Cooking With This Week's Box:
Orange Carrots: Carrot Soup with Toasted Curry & Pistachios; Carrot & Broccoli Salad with Miso Ginger Sauce
Sweet Yellow Onions: Carrot Soup with Toasted Curry & Pistachios; Aloo Gobi (Cauliflower & Potatoes)
Garlic: Carrot Soup with Toasted Curry & Pistachios; Aloo Gobi (Cauliflower & Potatoes); Carrot & Broccoli Salad with Miso Ginger Sauce
Variety of Tomatoes: Aloo Gobi (Cauliflower & Potatoes)
Golden Grape Tomatoes: Mini-Sweet Peppers Stuffed with Feta, Avocado, & Golden Grape Tomatoes
Orange Italian Frying Peppers or Poblano Peppers: Carbonara with Leeks, Lemon & Bacon; Poblano Pepper Jack Cornbread
Red or Green Bell Pepper: Carbonara with Leeks, Lemon & Bacon
White, Yellow or Purple Cauliflower or Broccoli Romanesco: Aloo Gobi (Cauliflower & Potatoes)
Mini-Sweet Peppers: Mini-Sweet Peppers Stuffed with Feta, Avocado, & Golden Grape Tomatoes
Kabocha Squash: Kabocha Nishime (see below) or Kabocha Squash Bread with Toasted Walnut Cinnamon Swirl (see below)
Green Curly Kale: Kale Chips with Almond Butter & Miso
We have made the transition to fall, it’s official. Our Harvest Party is coming up this weekend and we have orange kabocha squash in this week’s box! This is one of my favorite squash varieties and this week I’m sharing two recipes with you from Amy Chaplin’s beautiful book, At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen. The first one is for Kabocha Squash Bread with Toasted Walnut Cinnamon Swirl (see below). I make this bread throughout the winter and we eat it for breakfast with a hard-boiled egg or sometimes have it as dessert with lunch or dinner! It’s delicious on it’s own, but even better spread with soft butter or coconut oil. It calls for spelt flour, which I really like, but I would guess you could also just use all-purpose flour. If you’re not into baking and sweet things this week, consider trying Amy’s recipe for Kabocha Nishime (see below). This is a Japanese preparation for kabocha squash where the squash is steamed until tender and very delicately flavored with kombu, fish stock and mirin. You can eat it on its own or turn it into a bento bowl by serving it with rice, steamed kale and pickled vegetables.
|Carbonara with Leeks, Lemon & Bacon|
Another recipe I came across that I haven’t made for awhile is this one for Aloo Gobi (Cauliflower & Potatoes). This is kind of like a quick, Indian vegetable stew with cauliflower, potatoes and tomatoes seasoned with curry powder and garnished with cilantro. It’s flavorful, warming and can be eaten as is or along with rice or a flat bread.
I guess I’m starting to feel the chill of fall which makes me want to eat more soup. This week I’m going to make Andrea Reusing’s recipe for Carrot Soup with Toasted Curry & Pistachios. This is a very simple soup, yet so delicious. If you have some carrots remaining from a previous week, use them to make this recipe for Carrot & Broccoli Salad with Miso Ginger Sauce. This recipe will make great use of not only carrots, but also this week’s broccoli and the last of the edamame.
|Kale Chips with Almond Butter & Miso|
Some boxes this week may receive Orange Italian Frying peppers while others will receive poblano peppers. For those of you who get the poblano peppers, consider making Poblano Pepper Jack Cornbread. Serve it for brunch or a light dinner with scrambled eggs and fresh slices of tomatoes.
I have some exciting news to share with you….sweet potato harvest is coming very soon! Rafael dug some gorgeous sweet potatoes yesterday! If the rest of the field looks like the samples he dug, we’re going to have a great sweet potato harvest this year! We haven’t eaten any yet, remember we have to cure them first to convert their starches into sugar. Start gathering your recipes, they’ll likely be in your box within about three weeks or so. Have a great week and we hope to see you at the party this weekend!---Chef Andrea
Featured Vegetable: Orange Kabocha Squash
This week we’re packing one of our longtime favorite squash varieties, orange kabocha. The varietal name for this squash is “Sunshine,” something we will take in any way we can get it given the recent rains and gray skies! You’ll recognize this vegetable by its bright orange skin and rounded, disc-like shape. This variety is also sometimes called a Japanese Pumpkin and is similar to other squash varieties such as orange kuri and buttercup. This squash has a thick wall of flesh and a small seed cavity. The flesh is dark orange in color and has a silky, custard-like texture when cooked.
This is a very versatile squash and may be used for a variety of preparations including soup, puree, baked goods, curries, stews or simply roasted. You can often use this squash variety in recipes that call for buttercup, butternut, or orange kuri as well as any recipe calling for pumpkin. The flavor of this squash is excellent and surpasses even the best tasting pumpkin.
You’ll find kabocha squash to be a very dense squash that will require a little bit of effort to cut into. Unlike some other winter squash, kabocha squash has a very thin skin that can be either peeled away or just eaten. The skin is most tender shortly after harvest and toughens up the longer it is in storage, thus may not be as desirable to eat. There are several ways you can cook this squash. My go-to easy, low maintenance method is to just cut the squash in half, remove the seed cavity and put the squash halves, cut side down, in a baking dish. Add a little bit of water to the pan and bake the squash at 350°F until the squash is soft and tender when pierced with a fork. Remove the squash from the oven and turn the halves over so they can cool. Once cool enough to handle, scoop the cooked flesh out of the shell and either mash or puree the flesh. Once the flesh is cooked, you can use it to make a simple squash puree seasoned with spices of your choosing and a pat of butter. Orange kabocha puree can also be used in baked goods and desserts. This rich, sweet flesh makes a delicious pie filling and yields rich, moist, flavorful quickbreads, muffins, pudding and soufflé.
