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Seasons’ Eatings: Chicken Parm with Fresh Tomato Sauce

By Kara Rota

Beefsteak tomatoes at Monkshood Nursery's farmstandNew York, NY - After Marc’s Grilled Heirloom Tomato and Basil Flatbread, I was looking forward to Relaying off of the tomato and basil to make one of my favorite go-to dishes: chicken parm. But first, let’s address some fascinating linguistic history. Have you ever wondered why the cheese prominently featured in chicken parm (or, as it’s often referred to, chicken parmesan) is mozzarella? The ‘parm’ in the title likely comes from parmigiana, meaning ‘from Parma’, in Northern Italy. To confuse the matter further, chicken parm is a Southern Italian dish (Veal parmigiana, which did originate in Parma, consisted of veal cutlets breaded and fried – no cheese, no tomato). Another theory attributes the ‘parm’ to the Sicilian word parmiciana, referring to the slats of wood which compose the central part of a shutter and overlap, as does the thinly sliced eggplant in eggplant parm. The inclusion of parmesan (Parmigiano-Reggiano) cheese is the least complex explanation.

Then there’s the sauce: most Americans commonly refer to a classic Italian tomato-basil sauce as marinara, which actually means ‘mariner’s wife’ and, predictably, traditionally includes seafood. The tomato sauce we’re talking about is more accurately called pomarola, whether the Tuscan variety, which is cooked longer, or the Neapolitan, which is cooked for less time and is often applied to pizza.

But my family isn’t one to get caught up in the technicalities. My Uncle Tony grows Jersey tomatoes behind his shoe store, chops them with basil, salt and pepper, onions, and a little vinegar, and keeps it in the fridge for weeks to eat with too-sharp Provolone and crusty bread. And my Uncle Richie has been known to enjoy lasagna I’ve made with spinach, tofu, leftover mushroom risotto, and eggplant-tomato sauce I’d frozen towards the end of last year’s tomato season. When it comes to devouring the glut of summer tomatoes, the authenticity of the dishes we make with them is the least of our concerns.

CLICK HERE for the full post and recipe.

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For my version of chicken parm, I never bother peeling and seeding the tomatoes (sorry, Julia Child), but puree them whole and then cook them fairly briefly - just enough for some of the water to evaporate. I got the beefsteaks in this recipe at my 79th Street Greenmarket, purchased from Monkshood Nursery and Gardens in Stuyvesant, NY. The fresh basil came in the form of a basil plant from Emmerich Greenhouses in Warwick, NY, and the eggs from Feather Ridge Farm in the Hudson Valley. The salt I used has local connections: HimalaSalt pink Himalayan sea salt is sustainably sourced in the Himalayas and packaged and distributed in Great Barrington, MA. I got fresh mozzarella at Zabar’s and the grated Parmesan from Trader Joe’s, where I also picked up Empire kosher organic chicken (they’re located in central Pennsylvania).

Chicken parm is a fantastic staple: it’s a crowd pleaser, kid-friendly, portable, and does a good job keeping warm in the oven if dinner’s delayed. Throw together a Caesar salad and you’re good to go!

Chicken Parm with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 35 minutes

Total time: 50 minutes

Yield: 4 generous servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs fresh tomatoes: plum or beefsteak work well.
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 1/5 cup olive oil
  • Salt, sugar, crushed red pepper, dried thyme, and dried oregano to taste
  • 1/3 lb fresh mozzarella
  • Four chicken breasts, about 1/2 lb each
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

Cooking Directions

  1. Wash the tomatoes and puree them in a food processor. Transfer to large stockpot and heat over medium.
  2. Cook for about ten minutes, then add pinches of salt, sugar, crushed red pepper, and dried oregano, adjusting to taste.
  3. Wash and chop basil, add to stockpot.
  4. Simmer over low heat for an additional 5 minutes.
  5. Mix together the breadcrumbs and grated parmesan in one large bowl.
  6. Beat the eggs in another large bowl.
  7. Heat enough olive oil to comfortably cover the bottom of a large skillet, until oil is hot enough that a breadcrumb quickly sizzles when dropped in.
  8. Dip each chicken breast in breadcrumb mixture, then egg, then breadcrumb mixture again, coating thoroughly.
  9. Pan-fry chicken breasts in olive oil until golden brown on all sides, approximately 3-4 minutes per side.
  10. Thinly coat the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  11. Place the golden brown chicken breasts in the baking dish. Pour the tomato sauce over the chicken.
  12. Slice mozzarella thinly and place on top of the sauce.
  13. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until mozzarella is melted and browning and chicken is cooked through.

Chicken Parm with Fresh Tomato SauceKara is a professional food enthusiast at Cookstr, a freelance food writer, and a sporadic livetweeter @karalearota. She lives on Manhattan’s Upper West Side with her boyfriend and their cats, Gwildor & Mel.

Filed under Food Cooking Seasonal Recipes tumblrize Beefsteak tomatoes Chicken Parm Fresh Tomato Sauce Kara Rota Monkshood Nursery Seasonal Recipe Summer Recipe Tomatoes

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Seasons’ Eatings: Grilled Heirloom Tomato and Basil Flatbread

By Marc J. Duquette

Heirloom tomatoes fresh from the garden

Pelham, NH - You’re invited! It’s a beautiful, clear August afternoon and we are headed outside to the grill. Imagine a group of friends gathered around the patio, sharing a bottle of wine around a perfectly set table, centered with vase full of colorful, fresh-picked flowers. The whole scene is surrounded by an incredible garden landscape. I swear I’ve come across this photo spread a thousand times in cooking and gardening magazines! Well, this is the perfect recipe if you find yourself longing to create such a place and time. It’s actually a very simple dish but the technique and freshness of the dish will blow you away. We are going to create a Grilled Heirloom Tomato and Basil Flatbread.

A key feature of Recipe Relay is the hand-off from one recipe to the next—an ingredient, method, or preparation. Therefore, from Sarah’s rustic Carrot Pizza, I’ll make use of the basil and I will relay her “pizza” idea in a somewhat different application by using a comparable dough to make flatbread on the grill. When I first started thinking about a recipe using basil, I came across the classic, and very common Italian Bruschetta—sliced Italian bread, toasted in the oven and topped with a tomato-basil mixture, usually served as an appetizer. I love making flatbread on the grill so it didn’t take me long to bring the two recipes together. Besides, what can be better than grilling outside this time of year?

