Stuffed Squash

Finished Stuffed SquashThis recipe involves a few different aspects of cooking to prepare ingredients and then it all comes together in a beautiful feast for the eyes as well as the tummy. Read the whole recipe before you start to cook so that you see how to divide various ingredients and the order of preparation.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 3 garlic cloves, divided
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 cups shiitake mushrooms, trimmed, chopped
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried thyme or sage
  • 1 cup unsalted butter or vegan alternative
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 6 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt

Special equipment:

  • Kitchen twine

Preparation

Toast the pecans

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast pecans on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until fragrant and slightly darkened, 10–15 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop and set aside.

 Cook the lentils

  • Wash the lentils well until the water is clear when rinsing them and drain excess water. While you prepare the veggies to roast, cook the lentils in 1 ½ cups water. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat low, stirring occasionally. Approx. cooking time is 10 – 15 minutes so the lentils stay a bit dry but they’re soft (about the texture of hummus).

 Prepare the veggies to roast

  • Trim stem and cut zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a spoon or an ice cream scoop to scoop out some of the flesh to leave a small divot down the center. Set aside the zucchini for the filling in a mixing bowl.
  • Trim stem and cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Scoop out flesh, leaving a thick border of flesh on all sides and creating a divot deep enough to fit zucchini halves inside. Set aside the eggplant filling in the mixing bowl with the zucchini flesh.
  • Trim stem and cut butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Compost the seeds or set them aside to roast them. Scoop out insides, leaving a 1/2″ border on all sides and creating a divot deep enough to fit eggplant halves inside. Reserve squash filling in the mixing bowl with the zucchini and eggplant.
  • Using a fork, pierce insides of squash and zucchini halves. Using a sharp knife, make shallow crosshatch marks inside of eggplant, being careful not to pierce the skin. Trim green onions to match the length of the squash.

 Prepare the filling

  • Coarsely chop 2 garlic cloves. Combine chopped garlic, onion, mushrooms, with the zucchini, eggplant, and squash filling in the mixing bowl. Mix together and then pulse in a food processor until finely chopped.
  • Heat oil over medium in a large skillet. Add vegetable purée and thyme, or sage. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Return to bowl and let cool. .
  • Stir in cooked lentils, 3 tbsp. parsley, and 1 tsp. salt.

 Prepare the maple butterMaple butter for stuffed squash

  • In a small pot, melt the butter and combine with finely minced clove of garlic, red pepper flakes, and remaining ½ tsp dried thyme. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted, then stir in maple syrup.

 Assemble the roast

  • Place squash halves, cut side up, on prepared baking sheet. Brush inside of each half with maple butter and season with ½ tsp. salt. Using the back of a spoon, press some of the vegetable filling into each half until interior is fully coated. Sprinkle with ¼ cup toasted pecans.Assembling the stuffed squash
  • Nestle eggplant halves, cut side up, inside squash halves. Brush inside of each eggplant half with maple syrup butter and season with ½ tsp. salt. Using the back of a spoon, press some of the vegetable filling into each half until interior is fully coated. Sprinkle with ¼ cup pecans.
  • Nestle zucchini halves, cut side up, inside eggplant halves. Brush inside of each zucchini half with maple syrup butter and season with 1/8 tsp. salt. Using a spoon, fill zucchini halves with ¼ cup vegetable mixture, spreading it flat. Sprinkle with ¼ cup pecans (reserve remaining pecans), then lay green onion and chopped tomatoes down the middle.
  • Cut 3 (18″) lengths of kitchen twine. Slip twine under one squash half, then top with second squash half, so that cut sides face each other, and press down to seal. Tightly tie twine around squash to secure. Brush top with maple syrup butter (reserve remaining butter) and season with ½ tsp. salt. Wrap squash in aluminum foil Stuffed squash ready for bakingand place in the center of the baking sheet. Using 2 loaf pans or small metal bowls turned upside down, keep squash secure on baking sheet.
  • Bake at 400°F until squash is tender to the touch, 1 ½ – 2 hours. Remove foil and let rest 20 minutes.
  • Just before serving, heat the remaining maple butter, and then stir in mint, lemon juice, 1 tsp. salt, and remaining 3 tbsp. parsley.
  • Place stuffed squash on a cutting board and cut into 1″ slices with a serrated knife, transferring to serving plates as you go. Spoon herb butter over slices, garnish with remaining pecans, and serve.

