Wednesday, November 17, 2010

WDW - Coconut Butternut Squash Soup

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I was so happy to get a big butternut squash in my farm box last week! I had cut out a recipe for butternut squash soup that I was dying to try, because it called for one of my favorite ingredients - coconut milk. I happen to love butternut squash soup - and let me tell you, with the addition of the coconut milk, this recipe was tastiest bowls of it that I've ever had. And, it was super easy to make.

If you are not familiar with butternut squash, no need to feel intimidated. First, you need to peel the skin off with a wide peeler, cut it open and discard the seeds. Then, just cube up all the beautiful orange flesh with a sharp knife. For this recipe, after I did that, I just dumped the squash cubes in a soup pot, added the rest of the ingredients, and simmered for a few hours. When the squash was fork tender, I pureed it all with my stick blender. If you don't have a stick blender, you can puree the soup in small batches in a blender. Mmm.

As a little treat alongside the soup, I cut up one sheet of Trader Joe's puff pastry into strips (you can find the pastry in the frozen section). I put the strips on a baking sheet, brushed with egg wash, and sprinkled with a little shredded parmigiano. A 10 minute bake at 400 degrees ... and they were heaven! And, with the extra pastry sheet, I made four lovely little nutella turnovers for dessert. Nice!


Coconut Buttermilk Squash Soup

1 4 lb. butternut squash
2 cans coconut milk
1 box chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped brown onion
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. brown sugar

fresh cilantro for garnish, optional

Peel and cube squash. Put in a large soup pot and add remaining ingredients. Simmer 3 hours, or until squash is fork-tender. Puree with stick blender. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

WDW- Tzatziki

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I had to take some antibiotics last week (yukky ones, too) and a friend reminded me to "eat my yogurt." Antibiotics kill not only harmful bacteria in your body; they also kill the healthy ones in the intestines. The live bacterial cultures in yogurt can help replenish the intestines with helpful bacteria before the harmful ones take over. I read that a daily dose of 8 oz. yogurt while a person is taking antibiotics and for two weeks thereafter is very beneficial. So, it's yogurt for me!

I happened to have a container of Trader Joe's Greek yogurt on hand (I love the stuff).
I use the 0% fat one, and can't taste the difference. When the farm box arrived this morning, and I saw that I had a cucumber, I knew exactly what lunch would be - Tzatziki!

Tzatziki is a refreshing yogurt dip and is very versitile. I love it spooned over a gyro, and it's a great dip for fresh veggies or crackers. And it's a snap to make with the Greek Yogurt. If you get regular yogurt, you will need to strain it before you make this (regular yogurt will separate and be watery).

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I peeled and finely chopped the cucumber and chopped up about 4 Tbsp. fresh mint from my garden. The mint is a must. I then stirred in the whole container of yogurt and seasoned with salt and a lot of fresh pepper. You can add fresh garlic if you like. That's it!

I was going to serve it with veggies from my farm box, when I remembered I had something else that would be perfect with it too....

A few weeks ago, my sweet (8 months pregnant) friend, Alik invited Emma and I over to her home for a traditional Armenian breakfast. I cannot tell you the proper names of all that we ate, but I do know it was all delicious. There was a wonderful fava bean soup with condiments to stir in, which was so comforting, lebni (kind of like tzatziki without the cucumbers/mint) and a grilled bread that Alik made. We watched her make the bread and definitely wanted to be able to make it sometime at home. Alik kindly offered to give me a package of the herb seasoning (Zattar mix)that she used, and I picked up the rest of the ingredients at Costco. I found Naan Bread and Halloumi cheese, two things I didn't even know Costco carried. You can use any mid- eastern type bread that is soft, but not a pita, it's not soft enough.

The bread is simple, tasty, and is kind of like pizza. Armenian pizza, maybe? Here's how you make it:

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Grab yourself some naan. Be sure to get the "healthy" kind like I did. You know, the one that says "white flour" as the first ingredient.

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Get ahold of some Zattar mix. Found at mid-eastern markets.

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Mix the Zattar mix with some olive oil to form a thick paste. Zattar mix is basically dried herbs (primarily oregano)and sesame seeds.


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Spread the herb paste liberally on the bread.

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Add some of the Halloumi cheese (you could also use "frying cheese" and I have used queso fresco from TJ's as well) and place bread cheese side up in a lightly greased non-stick skillet. Cook on medium until the cheese starts to stick to the bread and the bottom of the bread starts to brown up a little.

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Carefully flip the bread so that the cheese is now face down. I say carefully or you will have Zattar mix in places you don't really care to have it (trust me, I know). Continue to cook about 2 more minutes until the cheese releases easily from the pan and is nicely browned. Invert onto a plate and cut into wedges for easy eating. Delish.

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Thanks Alik, and anytime you get lonely at breakfast time, let us know. :-)

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