Posts Tagged ‘Butternut Squash’

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Fresh and Fun Vegetarian Fajitas

March 13, 2011

Zut alors!  It has been quite a while since our last post.  In all honesty, I meant to post something up but simply kept procrastinating. <(-_-)>  I’ve been juggling a lot of recipes in the R&D department lately, most of which are still works-in-progress.  The recipe I wanted to share today I’ve tweaked a couple of times, and think I’ve finally got it to a share-worthy stage.

Since becoming a vegetarian, there are naturally some “off-limits” foods that I crave.  But, while it is occasionally a craving for the meat (OMG pork chops), more often than not, it is the spices and depth of flavor of the dish that I crave.  One of my favorite classically meaty dishes was fajitas.  I love the sound and scent of the sizzling plates, the gentle spiciness, and flavors reminiscent of citrus.  Now, while I do love me some veggie protein substitutes when it comes to tacos and such, I really didn’t want to rely on “meat” to bring this comforting dish to life.  For this recipe I enlisted the help of a trusted friend, butternut squash.  It’s slightly sweet, vibrantly orange — always a good decision.

Thoughts:

-You can use your favorite fajita seasoning (packet) if you don’t have all these spices on hand. However, all of these spices (perhaps sans ground coriander) should be in your cabinet. <(>.>)>

-Speaking of ground coriander, I used it here because my parents aren’t the biggest fans of cumin. I find that the coriander softens the pungency of the cumin, while enhancing the citrus flavor. P.S. Ground coriander is the seed of the lovely cilantro plant. ❤ Cilantro.

-Add more or less cayenne based on your fire threshold. This recipe should rank about a 2-3/10 on the spiciness scale.

-If you want to add a bean component to your dish, serve with some black beans jazzed up with chopped green chilis, diced onion, a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and diced tomato.

-You can garnish these fajitas with the typical fare, or opt for the Sweet and Spicy Sour Cream-y Cole Slaw — yes, it’s a mouthful but sooo worth it! — we whipped up (Recipe below).  It really offers a nice cooling contrast to the warm richness of the fajita veggies!

*disclosure: all photos are from recipe version 2.0 before addition of green peppers and coleslaw. Still delicious however.

 

Roasted Butternut Squash Fajitas

  • 1 ½ lb butternut squash, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 sweet onion, cut in half-moon slices
  • 1 bell pepper of choice, sliced
  • 1 pkg of cremini or white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 lime (zest+juice)
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • Flour or corn tortillas (I favor the corn)

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Yah for shake and roast!

In a large bowl or a gallon size plastic bag toss in all ingredients. Mix/shake vigorously to get every bit nicely coated. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet or roasting pan and roast for 20-25 minutes or until the squash is tender and aroma irresistible.

So colorful! (well even more colorful with green peppers)

Scoop roasted veggies into a tortilla (or several) and top with your desired fixin’s. The cole-slaw topping was a nice addition by Josie that really makes this dish some good noms. P.S. This recipe is vegan friendly, well minus the sour cream, woot woot!

A before picture of the fajitas. I took an after but it was just an empty plate so...yeah. <(^_^)>

Sweet and Spicy Sour Cream-y Cole Slaw

  • 1 head green cabbage*, shredded
  • 1 head red cabbage*, shredded
  • 2 large carrots*, julienned
  • 5-6 radishes, julienned
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste

This recipe yields A LOT of cole slaw.  Reduce everything by half if you want a more managable amount, or see the following option:

*If you’re in a hurry, you can use a pre-packaged cole slaw veggie blend in place of the cabbage and carrots, in which case halve the sour cream sauce.

~Josephine and Erik <(^_^)>

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Tofurkey Discussions

December 1, 2010

So we tried it. The infamous tofurkey. And the results: it was tasty. I wouldn’t go as far to say that it was my favorite meat substitute in the world, but it did fill that void left by the glorious turkey (by void I mean something to eat my cranberry jelly with).

The flavor itself was a little saltier than I would have liked. It also felt strange using a serrated knife to carve this vegan treat. By strange I mean wrong. It definitely had a very “meaty” chewiness to it. All in all, I would probably indulge in this vegetarian butterball once a year on Thanksgiving if that. Oh also, the stuffing inside was tasty with wild rice. The best part of the tofurkey was the gravy with tofu “giblets.” I’m not usually a fan of gravy, but this stuff was delicious. Better than the tofurkey.

That being said I think this was my favorite Thanksgiving of the week. I had three and all had their special flair but this one too me was the best in terms of the culinary output. We made sweet potato casserole, stuffing with soysage and pecans, horseradish mashed potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts and butternut squash, yeast rolls, brown sugar carrots, canned cranberry (hell yes), and pineapple cheese casserole. Here are some pics of the tastiness.

PICTURES WILL BE UP SOON I PROMISE.

(CAPS LOCK KEY—Found it!)

Edit: 12/22/10

Wow these photos are not the best (stupid dumb cheap camera) and almost a month later  but regardless here they are:

The Tofurkey in all its synthetic turkey glory! Complete with potatoes, butternut squash, and gravy with real tofurkey giblets! Yah!

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes, Brown Sugaa Carrots, and Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash

Yeast Rolls, Pineapple Cheese Casserole (so weird its good), Sweet Potato Casserole, and Stuffing with Soysage and Pecans

I believe my favorite part of the meal had to be the roasted Brussels sprouts and butternut squash. It sounds kinda funky I know. It’s a  bizarre pairing but it works so well and it is seriously good noms.

