Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fall in a Bowl, Pt. 2

Butternut Squash Risotto and Mixed Green Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette
Salad, risotto, and wine: a well-balanced birthday din-din.

For his birthday, I granted my dad a coupon for a special home-cooked meal as soon as I got the chance, and tonight happened to be it. I swooped down on Whole Foods to gather my ingredients, then set to work putting his surprise dinner together. This process was observed from a comfortable distance - the menu wasn't revealed until the moment it hit the plates.

This was my first time taking the care and indulgence necessary to carry off risotto and, uh, it was way worth it. It absolutely melts in your mouth. Devote an evening to making this and I solemnly swear you will not be disappointed.

Butternut Squash Risotto
adapted from the Barefoot Contessa, serves 6

1 medium butternut squash
5 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons margarine
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
4 cups no-chicken stock
2 cups water

Preheat the oven to 400. Halve the squash, de-seed it, and place cut-side down on a cookie sheet greased with two tablespoons of olive oil. Place the squash in the oven for 45 minutes.

Pour the stock and water into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. In the meantime, saute the shallots in the remaining three tablespoons of olive oil and three of margarine until translucent. Stir in the rice, coating thoroughly with butter and oil. Add the wine, simmering for about two minutes. Add two ladlefuls of the warmed broth, plus the salt, white pepper and turmeric. Allow the broth to be absorbed, stirring every coupla minutes. Once it starts to seem a little dry, add another two ladles of stock. Continue this routine for about 30 minutes, until all the broth is used.

Once the squash is cooked through, peel off the skin and cube with a knife. Stir into risotto.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fall in a Bowl

Butternut Buckwheat

For a gluten free, yet highly nourishing breakfast on chilly mornings like those of the past week, I always go for Cream of Buckwheat. I have a friend who really digs 'em as a grit-replacer, with just salt and nutritional yeast mixed in, but my favorite preparation is slightly sweet with lots of mix-ins. Today, my buckwheat was flavored in the spirit of fall:

Butternut Buckwheat
serves 1

1/4 cup Cream of Buckwheat
1 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup mashed butternut squash (I had some roasted leftover in the fridge)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
10-20 drops liquid stevia (or your preferred sweetener)
a dollop of cranberry sauce
a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds

Bring the almond milk to a boil, add the buckwheat, and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, until it has thickened up to a grit-like consistency. Mix in squash, cinnamon and stevia, then transfer to a bowl. Top with cranberry sauce and pumpkin seeds and enjoy.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dr. Cow Climbs Mount Tostada

Spicy Sweet Potato Tostada

It's been a real trip finding delicious ways to enjoy my limited supply of Dr. Cow's Tree Nut Cheese, and it's not over yet! Last night, in an attempt to use up some farmers market veggies beginning to look sad in my fridge, I adopted a pile-on strategy that resulted in some sweet yet spicy tostadas I have already wholly consumed. Aged macadamia beats queso fresco any day in my book.

Spicy Sweet Potato Tostadas
serves 6

6 corn tortillas (I used sprouted all-corn ones)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 poblano peppers, cored and sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced
1/2 large sweet onion, sliced
your favorite enchilada sauce (love the one from the Hot Damn & Hell Yeah cookzine)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Ancho chili powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and drop in the sweet potatoes. Leave these to boil for about 20 minutes, until you can easily pierce them with a fork. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan, then toss in the poblano, bell pepper and onions. Cook until softened and set aside. Mash the sweet potatoes well, mixing in the chili powder and salt.

Prepare your enchilada sauce, if you don't have it ready, while toasting the tortillas for 5-7 minutes in the oven. Then begin assmebling! Smooth a scoop of the sweet potato mash onto each crispy tortilla. Load on the peppers and onions, drizzle with enchilada sauce, crumble on or melt some cheeze of your choice on top, and DEVOUR.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Vegan MoFo

Did y'all know that November in the food blogosphere is Vegan MoFo, or Vegan Month of Food? Well, I remembered a little too late to officially register Soul Food for the challenge of posting every weekday with some recipe or tip or tidbit about vegan food and how much I love it, but I'm observing this holiday anyway, along with all the others that seem to pop up this time of year.

As a matter of fact, a dear friend's birthday was yesterday, so to celebrate, she hosted what is known as a food orgy. (Here I go again with the suggestive party names!) There's lots of food to eat, BUT you cannot feed yourself - you must have someone else feed you! It was really a lot of fun. Seeing as it was potluck-style, I made these roasted veggies and a big pot of yummy cranberry sauce, which I paired with some Dr. Cow's Tree Nut cheese in Macadamia and Cashew-Brazil Nut I got on sale over at Vegan Essentials.

Spinach and Roasted Beet Salad

Today, I was brainstorming ways to try my cheezes in other gustatory contexts, and landed on a salad. So I roasted a big, beautiful chioggia beet, crumbled some of the macademia over a bed of spinach, and topped it all off with a Dijon mustard viniagrette. Looks tasty, eh?!

Anyhow, if you're in need of a sugar-free, yet uber-delicious cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving this year, I'd recommend giving this one a try.

Spiced Cranberry Sauce
makes a lottt

12 oz. fresh cranberries
1 lemon's zest and juice
30 drops liquid stevia
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon xantham gum

Combine all ingredients except xantham gum in a saucepan. Add just enough water to cover the fruit, then heat over medium-high until boiling. Lower the heat slightly and simmer until the fresh berries start to pop. At this point, get out your potato masher and start smushin'. After about 5 minutes, most berries should be crushed and the mixture beginning to gel a bit. Stir in the xantham gum, turn off the heat, and BAM! Done.