Posts tagged ‘cookbooks’

Autumn cup squash (risotto + soup)

Autumn cup – isn’t that a perfect name for a squash? Also known as buttercup, kabocha or turban squash, it tastes similar to butternut squash, but with a smoother, sweeter, and in my opinion, more delicious flavour. Dark green on the outside, bright yellowy-orange flesh inside – it is as gorgeous thing to look at as it is to eat.

Here are two recipes that will take you through one squash: a risotto flavoured with kale, caramelized onions, and fresh chives, and a soup made from roasted squash, ginger, and paprika. Warm and yum!

Autumn Cup Squash Risotto (inspired by the Acorn Squash Risotto in my favourite Italian cookbook, Mario Batali’s Molto Italiano)

Serves 6

1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, diced
1/2 of a autumn cup / kabocha squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes
1-1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
8 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese, grated*
1 cup kale, finely chopped
1 small bunch of chives, finely minced (about 1/4 cup)
fresh ground pepper

This first, all-important step is so often missing from risotto recipes: Put a chair/stool beside the stove, turn on the music, pour a glass of wine and bring a book. You have an hour of occasional stirring in front of you.

In a large saute pan (large!), cook onions in oil over low-medium heat – let them turn brown slowly so they caramelize. Then add the squash and stir until it softens and starts to break down. Add in arborio rice and cook it for a few minutes so it toasts, and then add in the wine. Have the vegetable stock warming in a pot beside your risotto pan. Add a couple of ladle-fuls of stock to the risotto and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat until you’ve used up all the stock. Stir in the cheese, kale, and chives, and sprinkle with pepper. I made this recently and served it with a spinach, pear and walnut salad and that was a nice match.

*Vegans, omit the cheese.

Autumn Cup Squash Soup
If you make the risotto above, you’ll be left with half a squash – the perfect amount for a pot of soup that provides a generous serving for two people. Cut the squash into wedges, toss with olive oil and cracked pepper and roast it in the oven until soft. Blend with water or vegetable stock, season with ginger and paprika and you’ll have a cozy lunch.

October 31, 2012 at 3:12 pm 1 comment

Gluten-free chocolate chip cookies

This recipe for chocolate chip cookies is adapted from one of my favourite cookbooks, Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes, which I’ve referenced before for its awesome chocolate brownies recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 24 to 36 cookies

1-1/2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
1/3 cup white or cane sugar
1 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups gluten-free flour mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 cups chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate)
2 cups chopped walnuts

Pre-heat oven to 350F and grease two baking sheets or line with silicone mats / parchment paper.

Beat the butter and sugars together and then beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, salt, and baking soda and beat well, and then fold in chocolate and walnuts.

Drop the dough by two tablespoonfuls onto the cookie sheets about 2 inches apart (the cookies will spread out and flatten). Bake the cookies, switching the cookie sheets in the oven halfway through cooking, until they begin to turn golden brown at the edges and the tops appear dry, about 12 to 15 minutes. Don’t overcook if you want them to be chewy!

If you’re vegan or don’t eat dairy / eggs:

  • Replace the butter with the same amount of vegetable oil shortening plus two tablespoons of water.
  • Replace the eggs with two tablespoons of ground flaxseed meal mixed with six tablespoons of water. Stir the flaxseed meal and water together in a small bowl and let stand two to three minutes to thicken before adding it to the recipe.

October 23, 2012 at 11:36 am Leave a comment

Tomato and tarragon soup

Tarragon is a new ingredient in my kitchen. It’s a leafy green herb that reminds me of the licorice-like taste of fennel combined with the strong, verdant aroma of fresh basil. After tasting it in this creamy tomato soup I will definitely search it out for the kitchen garden we’re planning for our new patio.

This recipe is adapted from Rebar Cookbook. It’s easy to make and relatively quick – everyone at our dinner table loved it. If you don’t have tarragon I’d recommend fresh basil or chives as a substitute.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
1/2 cup tarragon, sliced
4 cups vegetable stock
2 cans (28 oz) whole tomatoes with juice
1 cup whipping cream

Saute onion in oil for about five minutes until onions soften. Stir in salt, garlic and chile flakes and saute for another five minutes. Stir tomatoes and half of the tarragon into onion mixture. Break up tomatoes, add stock and simmer for another 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Remove bay leaves, blend soup in batches and return to pot. Stir in cream and remaining tarragon and serve.

April 19, 2010 at 10:39 pm 2 comments

Banana muffins

Banana muffins were one of the first recipes I mastered in the kitchen when I was learning how to cook in my teens. The recipe came from a Canadian cookbook called Muffin Mania. I still own it; the pages proudly wear all the slops and spills of a well-used cookbook. My family loved seeing a batch of warm banana chocolate chip muffins emerging from the oven on the weekend, and I loved the fact that they loved what I was making. That feeling of mutual enjoyment between cook and eater was born with this recipe and is at the heart of why I find cooking such a joy, a true source of peace and comfort. (more…)

January 9, 2010 at 8:13 pm Leave a comment

Tomato Basil Sauce (taste of summer)

This summer I spent a whole day chopping up a 25lb box of tomatoes and cooking them into a tomato basil sauce that could be stored away for winter. Well, winter is here. No doubt about that. It’s snowy and cold here in Calgary, and it was frosty even in Vancouver, where we spent the Christmas week.

So, freshly home from our trip and with not much food in the fridge, it was time to bring out a jar of that heavenly sauce for a simple pasta meal. I added a small tin of tomato paste to it along with about 2 cups of fresh spinach, some finely chopped almonds, grated asiago and hot chili flakes and served it over brown rice pasta for a delicious, simple supper that tasted just like summer. Vegetarian and gluten free, of course.

The recipe for the sauce is below. I highly recommend devoting a day next summer to finding a big box of tomatoes and making it. It was a beautiful way to spend a day, and the experience of pulling out a jar of your own tomato sauce in winter time is about a million times better than opening up a jar of Prego. (more…)

December 30, 2009 at 1:28 pm 2 comments

Lemon poppyseed muffins

lemon poppyseed muffins

Most of the food I make has a strong bias towards being healthy. This recipe is an exception to that rule. It’s probably only good for your soul. Lots of butter, lots of sugar and white flour. Still, they are very good: lemony with a perfect poppyseed crunch. I’ve added a few fresh cranberries and a sprinkle of raw sugar on top. (more…)

November 17, 2009 at 9:12 pm 1 comment

Risotto torte

risotto torteThis is a recipe from “New Vegetarian,” by Celia Brooks Brown. It’s an excellent book, and this is recipe has quickly become a favourite in our house. It’s vegetarian, gluten-free, easy, a bit fancy and so tasty! We have a gorgeous, brightly-coloured serving plate that was given to me as a house-warming gift several years ago by one of my stylish uncles (I’m fortunate enough to have several!) and I love it for this dish. (more…)

November 14, 2009 at 2:14 pm 1 comment

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