CLICK HERE for the full post and recipe.

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The simple, classic bruschetta topping interested me as I have nearly everything I need from my organic garden—5 varieties of fresh and abundant basil, garlic, picked, cured and stored in the basement ready for use, and a colorful mixture of heirloom tomatoes at peak production. Staying close to home, I utilized homemade apple vinegar in place of the traditional balsamic vinegar. With autumn apples just around the corner, it’ll be time to brew up a new batch. If you’re interested, leave a comment on this page and I’ll reply with the recipe.

In my last post, a pasta dish, I took the time to knead out the pasta dough by hand. But hey, it’s summertime and I’d rather be out in the sunshine! So in this case, the Kitchen Aid outfitted with the dough hook attachment made dough prep a quick and easy process. This recipe can be served as an appetizer for 4 or a light summer meal for 2 and the resulting product is warm, crispy and fresh. Try this recipe! If you master the grilled flatbread, I am certain you will find other ways to use it. How about for making Carrot Pizza, for example?

Grilled Heirloom Tomato and Basil Flatbread

Making the Dough

Total Time: 15 Minutes + 3 hours Rising Time
Yield: Makes enough for 4 10” flatbreads.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water (105-115F)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 package (1/4 oz) active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 3 1/4 cups organic all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preparation

  1. Combine water, sugar and yeast. Proof until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Combine flour and salt in mixer outfitted with a dough hook.
  3. Add oil to proofed yeast mixture and add to mixer bowl.
  4. Knead on low speed for 10 minutes. You can knead the dough by hand if you prefer—knead for the same amount of time.
  5. Place dough in an oiled bowl, turning dough to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or damp towel, place in a warm location, and allow to rise for 2 hours or until doubled.
  6. Punch dough down and divide into 4, forming into neat balls. Allow to rise, covered, for another hour.
  7. At this point the dough is ready for grilling. The recipe that follows uses 2 of these dough balls. You can freeze the other two for later use or double the recipe to make 4 flatbreads. If you are not prepared to grill immediately, you can wrap the dough and refrigerate for a day or so. Just let the dough come to room temperature before stretching and grilling.

Making the Flatbread

Total Time: 15 Minutes Prep + 10 minutes grilling
Yield: Serving for 4 as an appetizer, serving for 2 as a light summer dinner.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups seeded, chopped heirloom tomatoes
  • 3 cloves minced garlic (set one clove aside)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (plus some for grilling)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, stems removed, lightly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 Balls prepared flatbread dough

Preparation

  1. In a bowl, combine tomatoes, 2 cloves of garlic, olive oil, vinegar, basil, salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside to marinate at least 10 minutes. You can prepare this earlier in the day and refrigerate until ready, just make sure to pull it out in advance and allow it to come to room temperature before heading out to the grill.
  2. Take the remaining clove of garlic and mix it into 2 tablespoons of olive oil and set aside.
  3. Next. stretch out the dough by hand or with a rolling pin to about a 10 inch diameter (My dough always ends up in odd distorted shapes but so what, that’s part of the fun).
  4. Heat the grill to med-high (350-400F), oil the grate, and place the flatbread dough on the grill. Close cover and grill for two to three minutes. The crust will bubble and will develop grill marks on the underside. Grill temperatures vary so check the dough periodically on your first few attempts to prevent burning. Note: If you do not have access to a grill, this recipe can be made in the oven on a pizza stone.
  5. Using a pair of tongs, flip the dough over, reduce the heat to med or medium-low (300-350F), brush with olive oil and garlic mixture, and lightly top with parmesan cheese (adjust to your liking but do not let it overpower the dish). Close grill cover and allow to finish grilling for another two to three minutes. If cooked correctly the dough will be golden brown, contain nice grill marks, be crispy in some areas, and have a nice chew around the edges.
  6. With the grill open, top the flatbread with the tomato mixture using a slotted spoon to leave the juice behind. Remove flatbread from the grill, garnish with a sprig of basil, slice, serve and enjoy. Although I prefer adding the tomato mixture at the end for that fresh summer taste, you can add the mixture in step 4 and allow it to warm as the flatbread continues to grill. Your choice.

So there it is. Grab a bottle of your favorite white wine, head outside, make this dish, and share it with friends.

Grilled Heirloom Tomato and Basil FlatbreadMarc J. Duquette is an organic gardener in Pelham, New Hampshire and he occasionally blogs about this at www.MarcsGarden.com.

Filed under Food Cooking Seasonal Recipes tumblrize Basil Bruschetta Dough Recipe Flatbread heirloom tomatoes Marc Duquette Marc's Garden Pizza Summer Recipe Tomato Flatbread Tomatoes

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Seasons’ Eatings: Carrot Pizza

By Sarah A. Maine

Ready for pizza school!

Sunnyside, NY - A great pizza is like a beautiful wedding - done right, the work is invisible, the elements all fit together with no awkward pauses.  Lucky for everyone, making great pizza is considerably easier, and less expensive, than planning and executing a wedding.  Until about a month ago, I had zero experience making pizza - eating and judging it - that’s another matter.  Five years living in Italy, while I was a teenager no less (prime pizza eating time), certified me as a pizza expert.  Or at least that’s what I thought.  One afternoon with Mark, Jenny and Mike at the Pizza a Casa Pizza School (yep, you heard me) made me realize how little I really knew.  Pizza a Casa (which means ‘pizza at home’ in Italian) is a tiny wonderland of learning, playing, and eating where Mark Bello dispenses encyclopedic pizza knowledge.  He is a veritable pizzapedia!  By the end of the class both your belly and your mind are full, and you have a few balls of pizza dough to take home and freeze for later use.

I was nervous to make my first pizza back at home.  I waited a couple of weeks, checking on my frozen dough stash every few days.  Finally, an industrious weekend of roasting CSA bounty, spurred me to attempt my first at home pizza - half way through preparations I realized I had forgotten to get tomato sauce!  Instead I pressed a batch of roasted carrots into service.  The pizza was tasty but the carrot sauce needed work - it was too thick and lacked a certain tang.  With Jessie’s Zucchini Patties I saw my chance for round two of carrot pizza.  From her recipe I’m taking the carrots, ricotta cheese and, for the hint of acid that was missing from my first outing, peaches.

