Thursday, November 19, 2009

One more squash recipe ...

These recent posts have inspired me! Just in case you guys didn't see this in the NY Times a few days ago, check out the Roasted Winter Squash and Apple Soup with Cilantro Pesto recipe. It's almost the exact recipe I use for butternut squash soup except the squash is roasted first, but the cilantro pesto looks like a dynamite addition. At the bottom of the article are links so some more squash recipes by Martha Rose Shulman; she's terrific -- I have a few of her cookbooks, including one with the challah recipe (and holiday variation) we love.

Huge Winter Squash Roundup

JJ's post inspired me. Plus the server I need to do my data work is not responding. Maybe if I eat lunch and write this post, it will be up again afterwards?

Our CSA is over for the year, but two years participation have fully warmed me up to cooking with winter squash of all sorts. I admit I began as a winter squash skeptic, but now I find myself buying squash at Whole Foods long after the CSA season is over. I generally like to spice it up, so the squash is not overwhelmingly sweet. That is, unless I'm cooking it for dessert or breakfast.

Over the last couple of months, we have sampled a whole bunch of squash varieties, several of which I was unaware of until about a year ago: butternut, buttercup, sweet dumpling, delicata, acorn, red kuri, kabocha, blue hubbard, spaghetti, and of course, pumpkin.

To keep it interesting, I have tried out dozens of squash recipes, so here are some suggestions from my best-of list. Most of these recipes work just fine with whichever type of squash you have on hand.
-Acorn squash quesadillas
My tips: sub corn tortillas for a really nutty flavor; add a can of black beans; we used just a little bit of pepper jack soy cheese (of course); poblanos are optional.
No tomatillos or jarred salsa on hand? try this recipe: 1 can tomatoes (plum or
fire-roasted, preferably), 1 tbsp scallion, 1 chopped jalapeno, 2
tbsp cilantro, 1 tsp cumin, 1 clove garlic, 1 tbsp lime or lemon juice, salt
to taste.
-Pumpkin lasagna
A seasoned (sage & nutmeg) pumpkin puree takes the place of tomato sauce here. So delicious.
I added some tofu ricotta (Veganomicon-style) between the layers.
I would use white lasagna noodles next time though; the whole wheat ones got a little too mushy.
-Mexican squash casserole
So easy and so healthy and delicious! I have made it a few times now with butternut squash.
-Winter squash & saag curry
Try the Veganomicon recipe--I adapted that one when I made it.
Next up in this vein for me is Manjula's spicy squash subsi--I haven't tried it yet though.
-Spaghetti squash with Tofu cacciatore
J ate this and was asking me where spaghetti squash had been all his life.
-Pumpkin Barley Soup (recipe below)
-Three Sisters Stew with Chard (recipe below)
-Pumpkin, cranberry, molasses breakfast bars
-Pumpkin waffles
recipe from Vegan w/a Vengeance--do you guys have that book?

Three Sisters Stew with Chard and Cornmeal Dumplings
adapted from combining a Modern Vegetarian Kitchen recipe + a Gourmet recipe
Saute over medium heat:
olive or sesame oil
1 onion
1 carrot
1 jalapeno
1 lb winter squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed

Now add:
14 oz can tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried sage
2 cans pinto beans
1 large bunch of thinly sliced chard
vegetable broth--enough to just barely cover the veggie mixture
salt and pepper to taste
Bring the stew to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, before adding dumplings.

Meanwhile, mix together:
1/3 cup cornmeal
2/3 cup AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp brown sugar (optional)
1/2 cup soymilk
1 tbsp olive oil
Mix the dry ingredients above together. Then stir in the wet ingreidents until just combined. Let sit for 5 minutes. Then form into rounded tablespoon-sized balls. Drop the dough balls on top of the stew. With the heat on low or medium/low (a low simmer), cover the pot, and let it steam undisturbed for 20 minutes, until the dumplings are puffed up and cooked through.

Pumpkin barley soup
Note: start this recipe after you roasted and pureed half of a sugar pumpkin.
In a large soup pot over medium heat, add:
olive oil
1 carrot
2 celery ribs
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
...pan fry until tender

deglaze with:
1/2 cup white whine

1/2 of a sugar pumpkin, oven roasted, peeled, blended in a food processor (or ~2 cans pumpkin)
1 slice of baked pumpkin chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
1 diced kohrabi, turnip, potato--whatever you have
1/2 cup pearl barley
1/2 tsp rubbed sage
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar (to taste, depending on how sweet your squash is already)
...simmer 20 minutes, add water as necessary. add salt to taste.

