Monthly Archives: November 2012

Rainbow Salad with Roasted Squash, Broccoli and a Tahini Sauce

As I just got done blabbing about in my last post, in which I shared a recipe for Indian-Spiced Roasted Butternut Squash Apple Soup, I am on a clean eating kick.  It’s not that I don’t eat healthy most of the time and I’m sure I have a higher vegetable to other stuff ratio at the checkout than most.  But lately I just keep wanting to eat sweets.  And then I do.  And then I feel icky.  And tired.  And bigger than I really am.  And I know that it just means that I need to reset my diet and my body a bit to get rid of those intense cravings for sugar.  Hence my plan.  Want to know my plan?  Well I’m going to tell you anyway…

Squash ready to get popped into the oven

My plan is to eat only whole foods for a week.  And cut out dairy.  And no meat (I only eat meat about once a month anyway).  And no refined sugars, flours, etc.  Just good food.  And then when my plan commences in a week or so I’m going to see how I feel and try to carry on with said plan until the holiday goodies call my name…and then I hope to not want them so badly, so often, and in such amounts! We’ll see if my sinister plan to ruin Christmas cookies powerful and dramatic effects works.  I’ll let you know…

Squash, all roasted up and ready for salad and leftovers!

In the meantime, I am not missing any of the aforementioned foods right now.  I have had gorgeous meal after gorgeous meal the last few days and I’m trying to get around to sharing a  few gems with you now.

These mixed greens and micro greens from two local farmers were so pretty I almost didn’t want to add anything to them!

This salad has been a favorite so far.  Can you see why?  It seems like the more colorful the dish, the better it tastes and the better I feel.  Recipes like this, adapted from Whole Living’s Steamed Broccoli and Squash with Tahini Sauce make eating well a breeze and a joy.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

Salad with Roasted Dumpling Squash, Broccoli, and a Tahini Vinaigrette;

Adapted from Whole Living Steamed Broccoli and Squash with Tahini Sauce

  • 1/2 head broccoli florets
  • 1 Dumpling or Delicata squash, sliced and seeded
  • 1 cup mixed tender greens such as mizuna, pea shoots, or arugula
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons diced red onion
  • 2 radishes, thinly sliced
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup Tahini Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon raw pumpkin seeds

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400°.  Lightly spray or drizzle a baking pan with olive oil and lay squash onto the baking sheet, taking care not to overlap.  Sprinkle with some salt and pepper and roast, about 20-30 minutes, flipping each piece halfway through.
  2. In the meantime, steam broccoli florets until bright green and tender, about 4 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  3. In a bowl, toss greens, cabbage, radishes, and red onion. Top with steamed and roasted vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with tahini sauce and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.

Serves 3-4

Indian-Spiced Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Did anyone else have a delicious Thanksgiving?  You, you, and you?  Well, I did too.  And I am so thankful for the friendship I enjoyed over meals and the classic Thanksgiving dishes (cranberry sauce recipe to post soon) as well as some new favorites (hello, sweet potato and coconut milk puree!).  But now that that Butter Fest 2012 is over and done with I am craving some good clean foods, some hot yoga, some brisk walks, and a push to get back to some good whole foods eating.

This year started out on a great foot.  I was eating only whole foods and shying away from refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats.  After the holiday season my body was begging for vegetables, spices, and whole grains.  But alas!  Somehow, somewhere along the way I fell into a vat of whipped cream veered somewhat off of the path…(was it when I discovered this spring that I loved baking and became semi-addicted to sugar?) and now, at the beginning of this holiday season I have decided to get back on the wagon with my eating.  It feels necessary.  And happily, it feels so good.  This weekend, I went back to January and dug up the healthy living recipes I had so carefully selected, many from Sarah B. at My New Roots (love, love, love this blog).  One of the recipes was a butternut squash soup.  Imagine my delight when I realized that this week’s host of the Food Matters Project, Jen from Prairie Summers, chose a roasted butternut squash soup as this weeks recipe for all of us project participants to cook up.  Using elements of each recipe, I created my own vegetarian version, adding Indian spices and celeriac for a simple soup chock-full of flavor.

