Monthly Archives: October 2013

Kabocha Squash Soup + Crispy Sage

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I’ve met my new favorite squash and its name is Kabocha (Ka-bow-cha). It’s an Asian variety of winter squash. And I have no idea how it’s even possible that I am just now discovering it.

Kabocha has a natural sweetness and the perfect texture for a pureed soup. It’s so sweet that I may play around and come up with a dessert recipe for it. For this soup, I thought it would be nice to add some savory elements to balance the sweetness, so I added shallots, garlic, hazelnuts and sage. The crispy sage makes the perfect garnish. Just be careful not to brown the sage or it will taste bitter.

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Oyster Mushroom + Squash Blossom Paella

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The first time I had paella goes way, way back. I was living in Washington DC; an eager young staffer working on Capitol Hill, having the time of her life. One of my colleagues (on the other side of the aisle no less…things were pretty civilized back then), hosted a paella party. It was a casual event that was completely elevated by the food. There were huge pans full of paella cooked outside and lots of sangria.

I’ve loved paella ever since. And have enjoyed hosting dinner parties over the years with a spanish/tapas theme. Although paella is traditionally made with seafood, it lends itself well to all kinds of vegetables. Recently, I tried out Gwenyth Paltrow’s Vegetable Paella recipe from her cookbook, My Father’s Daughter. It’s amazing! I improvised a bit and made it my own by adding oyster mushrooms and squash blossoms from the farmers market.

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Pumpkin Granola + Fresh Persimmons

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This is my second granola post and as far as I’m concerned I could post a new granola recipe every week and it would be awesome. The world really can’t have too much granola. And there are so many great flavor combinations to work with that it allows for lots of creativity. So here’s my autumn seasonal granola and I hope you love it.

I topped the pumpkin granola with fresh persimmons from Houston’s Eastside farmers market. There are two main varieties of persimmons that are generally available: Hachiya (astringent) and Fuyu (non-astringent). Apparently, the hachiya can make your mouth pucker when under-ripe. The fuyu can be eaten when the fruit is firm. I went with the Fuyu variety.

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Indian Food Part III: Dosas

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Nearly every culture has it’s own form of crepe, pancake or soft flat bread. The French version is world famous and for good reason. The Swedish have their thin pancakes, Russians make blinis, Norwegians have lefse and Ethiopians make a spongy bread called injera. In India, they make dosas. Which are not only awesome tasting; they are vegan, gluten free and full of protein. Whoa. How cool is that?

You’ll need to start making dosas, the day before you want to serve them. A pain? Maybe. But really worth the effort. A lot of this time is just soaking and fermenting. So the hands on work takes place mainly when you are making the crepes.

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Indian Food Part II: Dal

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My little trip to the Indian market last week introduced me to all kinds of new things. Well, dal isn’t new to me, but I usually just make it with red lentils. Looking at all the bean choices on the shelves made me want to branch out. So I made yellow split pea dal and it was so delicious.

What is dal? Dal is sanskrit for split. It is made with split peas, beans or lentils. And it’s not exactly a soup, but it can be kind of soupy when you first make it. It thickens up as it sits and definitely once it’s refrigerated. So, I guess it’s more of a side dish. Dal is an important staple in Indian cuisine, adding protein to most meals. Try serving it with some basmati rice and naan or other Indian bread.

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Cauliflower Eggplant + Potato Korma

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I bought Julie Sahni’s book, Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking, a REALLY long time ago. Like, I hate to admit this, but maybe 20 years ago. It has travelled all over the place with me, sat on many bookshelves and has hardly ever been used…until this week.

The book always intimidated me. The recipes are very authentic and somewhat involved. I’d never heard of most of the ingredients and had no idea where to begin. But I’ve been going to this awesome Indian street food restaurant here in Houston called Pondicheri and now I’m inspired. Big time! I’ve been making my way through the menu and discovering some amazing new things. This led to a field trip to my nearest Indian market.

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Mung Bean Sprouts

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The first time I sprouted beans was more than a year ago. I was invited to a raw food potluck by my friend Eileen. I didn’t know a thing about raw food, but being the curious foodie yoga girl that I am, I started doing some reading and playing in the kitchen. Since that time, I’ve had a lot of fun discovering raw food techniques and recipes.

So I dabble in raw food…eating it mostly for breakfast and lunch and having cooked food for dinner. This works for me. Raw food consists of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds that have not been cooked at a temperature higher than 115-118 degrees. It is nutrient dense food that tends to be more bioavailable, that is, more easily absorbed, into our system.

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