CLICK HERE for the full post and recipe.

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When I sat down to write this post I had every intention of including Pizza a Casa’s Perfect Pizza Dough recipe.  Mark gave me the green light, so I was good to go.  I busted out my trusty Pizza a Casa handout and I began to parse the information - lifting out the most ‘important’ parts.  The further I got, the more I felt that I wasn’t doing anyone a favor by presenting a skeletal version of Mark’s process.  So I haven’t included a dough recipe here, my advice is to find a good dough recipe and follow the instructions.  If you are local to New York and are looking to take your pizza skills to the next level, then you need to check out Pizza a Casa.  Buy tickets to a class and immerse yourself in all things pizza.  I dragged a reluctant partner with me on my outing and he ended up having the time of his life.  We learned a lot and had a ton of fun, we also ate an enormous amount of pizza (Mark makes a plethora of example pizzas before letting his students loose on their own pies).

Carrot Pizza

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: about 1 hr
Yield:

Ingredients

For the pizza

  • 1/2 lb pizza dough (home made is best, it can be made ahead and frozen in 1/2 lb balls).  If your dough is frozen, put it in the fridge the day before you plan to use it so that it can thaw evenly.
  • flour for dusting
  • 1/2 cup roasted carrot puree
  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • 1/4 cup roasted onions (I roasted 1 medium onion, I only used about 1/4 of it for the pizza)
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/8 lb spicy pepperoni sliced thin, or cured meat of your choice (you can omit the meat for a vegetarian dish)
  • A hard cheese for grating - like pecorino Romano.  I used a cheese we sell at Saxelby Cheesemongers called Olga - it has the hard & salty characteristics that you want for this purpose.
  • Fresh arugula

For the carrot purée (makes about 1 cup - enough for 4 pizzas)

  • 5 medium sized carrots cut into sticks
  • 1 ripe peach, peeled
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water - add as needed
  • 3-4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Cooking Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to bake at 350 F.  Slice the carrots into sticks toss in olive oil and roast for 30-45 minutes, until soft and sweet.  Quarter an onion and do the same.  Roast them together but in separate pans.
  2. When the roasting is finished, remove the veggies and turn the oven up as far as it will go - most ovens go up to 500-550 F.
  3. Purée the carrots, adding slices of peeled peach to taste until you reach a balance of sweet and acid that you like.  The peach will also add moisture to the sauce.  Add 1 Tablespoon of red wine vinegar and water as needed to loosen up the purée.  Grate the
  4. Dust flour on a clean counter top and place your dough in the center.  Press it into a rough circle, leaving the center thicker than the edges.  Press and spin the dough like a record, aiming for a roundish circle.  Lift the dough and drape it over your fists, move it in circles, letting gravity stretch it out.  Working the dough takes practice, lucky for us even a trapezoidal pizza tastes good!
  5. Place your dough on a pizza peel (if you are using a pizza stone) or onto a pizza screen or cookie sheet.  This is important!  It’s much easier to move your dough around before it has anything on it!
  6. Start adding your toppings - start with the ricotta cheese, spoon a few good sized globs around the dough.  Next, onions - dot them around, nestling them into the cheese (to protect them from getting burned).  Spoon the carrot purée in blobs, also touching the cheese and onions in some places.  Then the pepperoni and finally a layer of cheese grated over everything - make sure to grate over the edge of the crust!
  7. Slide your pizza into the oven quickly (you want to keep that heat in the oven!).  It only needs 8 minutes to bake.  My oven bakes unevenly so I gave my pie a swift 180 degree turn at the midpoint.
  8. Remove the pizza from the oven and add any finishing touches - a drizzle of good olive oil, fresh herbs like basil or arugula.
  9. Slice and serve!

Carrot Pizza

Filed under Food Cooking Seasonal Recipes tumblrize Armandino Batali carrot pizza Carrots homemade pizza Mark Bello Peaches Pizza Pizza a Casa pizza school Ricotta Cheese Sarah Maine Seal Cove Farm Olga

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On Your Mark, Get Set: Waves of Winter Squash

By Sarah A. Maine

Sunnyside, NY - These days I spend most Sundays selling organic vegetables at the Monkshood farm stand at the Jackson Heights Greenmarket. A couple of weeks ago we sold our last cherry tomatoes, basil and summer squash so I now spend a considerable part of the day consoling customers over the disappearance of summer’s vegetable gems. I’m also quick to remind everyone that winter squash are tasty jewels in their own right; I try to dispense as much information as I can about how the different squash taste and the myriad ways they can be prepared.

Until a couple of years ago, I had never cooked a winter squash. During my first year of CSA membership, the arrival of a bulbous butternut or inscrutable acorn squash in my share box was an intimidating event. Lucky for me winter squash are patient vegetables, biding their time, sitting on the kitchen counter in un-judgmental silence, nodding slightly at the basket of onions.

CLICK HERE for the full post.

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Several cycles of autumnal squash later, I am much less timid about cleaving open any manner of squash that comes my way - butternut, acorn, spaghetti, kabocha, delicata - bring it on! This evolution in my culinary courage is serving me especially well this season - between my CSA and my shifts at the market, I am in a constant race to keep up with the pile of vegetables that renews itself each week. In order to manage the flow I decided to dig into the RecipeRelay archives and review the squash based recipes that we’ve had so far, I thought I would include the list here - to help you jumpstart your own squash-y ventures.

Obviously I’ll be including squash in my recipe this week - I’ve opted for pie pumpkin. Even though sweet, sweet pumpkin pie tops my list of favorite fall foods, I think I’ll use the pumpkin to add a sweet note to a savory dish filled with additional bounty from my farmers market neighbors. I’ll be using pumpkin, fingerling potatoes, onion and sage from Monkshood, eggs from Migliorelli’s Farm, cheese from Cherry Grove Farm, and smoked bacon from Grady’s Farm, layering sweet, salty and smoky flavors into a delicious autumnal quiche.

Squash are versatile vegetables but it is easy to into a well worn routine for cooking them, as I’ve become more comfortable using squash I try harder to incorporate squash  in unexpected ways. What are your favorite winter squash recipes? What special tricks do you employ to add variation into your fall menus? Leave a comment and share your delectable squash discoveries below.

I’ll see you back here on Thursday with my finished pumpkin quiche recipe!

