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Archive for the ‘Squash’ Category

 

This was a “I’m in the mood for curry, what do I have in the pantry” kinda dish.  More specifically, I was in the mood for a rich tomato-based curry flush with lycopene and lutein and…yes, I really do think this way.  Colorful foods make me feel good in so many different ways and I try to include the entire spectrum into each day’s food choices.  This curry turned out to be a great way to use up leftover baked squash as well!

 

Tomato and Squash Curry with Yellow Split Peas

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

10 oz squash, cubed @ 2 cup’s worth  [Mine was already cooked, but raw squash could be used]

16.5 oz chopped  tomatoes [I used a box of Pomi]

1/2 cup split yellow peas

4-6 T red curry paste

2 cups vegetable stock

1 – 15 oz can lite coconut milk

red pepper flakes, to taste

coconut oil, for sautéing the onions

* Optional – freshly shredded herbs, for garnish [basil, cilantro and parsley are all good options]

Directions:

Sauté the onion in coconut oil over medium heat until softened.  Add in the curry paste and red pepper flakes and cook for a couple of minutes, spreading the paste evenly over the pan so that it’s all exposed to the heat.  Add the coconut milk and whisk the paste into it.  Add the peas,  tomatoes, squash and vegetable stock.  Cook at a low simmer until the peas [and squash, if added raw] are soft.

If the curry becomes too thick, you can easily thin it out with some additional stock.

 

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What are we thankful for this year?  For many things.  We are thankful for the presence of one another.  We are thankful for the fortune that those we love are healthy.  We are thankful that we have been graced with the ability to make better choices than at any other point in the past,  and that these choices have led to more compassionate lives with the prospect of a more healthful future.

Wild Rice and Millet Stuffing

I’ve always made a bread-based stuffing for Thanksgiving in the past but for whatever reason, I just wasn’t feeling the urge to do that this year.  Instead, I wanted to make something earthy and, to my mind, far more wholesome and sustaining.  It also happens to be gluten-free, which gives those with gluten intolerances another option for holiday dressings.  I thought the combination of wild rice and millet would make a beautiful duo when melded together with seasonal fruits and vegetables.  This dish set the tone for a gorgeous holiday meal.

Ingredients:

1 cup wild rice

1 cup millet

2 stalks celery, finely diced

4 golden beets, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 cups Brussels sprouts, quartered

1 cup dried cranberries

½ cup hazelnuts

½ leek, sliced thinly

2 shallots, minced

6 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup fresh parsley, minced

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh rosemary

2 sprigs fresh sage

6 cups vegetable stock, divided

Sea salt

Freshly-cracked black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Add the millet to a hot pot and toast for a couple of minutes.  [You will hear the seeds beginning to pop when they’re ready.]  Add 2 cups of vegetable stock and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil and then drop to a simmer.  Cover and cook until the millet is light and fluffy.  This should take about 20 minutes.

In another pot, bring 3 cups of vegetable stock to a boil and add the wild rice.  Reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover and cook for 35-40 minutes or until the rice is soft.

Place the bite-sized pieces of beet and the quartered Brussels sprouts on a sheet pan.  Place in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes or until the edges of the vegetables have caramelized.

Add a drizzle of olive oil to a pan and add the celery, shallots, leek and garlic.  Cook over medium heat until softened.  Add the fresh herbs. [I like to tie mine together with kitchen twine so that removing the stems isn’t a hassle.]  Add the hazelnuts and dried cranberries and mix well.  Add one cup of vegetable stock and reduce heat to a low simmer.

When the millet is ready, fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl.  Drain the wild rice when ready, if necessary, and add to the bowl with the millet.  Mix in the contents of the pan, removing the herb stems.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Lastly, gently fold in the roasted beets and Brussels sprouts.

I served this in a roasted pumpkin.  If this is how you’d like to present this dish then you will need to get a medium-sized pumpkin and cut a round out of the top.  Clean out the seeds and stringy bits with a spoon.  Place the hollowed out pumpkin and the top you removed on a baking sheet.  Place into a 400°F oven for about an hour or until the pumpkin has softened.  Remove from the oven and place upon a plate.  After that it’s just a matter of filling the pumpkin with the stuffing and serving it at table.

 

 

 

Tempeh, Walnut and Roasted Pear Loaf

Roasted pear purée was the key to giving this loaf an amazing seasonal flavor and moist texture.  The ingredient list reads like a Who’s Who of healthful botanical phytochemicals, polyphenols and antioxidants as well as omega-3s.