Aside from baking, kabocha squash may also be roasted or simply steamed. In Japanese cuisine, kabocha squash are also referred to as Japanese pumpkins. Known for their simple, clean preparations, you’ll find Japanese recipes for kabocha squash to be equally as simple with just a few ingredients. Slices or chunks of kabocha squash are often steamed or simmered in a simple dashi broth with kombu seaweed and sometimes miso, soy sauce and sometimes sake. This week we’re featuring Amy Chaplin’s recipe for kabocha nishime which is made using this type of method for steaming. Amy recommends including this as a component in a nourishing Bento Bowl, a Japanese way of eating a variety of simple preparations including steamed rice and/or beans, steamed greens and pickled vegetables. You can also roast kabocha squash as you would prepare any other root vegetable or potato for roasting. When prepared this way the exterior of the squash gets nice and crispy while the flesh inside stays moist and sweet.
This squash is also delicious when used in soups, stews and curry dishes. It is also really easy to preserve. I like to cook a lot of squash at the same time and then puree the flesh. I pack it in quart freezer bags and then lay them flat in the freezer to freeze them in “pillows.” I can thaw these bags really quickly and then use the squash as a quick side dish during the winter—just heat and add salt, pepper and butter. It’s also super quick to pull out a bag of the prepared squash and turn it into bread, cookies, pie or some other tasty treat.
I’ll take a minute to mention squash seeds. While we usually encourage you to save the seeds from your winter squash and roast them to make a crunchy snack, I have to admit I don’t care for the seeds from a kabocha squash. They have a thicker hull and are more tough and less enjoyable to eat. Save your efforts for some of the other squash that will come later such as the sugar dumpling, festival and butternut squash.
For longer storage, winter squash is best stored in a cool, dry location at about 45-55°F. However you can also keep them on your kitchen counter and enjoy their beauty if you are going to eat them within a few days or weeks. I would encourage you to eat this week’s selection sooner than later. Watch them and if you notice any spots starting to form on the exterior, cut that area out of the squash and cook the remainder immediately.
Kabocha Squash Bread with Toasted Walnut Cinnamon Swirl
Yield: One 9-inch loaf
|Photo from Amy Chaplin's book,|
At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen
Cinnamon Walnut Swirl:
1 cup toasted walnut halves, chopped
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp maple sugar (may substitute brown sugar)
2 Tbsp maple syrup
½ to 1 medium kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, and cut in ½-inch dice (about 3 ½ cups raw)*
2 cups spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp milk (dairy or non-dairy)
½ tsp sea salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten
- Make the Cinnamon Walnut Swirl: Place walnuts, cinnamon, maple sugar, and maple syrup in a bowl; mix to combine and set aside.
- Make the Batter: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a loaf pan and line bottom and two longer sides with a sheet of parchment paper; set aside.
- Steam squash for 10 to 12 minutes or until soft. Place in a medium bowl and mash with a fork. Measure out 1 ½ cups cooked squash and set aside. *(see note below)
- Sift spelt flour and baking powder into a medium bowl and stir to combine. Add olive oil, maple syrup, milk, salt, vanilla, and egg to the mashed squash; whisk until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, fold flour mixture into squash mixture until just combined. Spread half of batter over bottom of loaf pan. Layer cinnamon-walnut mixture evenly over batter and top with remaining batter. To create a swirl, use a small rubber spatula or butter knife to zigzag back and forth through the batter (across pan) and one stroke straight through the center of the loaf (lengthwise).
- Place in oven, and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow loaf to sit 5 minutes before carefully turning out and placing on a wire rack. Slice and serve warm.
*Chef Andrea Note: Alternatively, you can cut the squash in half and put the two halves, cut side down, in a baking dish with a little water in the bottom. Bake in a 350°F oven until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and turn the squash over so they can release steam and cool enough to handle. Scrape out the seed cavity and discard it. Scrape the remaining flesh away from the skin. Mash it with a fork or puree it in a food processor. Measure out 1 ½ cups cooked squash for the bread and refrigerate or freeze the remainder for another use.
This recipe comes from Amy Chaplin’s book At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
|Photo from Amy Chaplin's book,|
At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen
Note from author: Nishime is a Japanese cooking style that means “long-cooked with little water.” In macrobiotic cooking, it is said to create strong, calm energy and restore vitality. This amazingly simple method is perfect for root vegetables and winter squash, as they become super-sweet and meltingly tender.
2 pound kabocha squash
4-inch piece kombu
¾ cup water
1 tsp mirin
1 tsp tamari
Pinch sea salt
- Remove seeds from squash, leave skin on, and cut into 1 ¼-inch wedges. Cut each wedge in half to make triangles. Place kombu in bottom of a medium-large pot or one that will snugly fit all squash in one layer. Lay squash skin-side down over kombu and arrange in a circle, with pointy end of squash facing the center.
- Pour in water, and add mirin, tamari, and a pinch of salt to center of pot. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until squash is cooked through. You can test it with a toothpick or tip of a small knife; cooking time will depend on the thickness of the flesh. Remove from heat and carefully lift squash into serving bowl
- The cooking liquid you are left with is sweet and flavorful and can be poured over the squash when serving. Or you can simply drink it, as I love to do.
This recipe comes from Amy Chaplin’s book At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well. She recommends including this squash as a component in a simple meal mirrored after the Japanese bento meal concept where different components are served in a lacquered box with divided compartments for each component. To simplify this dish, skip the box and just create your own bento bowl. Amy suggests choosing several different components such as steamed rice, the kabocha nishime, pickled vegetables and/or steamed greens. Create a bowl for each diner with the components each desires. This is a simple way to make a beautiful, nourishing meal.