Thoughts:

-Great combo together as the squash keeps the sprouts nice and moist. The flavors play very well off of each other as well. The sweetness of the squash works so well with the delightful bitterness of the sprouts. This is definitely going to be a staple of my Thanksgiving table.

Pre-roasting: So colorful! <(^_^)>

All Roasty and Delicious. Note: not all of it made it to the dish...om nom nom

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash

  • 1 ½ lbs of fresh Brussels sprouts, or 1 stalk
  • 1 ½ lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ¾ inch cubes
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • A good drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400° F. To prep the Brussels sprouts cut off the rough bottom or cut from the stalk and slice in half. Place the prepared sprouts and squash on a foil lined cookie sheet and give it a good dousing of olive oil. Grind some pepper and sea salt over the veggies. Be generous. Finally top off with the chopped pecans. (These will get nice and toasty! <(^_^)>) Put into the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the squash is tender and the sprouts are tender and browned. Enjoy and try to share with others!

~Erik <(^_^)>

P.S. On a random sidenote: While trying to spell tofurkey for this post I accidentally spelt it as “tofukey” multiple times and proceeded to lol while proofing.
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An Ode to Fall & Squash

November 20, 2010

Okay so I have a confession:

Fall is the best time of the year. Not only are the warm hued colors splashed across the foliage but they also make their way to our plates. One of these ways is in the form of a personal favorite vegetable. I have to say that I ❤ squash. There are just so many options! Butternut squash has a very special place in my heart, but in close second comes Acorn squash. Here’s some of the reasoning: Butternut squash is a vegetable I’ve come to love over the past few years while cooking for myself. It’s a beautiful orange color that just warms your spirit and oh yes it is so sweet, delicious, and versatile. Seriously I could go on for days writing love songs and painting praise to the strangely phallic squash. However this day I want to explain why I love acorn squash.

Acorn squash is something that reminds me of my childhood. My dad’s father, whom all the grandchildren affectionately referred to as Papa taught me so much when I was little that it still keeps resurfacing to this day: little tidbits like how to pick the perfect apple, to the greater topics of savoring every moment of life. In the kitchen as a kid I was always fascinated watching the artist at work. If I had to classify his technique, I would say he was into a refined minimalism. Let the freshest ingredients tantalize the taste buds. An interesting rule of his was no salt or pepper at the dinner table, for he had seasoned everything accordingly for maximum enjoyment. He was a serious foodie. He played for keeps.

As a kid my tastes were constantly broadened. I was the goose among the ducks when my friends would play a round of “what did you have for dinner last night.”

“I had meat loaf and potatoes.”

“My mom made chicken with peas and carrots.”

“My papa served us braised pork chops with apples and brown sugar roasted acorn squash.”

What the what!? I know right. I was a freak with an affinity for acorn squash and other exotic fare such as the glorious Brussels sprouts. Well at least it’s cool now, right? <(-_-)>

Anyway, the answer to why I love acorn squash is because it reminds that my journey down the culinary path of nom started with my grandfather. His passion, his excitement, and his love of natural ingredients.

Here is a recipe that I recently made because I had some acorn squash on the counter begging me to eat them with their wicked siren call. Out of laziness and hunger I was very resourceful with ingredients I had lying around. The results were amazing and I may have eaten ½ of these over the course of the day. Bonne Noms! <(^_^)>

Thoughts:

-Next time I would make a larger batch, these didn’t last long and I’m sure they would have been delicious the next day as well.

-Shiitake mushrooms would add a wonderful earthier element to this dish. If using chop finely so it isn’t tough.

-Nothing compares to the taste of fresh nutmeg, I am a recent convert and now go around trying to save others culinary souls. Yes it is that good.

-I’m pro savory cinnamon dishes. Join me in the battle vs. cinnamon sweet treats.

-If you want a meatastic version, use sage sausage in place of my soysage.

-If you love cheese, add a quarter cup of grated cheese into the mixture in addition to sprinkling it on top.

Acorn Squash

Om Nom Nom

Acorn Squash

Erik’s Mushroom Walnut Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • 3 Acorn Squash, halved and seeded
  • Olive Oil
  • 10 White Button Mushrooms (or Baby Bella)
  • ½ of a Gimme Lean Soysage
  • ¼ c of chopped Walnuts
  • ¼ tsp Ground Nutmeg (or fresh ground)
  • ¼ Chopped Sweet Onion
  • 1 Egg
  • 3-4 Tablespoons of Plain Breadcrumbs
  • Sprinkle of Cinnamon (Fine! 1/8 tsp if you really need a measurement)
  • ¼ tsp Ground Ginger
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • Parmesan or other hard cheese

Preheat Oven to 400.

Halve the Acorn Squash and seed them as well. Brush generously with olive oil and season with a little bit of salt. Bake for 25 minutes until slightly tender (flesh will be pierced with a fork/knife fairly easily).

While baking prepare the filling. Put half of the Gimme Lean Soysage in a bowl and mix in the egg to make it moist and sticky. Clean and chop up the mushrooms in small pieces, also chop up the walnuts and add with chopped onions to the soysage mixture. Add the nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, salt and pepper. Mix well and divide among the squash.

Reduce temperature to 375.

Bake for another 20-25 minutes or until the squash is very tender and the soysage mixture is browned. Sprinkle with cheese during last 5 minutes to get nice and melty. Let sit a few minutes before enjoying.

~Erik <(^_^)>