Ingredients:

16 oz tempeh

4 pears, divided

1 cup shiitake mushroom caps, sliced thinly

1 red bell pepper, diced

½ leek, sliced thinly

2 shallots, minced

2 stalks celery, finely diced

8 cloves roasted garlic

¼ cup ground flax seeds

½ cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs

½ cup chopped walnuts

1 T fresh rosemary, minced

1T  fresh thyme leaves

4 large fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced

sea salt

freshly-cracked black pepper

olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cut 3 pears in half and core.  Place them upon a baking sheet and roast for an hour.  Thirty minutes into the roasting time, add the garlic cloves [wrapped up in some aluminum foil with a small bit of olive oil].

Sauté the leek, shallot, celery, bell pepper and mushrooms in a drizzle of olive oil until softened.  Add the herbs and mix well.

Place the tempeh into a food processor and blend until well crumbled.  Add to the sautéed vegetables, mixing thoroughly.

Remove the pears and garlic from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

Place the roasted pears and garlic into the food processor and blend until homogenized.  Add to the tempeh mixture on the stove.  Add the flax meal and bread crumbs and stir to combine well.  Season with salt and pepper.

Core the remaining pear and cut into slices.   Line the bottom of a oiled loaf pan with them, overlapping each piece with the previous one.   Spoon out the loaf mix atop the pear slices and fill the pan.  Press down with the back of the spoon to compress the contents well.

Bake for an hour.  Allow to cool slightly and then gently invert onto a serving plate, pear side up.

 

 

Persimmon and Cranberry Gravy

I served this over some steamed green beans with roasted chestnuts [pictured above] as well as spooning it over the tempeh, walnut and roasted pear loaf.  This tart, tangy and sweet gravy tastes wonderful with savory dishes.

Ingredients:

3 cups organic unfiltered apple juice

1 persimmon, peeled and cut into a large dice

4 cloves garlic, smashed

4 sprigs fresh thyme

Zest of one orange

1 T while balsamic vinegar

½ cup fresh cranberries

Sea salt

Directions:

Place the apple juice, vinegar, garlic, persimmon, orange zest and thyme into a pan and bring to a simmer.  Reduce volume by half [~20 minutes].  Add reduced contents to a blender and blend until homogenous.  Return gravy to the pan and add the cranberries.  Bring to a low simmer and cook until the cranberries have popped [~10 minutes].  Season to taste with salt.

 

Raw Pumpkin Custard

The notion of a raw pumpkin pie has been tugging at my brain for a long time now.  Thing is, I wasn’t in the mood for a high caloric raw pie crust full of nuts and dates and such things after having such a large meal, so I opted to simply make the filling.  It’s all anyone ever really eats anyway, right?

Ingredients:

a small sugar pumpkin [mine yielded ~2 cups peeled pumpkin flesh]

one young Thai coconut [mine yielded ~1.5 cups coconut meat]

coconut water from the Thai coconut

6 medjool dates, soaked and pitted

¼ cup almond meal

4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 T fresh ginger, minced

1 tsp cardamom

½ tsp freshly-grated nutmeg

½ vanilla bean

1 tsp lemon zest

pinch of salt

agave syrup, to taste

Suggested garnishes:  raisins, almonds, roasted pumpkin seeds, citrus zest, freshly-grated nutmeg, cinnamon

Directions:

Seed and peel the pumpkin [I reserved and roasted the pumpkin seeds to use as a garnish].  Cut into a medium-sized dice.  Set aside.

Hack into the coconut [Great how-to video here], reserving the coconut water and flesh.  Set aside.

Add the pumpkin, dates and coconut flesh to a food processor and process until smooth.  Add the coconut water to aid the blending until you get a thick but smooth consistency, remembering that you can always add more liquid but can’t remove it.

Split the vanilla bean and remove the seeds with the back of a paring knife.  Add to the food processor along with the other spices.  Blend well.  Add the almond meal, ginger,  lemon zest and pinch of salt.  Process until smooth.   Add agave syrup to taste.  Place in the refrigerator to chill.

The almond meal will help to thicken the pumpkin pudding just as the coconut water will loosen its consistency.  You can adjust this to your tastes as you wish.

This is really nice served with a ginger cashew cream like the one I made here, and garnished with raisins, zests, nuts and seeds.

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This is such a nice autumnal soup and the spiced beets add a wonderfully unexpected twist!