I paired my soup with a beautiful salad with mixed greens and microgreens, radishes, broccoli, and roasted acorn squash drizzled with a simple tahini vinaigrette.

And how goes hopping on the clean food wagon again?  Not too shabby, I say.   With food this colorful and flavorful, Thanksgiving is a distant memory and I’m not in any rush to get to the sugar cookies just around the bend in December.

I will be posting many more colorful whole food recipes this month–please join me and try one out.  I recommend starting with this one!

Indian-Spiced Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup; adapted from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook (original recipe was Roasted Butternut Chowder with Apples and Bacon, (page 120)

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 bulb of celeriac, peeled and chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  1. Heat the oven to 400F. Spread the squash, onion, apples, celeriac (if using), and garlic on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Roast until veggies are tender and slightly browned, approx. 45 min.
  2. Remove sheet from the oven and transfer the roasted vegetables to a dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat.
  3. Add the stock and the seasonings and simmer until the squash, onion and apples become very soft and begin to break apart.  You may either leave the soup chunky at this point or puree partially or fully with an immersion blender.  I pureed my soup partially to leave some chunks of apple, squash, and celeriac.
  4. Top with some shredded cabbage, cilantro, some raw pumpkin seeds, a drizzle of olive oil, or some yogurt–whatever you like!  I would recommend this with a salad and some naan, hot from the oven.  Mmmmm!

Sweet Potato and Corn Fritters With Thai Dipping Sauce

I’m really excited to be hosting The Food Matters Project this week.  It’s been such a wonderful habit to get into, cooking a new recipe every week for this project.  There have been some real surprises as the weeks have rolled by.  I have a tendency to buy cookbooks that have gorgeous color photography but Bittman’s cookbook has nary a photo in sight.  Though at first I wished for some photos, there is something to be said about being able to create something to look like you think it ought to, rather than mimicking what you’ve seen.  My choice of recipe for this week, chosen after thumbing through the entire cookbook (again), was another tasty surprise.

I made the fritters following the recipe to the letter.  For the sauce, I modified slightly, adding carrots and some Habanero hot sauce for a truly spicy dipping sauce.  Hot out of the pan, these fritters are amazing and I recommend eating them as soon as possible.

Head here to check out the other FMP member’s tasty creations.  And stop by the newly updated Pinterest board for visual inspiration.

Sweet Potato and Corn Fritters With Thai Dipping Sauce; from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook

“Crazy good, crazy simple–and not to mention pretty–these pan-fried fritters are best with peak summer corn, but frozen works all right too.  Or, since fresh sweet potatoes are available all year, you can just skip the corn and increase the quantity to 3 cups.”

  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon nam pla (fish sauce) or soy sauce, or to taste*
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Pinch of red chile flakes
  • Pinch of sugar, optional**
  • 2 cups grated sweet potato, squeezed dry if necessary
  • 1 cup corn kernels (frozen are fine)
  • 1 fresh hot chile (like Thai), minced
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 egg or 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat or all-purpose flour
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  1. Combine the lime juice, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, chile flakes, and sugar if you’re using it in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon water.
  2. Heat the oven to 275° F.  Put the sweet potato, corn, chile, scallions, cilantro, egg, and flour in a bowl and mix well; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  (You can do this ahead of time and refrigerate the batter for a couple of hours before cooking.)
  3. Put about 1/8 inch oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When it’s hot, drop spoonfuls of the sweet potato mixture into the oil and spread them out a bit.  (Work in batches to prevent overcrowding and transfer the finished fritters to the oven until all are finished.)  Cook, turning once, until golden on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes.  Serve hot or at room temperature with the dipping sauce.
  4. Fancier Fritters:  When dropped fritters aren’t quite elegant enough for the occasion, you can dust your hands with flour and shape the fritter batter into small patties, cylinders, or other shapes.  Cook immediately or refrigerate, loosely covered, for up to a couple hours before cooking.  To make croquettes–which are essentially breaded fritters–set up 3 bowls:  one with flour, one with an egg beaten with a splash of milk, and another with bread crumbs (preferably made from whole grain bread).  Carefully dredge each shaped fritter in the flour, then the egg mixture, and finally the bread crumbs.  Fry until crisp and golden.

