I Made This: Pasta With Butternut Squash, Sage & Pine Nuts

butternut squash, pasta, pine nuts, sage, cooking, recipes

Local highlight: Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is one of my favorite vegetables. Its sweet, creamy richness is irresistible to me, so I’m always pleased to find a lovely mound of beautiful butternuts at my weekly market during the winter. Recently I turned one of these darlings into one of the most delicious pasta dishes I have ever made. No lie. The chopped butternut squash is roasted with chopped onion, minced garlic, and olive oil until its soft and nearly spreadable. Then the squash and cooked pasta are pan-fried together with sage and pine nuts to deepen the flavors and make the pasta a bit crispy.

butternut squash, pasta, pine nuts, sage, cooking, recipes

I found this recipe on The Kitchn, and I followed the directions almost exactly. I did not have a sweet onion, so I subsisted half of a regular onion, but since the onion is roasted with the squash, it still became sweet. I also used rotini in place of farfalle. I think this prohibited the pasta from getting as crispy as The Kitchn describes, but it was still incredibly tasty.

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Composting with GrowNYC

Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket, grand army plaza, gap market, grownyc, grownyc markets, grownyc composting, grownyc compost collection, composting nyc© Jessica Dailey

Saturdays are my favorite day of the week. Not only is there no work, but it’s market day, which means I can stock up on delicious fresh food, and I can empty the growing compost bag in my refrigerator. Since we joined our summer CSA two years ago, composting has become just as second nature as recycling. While there are plenty of home composting bins and kits, I have no need for a continuous supply of soil (tiny apartment with small windows = not a lot of plants), but GrowNYC makes it incredibly easy for everyone in New York City to compost, even if you don’t want the byproduct. Just collect your food scraps in a container or plastic bag, and drop them off at one of GrowNYC’s compost collections at various city Greenmarkets.

Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket, grand army plaza, gap market, grownyc, grownyc markets, grownyc composting, grownyc compost collection, composting nycvia GrowNYC website

As of January 28, 2012, GrowNYC had collected a whopping 349,286 pounds of food scraps! Today, the GrowNYC representative at Grand Army Plaza told me that this winter, just at Grand Army Plaza, they collect about 1,500 to 2,000 pounds per week — a rather incredible amount considering that the expanding composting program is less than a year old. Before March 5, 2011, GrowNYC only collect compost at a handful of markets that worked with third party partners, but now 11 of the biggest markets offer collection stations.

Food accounts for 17 percent of New York City’s waste stream, but through composting, we can turn our food scraps into a useful byproduct that will help grown more fresh produce. You can even buy the fertile soil at GrowNYC’s collection sites. For more details on what GrowNYC allows in the compost, visit their website.

Rooftop Farming in the Winter

annie novak, eagle street rooftop farm, wilder quarterly, winter rooftop farming, nyc urban farms

Recently, I had the pleasure of working with Wilder Quarterly, a new Brooklyn-based magazine aimed at modern growers and gardeners working in odd spaces (i.e. cities). The magazine’s publisher reached out to be to share a few of their latest stories on Inhabitat, and I gladly accepted as soon as I saw that they did a feature on one of my latest obsessions: rooftop farming. But what intrigued me most was that this story was for their winter issue — and winter isn’t exactly a lush and fertile time for farming anywhere, let alone on a wind-strapped warehouse roof in Brooklyn. Written by Eagle Street Rooftop Farm manager Annie Novak, the story in Wilder shares the ins and outs of wintery rooftop farming, while beautifully reflecting on the cyclical nature of life. You can read more about Annie’s experiences here.