Category Archives: Vegetables

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsI love January on this blog. It’s not that I’m not into making desserts all the time—and you know I can’t quit baking completely—but it’s really fun to share recipes that are part of my everyday life. The sorts of things that I make on the weekends and then delegate as lunch or dinner for the next four days. #singlelady Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsI’ve been making this Roasted Butternut Squash Soup for the last few months and I can’t get enough. It’s super simple to put together and very wholesome and comforting.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsDid I mention that it’s made almost entirely of vegetables and contains zero dairy? This soup’s creamy, velvety texture comes from one unsuspecting secret ingredient: a turnip.* It’s diced up and roasted with the butternut squash until everything is golden and sweet. Yum.

*Yes, the turnip pictured is comically large. That’s what I get for shopping ten minutes before close on a Friday night.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsThe roasted vegetables are then combined with some softened aromatics and stock (chicken or vegetable, whatever you have on hand), simmered for a few minutes, and puréed into a thick, rich, nutritious soup.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup provides a great blank slate for any number of garnishes. I was tempted to go with crispy bacon or even a wintry pesto, but decided instead to make something out of the seeds from my butternut squash!Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsWhile the vegetables were roasting, I rinsed the seeds to remove the fibrous squash innards. Then I toasted them in a dry pan just until they started to pop. After that, I added some olive oil, maple syrup, ancho powder, cayenne and salt, and stirred until they were brown and crispy.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsThe results are spicy, salty, sweet Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds, perfect for garnishing soup. Or eating by the tiny handful while you wait for your subpar Chinese takeout to arrive, which is exactly what happened to these. Ah, well.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
makes 4-6 servings

1 2 lb butternut squash
1 large or 2 medium white turnips
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large or 2 small Spanish onions, 1/2-inch diced
3-5 cloves garlic, crushed
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups water
2 bay leaves
1/2-3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 425F.

Peel butternut squash and use a large, sharp chef’s knife to cut it into 1-inch chunks. Reserve seeds for Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds (recipe below).

Peel turnip(s) and cut into 1-inch chunks. Place turnip and butternut squash pieces on 2 dry rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle each pan with 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) olive oil and toss to coat vegetables. Roast 50-60 minutes, tossing every 25 minutes. They should be soft and caramelized in places. (The roasting time is a good time to make Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds.)

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 6-quart soup pot over medium heat. Add diced onion and crushed garlic cloves and cook, stirring frequently, until onion has softened. Stir in roasted vegetables. Add stock, water, and bay leaves. Turn heat to high. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove pot from heat. Discard bay leaves. Use a stick-blender to purée soup. Season with salt and pepper, as desired.

Serve soup with butternut seed garnish. Leftovers will kee in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds
makes about 1/3 cup

~1/3 cup butternut squash seeds (from 1 butternut squash)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground ancho, chipotle or other chile powder
pinch of ground cayenne pepper
pinch of fine sea salt
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup

Place squash seeds in a small mixing bowl and cover with water. Use your fingertips to remove pithy squash innards from seeds, discarding them as you go. Pour seeds through a colander and remove any remaining pith.

Place seeds in an even layer on a clean, dry kitchen towel (or double layer of paper towels). Blot dry with another kitchen towel (or paper towel).

Heat a medium heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-low heat. Add squash seeds and toast, stirring every minute or two, until they start to pop. Do not burn.

Reduce heat to low. Stir in olive oil. Return heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to darken and pop again. Do not burn.

Mix in chile powder, cayenne, salt, and maple syrup. Stir constantly for 1-2 minutes, until the seeds clump. Remove from heat.

Transfer seeds to a plate and let cool completely. Serve with Roasted Butternut Squash Soup.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds

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Carrot-Zucchini Muffins

Carrot-Zucchini MuffinsI’m such an optimist when it comes to meal planning. I start every week with the best of intentions, picking up a ton of fresh produce. Tomatoes and avocados go quickly around here, being tossed with pesto or mashed into guacamole or served on toast. Greens go with fried eggs or are made into a huge salad with any odds and ends I have in the fridge. But no matter what I do, something gets forgotten.

Carrot-Zucchini MuffinsLast week, it was nearly a pound of carrots and a few zucchini. I made some into hash browns (recipe coming soon!), but I can only eat so many of those in a week. Instead of letting good produce sit in the fridge for another day or two, I turned to my go-to Zucchini Bread recipe.

Carrot-Zucchini MuffinsIn addition to being delicious, these Carrot-Zucchini Muffins are a little more nutritious than your average breakfast pastry. For one, they’re made with shredded carrots and zucchini–there’s a full 1/4 cup of vegetables in every serving!

Carrot-Zucchini MuffinsThe batter can certainly be made with only all-purpose flour, but I like to use half whole wheat flour here. Where using all whole wheat flour has the potential to make things dry and crumbly if not handled properly, using it in a 50/50 ratio with all-purpose keeps everything nice and soft. The resulting muffins have a nutty whole grain flavor and fluffy interiors–the best of both worlds.  