At the end, stir in:
2 cans cannelini beans, drained & rinsed
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
serve with black pepper, soy parmesan, salt to taste.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Moroccan-Style Stuffed Acorn Squash

I just came from a dinner where we made Moroccan-style stuffed acorn squash and it was really incredible. I had 4 acorn squashes sitting in my closet since my CSA has delivered them the past couple weeks, and I wasn't sure what to make. This recipe was super easy and cooked up completely in about 35 or 40 minutes. It's essentially a complete meal for 4, which I think is a pretty good time/outcome ratio.

A few things about the recipe:
  • I did what they said with the butter and brown sugar, but it didn't really make much sense to me. I ended up pouring out the butter and brown sugar mixture that had pooled in the bottom of the squashes before stuffing them. In the future I would ignore those instructions.
  • I clearly love anything with cumin, and this is no exception. I think adding some more spice would make it more interesting (though it was by no means boring). I might try it with a hawaij spice mix next time.
  • This could be really awesome with quinoa for a little more of the protein punch.
I also got a buttercup squash in my CSA a couple weeks ago. I wasn't sure how to prepare it, so I looked around online and found you can make it in the microwave! I cut it in half, scooped it out, put a little bit of maple syrup in the halves and then microwaved for 7-10 minutes and ended up with a really good squash. I got another one and did it again last night, but since I had no maple syrup I used agave nectar and molasses - very tasty.

Since it's obvious the CSA is forcing me to expand my horizons, one last finding: green chard. I sauteed the green chard I got with a tablespoon or two of sesame oil and it was amazing. Ben isn't a big fan of leafy greens but actually went out and bought more green chard to make it the next night.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Apartment, New Favorites!

Sorry to be SO BEHIND! Seeing the baked tofu post has inspired me, though--not only to bake tofu of my own, but to put up a few recipes I've come to love. My new apartment has a tiny (but truly lovable) kitchen, so these are all things that take relatively few dishes and not too much space, but are delicious when they're done. (Photos to follow soon, now that I have a new camera.)

--Mollie Katzen's Farfalle with Arugula Gremolata, Gorgonzola, and Walnuts (posted here: I upped the amount of the gremolata but kept everything else just as it was, and was awarded with a delicious, filling, and unusual pasta dish.
--Roasted butternut squash and shallots. Cut into small pieces, toss with a splash of olive oil and some salt and pepper, and roast at 450 degrees. Time depends a lot on size--I overroasted mine a bit, and found that made them even creamier and better.
--Lentil Stew with Spinach & Potatoes ( Simple, quick, and yummy. I top each bowl with an extra splash of lemon juice and some fresh pepper.
--Cranberry Walnut Pumpkin Bread ( I subbed apple sauce for most of the butter, since there's a lot in there, but man, this bread tastes good. After the first loaf, my roommate made it clear that the rest of the canned pumpkin should be made into another loaf, ASAP.

That's all for now! Looking forward to making some tofu & dal--

Easy Baked Tofu

These two sauces make great baked tofu!
I already posted here about using jarred Indian sauces for making a quick tofu dinner. But a couple nights ago I found that by diluting the jarred sauce with a little water (if necessary), it made a great sauce for coating tofu before baking. I cut two 1-pound blocks of extra firm tofu crosswise into 12 slabs each and dipped the slices from one pound into the diluted Indian sauce and used the LaChoy Garlic Ginger sauce (undiluted) for the other. I fit all the slices onto one baking sheet and baked them at 400 for 20 minutes, turned the pieces over, and popped them back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Delicious!!! I think I liked the leftovers even more -- they make great sandwiches and are delicious eaten just as is. So easy, so good. And I love getting 2 full pounds of tofu on one baking sheet. You could also cut thicker slabs or cubes, or triangles, or any shape you want.
Garlic Ginger Tofu (left) and Madras Curry Tofu (right)

I can get 2 pounds of tofu from each bottle of the LaChoy sauce and probably about 4 pounds (more?) from each bottle of the Pataki sauce -- and both sauces keep a long time in the fridge. Now I'm on the lookout for other prepared sauces for quick meals. Let me know if you've tried any that you like!