Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Roasted Squash + Ginger Apple Quinoa


Another night cooking with ingredients from the Hamptons I decided to stay on the apple track and add one of my all-time favorite Fall produce, the acorn squash. LifeThyme market has the best roasted vegetables in their hot bar these days, loaded with all types of squash, carrots, onions...picking up dinner from there has become quite a habit but I thought I'd put my own spin on things tonight and do things my own way.  This recipe was pretty much a test so the measurements are not exact. Feel free to play with your own flavors and let me know what you come up with!

Roasted Squash + Ginger Apple Quinoa
(Serves 2-3 as a main)

1 acorn squash, quartered and seeded
pure maple syrup
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup cooked quinoa
almond slivers, toasted
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
fresh parsley, chopped
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup crimini mushrooms, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/2 apple, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the squash cut-side up on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, pure maple syrup, sea salt and black pepper. Bake for about 30-35 minutes until you can easily poke with a fork.

Heat a splash of olive oil in a medium skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for a few minutes, until soft and translucent. Stir in the mushrooms and the apple and saute a few more minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger and saute for another minute or so and then add the dijon mustard and toss until all of the flavors start to combine.

Add the cooked quinoa, some of the almonds and the parsley to the skillet and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Drizzle with a bit more pure maple syrup and toss to your liking.

Serve over the acorn squash and top with more almond slivers for a nice crunch.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hamptons + Fall Recipe

Just back from the weekend spent with my husband in the Hamptons celebrating our one year anniversary. The weather could not have been better.  The crisp air, the sun shining and the sea breeze somehow melts you back grounded to reality and takes your mind to another place.  We spent our time there apple and pumpkin picking, farmers' market hopping and eating at our favorite local spots. We came back to the city yesterday with both a weight lifted off of our shoulders and bags and bags full of  farm fresh produce to cook with all week.
There is something about hand-picking your own food literally off of a tree that inspires you to cook to another level, or maybe it's just the incredibly fresh ingredients that make you think that you did a better job.  Either way, the taste of my 'usual' thrown-together avocado-and-tomato-toast breakfast that morning was bursting with so much more flavor than usual...
First dinner sprouts and apples. I was first inspired by this dish from 101 Cookbook when I made it as a side over the Holidays last year. This time I added tempeh pieces to create a one skillet meal. I like to use Lightlife Wild Rice Tempeh. It has a nutty flavor and texture that adds 21 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber per serving. I served this over brown rice for a main but you can leave out the tempeh if you prefer and keep this as a side dish (as I did for James) and serve alongside a roasted chicken or pork chop, for the non-vegans of course.  

Brussels Sprouts + Apples
(Serves 2-3 as a main)

1 large apple, cut into small wedges
the juice of one lemon
4 ounces tempeh, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
a couple splashes of pure maple syrup
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
12 ounces brussels sprouts, washed and cut into quarters or shredded into 1/8-inch ribbons
extra-virgin olive oil
Celtic sea salt
Soak the apples in a bowl filled with water and the juice of the lemon. Set aside.

Blanch the brussels sprouts in salted boiling water for a minute or two, just until the color turns brightly green (you can skip this step if shredding the brussels sprouts into 1/8-inch ribbons). Set aside.

Heat a large pan and add a splash of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Add the tempeh cubes and cook, sauteing until golden brown, about 5 minutes or so.  Stir in the garlic and then add a splash of maple syrup (about 1 Tbsp), and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Drain the apples and add them to the skillet, cooking another minute or so. Scrape the apple and tempeh mixture into a bowl and set aside. 

Cook the brussels sprouts in the same pan by first adding another splash of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and turning up the heat to medium-high. Once the pan is hot, toss in the brussels sprouts and add another smaller splash of maple syrup and cook, sauteing for a couple of minutes until you get some golden edges and the rest are brightly colored. Stir the apple mixture back into the skillet and half of the pine nuts and gently toss to combine. Remove from heat immediately and serve with the remaining pine nuts.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Beautiful and vibrant, this soup is one of my go-to's to start a good healthy meal. Loaded with antioxidants, it's just filling enough with a big green kale salad topped with your favorite fixings. Depending on the season, I serve it warm or chilled. It's great both ways!

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked 1-2 hours
2 red bell peppers, halved and seeded
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp sea salt
black pepper
juice from half a lemon
1/2 tsp agave
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 basil leaf, sliced (for garnish)

Roast the bell pepper halves by brushing with olive oil and placing under the broiler for about 8-10 minutes, or until the skin is slightly blackened.  Remove the skin immediately with a sharp knife.

Blend all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Heat the mixture in a saucepan on low heat until the temperature of your liking. Pour into bowls and garnish with chopped basil. Voila! Serve and enjoy.