Note:

Although the recipe is quite long, this is quite simple to make, and it’s fun! When you shop for the veggies choose the squash, eggplant, and zucchini that will fit/nestle into one another. When possible, choose squash and eggplant that have a neck and bulb that are as uniform in width as possible. Otherwise you can trim it a bit so that they fit into each other.

Spicy Cornbread Muffins

Spicy_Cornmeal_MuffinsThese savory muffins are a full of flavour and a great addition to brunch or served alongside soup.

Enjoy!

 

Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 ear corn, kernels cut off the cob, or 3/4 cup (thawed) frozen corn
  • (optional) 1 chili pepper, minced fine or 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

 Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and oil a muffin pan.
  2. Fry the onion and peppers in the olive oil with medium heat until softened.
  3. When the onion and peppers are nearly finished frying, add in the corn, frying until warmed through. Remove from heat and leave to cool.
  4. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  5. Combine the milk and lemon juice with the dry ingredients and then add in the cooked veggies. Do not overmix.
  6. Fill the muffin cups evenly with the batter and bake for 20 min or until browned and an inserted toothpick/sharp knife comes out clean.
  7. Let the muffins cool in the pan for a few minutes to firm up, then remove from pan to cool.
  8. Enjoy!

 NOTES:

  • For a different flavor, try adding one of the following: Mexican/taco seasoning, feta cheese, fresh basil or whatever you think might make a yummy addition.

Arugula Salad with Roasted Squash & Candied Pecans

Butternut SquashA yummy salad with a taste of fall!

Enjoy!

     Liz

 

 Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegan margarine
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 package fresh arugula (or use a combination greens if you don’t like the strong taste of arugula)
  • 1 granny smith apple, cored, sliced quite thin and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup roasted squash, cubed into small bite size pieces
  • 2 tbsp organic dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Melt margarine in small frying pan over low heat.
  2. Add pecans and brown sugar.
  3. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly until mixture is caramelized.
  4. Spread out on wax paper to cool.
  5. Mix the oil & vinegar and add the apple as it is sliced to prevent browning.
  6. In bowl toss together arugula (or other greens), pecans, cranberries, apple and squash with the dressing and serve immediately.

Note: To make ahead for a special dinner–toss apple with dressing so that it doesn’t turn brown. Layer apple on top of greens, squash, and pecans. Cover with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator until needed, tossing just before serving.

If you are not vegan you could add a cheese like feta, or a sharper cheese to contrast the apple & sweet pecans.

Watermelon Gazpacho Soup

WatermelonHere’s a cold soup for the hot weather!  This gazpacho is raw and vegan and, though it is good anytime, it makes a great side for a summer meal.

Enjoy!

     Liz

 

Ingredients

  • approx 3 cups of watermelon, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno (or to taste)
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley or cilantro
  • dash salt and pepper to taste
  • garnish with fresh mint

 

Preparation

  1. In a blender or food processor, place about half of the watermelon, cucumber, pepper, and onion and all of the jalapeno. Add olive oil and lemon juice and puree until smooth.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Add to pureed ingredients and stir to combine. Add more salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Chill for at least one hour, to allow flavors to combine, and stir well before serving.
  4. Add lemon juice, salt etc. to taste before serving.

