Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup


Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: ~2 quarts
 
When the weather cools, a bowl of hot soup is a lunch or dinner favorite. Fall and winter bring delicious squashes and hearty root vegetables in abundance. You can make a particularly tasty soup by roasting your vegetables and pureeing them with some broth to achieve the consistency you like. The quantities of the vegetables can be adjusted and even the choice of vegetables can vary. In the base recipe here, I have used butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and a yellow onion, but you can change up the taste a bit by adding garlic, carrots, other squashes, or even something more exotic such as a small beet. If you use vegetable broth and leave out the sour cream garnish, this recipe will meet the guidelines for being vegan.
Ingredients
  • 6 cups butternut squash cut into ~1 inch dice
  • 4 cups orange yams or sweet potatoes cut into ~1 inch dice
  • 1 large onion cut into ~1 inch dice
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans of vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (a microplane works well for this)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Diced red pepper for garnish (optional)
  • Celery leaves or parsley leaves for garnish (optional)
  • Light sour cream thinned with a bit of milk or water for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a 1/4 sheet pan or a large baking pan with aluminum foil. Place the vegetables in a large bowl and stir to mix. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with ~1 teaspoon of salt, and mix to coat all of the vegetables evenly. Pour into the lined baking pan and distribute the vegetables into an even layer. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and are beginning to brown at the edges. Remove from the oven. At this point you can use a standard blender to puree batches of the vegetable mixture with the broth and spices or you can use an immersion blender. In either case, you transfer the mixture to a sauce pan (3 quarts or larger) so that you can heat it to serving temperature. If you would like a thinner consistency, add additional broth or water. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour into serving bowls and garnish with a sprig of parsley or celery leaves, diced red pepper or some sour cream. An especially attractive way to use the sour cream is to use a small spoon to distribute dots of thinned cream in a circle. Use a toothpick to drag a line connecting through the middle of all the dots to make a pretty pattern.

Tastes Like Summer Corn Salad

 

Tastes Like Summer Corn Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Vegetable, Salad, Side
Prep time: 
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Yield: 10+
 
This recipe is adapted from Heidi Swanson and 101 Cookbooks. While Heidi considered this a summer salad, we have enjoyed it other times of year by using good quality, thawed frozen sweet corn as a substitute when fresh corn is not available. If you use frozen corn now, try this again with fresh corn when summer crops are super sweet. Regardless of which corn you use, the end product will be a sweet, crunchy, chewy salad with a light lemony vinaigrette, that you can serve cold or at room temperature. If you don’t have a shallot, you can use a small amount of another type of onion, but mellow it in the lemon juice before you proceed with the rest of the preparation. You can make the vinaigrette in a bowl or jar, but for picnic transport or do ahead, the jar works better.
Ingredients
  • 6 medium ears of corn or 3 cups of frozen sweet corn, thawed
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/8 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light oil (olive, canola, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup toasted pepitas (shelled Mexican pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano or substitute another herb
Instructions
  1. If you have toasted the pepitas or sunflower seeds yourself, put them aside to cool. If you are using fresh corn, remove the husks and silk and with the corn lying on your cutting board, use a sharp knife to cut the kernels from the cobs a row or two at a time as close to their base as you can. Doing only a couple of rows at a time maximizes getting as many full kernels as possible. Place the kernels in a medium bowl with the red bell pepper and shallot while you make the dressing.
  2. Combine the lemon juice, salt, sugar and oregano in a small bowl or jar and mix until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Gradually add the oil, whisking vigorously until the dressing comes together or shake in the jar. Taste, and adjust with more lemon juice, salt or sugar, if needed. This dressing should be on the sweet side, and not overly tangy and acidic.
  3. Just before serving, add the seeds to the bowl of corn along with the dressing. Toss well, getting everything well coated. You can garnish the salad with a little more oregano that you rub between your hands to sprinkle over the top.

Eggplant Ricotta Bake

 

 

 

 

 

Eggplant Ricotta Bake
Author: 
Recipe type: Vegetarian, Entrée
Prep time: 
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Yield: 4 servings
 
