1 acorn squash (halved, seeds removed, approximately 2 1/2 cups)
1 jalapeño pepper (seeds removed, finely chopped)
1 roma tomato (approximately 2/3 cup, diced)
2 tomatillos (approximately 1/2 cup, diced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 red onion (finely diced)
1 TBSP lemon zest
1 TBSP lemon juice
2 TSP white wine vinegar
1 TSP chili powder
salt and pepper
sour cream (optional)
I learned something this week. Sometimes you can bastardize things and they still taste delicious. I’m sure Mexican cuisine purists would cry foul at this twist on guacamole, but I can guarantee its tastiness nonetheless. So, stop making that boring squash soup (although, it does always hit the spot on a fall day) and think outside of the box a bit.
1/2 acorn squash (gutted, reserve seeds)
3 cloves garlic
2 TSP pink peppercorns
1 orange (zest and juice)
1/2 cup of orange juice
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups olive oil
salt and pepper
Whatever you’d like, really, but here’s what I used…
remaining 1/2 acorn squash (chopped 1″ pieces, skin on)
1 package spring mix
2 tomatoes (sliced)
1/2 red onion (thinly sliced)
1 small zucchini (halved, 1/2″ sliced, approximately 1 1/2 )
remaining 1/2 acorn squash (chopped 1″ pieces)
1 cup garlic and fine herb boursin cheese (gently crumbled)
There are so many things to do with some many different types of squash and very enough time. True. Story. Since I think most of us are knee deep in squash soups right now, figuratively of course (what an odd sensation that would be if literal), I thought it might be need to try throwing a squash into a salad dressing. Blending the roasted squash in with the usual suspects of vinaigrette ingredients, with some sweetness of the maple and orange, resulted in an interesting autumn-appropriate salad. I tested out this concoction just this past week at my Thanksgiving dinner and although I was too busy drinking wine and socializing, I’m going to just assume that everyone enjoyed it!
As mentioned above, save the squash seeds, then roast them until crispy. Toss with some salt and pepper and sprinkle on top of or salad. Or, do what I did, and just eat all of the seeds by the handful and do not share with anyone.
Roasting a squash of any type is ridiculously simple. Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Place the half squash on a prepared baking sheet, brush with some olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and let roast, flesh side up, for about 35-40 minutes, or until fork tender. Remove from heat and let cool.
Once cool, spoon out flesh into a blender, followed by the next six dressing ingredients. Puree until smooth. Next, while pulsing, gradually pour in the olive oil. Once everything is combined, have a quick taste, and season with some salt and pepper if needed. Store in an air-tight container and refrigerate. Can be stored for up to one week.
**Note: I did notice that after a few days, the maple flavour of the vinaigrette became more and more prominent. If you’re making this in advance, add a bit more oil and vinegar to avoid this. Unless you really like maple, then just sit with it!
When you’re ready to serve, combine the salad ingredients in a large serving bowl. Sprinkle the crumbled boursin cheese (and squash seeds if you didn’t eat them all!) on top, finish with some freshly ground black pepper and you’re good to go!
Yields 4 cups salad dressing
Total cook time…55 minutes (including roasting)
1 medium zucchini (cut length-wise, then quartered)
1/2 bulb roasted garlic
2 13.5oz cans fava beans (drained, reserve liquid from 1 can)
1 lemon (zest and juice)
1 TSBP red wine vinegar
2 TSP dried oregano
1 TSP dried basil
salt and pepper
roasted hazelnuts (for garnish, optional)
If you have a vegetable garden, saying goodbye to summer usually coincides with saying: ‘What the hell am I supposed to do with all of this zucchini?!’ Let’s be serious here, deep down, I know everyone has a secret, undying love for zucchini…or, maybe it’s just me…I do seem to be on a bit of a zucchini kick lately, but too many recipes options than not enough, right? Anyway, this is a nice simple dip that will go over well as an appetizer, or even pretty rad as a spread for sandwiches. Hummus is so last year anyway…
Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees. Place the pieces of zucchini in a medium-sized bowl, drizzle with some olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then toss a few times to evenly coat. Pop the chunks into a prepared baking dish and let roast in the oven for 20 minutes, turn over once at the halfway point. Once the squash is nice and roasted, remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.
Next, place the zucchini and all remaining ingredients (including the reserved liquid from the canned beans) into a food processor or blender. Slowly pour in some olive oil while pulsing the mixture. Blend until smooth. Add some freshly ground black pepper, taste, and then a pinch of salt if needed. Pour the mixture into a bowl and let chill inthe refridgerator for at least an hour. Top with toasted hazelnuts for an added crunch, and serve with some homemade crackers or warm foccacia!
