Archives for the month of: October, 2010

Here we are, another fall season upon us. A season full of great comfort meals like soups, stews, and baked goodies galore!

I’ve been a huge fan of squash for a couple years and more recently, as a paleo eater, I have a newfound appreciation for these “starchy” vegetables since starchy grains are relatively forbidden. Spaghetti squash replaces spaghetti pasta, mashed butternut squash replaces rice side dishes, roasted acorn squash is another delightful and filling alternative.

Halloween is upon us and in keeping with the squashy season and the pumpkins of jack-o-lantern and pie fame, I made some pumpkin butter. It’s a nice paleo friendly treat to spread on some coconut pancakes or drizzle over cubed and roasted sweet potatoes. Another bonus: While cooking, it makes the house smell amazing.

Pumpkin Butter

1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup agave syrup or honey
1 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup
1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Cinnamon
3/4  tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice*
Pinch of salt

* You can make your own pumpkin pie type spice by combining 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg.  You do not need to add cinnamon since it is already included above, however, if using this spice for another recipe; you would want to add 1 tsp ground cinnamon to the mix.

  1. Combine the pumpkin, agave nectar, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a small saucepan over medium heat, mixing until well combined. Stirring constantly, cook for about 15 minutes, or until thickened.
  2. Stir in the spices and salt, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from heat, and transfer your pumpkin butter to a small bowl or jar. Let cool completely before covering and refrigerating.
  4. Pumpkin butter will keep for about 2 weeks in a covered air tight container in the refrigerator.

NOTE

  Continuously stirring is really important in this recipe to keep your pumpkin butter from burning. If you have to walk away, add a few tablespoons of apple juice and turn down the stove heat to low, still continuing to stir as you can. (Add about 5-7 minutes additional cooking time if you do this.)

Makes about 2 cups ~ 32 Tablespoons

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 Greetings friends and health seekers!

So this is what it takes for me to actually sit down and compile my first blog post… a rainy day. Pathetic I know, but it was just the motivation I needed to get this thing off and running.
 
 
I have just finished my 4th week at Bauman College on a quest to become a certified Natural Chef. Living here in Santa Cruz has been a very busy but fun adventure. I am loving the beautiful woods and abundant farmer’s markets. Bike rides to school involve a scenic view of the morning fog lifting off the Capitola Pier. Too many coffee shops, too little time.
 
 
I am loving all the food experiments at school. Last Friday was our “Vegetables and Greens” class. Here are some pictures of our creations!

The complete feast

Stir-Fried Szechuan Broccoli with Zesty Spiced Pecans

Blanched Greens in Cashew Curry Sauce

Roasted Eggplant, Zucchini, and Tomato Gratin with Basil Cream

The basil cream was so delicious that I decided to recreate it at home and I thought I’d pass along the recipe for those who want to give it a whirl.

 

BASIL CREAM

1 bunch basil

1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight, drained

2 Tbs nutritional yeast

1 cup water

2 tsp lemon juice

salt and pepper, to taste

To Prepare:

Heat a small pot of water and bring to a boil. Prepare a bowl with ice water. Take the whole bunch of basil and dip for a few seconds in the boiling water. Plunge immediately into the ice water. Drain and squeeze the basil in a towel to remove remaining water.

In a blender, add the basil, cashews, nutritional yeast, water, lemon, and salt. Blend until smooth and creamy. Season to taste.

 
This cream inspired a meal that I made for lunch/dinner (lunner?) today. Squash season is in full swing and in honor of the squash and I took a basil cream opportunity to make some spaghetti squash and topped it off with some lovely locally grown Roma tomatoes, some fresh basil, and some mini turkey meatballs.
 
Needless to say, it was heaven. And now heaven is in my belly.
 
Stay tuned. I sense a pumpkin butter recipe in your near future.