Archive for squash
We all survived the Mayan apocalypse. Now, it is a time for new beginings and celebrations. So start this New Year by getting good and ducked up. If you have not enjoyed a good duck recently (or ever!) pick some up. Here, we marinated fresh duck breast in Asian inspired spices and pan seared it.; served it over a crispy yellow squash pancake and wilted Chinese cabbage and spinach. A drizzle of citrus infused sweet and spicy pan sauce made this, quite simply, a duck to remember! Now, go duck yourself-and enjoy!
The recipes found in Eating Well, Living Better: The Grassroots Gourmet Guide to Good Health and Great Food are a launching point. While providing incredibly delicious and healthful meals, each recipe highlights a technique or ingredient. The idea is that after you are comfortable with the basic recipe, you can go on to create individual variations. Utilizing the Grassroots Gourmet approach to sumptuous ingredients, flavorful dishes and local seasonality; the original recipes serve as a canvas for a new creation. That concept is highlighted today. Using the kale and sweet dumpling squash puree, substitute that for the saffron, mushrooms, peas and pearl onions in the risotto recipe on page 209 and you have the amazingly seasonal, incredibly healthful and succulent Kale and Sweet Dumpling Squash Risotto. It is a dish loaded with anti-oxidants. A recent Swedish study looking at over 30,000 women over a ten year period noted a diet rich in anti-oxidants conferred a twenty percent reduction in the risk of a heart attack (Rautiainen et al., Total Antioxidant Capacity from Diet and Risk of Myocardial Infarction, The American Journal of Medicine, October vol 125 (10), 2012.)
Substitute the Fall Spice Blend for the South African Five Spice on the pork tenderloin (page 239) and you have a whole different dish. If you don’t want to smoke the tenderloin, prepare the rub and apply as directed in the book. Sear it off in a hot pan, about 3-4 minutes per side to develop a crisp brown crust. Finish cooking in the oven at 425 degrees F until it reaches an internal temperature of about 140 degrees. Remove and allow to rest for at least 10-15 minutes. Slice the pork, place over the risotto and drizzle with the fig and fall fruit port wine reduction. A meal fit for the harvest king himself!
Fall is here. It may be punctuated by the appearance of brilliant forest colors, or a subtle change on the breeze. It may be a distinct chill to the morning air, replete with a light frost upon the ground or collection of wood smoke smells and the deep earth scent as she rolls over in preparation for winter slumber. These changes are mirrored in the local bounty. New fruit and vegetables appear amid a last gasp of summer’s late harvest.
This is the perfect opportunity to chillax with a whole host of new kitchen goodness. And by chillaxin’ I mean really cooling down, literally. Not only does the ambient temperature drop, but a diet rich with fall fruit and veg can help drop your blood pressure. For example, a recent study looked at the effects of that quintessential fall favorite, cranberries. It found that 2 eight ounce glasses per day of cranberry juice modestly, but significantly dropped the average blood pressure after consuming it for only eight weeks[i].
Other sources of phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals that can also help reduce blood pressure are tasty winter squashes like sweet dumpling squash and piquant leafy greens like kale. Here is a delicious meal featuring a Sweet Dumpling Squash and Kale Risotto served with Fall Spiced Roasted Pork Tenderloin topped with a Fig and Herb Port Wine Reduction Sauce. Yummy and packed with an incredible array of potent nutrients, but most inportantly, just darn yummy. Relax, enjoy the pics-recipes to follow!
Sweet Dumpling Squash and Kale Puree
2 pounds of winter squash like sweet dumpling
1 pound kale, chop leaves and remove large central vein
1 ts.p salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp. maple syrup
1/2 cup milk
Start by making the kale and sweet dumpling squash puree. Any winter squash, like butternut or acorn will work here as well-pumpkin is delightful. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.Peel the squash, removing both the hard outer rind and the seeds. Chop into rough chunks of ap[proximately the same size. Lay on a baking sheet and drizzle with salt, pepper, olive oil and maple syrup. Roast until fork tender, about 30-35 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. While the squash is roasting, heat a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the kale and cook until tender about 7-9 minutes. Remove and place in an ice bath to arrest the cooking process. Place the kale and squash in a food processor and blend, slowly adding the milk. The resulting puree should be smooth and creamy, salt and pepper (white pepper is best here) to taste. The puree is a great side dish all by its lonesome and can be done ahead of time. Tomorrow the sauce and spice blend!
[i] (Novotny & etal, 2012)
Novotny, J., & etal. (2012). Low calorie cranberry juice lowers blood pressure in healthy adults. American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure Research Meeting (p. HBPR 2012; Abstract 299). Wasington, DC: American Heart Association.
Something is in the air besides the noise of my pager going off every morning at 3am (hence the delay in posts)-It’s Fall! So to encourage the fall feeling, here’s a dish with fall flair.
[tweetmeme source=”WCWD” only_single=false]
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Tomato Coulis and Tarragon & Poblano Chili Oil
- 2 (about 1 pound each) butternut squash
- 1 Tbs butter
- 2 Tbs oil
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 cup sweet onion (rough chop)
- 2 carrots (rough chop)
- 2 ribs of celery (rough chop)
- 2 leeks (white part only) (rough chop)
- 1 shallot (rough chop)
- 2 cloves garlic (rough chop)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ½ cup white wine
- 2 qts chicken stock (or vegetable nage for vegetarian version)
- 1 Tbs maple syrup
- 1 Tbs honey
- Roasted Grape Tomato Coulis (recipe follows)
- Roasted Tarragon & Poblano Oil (Recipe follows)
- Roasted corn for garnish (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel, seed and roughly chop the squash. Place in an oven proof baking dish and lightly cover with 1 Tbs oil, salt and pepper. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until tender. Remove the squash and allow to cool. In a large heavy bottomed pot, add the butter and remaining oil. Sweat the vegetables for several minutes; do not allow them to brown. Add the lemon juice and the white wine. Allow the wine to cook off until almost gone. Add the chicken stock, maple syrup and honey. Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Then in small batches in a blender or food processor, or using an immersion blender, blend the soup until it has a homogenous consistency.
To serve, place the soup in the serving dish. Drizzle with the tomato coulis. Drizzle with the tarragon & roasted poblano chili oil and garnish with fire roasted corn.
Roasted Grape Tomato Coulis
- 1 pound sweet grape tomatoes
- 1 Tbs tomato paste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the tomatoes in an oven proof dish and lightly drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes, until the tomatoes just start to split. Transfer to a food processor. Run the pureed tomatoes through a fine sieve and add in the tomato paste.
Tarragon Poblano Chili Oil
- 1 ounce fresh tarragon
- 1 red pepper
- 6 poblano peppers
- ¾ cup olive oil
Roast the red peppers and poblano peppers, allow to rest sealed in a zip loc bag and remove the skins. Remove the leaves from the tarragon and discard the stems. Place the peppers in the food processor along with the tarragon and oil. Puree. Strain the puree through a fine sieve and reserve the oil.
Roasted Corn Garnish
- 2 ears of corn, roasted
- Juice of 2 limes
Remove the kernels from the ears. Mix with the lime juice.