*I used fish sauce because I love it…but this recipe won’t be vegetarian if you use it.  If you are vegetarian, use soy sauce instead.

**I did include the pinch of sugar.

Sweet Potato-Black Bean Chili With Chipotle

Soup weather is upon us!  See how a little exclamation point can make it look like I am excited about that?  Well although I am decidedly un-excited about the cold weather, I am very excited that I am in the mood for soup.  Over the warm months, I have built up my stack of soup recipes and ideas to try so now is the time to put them into action.  I love making a big pot of soup for my lunches for the week and always freeze half to enjoy later down the road.  Nothing says cozy to me like a bowl of hot chili and a hunk of homemade cornbread with butter and honey.  I’ve recently come up with the secret to the most moist and delicious cornbread ever.  I’m excited to share that with you…recipe to post soon!
I recommend starting with 1 tablespoon of chipotle chili and adding to that if you want more spice.  I love spice so I even stirred a spoonful of habanero sauce into my bowl (but not into the pot to spare my friends who aren’t heat seekers).  My stepdad used to make really spicy chili and would tell me it would “burn the germs out of my intestines”.  Not the best image to share with you all but it is a memory that makes me giggle as I tuck into my own bowl of spicy chili.
Sweet Potato-Black Bean Chili with Chipotle
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped (I used red, orange, and yellow baby bell peppers because that is what I had on hand)
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
  • 4 small garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chipotle in adobo
  • salt and black pepper
  • about 28-ounces canned diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups cooked black beans, if you use canned, rinse and drain first
  • 2 cups cooked pinto or kidney beans, if you use canned, rinse and drain first
  • about 2 cups OR one 14 oz. can vegetable broth
  • sour cream, sliced scallions, avocado, radishes or cilantro, for serving
  1. In a 4 to 6 quart Dutch oven or stockpot, saute the chopped vegetables in one  tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high heat. Continue stirring to make sure the vegetables do not stick to the pan and cook on all sides.
  2. Once the onions soften and become translucent, turn the heat down to medium-low. Add all of the spices and canned ingredients, and stir. Turn heat to a simmer and cover for one hour, stirring occasionally.
  3. Top with any of the suggested toppings above or some favorites or your own!  I like serving my chili either with cornbread, fried plantains, or if I don’t have the time to make either, some tortilla chips do just fine.

Autumn Wheat Berry Salad With Roasted Vegetables

I would be hard pressed to find ten things I like about November weather.  But if you asked my favorite thing about November weather, it would be root vegetables.  I was just thinking how I am now at the opposite end of the spectrum from this post when it was 95 degrees in my house and the last thing I wanted to do was turn on the oven.  Well, it’s November in Michigan so I am loving turning on my oven any chance I get and roasting veggies or whipping up a big pot of warming root vegetable stew.

This week’s Food Matters Project recipe, chosen by Camilla, was Wheat Berries with Braised Beef and Parsnips.  Being that about 95% or more of my meals are vegetarian I decided to go a veggie route with my version, instead opting for one of my go-to salads.  I typically make this salad with farro because it is quick and I enjoy the texture, but because wheat berries were the foundation of this week’s FMP recipe I started there.

I roasted onion, beets, carrots, leeks, and butternut squash, all from my brother’s wonderful organic farm (I’ll need to create a post just to tell you all about my weekend at home on my brother’s farm and at the Marquette Farmer’s Market).  The wheat berries were cooked in vegetable broth and tossed with the vegetables.  Then comes the fun part..adding whatever else you think will taste good!  I like to add some crumbled feta to cut through the sweet tastes in the salad but if you omit the feta, this salad is vegan.  This time I also added some pepitas, some arugula, a random heart of palm I had in the fridge, and a drizzle of honey-mustard vinaigrette.  Perfect for my cold November day.