Yields 4 cups of dip
Total cook time…30 min (not including chill time)
2 zucchini (ends trimmed, quartered)
1 1/2 cups soft tofu
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic
2 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP dijon mustard
2 TSP horse radish
1 shallot (minced)
1/4 cup capers (finely chopped)
1/4 cup gerkins (finely chopped)
salt and pepper
1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
2 TBSP margarine
2 TSP dried basil
salt and pepper
1 baguette (sliced, 1/2″ pieces)
Don’t you wish you could whip up a vegan appetizer that wasn’t just an…umm…just a vegetable tray? Well, now you can. This dish is easier than a six piece Bob The Builder puzzle to put together, and even easier to impress with. Carnivorous cravings aside, only a cold-hearted, meat-loving T-Rex would not admit to loving this one. And, if you do, in fact, have a T-Rex over for dinner I both fear for you and am impressed with your ability to bring dinosaurs back from the dead…
Start off by preheating your oven to 425 degrees. Place the zucchini pieces in a medium-sized bowl, add some olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper, then toss until coated. Place on a prepared baking tray and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, uncovered, turning once or twice. In the meantime, combine the soft tofu, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, lemon juice, mustard, and horse radish in a blender. Blend until smooth and set aside.
Once the 20 minutes are up, pull the zucchini out of the oven and let cool. When the squash is cool enough to handle, chop into tiny cubes, 1/4″ or so. In a a medium-sized bowl, mix together the chopped zucchini, tofu mixture, shallot, capers, and gerkins. Stir until evenly combined. Salt and pepper to taste, then place in the refrigerator to chill. (note: can be made a day in advance!)
Now for the crostini…Preheat your oven to 425 degrees (disregard if you have just made the zucchini portion, then just leave the oven on!) Place the onion and garlic into a large pan. Drizzle with some olive oil, add some salt and pepper, then cook down on medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Once the onions soften, add-in the leeks, and continue to let cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next, add the margarine and basil to the pan. Stir until the margarine has melted and everything is evenly combined. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Place contents of pan into a blender and puree until smooth. Set aside until you’re ready to butter the crostini.
Pop the baguette pieces onto a large baking sheet, brush the tops with some olive oil and bake until they start to turn golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Serve them warm with a generous slathering of the leek butter, then top with some of the chilled zucchini ‘tartar’ or just serve it on the side.
What do you think, T-Rex?
Total cook time…1 hour (not including ‘tartar’ chill time)
1 acorn squash
1/2 garlic bulb
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup romano cheese
1 TSP tumeric
2 TSP yellow curry powder
salt & pepper
2 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup macadamia nuts
1/4 pound smoked salmon (chopped, skin removed)
5 cups cooked pasta (I used ditali, but feel free to switch it up!)
Let it be known that the mighty tomato does not always rule in the land of pasta sauce! Don’t get me wrong, I have had/made/enjoyed plenty of tomato-based sauces on my noodles, but in times like these (and by these I, of course, mean winter) squash is a nice, hearty alternative.
Let’s start off by roasting the squash and garlic. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Slice the squash in half, scoop out the ‘guts’ and brush the halves with some olive oil. For the garlic, try and keep the 1/2 attached to the base and slice off the tip of the garlic bulb. Brush the top with a bit of olive oil as well and wrap up with some tin foil. Place the squash and the garlic on a medium-sized baking tray and let cook in the oven for 35 minutes.
While you’re waiting, feel free to watch an episode of 30 Rock or make a salad, or something…If you decide to make a salad, try out this dressing!
Once those 35 minutes are up, remove tray from oven and let cool for 10 minutes or so. Scoop out the flesh of the squash into a blender, and squeeze the roasted garlic in as well. Also add-in the cream, water, cheese, and spices then puree until smooth. Pour into a small pot and let the sauce come to a simmer on medium heat, about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
Now it is time to assemble the pasta! Place all remaining ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Pour the squash sauce over top and mix gently with tongs (so you won’t. Portion out into pasta bowls and enjoy!
Sorry Tomato, you weren’t invited…
Total cook time…50 min
2 yellow onions
3 garlic cloves
1 medium-sized zucchini
1 gala apple
3 TBSP cider vinegar
4 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock
2 TBSP masala tandoori powder
1 TSP fennel seeds
salt & pepper
You know what they say: ‘Tandoori is the spice or life’ or maybe that’s not exactly what they say…Anyway, this may the ‘odd couple’ of soup ingredients, but the result is a slightly sweet, amazingly rich tasting soup. Not to mention, it’s a good conversational piece if you’re meeting in-laws/first time cooking for a girlfriend or boyfriend/cooking for a stranger you just let into your house, which is bad, don’t do that, etc…Awkward silence? Just say: ‘Hey! There’s apple in this soup! Crazy, right?’
First off, as always, chop the onion and mince the garlic cloves. Place them into a medium-sized pot and cook with some extra virgin olive on medium-high heat until the onions soften. While you’re waiting peel and chop the carrots into 1/2″ pieces. Once the onions soften, add the carrots to the pot along with the cider vinegar and a bit of salt & pepper. Reduce to medium heat, stir, and let cook for 5 minutes.
During that time you can chop up your zucchini and apple and add them to the pot. Give everything a good stir and let cook for another 5 minutes. Next, place all remaining ingredients in the pot, stir, and let the soup come to a simmer. Cover, turn to low heat, and let the soup bubble away for 15 minutes. Using a blender or food processor blend the contents of the pot until smooth. Place the puree back into the pot, along with 3 cups of water. Heat until the soup is simmering again. Salt & pepper to taste. If soup is still too thick add an additional cup of water, or stock if desired.
Ladle out into bowls, sit by a window, and sip while watching the snow fall!
Total cook time…30 min
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