Photo Credit: Rafael Moreno License

Rhubarb Crisp

Strawberry-Blueberry-Rhubarb CrispRhubarb is in season now and we have been happily adding it to the menu here at Sugar Ridge.  It has to be one of my favourite fruit (even though it is technically a vegetable!).  It has such a wonderful tangy flavour and works so well with other summer fruits like apples and all manner of berries, especially strawberry. 

So, for your baking and eating pleasure, here’s a recipe for a crisp that we make quite often.  There is not a lot to it, so it is easy to make, and it can easily be made vegan and gluten free.

Technically, this rhubarb “crisp” is actually a “crumble”, as crumbles have oats in the toppings and crisps do not.  But since this is the way the recipe was given to me from my mom and previously from my great aunt, I am keeping it this way.  We don’t have to tell anyone and it still tastes the same!

Enjoy!

     Kurt

 

Ingredients

Filling:

  • 1 cm-sized chopped rhubarb to almost fill 9″x9″ baking pan
  • maple syrup
  • water (as needed)

Topping:

  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup brown or Demerara sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 cups oats
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease 9″x9″ baking pan.
  2. Wash and chop rhubarb into ~1 cm pieces. (Smaller pieces will cook faster.)
  3. Fill the baking dish with the rhubarb to almost the top.  The volume of the fruit will reduce during the baking.
  4. Drizzle maple syrup liberally over the rhubarb to act as the sweetener and give it some of it’s liquid to bake. It is mostly done by feel and to taste, but you will probably need 1/4-1/3 cup syrup.
  5. If there does not seem to be enough liquid in the pan and the rhubarb is very firm, add a few extra tablespoons of water to help it soften during baking.
  6. In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the butter/margarine and sugar.
  7. Mix in the flour and then the oats and cinnamon. The topping should be crumbly, but still loosely hold together. If it has, for some reason, no stick-togetherness, then add a bit more butter/margarine.
  8. Spread the topping evenly over the pan of rhubarb so that all of the fruit is covered. You may need to press down slightly on the topping to gently compact it all into the pan.
  9. Bake the crisp for 30 to 40 min, until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is soft when tested with a knife.  Put the crisp back in for 5 min more if it is still too firm.

Notes

  • as mentioned at the top, pretty much ANY berry I can think of can be added to this recipe. The most obvious (and my favourite!!!) rhubarb berry combo is to add strawberries.  Berries can replace 1/3 to 1/2 of the rhubarb. You may need less syrup to sweeten the rhubarb with berries in the mix, as they already are pretty sweet.  Other great berries are raspberries, blueberries and cranberries.  Consider trying a combo of several berries and make it a bumbleberry-rhubarb crisp!  Apples are also an old standard for an addition to a crisp.
  • gluten-free flour can easily be substituted for wheat flour and the substitution has little to no effect on the recipe, as it plays such a small role in the topping and there are no concerns whether it rises or not.
  • other sweeteners can be used instead of maple syrup. As maple syrup is the “sugar” in our Sugar Ridge, it is a go-to sweetener for us, but honey, cane sugar, brown/demerara sugar or whatever you want will work well.

Almond Milk Pulp Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons

Liz has been making almond milk more and more lately.  One of the by-products of making this awesome milk is a lot of almond pulp.  We are not wasteful around here, so we’ve been adding the almond pulp to various things we make in the kitchen.  It is a great ingredient, as it is full of protein and can be used as a base in recipes, like a flour (as long as you lessen amount of liquid you add to offset the water in the pulp).

One yummy use for the almond pulp is to make macaroons.  Here is a great recipe we came across that uses the pulp and the amazing natural sweetness of Medjool dates.  As we play around with almond pulp recipes more, additional recipes may be posted… maybe even another variation or two on this one!

Enjoy!

