Acorn Squash and Shallot Tarts

Warning: serious and / or thought-provoking post to follow.  Read at your own risk.

But first…..

A few weeks ago I saw a great recipe, somewhere, on a blog, that I, of course, bookmarked….

Or so I thought.

It was strudel-like, made with acorn squash, ricotta cheese and pine nuts.

I decided to make it.

I couldn’t find it

I have no idea where I saw the recipe – if whoever made it reads this, please let me know and I’ll give you credit.

I also couldn’t find phyllo dough.

There is always phyllo dough… but not this day.

I bought puff pastry instead.

So, it’s not what I set out to make…. but it was good.

I have some very small acorn squash, the last of the season. They’re just slightly bigger than a tennis ball, so perfect for little things like this.

Acorn Squash and Shallot Tarts 

Total time: 30 minutes

 Ingredients:

  • puff pastry, 2 squares about 5 inches
  • 4 shallots, sliced
  • 1/2 cup mashed acorn squash
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Acorn Squash and Shallot Tart

 Instructions:

  • Thaw the puff pastry, if needed, cut to size, if needed.
  • Heat oil in medium skillet, add shallots and sauté over medium-high heat until browned and starting to crisp around the edges, 10 – 12 minutes. 
  • Add pine nuts and sauté a few minutes longer, until starting to brown. 
  • Mix squash, ricotta and chili powder.
  • To assemble:
  • Lay pastry on baking sheet, either nonstick or lightly oiled. 
  • With a knife lightly score a line around the edge of each pastry, about 1/3″ (.75 cm) from the edge.  Do not cut through the pastry!  (A butter knife works best.) 
  • Divide the squash / ricotta mixture and spread within the scored lines.
  • Spread the shallots and pine nuts evenly on the pastries. 
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven at 420F (210C) for 8 – 12 minutes, until sides of pastry have puffed around middle and are golden brown. 
  • Remove and serve.

I saw this post, When You Meet a Homeless Man, by Lisa Hall-Wilson (Blogging Through the Fire), flitting past me on twitter yesterday.

I managed to not lose it.

She poses the question – what do you do when you come face to face with someone begging?

Or someone with a ‘Will work for food’ sign?

Or any sign, gesture, whatever, asking for money, food or whatever?

Do you give money? Food? Meet their eyes? Or look away and walk quickly by?

Do you do what you do out of compassion, empathy, fear, discomfort or because you don’t know what the right or best thing is?

When I was a very little girl I remember ‘hoboes’ or ‘gandy dancers’ sitting on the back step of our house – not often, but occasionally.

I grew up in a small town with a rail line running through – typical of the midwest.  There were homeless men that ‘road the rails’ as well as the rough-looking men that worked on the railroad.

They would come to the back door of our house, knock, and ask for food. My mother always made them a sandwich, and gave them a slice of cake or pie if there was any on hand. She didn’t let them in the house or chat with them, but always fed them.

Apparently there was a system to let each other know which houses in which towns were most likely to offer food.

They didn’t ask for money, were always very polite and respectful and thankful.

I rarely see homeless people, or people begging here.

In the big cities, yes, but not where I live or have lived.

Andorra didn’t allow homeless people.

There was kind of a contradictory doctrine regarding the homeless: If one was discovered trying to sleep on the street or a park bench, or begging, one was escorted out of the country. (Remember, Andorra is small….)

But if one needed clothing, it was given, free of charge, from any one of the Catholic charity shops.

And if one was hungry, one could go into any cafe and ask for a meal and it would be provided, free of charge (no wine, though).

And if one needed a place to sleep, the Catholic charities would, again, help.

Andorra, was prepared to help people in need….

But they weren’t prepared to let them disturb the hordes of shoppers by allowing begging or sleeping on the street.

Personally, I want to help everyone I see in need…. But I can’t.

And then, in Paris, I see a sad-looking, one-legged woman with a small child pathetically begging…. Only to jump up and run off on two good legs when the cops come.

As to the charities… some good, some not.

There’s no easy answer

9 thoughts on “Acorn Squash and Shallot Tarts”

  1. Thanks for linking to my post. I appreciate that. It’s certainly not an easy question to answer as the comments in the post reflect. Recipe looks yummy.

  2. Katie, is this the recipe you were looking for? I saw this one and thought it sounded delish. http://www.thewednesdaychef.com/the_wednesday_chef/2012/10/sam-sam-clarks-pumpkin-fatayer.html
    I got pretty leathery when I worked in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, where homeless people are common. Toward the end, I only gave money to buskers, to women with children, or to anyone with a dog, even though I know some of the dogs were rescued from the pound because the homeless people know they bring in donations. Now that I’m retired, I still see the occasional person – if they have a dog, I buy them a bag of dog food and drop it off. I do sometimes give money. I always think, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

  3. Living in NYC this is all too common a sight. I give what I can, when I can give it with no judgment or expectation attached.

  4. as a cook I often am allowed to take home leftovers as I drive home there is a spot where the homeless gather to ask for help and I will frequently give them the leftovers. I can’t afford to give them money but the food I can part with and at least that way they get to eat some pretty good food.

  5. Lovely recipe. Also very interesting about Andorra’s homeless policy. I look them in the eye and smile and give them a couple of bucks if I have it. If I don’t have any cash, I don’t make eye contact.

  6. I give small change to beggars for myself, not for them. Giving reminds me to be generous and to think about those less fortunate than I am. I live in Mexico and parents here often give money to their young children to give to beggars to teach them (the children) to be generous. So it doesn’t really matter if the person begging is deserving or not.
    When I’ve visited San Francisco my theory was tested. It seemed like I was being hounded all the time. So I put $1.50 in quarters in my pocket when I went out. Surprisingly (to me anyway), I never used all the money.

  7. Mouth watering tart and a difficult question. I don’t encounter many beggars but certainly donate all unwanted household goods and clothes to my thrift shop. I have a couple of favourite charities too and give to them – there are so many asking for money I just had to narrow the field. In Europe and Asia I have not given money to beggars as I am wary of scams, of being hounded and of my money being used for drugs and not a hot meal. But if someone here with a serious disability asked me for help I would certainly give it if I had cash with me.

  8. Mary Kay, thanks!
    You’re welcome, Lisa… I found it rather thought-provoking. No easy answers.
    Zoomie, no that wasn’t it – but thanks, looks good! Good idea with the dog food. We get shopping bags handed to us at the entrance of supermarkets this time of year – to fill them and give to the food banks.
    Margarita, I think that’s true of any major city… tough to see every day.
    Gayle, what a great idea! So much better than having it all thrown out!
    Scarlet, Andorra is a very small, independent country… and does things it’s own way, usually for good. No lawyers were allowed until recently….
    jubilada, great way to teach children… and good idea to carry change – in a pocket, not a purse, so it’s handy. I’ll remember that, too.
    manningroad, scams are common in the tourist areas. Usually, if one gives to the churches, they take it from there – and low overhead unlike some of the big charities in the US.

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