Sarah A. Maine is a Co-Founder & Editor of RecipeRelay, on most Sundays she can be found spreading the good news about organic produce at the Monkshood Nursery farm stand at the Jackson Heights Greenmarket in Queens, NY.

Filed under Food Cooking Seasonal Recipes tumblrize

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Local Libations: Pumpkin Spiced Russian

By Brianna Bain
Pete’s Autumn Fixer Upper mirroring qualities of honey, vanilla, smoke, and cinnamon cranked my memory reels back to seasonal holiday parties past. Fall brings with it not only cool, damp nights but excuses to drink eggnog, warm sweet spiced rum drinks and peppermint hot chocolate, libations I would not find myself making for myself or others at any other time of year.

Truthfully I am not a huge fan of creamy sweet drinks. While tasty, they tend to lead to some pretty painful next mornings. But after reading Pete’s post about combating oncoming seasonal illnesses, I couldn’t resist trying my hand at a spice infused, creamy, dreamy, filler upper, cold season cocktail. I’ll recommend to just have one! If you can…

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CLICK HERE for the full post and recipe.

I’m relaying the spice from Pete’s drink last week and selecting vodka as my poison. I’m aiming for a sort-of White Russian with autumnal flair that will put this drink into the seasonal category. Pete’s ginger beer sorcery nudged me to make my own spiced simple syrup rather than go looking for a sweet spiced liqueur to candy my  mix of vodka and cream, typical of a standard White Russian. For my ingredient list I took  guidance from some pumpkin pie spice that I had in the pantry. While my spice may seem a bit elaborate for pumpkin pie don’t let any lack of ingredients allow you to skip making your own, you can always use the most basic - cinnamon, ginger and clove and you will achieve similar results.

For my vodka choice I got my hands on an organic white corn vodka called Rain.  It is handmade from scratch in small batches at Buffalo Trace Distillery located in Franklin County, Kentucky USA. This organic vodka boasts some very interesting flavor and if you care to enjoy a vodka on the rocks with a squeeze of lime this would be a great vodka to do so with! The vodka undergoes an extensive 20-day production technique that includes cold-water sweet mash fermentation, seven distinct distillations and a polishing stage that adds pure limestone water. The Buffalo Trace website gives a very interesting taste profile, which I do find mostly true. I do have my thoughts on the power of suggestion with these descriptions though. “Smells of pear drop, moss and hay in the first sniffing; aeration allows the aroma to deepen, especially the appealing earthy moss/wet soil perfume. Palate entry is feather-light; at mid-palate there’s a firm but satiny taste of sweet grain. Aftertaste is grainy. Delicious and delicate.” Fancy huh… and like I said, mostly true. I almost felt bad covering up this unique tasting vodka with spices and cream. Oh well here it goes…

Spiced Simple Syrup

Prep Time: 20 minutes + cooling time

Yield: 1 3/4 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups brown or turbinado sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 6 cloves
  • 3 whole star anise pods
Directions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove from heat and let cool until lukewarm. Strain syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a heatproof airtight container and discard spices.
  3. Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Pumpkin Spiced Russian

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Tools: short Collins glass, spoon

Yield: 1

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Rain Organic Vodka
  • 1 oz  Heavy cream
  • 1 oz Spiced Simple Syrup
  • Drizzle of Pumpkin Seed Oil

Directions

  1. Pour vodka and simple syrup into short cocktail glass. Stir.
  2. Add hand-full of crushed ice.
  3. Slowly pour in cream.
  4. Top with a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil  and garnish with a cinnamon stirring stick.

Warning: This drink is dangerously good! You will want more than one…

Cheers!

Spiced Pumpkin RussianBrianna lives in sunny San Diego, California. When not making Local Libations or creating recipes for RecipeRealy she farms urban landscapes to support more localized food systems and restaurant supported agriculture.

Filed under Food Cooking Seasonal Recipes tumblrize Brianna Bain Fall Cocktail holiday cocktails Local Libations Pumpkin Spiced Russian Rain Organic Vodka RecipeRelay Seasonal Cocktails White Russian

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The Handoff: Salt Cod Cakes

By Taylor Cocalis

Potatoes in a potGreensboro, VT - As I mentioned on Tuesday, I was inspired by Jessie’s Daikon Radish Cakes to make some savory salt cod cakes of my own. I adapted this recipe from Mark Bittman’s book How to Cook Everything, my go-to resource for finding a recipe for anything I happen to be craving on any given night. I love Bittman all the time … in his books, in his Minimalist webisodes, in his new NY Times Opinionator column. I love that he’s never had formal training, his recipes are simple, and his food is not fancy. And I absolutely adore this blurb he has in the Spain cookbook he did with Batali and Paltrow. In it he says there are essentially four stages of a cook:

  • Stage 1 - You seek out recipes for inspiration and go out and buy ingredients to make said recipe according to the directions.
  • Stage 2 - You seek out recipes, pick one out, follow it, but tweak it a bit.
  • Stage 3 - You look to recipes occasionally for inspiration and general techniques, but then ditch the recipe to make the dish as you wish.
  • And, last, but not least, Stage 4 - You open your refrigerator/cupboards/walk out to your garden and can make anything from what you have available, sans any formal recipe whatsoever.

This is so important. In our culture, there is a prevailing idea that anything you make needs to look like it came out of a restaurant kitchen. Guess what …it doesn’t. And it shouldn’t. If everyone simply started somewhere … anywhere … and started to rack up hours in the kitchen they would be a stage 4 before they knew it. It’s generally accepted that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at anything. Imagine if everyone got exposed to 10,000 hours of cooking before they were 18. If we all had the time, energy, and insight to feed ourselves and each other every day? Imagine how much more confidence people would have in their own ability to nourish themselves? It would be grand.

CLICK HERE for the full post and recipe.

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The cruel joke is that - like anything - the hardest part is simply starting. In the beginning, you DO need a lot of time and energy (and money to invest in stocking your pantry and having a few staple pieces of nice equipment). But once you know the game it’s a lot easier to play it.

I love this particular recipe because it’s forgiving. You can deliberately make all of the components from scratch, or you can use this recipe when you happen to have a bunch of leftover mashed potatoes, or some stale bread. The cod cake mixture keeps pretty well in the refrigerator for a few days, so if you know you won’t want to cook all weekend, fry some up for dinner on Friday, eat with eggs on Saturday, throw some already formed/dredged cakes in the freezer for a rainy day.

