February 2, 2014

Kabocha Squash Soup

In an effort to try various varieties of squash, I picked up a grand old Kabocha Squash. It turns out that this is New Veggie #73. It sat on my kitchen counter for a few days as I wondered what I could possibly use it for. Ultimately, for fear that it would rot, I roasted it and scooped out the flesh one night (and it went in the fridge). Sooooo, what am I to make? Ultimately, I decided to make that tried and true recipe for Squash Soup from Happy Herbivore. This time, I didn't have any curry powder handy (OMG! ... an Indian chick doesn't have curry powder ;) .. sacrilege!!!) but I did have my mom's home-made Garam Masala and ended up using that instead!! Ummm! :)

Prep Time: 10-15 min (with pre-roasted squash)

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  1. 1 Medium Kabocha Squash (pre-roasted, scooped flesh, ~2 cups)
  2. 1-2 cups Home-made Vegetable Broth 
  3. 2-3 tsp Garam Masala, to taste
  4. Hot Sauce (preferably Cholula)
  5. Salt and Pepper, to taste

Roast the whole squash in the oven for about 90 min (see instructions here). Once the skin starts to bubble and pop and darken, the squash is ready. Remove from oven and allow to cool at room temperature so that you can scoop out the flesh without scalding yourself. Once scooped, the flesh can be stored refrigerated until you're ready to make your soup. Bring 1 cup of vegetable broth to a boil in a large sauce pan, add squash and garam masala and some salt. Using an immersion (stick) blender, puree until the soup is thick and creamy, adding more broth as needed until you get the desired consistency. Taste test for salt and flavor. Garnish with cholula and enjoy!! 

My Assessment: This soup is so easy to make. I love it, with every kind of fall squash :)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)*: Calories 40 (Fat Calories 0)
Total Fat 0.0 g; Carbohydrates 9.3 g; Fiber 1.3 g; Sugars 4.0 g; Protein 1.4 g

* Nutrition facts are provided for the water option as vegetable broth calorie content can vary.

If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

Spicy Stewed Okra

This recipe, a hot and spicy Okra stew is inspired by my friend Maria Hatcher. Not only does she style my hair to perfection, she's been tempting me with tales of this recipe for months now. After our visit to her salon yesterday, and another conversation about this dish, I decided to pick up some okra and onions at the store and try this recipe tonight. I'm not sure if she uses all the same spices or not, but this came out pretty darned good. I served it over 2 redskin steamed potatoes. She uses mashed cauliflower or masked potatoes. I think it will go really well with a batch of my Cauliflower Rice

Prep Time: 20 min 

Warning: Not for the weak of heart!! This recipe packs a lot of heat. 

Ingredients (Serves 4):
  1. 1 x 12oz Pack of frozen/cut Okra
  2. 1 small white Onion, julienned
  3. 1 x 10oz can of Diced Tomatoes (or a medium fresh tomato, diced)
  4. 1 small Jalapeño, diced finely
  5. 1 tbsp Powdered Cumin
  6. 1 tsp Smoked Chipotle Pepper (or more, to taste)
  7. 1 tsp minced garlic
  8. Salt, to taste
Line a big saucepan with water and add onion and garlic. As the onion becomes translucent, add tomatoes, jalapeño, cumin and chipotle pepper. Mix well, add frozen okra and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer allow the okra to cook down for about 15 min. Serve over rice or potatoes. 

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving): Calories 58 (Fat Calories 5)
Total Fat 0.5 g; Carbohydrates 12.0 g; Fiber 4.0 g; Sugars 3.9 g; Protein 2.1 g

If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

Chef AJ's House Dressing

Photo Courtesy: The Shelton Challenge
I've been slacking off for about a month. Well not really, but I am terribly behind in my posts and the only reason I have, which some of you have already heard about, is that I started a new job this January. I'd been in the same position for the past 8 years and after a lot of moaning and groaning and stressing out over everything and anything, I made the change. I planned my exit strategy and when the opportunity presented itself, I made the change. It was difficult after being in the same place for 8 years but now I wonder why I was ever worried about change ... Change Equals Growth, after all. 

Anyhow, now I'm back and hopefully will stick with it with regularity :)

One of the cool things about my new job is that they have a full cafeteria with a full fresh salad bar. Awesome!!! Now while I've been really good about taking leftovers for lunches, the chance of eating a fresh spinach salad, loaded with beans and other fresh veggies, which I didn't have to put together is an awesome opportunity in my opinion. In the 3 weeks I've been there, I've had salad for lunch at least 4 days each week. I love it!! So that is the reason that this first post is about a home-made salad dressing. Chef AJ's House Dressing. I first came across this recipe when I attended a cooking demonstration by Chef AJ in Dublin, Ohio. I bought her book, Unprocessed, and this recipe was on a bookmark she gives out with each book. It's yummy!!

Prep Time: 5 min

Ingredients (Serves 5):
  1. 1/2 cup filtered Water
  2. 4 tbsp Tahini (whatever brand you can find, bottled varieties tend to congeal less)
  3. 6 tbsp Lemon/Lime Juice (fresh or bottled, both work fine)
  4. 4 tbsp Low-Sodium Tamari (or Soy Sauce)
  5. 4 tbsp Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard
  6. 8 tbsp Kal Nutritional Yeast
  7. 1 tbsp Date Syrup (or 3 whole pitted Medjool dates)
Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth. If using dates instead of date syrup, you may need to pulse a few extra minutes to make sure that the dates are well incorporated. The longer the dressing sits, the dates will imbibe more of the moisture and add to the overall sweetness of the recipe. Transfer to a serving dish, or a storage bottle. I typically make a batch every Sunday and take it with me to work. I split the batch over 5 days in my salad, or if I have some remaining, I do bring it home as it is also great on a baked russet or redskin potato. Enjoy!! This dressing is very reminiscent of a Honey Mustard dressing. Its really yummy on salads as well as on steamed vegetables, including baked or steamed potatoes.

Chef AJ's House Dressing over Steamed Redskin Potatoes

-- more pictures to follow -- 

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving): Calories 156 (Fat Calories 69)
Total Fat 7.6 g; Carbohydrates 18.1 g; Fiber 4.8 g; Sugars 6.2 g; Protein 8.5 g

If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!