Saged Butternut Squash and Asian Pear Soup

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash [1.75 lbs], roasted

1 onion

1 asian pear, pan roasted

1 green apple, pan roasted

4 clove garlic

1 T olive oil

8 Fried sage leaves [Reserve the olive oil you use to fry them for use later to sauté the onions]

4 fresh sage leaves

¼ tsp mace

¼ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground sage

½ tsp white pepper

Juice of one lemon

1 quart vegetable stock

1 T umeboshi paste [optional]

½ cup white wine

8 scrapes of fresh nutmeg

Directions:

Roast the squash 400°F for 45 minutes.  Pan roast the pear and apple, sauté the onions in the olive oil used to fry the sage leaves.  Add everything to blender.  Adjust seasonings.  Garnish with the fried sage leaves.

 

Chai-Spiced Beets

2 cups unfiltered organic apple juice

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

1 T date sugar

1 inch ginger

zest of ½ lemon

¼ tsp mace

6 cloves

1 bay leaf

1 cinnamon stick

6 green cardamom pods

½ tsp black pepper

1 cup diced beets

Directions:

Add everything to a pot.  [Place cloves and cardamom pods in a tea strainer for easy removal.]  Simmer until the beets are tender.  Drain and spoon on top of the soup.

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This sauce is a wonderfully thick, rich and quick version of  Mexican mole that was inspired by a gift.   Recently, a friend of ours went to Santa Fe, New Mexico and upon her return, she gave us some incredible artisanal drinking chocolate that she had purchased from the Kakawa Chocolate House.  [Thank you, Marti!] 

Later, as I was drinking it, all I could think about was how I could  integrate this savory and spicy chocolate into food.  This sauce was the first thing that came to mind because I love the combination of  pumpkin and chocolate.  The only problem was that I had to wait for more to arrive before I could start tinkering about in the kitchen.  You see,  I had to order more since it had all disappeared.  In order to prevent the problem from reoccuring, I ordered two bags; the chocolate is just that good.

 

Chili Chocolate and Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

Ingredients:

1-15 oz can pureed organic pumpkin [I use Farmer’s Market Organic ]

1 cup hot water

4 dried guajillo peppers, deseeded

4 roma tomatoes

1 onion, halved

4 cloves garlic

¼ tsp cumin

2 tsp dried Mexican oregano

2 tsp no chicken bouillon

2 T Walnut oil

1 ball  Kakawa artisanal chocolate [I used the Chili Chocolate Elixir blend for this]

Salt and pepper to taste

Pumpkin seeds, for garnish

Golden raisins, for garnish

1-15 oz can organic black beans, drained and rinsed, for garnish

Directions:

Place the guajillo chilis in a hot dry pan.  Toast each side, careful not to burn.  Transfer to a bowl and add 1 cup hot water to rehydrate.

To the same hot dry pan, add the onion halves and tomatoes.  Blacken the sides.  Transfer to a blender.  Add the guajillos and soaking liquid, garlic and pumpkin puree.  Process until the sauce is smooth.  Transfer to a pot and bring to a simmer on the stove.

Add the cumin, oregano and bouillon.  Continue to simmer for a few minutes and then add the chocolate.  Reduce heat.   Whisk the chocolate into the sauce.  Cover and let sit as you cook the pasta.  Just prior to serving, add the walnut oil and season with salt and pepper. 

Serve over pasta [I used chewy Udon noodles] and garnish with black beans, pumpkin seeds and golden raisins.

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Roasted Acorn Squash with a Pomegranate Glaze

This is an incredibly easy side dish to prepare that not only looks beautiful, but tastes heavenly.

Ingredients:

1 acorn squash

1 cup pomegranate juice

1 T dark brown sugar

a squeeze of fresh lemon juice

olive oil

sea salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°.

Wash and then peel the squash on the ridges that protrude leaving the concave surfaces intact with peel [The peel is entirely edible.  When buying an acorn squash look for one that has dark green skin, the skin will be more tender than one that’s turning to orange.]  Slice in half, length-wise and remove seeds and stringy bits.  Cut into one inch wide slices.  Spray with a bit of olive oil and roast until tender.  This should take 45 minutes to an hour depending upon the thickness of your slices.

While the squash is roasting, heat the pomegranate juice, sugar and a pinch of salt to a low simmer on the stove and reduce by half.  Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Serve the squash drizzled with the glaze.

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