Salt Cod Cakes

Prep Time: 1 hour + 24 hours to soak the cod.

Cooking Time: 30 minutes for cod cakes

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Yield: 8 large salt cod cakes or 16 small ones

Ingredients

For the cod cakes

  • 1 lb dried salt cod. You can substitute any old fresh white fish if you’d like, and skip the soaking below. I just happen to like salt cod because - A) we rarely get any good fresh fish up here in VT, and B) it keeps forever. Literally. Okay almost literally.
  • 3 cups mashed potatoes (see recipe below).
  • 3 local eggs. We get ours from the lovely folks at Scholten Family Farms, but any egg that is fresh with a bright orange, plump yolk will do.
  • 1 grated yellow onion. We procured ours from Pete’s Greens.
  • a few Tablespoons bread crumbs and flour. Yes, we often make our own bread and none of it goes to waste. What doesn’t make it into crostini, bread pudding, panzanella, ribollita, or stuffing turns into bread crumbs.
  • Olive oil and/or bacon drippings and/or butter whatever you have on hand, or a mixture of them all.

For the mashed potatoes

  • 3 lbs or so of potatoes. Kinda small ones are better than huge. I like Yukon Golds or something similar with a thin-ish skin because I never skin them. Why waste all of that flavor? And all of those nutrients? And waste your time peeling? Just seems silly. Just be sure to wash ‘em good.
  • 6 Tablespoons or so of good butter. I vote Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery cultured butter or something of similar quality from your area.
  • 1 cup heavy cream or rich whole milk. I used Butterworks, which is about as close as you can get to butter without it actually just being butter.
  • Salt (I happened to have some relatively local Maine sea salt).
  • Pepper

Cooking Directions

One day ahead

  • Soak that salt cod. Place in a dish and cover with cold water. Let soak for 18 - 24 hours, changing the water at least 4 times.

One hour ahead

  • Make mashed potatoes. Throw potatoes in a pot and cover with salted water. Boil for 30 - 40 mins. drain. Whack ‘em up with a fork. Return to low heat and adds knobs of butter and cream/milk. Mix with wooden spoon. Can still be pretty chunky.

Making the cod cakes

  1. Simmer cod on stove for 15 mins.
  2. Flake fish into a bowl, taking care to remove any stray bones.
  3. Add potatoes, onion, eggs, salt and pepper. Mash up until blended.
  4. Add just enough breadcrumbs to make it manageable (usually 2 - 3 Tablespoons).
  5. Form into cakes (can be as large or small as you’d like).
  6. Dredge in mixture of half flour/half bread crumbs.
  7. Heat a few Tablespoons fat (olive oil, bacon drippings, butter, etc) over medium heat. When sizzling a bit, fry cakes in hot fat. Flip when golden brown on bottom (usually 3 - 5 minutes). Cook second side same as first.
  8. Serve warm, cool, or cold - with fresh lemon wedges and/or mayo with capers and hot sauce.

Salt Cod cakeTaylor Cocalis is a Co-Founder of Good Food Jobs, a gastro-job search website, designed to link people looking for meaningful food work with the businesses that need their energy, enthusiasm, and intellect.

Filed under Food Cooking Seasonal Recipes tumblrize Cod Cakes Fall Recipe Good Food Jobs Pete's Greens Salt Cod Cakes Scholten Family Farms Seasonal Recipe Taylor Cocalis Vermont Vermont Creamery

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On Your Mark, Get Set: Food to Fuel Your Hibernation Inclination

By Taylor Cocalis

Pete's Greens Farm StandGreensboro, VT - While the rest of the Northeast is still experiencing Indian Summer, the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont is rapidly cooling down. A few nights of frost have sent our skyline up in flames - with brilliant oranges, raging reds, and radiant yellow leaves - which have already muted into a burnt rusty color as they leap from the trees to cover the dirt roads.

Summer is gone and with it went the spoils of the season - an abundance of produce and berries and sun-kissed treats. But with the new weather comes new foods - ones that my hibernation inclination has been craving for a few months. These are the things that you can easily hide under bulky sweaters, and that give you an extra layer to keep you a little bit warmer during the cold winters - potatoes, butter, heavy cream, and bread.

CLICK HERE for the full post.

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Let us also reflect that this season’s late dearth of produce resulted in part from the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. While many farms were fortunate to not be hit with lasting damage to their properties, the flash floods ruined the remainder of this year’s crops by exposing produce to potentially hazardous contaminated water. Water, water everywhere, and not a leaf to eat.

But as omnivores we can find food to eat in any region and any season. I am choosing to make cod cakes, riffing off the savory cake technique from Jessie’s Daikon Radish Cake, incorporating ingredients indigenous to our region, and highlighting some of the best things VT has to offer.

Speaking of which … here is what we’re jamming on around here this time of year:

Potatoes - These ones are from Pete’s Greens. Their farm stand is open all summer. It’s the type of place that makes me love VT. It’s all on the honor system with prices listed, a notepad to mark your purchases, and an open cash box to make change. In addition to their own organic produce (they cultivate 50 acres in Craftsbury, VT), they stock items from other incredible local producers of grain, butter, cheese, maple syrup, cider vinegar, meat, and the like. The farm stand just closed yesterday for the season. To mourn the loss we stocked up on Pete’s Yellow Potatoes. According to the sign at the farm stand, Pete thinks they are the best potatoes around. We happen to agree.

Butter - Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery makes our favorite staple cultured butter. We use it for just about everything. Try the one with sea salt for slathering on freshly baked bread. The lightly salted works best for cooking and baking preparations.

Heavy Cream - Butterworks Farm Cream is a real treat. We’re lucky to have it local. It’s just about as close to butter as cream can get. A few shakes will turn it into butter. It’s equally suited for cooking, whipping, or pouring over your oatmeal with maple sugar. Now I am hungry for breakfast.

There are also a ton of other great food-related businesses in the area. In our tiny town of Greensboro alone we have two of the finest food artisans in the country - Jasper Hill Farm (maker and ager of some of the finest cheeses to come out of the US) and Hill Farmstead Brewery (arguably crafting the country’s best beer). But don’t take my word for it. Come for a visit. The Center for an Agricultural Economy offers tours the third Thursday of every month. Hope to see you here soon!

