Tag Archives: squash

Acorn Squash, Pear, and Adzuki Soup

Delicata Squash and Pear Soup

Buoyed by the success of Onion and Apple Soup, I decided to tackle an even more daunting combination: Pears and Acorn Squash! I love pears. They are my ‘special treat’ fruit, and thus I don’t want to sacrifice them to experiments. One 6lb. windfall bag on sale later, I learned that pear and banana soft serve is a good idea in theory, but disastrous in execution. I also love squash. To have squash go to waste is also a crime. So to mix the pears and squash in a savoury dish was an absolute no-no under the “thou shalt not mix fruit in savory dishes” kitchen rule.

This recipe is originally from Veganomicon, and has been taunting me ever since my first cover-to-cover study session. The ingredient combination of pears, squash, adzuki beans, and mushrooms sounds so weird that I knew that it had to be delicious. But I hesitated. For years, I hesitated. Finally, I bit the bullet and made the soup. My suspicions were confirmed – this soup is a unique take on the staple squash soup, full of flavour and surprises with every spoonful. I can’t put my finger on what it tastes like – the mushrooms and sesame oil add an Asian earthiness to it, while the squash adds the body. When you think you have it figured out the pear adds a subtle not-sweet but different taste, and the adzuki beans add colour, protein, and their own flavour. Overall it’s a delicious deviation from the norm!

These two soups, although successful, won’t have me trying pineapple on my pizza anytime soon though.
The recipe in addition to being in Veganomicon can be found at the PPK here: Acorn Squash, Pear, and Adzuki Soup.

*Note: In Veganomicon it calls for delicata squash, however I used acorn and it was delicious. Instead of fresh shiitake mushrooms, I used a combination of dried mushrooms and fresh white mushrooms. The dried mushrooms add to the Asian flavour with another textural element to the soup. Highly recommended!

Winter Vegetable Thai Pumpkin Curry in Roasted Pumpkin Bowl

Creamy, spicy, and altogether pleasing, this winter vegetable curry will have you crawling back for more! And yes, you can eat the bowl too!

This Thai Pumpkin Curry is what I imagine Thanksgiving in Thailand would be like. Rutabagas, turnips, potatoes, brussels sprouts, carrots, and pumpkin are slow cooked in a pureed pumpkin red Thai curry sauce. A bunch of kale is added near the end for a pop of green and another layer of texture, then ladled with love into a roasted pumpkin bowl. The bowl is delicious and a tasty addition to the curry, but the curry can also be served in a bowl. The list of ingredients and vegetables is definitely not what people classically think when they see the words “Brussels sprouts” but I guarantee that after a morsel of this creamy spicy curry is tasted they will never crave sickly-sweet maple Brussels sprouts again! The roasted pumpkin bowl is highly recommended, however if your oven is like mine and you quickly run out of real estate when roasting winter squash, feel no shame in saving the fresh pumpkin and throwing a bit extra into the curry!

The curry sauce itself is composed of a homemade fiery red Thai curry paste that is a “dump and puree” procedure. Add to this fresh roasted pumpkin, and a half-and-half mixture of coconut milk and almond milk and puree some more. This sauce is very versatile, and would be at home in a spring Thai curry just as much as a winter one. Or use as a salad dressing, topping for a pasta dish (if you add some nutritional yeast you would have spicy Thai curry mac and cheese!), or leave it as is for a pureed soup. The almond milk cuts the richness of the coconut milk, making the curry sauce more flavourful and less rich. The vegetables you add are completely up to you – Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall, or whatever your freezer is bursting with! If you think it would taste good, throw it in! Once you have gathered, diced, and cut your desired veggies, they are quickly sautéed and then simmered in this curry sauce until al dente and delicious. If you are addicted to fresh greens like I am, add them in and stir until they are bright green and wilted just a bit. Sprinkle with some lime juice, cilantro, and serve with some Sriracha if you can take it! This is without a doubt my new favourite winter holiday meal. Step aside boring steamed squash and maple-syrup brussels sprouts – fiery red Thai curry is here to stay!

The full recipe is from Eric Tucker’s Millennium Cookbook (pg. 133-135), which has been prominently featured here previously. It is my go-to for something fancy or different, and always delivers fresh bold flavours and flavour combinations that I would have never dreamed up myself! So give yourself and your Brussels sprouts a treat and cook this delectable dish this year – save the maple syrup for dessert!

Thai Pumpkin Soup

Comfort in a bowl – Thai style!

I was making room in my freezer for the anticipated CSA harvest, and found a lone freezer bag of diced pumpkin shoved forgotten in the corner. Right beside it was my prepared lemongrass, and I knew exactly what I needed to cook. Thai Pumpkin Soup. No matter that it was 26 degrees outside, soup was what was calling my name!

This soup is another recipe that turned my tofu-hating family into tofu-tolerating. I brought it to a family gathering in a Crock Pot once, counting on the fact that my family of picky eaters wouldn’t touch an orange soup with green things floating and to*FAU* (insert wrinkly nose here) with a 10-foot pole, but it got slurped up well before the other offerings! No leftovers for me … This soup is warm, hearty, and will cure whatever ails you. The lemongrass and ginger are excellent for fighting the winter blahs (if it is winter outside), and the spice level can be adjusted to taste with the addition of fresh chili peppers. The pumpkin is easily substituted for acorn squash or butternut squash, or that lone bag of squash hanging out in your freezer! Like most soups, it tastes even better the next day warmed up, and freezes wonderfully. You can serve it with vermicelli or rice, but I like to eat it as is.

The recipe can be found here: Thai Pumpkin Soup. So clean out your freezer, embrace that lone bag of pumpkin, and delight your taste-buds in this super easy, super tasty, soul-satisfying soup!

