Archives for posts with tag: Squash

Wedding gifts are amazing.

A cast iron dutch oven is a prime example of why wedding gifts are amazing.

O Great Bearded One... or Colin.

So, here’s a quick shout out to our friend Colin who purchased said item in honor of our nuptials! Putting it to use was simple enough. I set out to create a delicious Paleo-fied Shepherd’s Pie. Below are the fruits (or pie) of my labor.

This particular pie was topped with a kabocha squash mash, but you could use any squash (or yam) you have on hand.

Kabocha Shepherd’s Pie

1 1/2 lbs. grass-fed ground beef
1 c. diced eggplant
1/2 bell pepper, diced
3 celery ribs, chopped
1/2 onion, diced
2 shiitake mushrooms, diced
4 whole, peeled tomatoes, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano
pinch cayenne

Topping

1/2 onion, caramelized
1 large kabocha squash (about 3 cups of flesh)

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Caramelize onions by slicing thin half moons and cooking on LOW heat for 20 mins or until onions are soft and brown (not brown and crispy). Stir occasionally
  3.  Cut squash in half and take out the seeds. Place face down on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 mins. Done when skin gives easily when pressed.
  4. Let the squash cool and then scoop out flesh into a food processor.

    mash it up!

  5. Add caramelized onions and some salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth and set aside.
  6. Lower oven temp to 300.
  7. In a cast iron dutch oven or large skillet over medium heat,  saute onion, celery, and mushrooms for 2-3 min. Add beef.

    celery, pepper, and eggplant

  8. Stir until beef begins to brown.
  9. Add bell pepper, eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, and spices.
  10. Heat until beef is cooked through and vegetables are beginning to get soft.

    gettin steamy

  11. Spread topping over the top of the meat mixture in the dutch oven. If using a baking pan, transfer meat mixture to baking pan first, then spread the topping on the meat.

    Rustic

  12. Bake for 20 mins or until squash topping begins to brown.
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Roasted Squash and Eggplant with Arugula

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced (1/4 inch)
1 eggplant, peeled and diced (1/4 – 1/2 inch)
3 c. fresh arugula
2 Tbsp. melted bacon fat or coconut oil
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. In a bowl, coat eggplant and squash with oil and seasonings
  3. Spread onto a baking sheet and roast for 20 mins until the edges are browning.
  4. In a bowl, toss the warm veggies with the arugula until it begins to wilt.
  5. Serve with your favorite entree, like Cilantro-Pistachio Pesto Chicken

    Makes a nice side dish for the winter season.

Just got back from all my wedding festivities! Spent two weeks away on our honeymoon instead of one and I was quite thankful for the flexibility on our schedules to accommodate such a long vacation.

The new Mister and Missus

Awwwwww!

We stayed in a beach condo for two weeks so I had multiple opportunities to create fun and interesting recipes all day long. Here is the first of many that I will be sharing on this blog.

Add a little side salad and you have a complete meal.

For this recipe, buy all natural and uncured bacon. No nitrates or nitrites added. That stuff is no bueno. Also, go and find a kabocha squash. They are not hard to find and if you’ve never had one, YOU MUST TRY IT! It’s so delicious that my HUSBAND (see how I snuck that in there?!) insists that we always make it when we have visitors because he wants to share his favorite squash with everyone. Here’s what a kabocha looks like.

You can eat the skin too!

Bacon Wrapped Drumsticks with Grilled Kabocha Wedges

5-6 Chicken drumsticks
10-12 slices of bacon (nitrate and nitrite free), about 2 slices per drumstick
1 kabocha squash (also known as a Japanese Pumpkin), seeded and sliced into wedges
2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

  1. Light up your grill on medium heat
  2. On a cutting board, wrap the drumstick from top to bottom with bacon strips. Set aside.

    It's like decorating your chicken.

  3. Place kabocha slices in a bowl. Drizzle coconut oil over along with the salt and spices. According to your taste you can make it more salty or more spicy.
  4. Place kabocha on the grill, about 5-6 mins per side depending on the heat of your BBQ. They are done when easily squished or broken. They become quite tender if cooked too long.
  5. Put chicken on the grill and turn halfway through. They should cook about as long as the squash. Be careful for flare ups from the bacon grease dripping into the grill. When the bacon is nice and crispy, take off the grill and serve.

    Crispy and Juicy

Serves 2-3 people

 

 

 

This one is from the hallowed Paleo grounds of Mark’s Daily Apple. In fact, it’s one of the recipes from the Primal Blueprint Reader Cookbook. I’ve made this dish a couple times. It’s so lovely and aromatic as welll as FILLING. This last time I only dished it over a 1/4 of the acorn squash. But for those with hearty appetites, go ahead and serve it in a half a squash. It’s a beautiful presentation either way.

For the folks who are uber-sensitive to dairy: swap out the butter for coconut oil and omit the yogurt. Enjoy!

It's a spice extravaganza!

Butter Chicken

4 lbs. chicken thighs, chopped into 1 inch cubes
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons garam masala
3 teaspoons ground coriander
3 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 cup Greek-style (thick) yogurt
7 tablespoons butter, chopped
1 tablespoon white vinegar
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped (or 1 can diced tomatoes, unsalted)
6 cardamom pods (crush pods slightly to release seeds and more flavor)
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 cup cream or coconut milk
1/2 cup fresh coriander, coarsely chopped

  1. Combine chicken, garlic, spices and yogurt in a covered container. Refrigerate for an hour or two.
  2. Melt butter in a deep pan. Add vinegar, tomato paste, tomatoes, cardamom and cinnamon. Boil rapidly, stirring until sauce is thick (approximately 20 minutes).
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer and add chicken. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally until chicken is cooked through. Add cream or coconut milk, simmer a few minutes more, and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Roasted Acorn Squash

2 small acorn squash, halved and seeded
Coconut oil to grease baking sheet

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Grease a baking sheet with coconut oil.
  3. Place squash halves face down on the sheet.
  4. Bake for 30 mins, until the squash is tender and the lip of the opening is browned.

An unfortunate picture of a delicious dish!

 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.