three Shelton businesses who have recently won “2010 Best of CT” awards by Connecticut Magazine. Jones Winery won best wine, Liquid Lunch won best soup, and Stockbridges won best cheesecake. It is exciting that all three of these businesses in town won a Best of CT award. Jones Family Farms wanted to allow the public to see all of these businesses together and to be able to sample their products.
The event was held on both Saturday and Sunday, with beautiful weather both days. Each business was offering samples, as well as selling their products. Also on hand was Stone Gardens, selling their vast selection of late summer, early autumn veggies.
A special part of the event was the vineyard talks two times each day with Jones Family Farms’ winemaker, Larry McCulloch. Larry took each group into the demonstration vineyard located next to the winery tasting room, to discuss grape vine growth and other aspects of making wine.
The Harvest Kitchen at Jones Family Farms presented a cooking demo on both days. The featured recipe was Warm Squash and Potato Salad with Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette. The recipe was created by Chef Sherry here at the farm.
I was able to do the cooking demo on Saturday, and it was fun to see the interest people had in the recipe and their enjoyment of the samples that they tried. Many people commented that this recipe would be great to have at Thanksgiving. It is a unique way to use Butternut squash. The dressing has wonderful flavor and is not over-powering.
Now that I have you all in suspense, don’t worry; I will give you the recipe! I made the recipe again at home to take to the CRAFT meeting that I attended on Monday. I made a variation of it by eliminating the wine and only using the squash and not the potatoes, and it still turned out wonderfully. Try this recipe and let me know how you like it!
Warm Squash and Potato Salad with Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut in 3/4 inch dice
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut in 3/4 inch dice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil; divided
1 shallot or leek, finely chopped (if using leek be sure to wash in a large bowl of cold water)
1/4 cup Jones Farm Pinot Gris
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
4 Tbsp pure maple syrup; divided
1/2 cup pecans; toasted (or substitute with toasted pumpkin seeds)
3 Tbsp dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 400. Place the squash and potatoes on a sheet pan. Add 2 Tbsp each of the maple syrup and olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.
While the squash is roasting, saute the shallots or leeks in a small pan with a little olive oil. When the shallots are translucent add the white wine and balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the vinaigrette is reduced by half. Off the heat, whisk in the maple syrup, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper.
Place the roasted squash and potatoes into a bowl, and toss in the pecans. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten, and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.