Check back on Thursday for the completion of my hibernation friendly savory cod cakes.

Taylor Cocalis is a Co-Founder of Good Food Jobs, a gastro-job search website, designed to link people looking for meaningful food work with the businesses that need their energy, enthusiasm, and intellect.

Filed under Food Cooking Seasonal Recipes tumblrize Butterworks Farm Cream cultured butter Greensboro Hill Farmstead Brewery Jasper Hill Farm Pete's Greens potatoes savory cod cakes Taylor Cocalis Vermont Vermont Creamery

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Local Libations: The Fixer Upper

By Pete Vasconcellos and Allison Rizzolo
Ballard-Wildflower-HoneyNew York City, NY - Autumn has arrived with a vengeance, bringing with it a damp chill and that inevitable change-of-seasons head cold. Allison is a firm believer in the healing qualities of alcohol, and contests that a bottle of red wine once cured her of the flu. Thanks to the soothing qualities of honey, it would probably take less than a bottle of Sarah’s honey wine to return you to health next time you’re sick. Hurry, Sarah! Pete’s throat hurts!

In the meantime, we’ll have to try a recipe of our own. A natural start is the Penicillin: one of the cocktail world’s “new classics” (developed by Sam Ross of the influential mid-aughts Milk and Honey crew), so named due to the healing qualities of honey, ginger and lemon combined with the “Good Night Irene” qualities of both blended AND Islay Scotch (PLEASE try one!).

With this delicious drink as our backdrop, and escape from the perpetual cold rain in the Northeast as our inspiration, we have decided to focus on the warmer flavors in the Penicillin (honey, vanilla, smoke, cinnamon), mirroring them with alternative elements, including rum and apple cider.

CLICK HERE for the full post and recipe.

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Ginger will take center stage here. Pete has cobbled together a ginger brew that stems from the recipe found in the Speakeasy cocktail book. Unlike Speakeasy’s cleaner spicier syrup, this syrup is all about the baking spices (cinnamon, clove, anise). It’s the same homeopathic stuff cold and allergy sufferers sport in their home remedies, except, you know, yummier. This syrup naturally wants to be married with cider.

Depending on the sweetness of your particular cider, and the richness of your region’s particular honey, you might want the option of dialing down the other sweeteners. We’ve chosen wildflower honey from Ballard Apiary in Roxbury, NY. It is incredibly dark, rich and caramelized. Our drink therefore uses less honey, so as not to beat up on the other ingredients. We’ve chosen rum for our base, which surprisingly takes a backseat … almost. An excellent choice is the supremely mixable White Rhum Barbancourt; heavier than most white rums, it falls short of being an assertive slow-sipper. It’s floral on its own, and has the subtle orchard fruit, citrus and cinnamon notes found in our other ingredients. Finally, we’ve finished this drink with a rinse of absinthe, just to give it depth. This is optional, as some of us really hate the taste of anisette. Enjoy the fall and stay dry. Of course, as of this writing, it has climbed to 72 degrees outside. T-Shirt and Jeans weather - enjoy it while it lasts.  The drink is no less delicious.

The Fixer Upper

Prep time: 1 hour 30 min

Active prep time (for drink): 2 minutes

Yield: 1 cocktail, though the ginger beer and honey syrup can be refrigerated for later use. Both will yield several servings.

Tools: Knife, juicer, food processor, mesh strainer or cheesecloth, nonreactive sealed container, lidded pot, liquid measuring cup, measuring cup, jigger, strainer, ice, double old fashioned glass

Ingredients

For the Ginger Beer

  •  2 lb peeled and chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 red chile pepper, chopped
  • 2 cup water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 bay leaf
  •  1 cup demerrara sugar
  •  1/4 cup honey
  •  1/4 cup fresh lime juice

For the Honey Syrup

  • Equal parts honey and water

For the Cocktail

  • 2 oz Rhum Barbancourt
  • 3/4 oz Cold Pressed apple Cider
  • 1/2 oz honey syrup
  • 1/2-3/4 oz ginger syrup
  • 2 dash Angostura bitters
  • 1/4 oz Absinthe

Directions

For the Ginger Beer

  1. In a food processor, combine ginger and cucumber and process to a pulp
  2. Squeeze the pulp of any juice you can through a cheese cloth or mesh strainer. Reserve the juice
  3. Add pulp, chile, water, cinnamon, clove, peppercorn, anise, bay leaf, sugar, honey and lime juice to a lidded pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
  4. Store in a non reactive sealed container, pulp and all, overnight in a cool, dry place.
  5. Strain mixture through a mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Make sure you press it for as much juice as possible.
  6. Add the reserved ginger cucumber juice.

*Will keep for approximately 1 week in the fridge.

For the Honey Syrup

  1. Combine equal parts honey and hot water. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature naturally.

*Will keep for 4-5 days in the fridge.

For the Cocktail

  1. Rinse a double old fashioned glass with 1/4 oz absinthe. Discard the absinthe.
  2. Combine Cider, Lemon, Ginger, Bitters, honey and rum in a cocktail shaker. Shake over ice. Strain into a glass over ice.
  3. Garnish with a lemon twist

The-Fixxer-UpperPete Vasconcellos has been tending bar in Boston and New York for fifteen years. He has finally forgotten how to make a Malibu Bay Breeze.

Allison Rizzolo improves democratic problem solving by day and moonlights as an at-home bartender, Spanish teacher and casual photographer. You can follow her on Twitter and read more about her libation-related adventures at her blog, Veni Bevi Vici.

Filed under Food Cooking Seasonal Recipes tumblrize Allison Rizzolo Ballard Wildflower Honey Fall Cocktail Ginger Beer Honey Syrup Local Libations Pete Vasconcellos Rhum Barbancourt Seasonal Cocktail The Fixer Upper

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The Handoff: Dim Sum at Home - Daikon Radish Cakes

By Jessie Chien

Gathering-all-the-ingredients-for-the-radish-cakeGuangzhou, Southern China - Every so often I come across an article or two about the availability of organic farming in China. For the most part these inspire little confidence.  Until I can figure out a reliable source for organic meat and produce, I will continue to supplement occasional trips to the supermarket with plenty of visits to my neighborhood Chinese wet market. Although I’m not exactly sure where the food comes from, I know it’s fresh, somewhat local, in season, cheap, and reflects the local cuisine.