 

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup almond pulp
  • 1/3 cup pitted Medjool dates
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp almond or vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine dates, almond pulp, sea salt, and almond or vanilla in a food processor and pulse until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add shredded coconut and coconut oil and pulse until thoroughly mixed.
  3. Scoop 1 tbsp portions of the batter, roll into balls between your palms and place on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake until golden, 25-30 minutes. Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

 Notes

  • makes about 12 macaroons.
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon can be added for a nice addition to the flavour
  • if you love chocolate (like we do) you can add a few tablespoons of cocoa into the mix before baking  or drizzle melted chocolate over the finished macaroons.

  Recipe modified from Yoga Journal post.

  Photo Credit: Roxanna Salceda License

The Best Rice Pudding in The World

This recipe has been my favourite rice pudding for over a decade now.  It is from the 1996 Milk Calendar, by James Barber (the Urban Peasant), and I now use it regularly to tempt the tastebuds of guests here on retreat!

2/3 cup arborio rice (the rice being arborio is key!)

Ingredients:

4 cups milk
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons butter
Grated rind of 2 lemons
Cinnamon, optional

Preheat oven to 250F (120C)

Preparation:

1. Mix the rice, milk, sugar, butter and lemon rind together in a bowl and pour the mixture into a greased 2 quart baking dish.
2. Bake for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
3. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve hot or cold.

Orange Poppy Seed Pancakes

Makes eight medium-sized pancakes.

Dry Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp nonaluminum baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup sunflower seeds, toasted
¼ cup poppy seed

Wet Ingredients:

1 cup milk
2/3 cup water (or equal mixture of orange or lemon juice)
1 tsp finely grated orange or lemon zest
1 cup fresh blueberries (or fruit of your choice)

Preparation:

1. Add dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
2. Wisk together milk, water (or juice) and zest in a small bowl until combined.
3. Add wet ingredients and blueberries to the large bowl of dry ingredients and stir to combine, using as few strokes as possible. (Batter will be quite liquidy.)
4. Let batter sit for 5 to 10 minutes to thicken.
5. Ladle onto frying pan or griddle set to medium heat.
6. Flip when bubbly on top and edges are slightly dry.

(Lovingly modified from the recipe in John Robbins’ May All Be Fed: Diet for a New World.)

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes

Makes twelve 4-inch pancakes.

Dry Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup cornmeal
1 tsp nonaluminum baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp fine sea salt

Wet Ingredients:

1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup fresh blueberries

Preparation

1. Mix together dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
2. Wisk together milk and water in a small bowl until combined.
3. Add wet ingredients and blueberries to the large bowl of dry ingredients and stir to combine, using as few strokes as possible. (Batter will be quite liquidy.)
4. Let batter sit for 5 to 10 minutes to thicken.
5. Ladle onto frying pan or griddle set to medium heat.  Flip when bubbly on top and edges are slightly dry.

(Lovingly modified from the recipe in John Robbins’ May All Be Fed: Diet for a New World.)

Carrot Ginger Soup

Serves 6 to 8.

Ingredients:

7 cups of vegetable stock
2 lbs fresh carrots, peeled
4 stalks celery, grated
1 tsp black pepper
3 leeks, cleaned & sliced in half lengthwise
1/2 pint heavy cream (optional) 
4 tbsp butter
1 yam, peeled
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground nutmeg
3″ piece of ginger, grated (I just chop it finely)

Preparation:

1. In a large pot, bring stock to a boil.
2. Chop all vegetables into small pieces (1/2″ cubes)
3. In a sauté pan, over med-high heat, melt half of the butter. Sauté vegetables with ginger and nutmeg forapprox. 15 minutes, or until vegetables are browned. Add remaining butter as needed.
4. Add sautéed vegetables to stock, reduce heat, cover with lid, and simmer for 30 minutes.
5. Let cool to room temperature and then puree in a blender. Soup should be thick and smooth.
Add salt and pepper.
6. To serve, add approx. 1 tbsp. of cream per serving and re-heat. Do not boil.

Serve in warm bowls.

Thanks to Kurt’s Aunt Barbara for this wonderful recipe!