In early Fall, there is an abundance of beautiful, shiny, purple eggplants in the markets. I like to make one of my favorite eggplant dishes that I adapted from Martha Stewart. It is classic comfort food and reminds me of lasagna, but without all the pasta carbs. It is great made the same day, but it might be even better reheated the next day…At least that is what I found when eating the leftovers! This casserole serves 4, but you can double the ingredients and use a 9x13 dish instead of the 8x8 dish. Using Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (freshly grated with a microplane and pressed lightly into the cup) will give you especially rich flavor. You can use your favorite pasta sauce. I made mine with Prego mushroom sauce.
Ingredients
  • 2 large eggplants (1 1/4 pounds each)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the baking dish
  • Coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper to season the eggplant
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 container (15 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese (1 2/3 cups)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (divided use)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 16 ounces store-bought or home-made pasta sauce (2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil leaves
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Slice the eggplants lengthwise into 3/4 inch thick slices. Arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on two rimmed baking sheets lined with aluminum foil or non-stick silicone liners such as Silpat. Brush lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper. Turn the slices over and oil and season the second side. A silicone pastry brush makes for easy application and clean-up. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes until the eggplant is tender and golden, turning halfway through to brown both sides.
  2. While the eggplant is baking, whisk together the ricotta, eggs, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, oregano, salt, and pepper. Brush an 8-inch square baking dish with oil.
  3. Divide the eggplant slices into 4 similar quantities for layering. It is fine if you need to cut some of the pieces. Place one layer of the eggplant slices into the bottom of the oiled dish. Spread with 1 cup of pasta sauce. An offset spatula can help make the layers even. Place another eggplant layer. Spread with half of the ricotta mixture. Repeat the layers, ending with a ricotta layer. Distribute the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese over the top. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Bake until bubbling and golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving with the chopped basil leaves garnishing each portion.

 

Toasted Walnuts with Rosemary


Hard to photograph...Delicious to eat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toasted Walnuts with Rosemary
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack, Gifts, Vegetarian
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Yield: 4 cups
 
Whether you are serving these as a snack, with drinks or using them to dress up a salad or sautéed vegetables, you will enjoy the earthy, resinous flavor of the rosemary and the salty-sweet-spicy combination of salt, sugar, and black pepper. They are delicious warm, but if you are packaging them, make sure they are completely cool. They also make a nice hostess or holiday gift. Do not substitute table salt for the kosher salt. The larger crystals of the kosher salt not only add a nice texture and crunch of salt in some bites, but the same volume of table salt has twice the saltiness of kosher salt. You can use any of the larger-grained sea salts. You can make the dried ground rosemary by stripping fresh rosemary needles from their stems and leaving them to dry on a sheet of parchment paper for a day or two. Grind them in a blender or electric coffee grinder. If you do not have ground rosemary, you can substitute 3 tablespoons of chopped, fresh rosemary needles.
Ingredients
  • 4 cups (1 pound) walnut halves
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried ground rosemary needles
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground fresh black pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the rosemary, salt, sugar, and pepper. Add the nuts, drizzle in the oil and gently mix all of the ingredients until the nuts are evenly coated with the oil and the seasonings. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with a non-stick silicone liner such as Silpat or aluminum foil. Bake on the middle rack of the oven, stirring occasionally until the nuts are golden and toasted, about 15 minutes. Cool the nuts in the pan on a cooling rack. When the nuts are cool, transfer to a serving bowl or an airtight container. These will keep for 2 weeks at room temperature.

 

Pasta with Garlic, Olive Oil, and Red Pepper


Made with Juice and Zest from a Lemon, and Capers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pasta with Garlic, Olive Oil, and Red Pepper
Author: 
Recipe type: Pasta, Vegetarian, Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 6 servings
 
When I am tired of tomato sauces and I want pasta with an easy, yet satisfying taste I turn to extra virgin olive oil, lots of garlic, red pepper flakes, flat leaf Italian parsley, and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese sprinkled over the top. A microplane grater makes quick work of grating a block of cheese. Although Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is expensive, a little goes a long way because of its depth of flavor. Once you have tried freshly grated cheese, you won’t be satisfied with pre-grated parmesan cheese in those green cans. The olive oil loses some of its distinctive taste when heated, which is why we are reserving half of it to add to the dish when it is off the heat. After the basics, you can throw in extras like tuna fish, capers, lemon zest, lemon juice, Kalamata olives, broccoli, spinach leaves, asparagus, marinated artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil leaves or a myriad of other ingredients to switch up the pace. If you are adding chunky ingredients, it is good to use chunky-shaped pasta. The base recipe clings nicely to any of the long pastas. There is a classic Italian dish called Pasta Aglio Olio e Peperoncino which is made with those basic ingredients I described. Here is a base recipe which you can tweak to your own tastes.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound of pasta of your choice
  • 12 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 6 large cloves of garlic, sliced very thin or minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup packed flat Italian parsley leaves, chopped coarsely
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Freshly ground coarse black pepper
  • Salt
  • Water
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta in a large amount of salted water for a minute or two less than the time suggested on the package. Taste. The pasta should be cooked, but still a little short of the ideal “al dente”. Drain the pasta, reserving about a cup of the cooking water.
  2. In a skillet large enough to hold the drained pasta, heat 6 tablespoons of the oil. Sauté the garlic and the red pepper flakes in the oil until the garlic is golden, but not browned, about a minute or two. Stir in the drained pasta and some of the pasta water to moisten the pasta if needed. Add the reserved extra virgin olive oil, freshly ground coarse black pepper to taste, the parsley and any add-ins that you would like. Serve the pasta with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano on top.