Lately, my market has been lush with greens, and over the last week and a half, spinach has made a sudden and abundant appearance at many stands. Even though it’s nearing squash season in the states, and food blogs are atwitter with recipes for apple pie and desserts involving nutmeg, the stacks of leafy greens haven’t gotten any smaller in China.

Browsing the aisles of the wet market with Valeria’s ingredients for Creamy Winter Squash Soup fresh in my mind, one winter-y vegetable did stand out to me, as stark and white as winter itself: the daikon. A large variety of radish that is grown and sold year-round in Asia, it is fundamentally more subtle than its small red western counterparts. However, its flavors turn more peppery in the summer, versus almost sweet in the winter.  Right now, it’s neither too spicy nor all that sweet. The daikon is used in various preparations throughout Asia, from pickling to sautéing to steaming, and sometimes just shredded, raw.

With the daikon already on the scale and ideas of sofrito still prominent in my mind, I realized I had basically set myself up with a recipe for daikon radish cakes.

CLICK HERE for the full post and recipe.

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The radish cake is a dish that is ten times tastier than its unfortunate name makes it sound. Served in dim sum restaurants both in China and at home in the US, it is made year-round thanks to the corresponding year-round availability of the daikon radish. It has also been a longstanding favorite of mine. A meat dish in disguise, the veggie radish patty is laced with fragrant Chinese sausage or fatty pork and plenty of Chinese aromatics like scallions, dried mushrooms, dried shrimp, and dried scallops. The “cake” is sliced into rectangular sections and eventually pan fried like a pot sticker before serving. And did I mention it’s traditionally served with a side of chili paste? Such a rock star made from of an otherwise dowdy root vegetable.

Despite having eaten radish cake countless times, I’ve never once tried making it on my own. A Google search produced various handy recipes and techniques, but as with dumpling-making, stir-frying, and egg roll wrapping, I turned to my mother.

Her response, via email, was slightly disheartening,

“I have tried [to make radish cake] a few times over a 30 year period, but never fully mastered it…. I won’t be surprised if you need to make it a few times to get the best batch.”

Maybe this was going to be harder than I thought.

Despite that hurdle, I was determined to press on. I was not going to let a few potential trials get in my way. So, after going back to the market and buying a few MORE daikon radishes, I was ready to create a seasonally appropriate, culturally relevant, and Relay applicable dish.  True to my mother’s advice, it took a few batches over the course of a couple of days, another trip to the market, and consequently a few neighbors commenting on the wafting aroma drifting down the hall, until I found the best combination of ingredients and techniques for the type of radish cake I was imagining. One that made me think of Valeria and her Italian squash as well as my cab driver zipping around the streets of Guangzhou.

Note: There are countless variations on this cake, some sweeter, some with more sausages, some denser and others virtually 100% radish. I say, try your own versions until you get the one you like best.

Daikon Radish Cakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus overnight to soak dry ingredients.

Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes (including steam time), plus 5 minutes pan fry

Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Yield: 4-6 appetizer-sized servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium to large daikon, shredded
  • 5 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 7 g (about 15 small) dried scallops
  • 16g (about 30 medium) dried shrimp
  • 2 large scallions (or baby leeks)
  • 1 Chinese sausage
  • 25g salt cured pork and fat, or about 1/2 cup, chopped
  • 1 small piece of rock sugar* (or 3 teaspoons brown sugar)
  • 125g rice flour, approx. 1 cup
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup water

*rock sugar is a very popular ingredient in Chinese cooking, and basically looks like pieces of crystalized rock candy that comes in a variety of sizes. If you can’t find rock sugar, it’s fine to use a few teaspoons of brown sugar.

Cooking Directions:

  1. The night before, soak the shiitake mushrooms, dried scallops, and dried shrimp in small separate bowls. This can also be done a few hours in advance, but overnight soaking is optimal.
  2. Peel and shred daikon with a grater into a strainer lined with cheesecloth over a bowl. The daikon will give off a lot of liquid. Set aside to drain.
  3. In the meantime, drain the ingredients that soaked overnight. Make sure to squeeze as much water as possible from the mushrooms. Finely chop mushrooms, scallops, and shrimp, as well as the scallions (separating the whites and green parts), Chinese sausage, and cured pork.
  4. Warm a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat in preparation for your “sofrito.” Add 2 Tbsp. neutral-flavored cooking oil (I prefer grapeseed oil, but canola or vegetable oil is fine). Add mushrooms, scallops, shrimp, and scallions (white parts only). Saute for about five minutes, then add the sausage and pork. Turn heat to medium and stir occasionally for another five minutes, until the sofrito becomes more brown and is speckled with many small bubbles.
  5. In between stirring your sofrito, squeeze the cheesecloth with the daikon so the liquid drains into the bowl. You should be able to get the shredded daikon fairly dry. Set the liquid asid e- there should be around 3/4-1 cup, depending on the size of your daikon.
  6. Stir the drained, shredded daikon into the sofrito along with the scallion greens and rock sugar. At this point, it will look like a potato hash. Stir mixture until well incorporated, and allow to cook for about 7-8 more minutes.
  7. While the daikon mixture is cooking, measure out the rice flour and cornstarch into a medium bowl - it is very important to use rice flour and not all purpose flour or any other flour. Add the liquid drained from the daikon as well as one more cup of water into the flour and cornstarch and whisk thoroughly. Pour this liquid into the mixture on the stove, mixing the daikon sofrito with the flour-water mixture until evenly incorporated. The new mixture will look like a thick oatmeal or wet paste. Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes.
  8. Brush a 8-9” round or square baking pan with oil. Turn off the stove, and pour the daikon mixture into the pan, using a spatula to smooth the surface until it looks even.
  9. Set the pan in a large steamer of any sort - metal, bamboo, rice cooker, or in my instance, a MacGuyver style heat-proof bowl set into a wok with water in the bottom - I set my pan on top of the bowl and then covered the whole contraption securely with foil.
  10. Steam the radish cake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted does not come up with clumps.
  11. Carefully remove the radish cake from the steamer - it will be VERY hot. Allow the cake to fully cool, for optimal results set it in the fridge for a few hours or even overnight. This will make the cake more firm and allow for better edges when cutting (although, you can proceed to the next step right away).
  12. Invert the cake onto a cutting board, and cut your radish cake into desired sizes. I prefer rectangular pieces that are around 2-3 inches.
  13. In a nonstick skillet, heat 2 Tablespoons of neutral-flavored oil. Traditionally, the Chinese like to use Peanut oil in cooking but I find the flavor to be a little intrusive.  When hot, carefully lay several daikon radish cakes onto the pan, keeping the heat at Medium-High.
  14. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, or until the bottoms are crispy and golden brown. Drain on a paper towel and then serve immediately with a side of chili paste.
  15. Enjoy, and think about what someone on the other side of the world is eating.