Indian Curry Feast – Baingan Bharta, Green Mung Daal, Spicy Okra, Saoji Tempeh, and Spicy Squash with Dosa

Yes, that’s right. Sometimes I have no restraint. I couldn’t decide which dish to make so I decided to make them all!

Far Left: Baingan Bharta and Green Mung Daal
Far Right: Spicy Okra and Saoji Tempeh
Middle: Dosa

Spicy Squash Curry with Saoji Tempeh and Dosa

Too much for my IKEA bowls! Everything was fantastic, and easily put together with some prep work. To break it down, the full menu review dish by dish:

Baingan Bharta

This is the Indian equivalent to baba ganoush. It’s a delightful curry – almost a chutney – of roasted eggplant, tomato, and wonderful spices. Without the oil of baba ganoush! It would make a fabulous spread on roti, na’an, or toast, but I ate it right out of the bowl. It was time consuming to make, but only because you have to roast the eggplant. This step is definitely worth it. The roasted eggplant gives the dish a depth and creaminess that would be missing. I can see this dish entering the dip rotation in my fridge.

The recipe can be found here: Baingan Bharta

Green Mung Daal

This was a combination of two recipes that I found, because I couldn’t even decide which daal to go with! So it is spinach and roasted garlic spicy green mung daal, and is heaven. Definitely not work appropriate unless you come prepared with a travel-sized mouthwash bottle – you’ll need it! I am new to green mung beans, and I am a convert. I love lentils and these pretty beans add another option to my dried bean cupboard. They cook in about the same time as red lentils, and are just as easy. They are creamy in the daal, with enough whole beans left to not make you think you’re eating baby food. The daal itself has a depth of flavour from the spices and garlic that was a unique daal – definitely a departure from the standard red and yellow varieties. The spinach added an extra pop to the daal, just when you think you had it figured out! It comes together easily, and would be perfect for a weeknight meal.

The recipe that I followed *most* is this one: Green Mung Daal with Burnt Garlic Tadka

When I was cooking the mung beans, I put 1c. beans with 4c. water and added 0.25t. lemon juice and about 2c. of spinach. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook like you would lentils – the mung beans will expand and be mushy (to taste, of course!). I followed the rest of this recipe as-is.

Spicy Okra

I found fresh okra in my local Asian grocery store, and picked it up on a whim. Okra seems to be the vegetable that comes with issues – either you love it or you don’t. My sister had a roommate in University who would only eat okra. Personally, I’d had it once in some gumbo thing that I wasn’t a big fan of, but I’m willing to chalk that up to my kidney bean issues and not the okra. Plus, a slimy vegetable that doesn’t come from the ocean? I had to give it a shot to see where I sat on the fence!

As it turns out, I am not passionately for or against okra. The slime factor was really cool! When you cut fresh okra after washing, this slime appears from nowhere. It’s easily patted off with some paper towel, but it was kinda like the slime that slugs leave 🙂 The recipe that I chose to highlight the okra was a simple fried version, with a spice profile consistent with the other curries I was making. I never got the okra to be ‘crispy’, but it was a lovely side dish. The okra doesn’t have a strong flavour, allowing the Indian pickle spice mix to shine through. Do not skip the pre-roast and grind step. Making your own spice mixes is so satisfying, plus it makes your kitchen smell amazing. This particular spice mix will become a staple condiment in my kitchen. Delicious! The okra finger-sized shape properties make it perfect for snacking – I brought the leftovers to work the next day to nosh on, and cleared out the stash. Addictive for sure!

The okra recipe can be found here: Crispy Okra with Indian Pickle Spices

Saoji Tempeh

… the dish that started it all. Any recipe that has a spice list as long as my arm immediately goes onto the ‘must try’ list. And is it worth it! Every single spice on this list was found at Superstore or Bulk Barn, so it wasn’t even that difficult to stock the spice rack. I have never had the Saoji Chicken that this is an adaptation of, but this tempeh recipe is one of the best yet! I usually boil my tempeh for about 10min before marinating so the marinade really soaks into the tempeh. With this recipe, the tempeh is boiled IN the marinade, saturating it with flavour. The spice mix – again well worth the pre-toast and grind yourself – is delicious, and has a great kick. Warm and comforting, this dish is definitely one of the stars of the evening. Potentially my new favourite way to cook tempeh as well. Although the list is quite clearly from India, I think the tempeh would lend itself well to tacos, enchiladas, pita pockets, or other wrapped goodies. Add some cilantro-lime crema made with soy yoghurt and you’ve got a supreme pita pocket on your hands! This dish is the epitome of ‘worth the effort’!

The recipe can be found here: Saoji/Savji Tempeh

Spicy Squash Curry

I love squash. I didn’t use to – this is a recent love starting when I gained control of my own kitchen. I grew up with squash one way: Acorn squash cooked in the microwave, then mashed to baby food consistency and liberally sprinkled with brown sugar. This still gives me the shudders. So in my adult life, I am doing my best to explore all the various delicious ways to eat squash – and there are many! This Spicy Squash Curry is a super quick throw-together meal that makes a lot and is absolutely delicious. If I grew up with this as my squash dish, my love affair with these gourds would have started at a young age! The squash is indeed very spicy, and the underlying spices give it a nice warm flavour. I added some spinach to the pot, and it added a touch of green to the dish that made it look extra pretty. If you have squash issues like I did, try this recipe first! You will be blown away by what squash can be!

I served it with some of my dosa and some of the Saoji Tempeh, because I couldn’t get enough of it!

The recipe can be found here: Spicy Squash Curry

After this feast, my tummy was very happy! And because each recipe cooked 4-6 portions, I could enjoy the dishes throughout the week. I am now a convert of toasting my own spices and making my own to-order mixes. I think that extra step makes all the difference. Enjoy!

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