For the recipe for wheat berries with braised beef and parsnips, head over to Camilla’s blog, Culinary Adventures With Cam.  For everyone else’s take, check out our Pinterest Board!

Autumn Wheat Berry Salad With Roasted Vegetables

  • 1 cup dried wheat berries
  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth/stock
  • 2 cups vegetables such as beets, carrots, winter squash, onions, brussels sprouts, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.  I used leeks, beets, carrots, red onion, and butternut squash.
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbsp feta cheese, crumbled (optional–vegan if omitted)
  • 2 Tbsp pepitas (optional)
  • 1 cup arugula (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons honey mustard vinaigrette (below)
  • Anything else you think would taste yummy in this salad

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey (use maple syrup or agave if you are vegan)
  • Fine sea salt
  1. Put the wheat berries and water or broth/stock into a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Turn down to low heat and simmer for 1 hour until soft.
  2. Meanwhile, turn your oven to 350° and start chopping your vegetables.  Whatever vegetables you choose, be sure to cut them into relatively uniform shapes, I chopped mine into about 1/2 inch cubes.  Place all veggies in a large bowl when done and drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and toss.  Pour veggies onto sheet pans and cover with tin foil.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes and check for softness. When soft but not mushy, remove foil and turn oven to 450° for about 5-10 minutes to crisp the veggies slightly.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Mix vegetables, wheat berries, arugula, cheese, pepitas, and vinaigrette in a large bowl.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  I highly recommend wearing a cozy sweater and leaving the oven door open (now that the oven is shut off).  Stand in front of the oven warmth and enjoy!

Roasted Balsamic-Honey Glazed Brussels Sprouts

“Brussels sprouts are misunderstood–probably because most people don’t know how to cook them properly.”  -Todd English

I see you there in the frozen food aisle, hands poised over a bag of brussels sprouts.  You know they are good for you so you choke them down.  You may be about to torture your children by putting them on their plates tonight, dreading the inevitable negotiations at the table (no dessert unless you eat your brussels sprouts!).  If I were your grocery shopping angel I would say:  Stop!  Step away from the frozen brussels sprouts and take a walk to the produce section to get some of these fresh little cabbages and you won’t be disappointed.  Call them baby lettuces, as Jenny Rosenstrach does and everyone will adore them, even kids if you have ’em.  Drizzle some sweet balsamic glaze on them and you will wonder why they ever got a bad rap in the first place.

I never had to get over the brussels sprouts hurdle.  My mom was kind enough (and whole-foodsie enough) to never torture us with frozen or canned brussels sprouts.  She told us stories of living in Santa Cruz and picking stalks of brussels sprouts from the cliffs by the ocean.  With such a romantic back story, they had to be good.  Every autumn and winter I turn to these gems for comfort.  I typically saute them in some olive oil with a generous dusting of sea salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon.  Toss some parmesan cheese into it all and I’m in heaven.  Another favorite is sauteing in some butter with a tiny amount of prosciutto and shallots sautéed along with the sprouts.  A-maz-ing.  But when it is just getting to settle into the beginning stages of winter and frost is on the ground, I use any excuse to turn on my oven.  Hence this version of roasted sprouts with a comforting balsamic honey glaze.  In my opinion, there are few things better than an oven-warmed kitchen and a sheet of sweet, salty, and crispy brussels sprouts.  Watch out, though…you’ll find yourself popping one after another into your mouth.  They are that addictive.

Sold on brussels sprouts?  Good.  Here’s how you make them.

Roasted Balsamic-Honey Glazed Brussels Sprouts

  • 1.5  pounds Brussels Sprouts
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt And Pepper
  • 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey (or agave nectar if you are vegan)
  1. Trim Brussels sprouts, then cut them in half or quarter if desired (or you can leave them whole). Arrange on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil. Sprinkle with plenty of salt and pepper and roast at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until brown.
  2. Combine balsamic vinegar and honey in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and reduce until very thick, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the roasted sprouts. Toss and serve immediately.

Serves 2-4