Fall flavors to chill out and cool down…Sweet Dumpling Squash and Kale Risotto with Fall Spiced Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Fig and Herb Port Wine Reduction SauceBy | On Sep 26, 2012
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.