Carrot-Zucchini MuffinsCarrot-Zucchini Muffins are pretty low in sugar, coming in at less than a tablespoon per serving. While adding a few more tablespoons of sugar could certainly amp up the flavor, 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg basically do the same thing without adding to the calorie count.

Carrot-Zucchini MuffinsIf you’re looking to get some extra vegetables into your family this summer, this is one easy way to do it. These muffins have all that carrot and zucchini, a bit of whole grain, and with such minimal sugar, seconds are encouraged. Also, they freeze like a dream–just pop a frozen muffin in the microwave for 45 seconds or so. Served alongside a glass of Cold Brew, eating your vegetables has never been so delicious.Carrot-Zucchini Muffins

Carrot-Zucchini Muffins
makes 12 standard Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup neutral-flavored oil (I use canola)
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots, not packed (about 3 medium carrots)
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini, not packed (about 2 medium zucchini)

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners, or grease well. Set aside.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oil and brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Whisk in dry ingredients in two installments, mixing just until combined. Fold in shredded carrots and zucchini. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles.

Bake 5 minutes before reducing the heat to 350F for another 12-14 minutes. Muffins are ready when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.

To freeze, place cooled muffins on a baking sheet and freeze for 2 hours. Transfer to a labeled freezer bag. Store in the freezer for up to three months. To thaw, place in the refrigerator overnight or microwave for 45 seconds-1 minute.

Carrot-Zucchini Muffins

Olive Oil Marinated Broccoli

 Let’s take a sugar break. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on the real food side of things, and I’ve honestly overdone it with all the treats lately. But who can blame me? There were Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Oreo Buttercream to be had! I don’t care to admit how many I ate in three days…

It was seven. I ate seven cupcakes in three days 😁

So, let’s eat some broccoli. Really good, crunchy broccoli coated in a salty, spicy, garlicky marinade. 

This recipe is a riff on a side dish that an old boyfriend’s dad used to make all the time. We had dinner with his parents every Sunday, and while everything they served was good (I still dream about the arroz con pollo), the marinated broccoli was always my favorite. And while that boyfriend didn’t last, my obsession with this side dish has continued for years.

Yes, I get psyched up over vegetables. His dad also made the best peach pie I’ve ever had, but that’s a story for another day. 

 This broccoli is super easy and so good it’s ridiculous. There’s hardly any cooking involved. All you have to do is warm up some olive oil with garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes, and then pour it over a ton of broccoli florets. Toss it all together, cover it in plastic wrap, and let it sit for 2-4 hours at room temperature. That’s it–barely even a recipe. The broccoli softens just slightly and its raw bitterness fades as it soaks in all the salty, spicy goodness from the marinade. 

This recipe makes a lot. Like 8-10 servings a lot. But that means your vegetable side is done for at least two days, depending on how many you are feeding. Also, like soup and stew, the longer this sits, the better it will be. It’s great on day one, but the leftovers are *amazing.* The broccoli pictured only sat for two hours, and it was good, but when I went back for more later that night it was truly fantastic. 

Marinated broccoli is great with chicken, pork, fish, beef, tofu, mac and cheese…it literally goes well with any main you can imagine. I’ve been known to eat a giant pile of it with a hunk of bread and some cheese and call it dinner.

This is the kind of side dish that will make you want to eat your vegetables. I made some for my nine year-old friend last week and she went back for seconds. Of broccoli. Her main dish that night was pizza, so that’s practically a miracle.

Olive Oil Marinated Broccoli is a great side for weeknight dinners, and is great in packed lunches. I’ve served it at casual dinner parties and am planning to bring it to picnics in Prospect Park all summer long! Add this to your list of easy side dishes–it’ll be a favorite in no time! 

 Olive Oil Marinated Broccoli
makes 8-10 servings*

8 cups broccoli florets (about 5-6 crowns), raw*
2 cups extra virgin olive oil*
10 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and sliced in half
1-1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt, or to taste
1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Place broccoli florets in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Place olive oil, garlic, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes in a small pot. Heat over medium-high heat just until the oil starts to bubble and the garlic begins to sizzle. Remove pot from heat. Pour oil mixture over the broccoli, using a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to scrape any remaining spices from the bottom of the pot into the bowl. Use a large spoon to coat the broccoli in the oil mixture. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to sit 2-8 hours at room temperature, tossing occasionally.

Use a slotted spoon to serve. Broccoli is best served at room temperature.

Cover and refrigerate leftovers in marinade for up to four days, bringing them back to room temperature before serving.

Notes:

1. This recipe halves easily, should you like to make a smaller amount.

2. If you aren’t into mostly-raw broccoli, you may blanch it in boiling water for one minute, and then shock it in ice water to stop the cooking. Proceed with marinating as written.

3. Yes, 2 cups is a lot of olive oil, but it really does require this much. Serving this broccoli with a slotted spoon helps to leave a lot of it behind.