There are times when you need epic comfort food. That rustic hands-on meal that melts your soul and makes you smile. I needed that recently. Just a few hours to spend in the kitchen with a little Coltrane in the background and my hands in flour. Usually, I crave comfort food on rainy days or times that life has just beaten me down, but instead I was celebrating. Celebrating with family in the kitchen, laughter in the air, and champagne pouring because I had just officially signed my first cookbook contract!
I’ve been contemplating a cookbook for years now. At first, an agent proposed we work together and I passed. Then another approached and I swallowed my fear and decided to jump on the train and write a proposal for the agent to pass out to publishers. Well, days passed, then months, then years and I could never put pen to paper. I fought daily with the time it took to get my new business off the ground, paying bills, keeping food on the table and struggling to keep a roof over our heads. It was a serious and tough time for all of us and by the end of the day, I had nothing left in me to begin to write. Two years quickly passed and I made the hard decision that writing a book wasn’t going to happen. I called my agent and sadly ended our relationship.
I felt a loss, a failure at something I never even quite had. It was that moment I realized that I had made a mistake and I didn’t sleep that night. The next morning, when I opened my email I nearly choked on my coffee looking at what was in front of me. An email from a publishing house wanting to publish a book — my book. Clearly fate was hitting me on the head. So, I am very excited to announce, my first cookbook will hit the shelves (if all goes according to plan) Fall 2016! I’ve got an idea what that book will be but more on that a little later because I’ve got something else up my sleeve.
but wait there’s more…
For years (almost 7 now) I’ve had this blog — a little space of mine to share. It first started out as an easy way to notify my family and friends how our months in the NICU with my daughter were going since answering phone calls became exhausting. In Sock Monkey Slippers was a humorous name for a tough situation and seemed fitting. When we arrived home and I left my job to take care of her, I returned here and combined my love of cooking with my art and photography background and you have what you see here today, a food blog. The name In Sock Monkey Slippers has now overgrown it’s stay and doesn’t fit the foot it’s meant to be on, so to speak. After years of debating this difficult decision, the name In Sock Monkey Slippers will be retiring by the end of this year. It’s time to ease some growing pains but that doesn’t mean I’m quitting, it’s actually just the opposite. In the coming months when you type, Google, retrieve a bookmark for InSockMonkeySlippers.com you will be redirected to SteeleHouseKitchen.com. It will be an entirely new look and feel but all of the old recipes will be here and will continue grow. I’m really excited for all of this to come into play and finally be the blog I’ve wanted. I thank you for all of the years you’ve been with me on this adventure and of course, hope you will stick around when In Sock Monkey Slippers transforms to Steele House Kitchen.
comfort comes in all shapes of pie
I’d choose pie over cake any day. Sweet or savory, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s pie! So, to celebrate all of this change, I made a Butternut Squash and Bacon Galette and paired it with a roasted pear salad with roquefort and caramel (recipe coming soon). Like I said, it was an epic but simple meal and we laughed while we ate reminiscing about all of the crazy adventures this year has brought us.
This galette starts with an earthy sweet whole wheat crust. Then while it rests in the fridge, butternut squash and bacon roast in the oven. Once the dough is rolled out the butternut squash mixture is tossed with fresh sage and placed in the middle of the dough, topped with goat cheese, and folded over to make a rustic galette. It’s set in the oven to bake until golden and ready to devour.
It’s just so insanely good because it’s basically a pie…with bacon.
Thanks for all of these long years of listening to the craziness, happiness, and my obsession with good food and I hope there will be many more. Cheers, friends!
Sweet butternut squash, savory bacon, fresh sage, and tangly goat cheese are wrapped in a nutty whole wheat golden crust for an epically delicious fall meal.
for the dough
- 1 1/4 cups whole wheat four, plus more for rolling
- 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons ice-cold water
- 1 large egg, beaten
for the filling
- 1 (2 pound) butternut squash
- 3 slices hickory-smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Pinch salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
- In a food processor, pulse flour, butter, and salt until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Drizzle water, one tablespoon at a time, over mixture while pulsing until the mixture begins to stick together and form a ball of dough. Be careful not to over mix or dough will be tough. You can alternatively place the flour and salt into a large bowl and cut the butter in with a fork until it resembles course meal. Then slowly add water until the dough sticks together by pressing it togetherwith your fingers. Press the dough into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
- While the dough chills, preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Peel the butternut squash (microwaving the squash for 1 minute before peeling and slicing will make this easier). Then slice in half, discard the seeds, and slice into 1-inch cubes. You should have 4 cups of squash. Place on a large rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan in a single layer. Add bacon, garlic, olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss until combined and roast for 35 to 40 minutes until bacon just begins to crisp and squash is tender. Toss with sage. Reduce oven temperature to 400°F.
- On a well floured surface, roll the dough into a 13-inch circle. It doesn't have to be exactly round just close to it. Transfer the dough onto a baking sheet. Spoon the mixture onto the center of the dough, leaving about a 3-inch edge. Top with the crumbled goat cheese then fold the dough edges on top of the filling creating a "purse-like" structure. Brush the dough with the beaten egg then bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the dough is golden. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
by Meredith Steele