Jessie Chien lives in Guangzhou, China. She edits Chinglish for a living and in her free time likes to visit the wet markets around town. Visit her blog for more expat adventures in China.

Filed under Food Cooking Seasonal Recipes tumblrize Chinese Cuisine daikon Dim sum recipe Fall Recipe Guangzhou Wet Market Jessie Chien radish Radish Cake Seasonal Recipe

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The Blender Girl’s Creamy Vegan Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Today we are extremely happy to welcome Tess Masters, the fabulous Blender Girl, back to RecipeRelay to share another of her delicious Healthy Blender Recipes.  Today she gives an old Fall favorite, Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, the vegan treatment.  With layered flavors of cilantro, fresh ginger and coconut milk, it’s a dish you won’t want to miss.  This recipe makes plenty of soup, making it a great addition to a Fall dinner party menu - or you can keep it a secret and eat it all yourself!

Vegan-Roasted-Butternut-Squash-SoupBy Tess Masters

It is Winter squash season and I could not be happier. I thought I would take my cue from the wonderful Marc Duquette, and his delicious Roasted Butternut Squash Tart With Sauteed Onions.  I had my heart set on making a roasted butternut squash soup. I made my soup and had it all ready, and then saw Valeria Necchio’s gorgeous Creamy Winter Squash Soup With Castelmagno d’Alpeggio Cheese. My heart dropped for a split second, feeling that posting two squash soup recipes so close together might be a bit much. But then I decided that “you can never have too many Winter squash soup recipes in your repertoire.” AND, technically I am not part of the relay, so I can make my own rules. LOL!

This is one of my favorite times of the year. I love heading up to the local market and seeing pumpkins, acorn squash, and my personal favorite, butternut squash! The gorgeous oranges and yellows of the squashes just sing out to be exploited. I bought some local onions, carrots, ginger and cilantro, and I had everything I needed for my simple Winter soup dream.

CLICK HERE for the full post and recipe.

What I love about this soup is that is so simple. The ginger and cilantro root flavors are very mild, allowing the natural sweetness of the butternut squash to be the star attraction. In Australia, Fall and Winter is “Sunday roast season” where we roast potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, butternut squash, parsnips, turnips, onions, garlic, zucchini and any other seasonal produce we can lay our hands on.

Well, it would appear, you can take the girl out of Australia, but you can’t take the Aussie out of the girl. At this time of the year I always find myself craving one of my mother’s delectable Aussie Sunday roasts. Being a vegetarian, it is not the meat I crave, but the delicious array of roasted Winter vegetables. In particular, the butternut squash; or, as we refer to it in Australia, “Butternut Pumpkin”. This roasted butternut squash soup tastes like a “Sunday Roast In A Bowl” for me. Or at least, the sweetest part!

Butternut squash is at it’s peak right now – the early part of Fall and all through the Winter, which means a lot more Sunday roast nostalgia for me! I don’t know about you, but my body just seems to wrap itself around fresh local foods in season. I love to steam butternut squash, but I always feel like you get more “bang for your buck” by roasting them, which brings out the natural complexity of flavors: the subtle creamy nuttiness and the delightful sweetness.

This soup is savory and sweet at the same time.  The coconut milk is optional. The soup tastes fabulous without it, but I like the creamy sweetness it adds. You can also substitute ¼ cup blanched almonds instead of coconut milk, which accent the nuttiness of the squash splendidly. You could always add more fresh ginger if you want a soup with more of a kick, but I prefer a more subtle ginger flavor that complements the squash beautifully.

From my local table to yours — squash this soup together and you won’t be sorry. It is DEELISH!

The Blender Girl’s Creamy Vegan Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hr for roasting, 10 minutes to simmer, 5 minutes to blend

Total Time: 1 hr 30 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium butternut squash - cut up into 8 cups of cubed butternut squash
  • 2 medium carrots - chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 medium onion - peeled and quartered (about 1 cup)
  • 1 whole head of garlic peeled
  • 8 cups vegetable broth / stock
  • 1 bunch cilantro - separate the roots in a bunch and finely chop the leaves
  • 1/8 cup coconut milk (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons of freshly minced ginger
  • 1 tsp Celtic sea salt

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 Fahrenheit.
  2. Slice the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds.
  3. Cut off the ends where the seeds have been scooped out, place peeled whole cloves of garlic in each cavity and place those pieces face down on the baking dish.
  4. Peel and cut up the rest of the squash into large cubes and place in the baking dish with the cut up onion and carrot with a some olive oil and a touch of Celtic sea salt.
  5. Roast for one hour until just tender.
  6. In the mean time, heat 8 cups of vegetable stock.
  7. Place the cilantro root in a large saucepan and cover with the hot vegetable stock. Allow this to steep while the vegetables roast.
  8. Empty the roasted vegetables in to the saucepan, and scoop out the whole butternut squash sections that have been infused with the garlic into the saucepan, add the garlic as well!
  9. Add the minced ginger and bring the pot to the boil, simmer for ten minutes, add the coconut milk and then allow to cool.
  10. Remove the cilantro root and blend the soup in batches, until thick and creamy which will be a minute or two depending on the power of your blender.
  11. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with a scoop of your favourite grain. YUMMO!

Tess Masters is an actress, presenter, voice over artist, budding cook, enthusiastic story teller, environmental warrior, self-respecting devotee of all things green and natural, and most importantly, a champion of the miraculous blender, mixer, and food processor.

Filed under Food Cooking Seasonal Recipes tumblrize Fall Recipe Gluten Free Healthy Blender Recipes Roasted Butternut Squash Soup Seasonal Recipe Tess Masters The Blender Girl Vegan Recipe Vegetarian