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Curry powder

Fall Indian Coconut Curry

Fall Indian Coconut Curry

My dad set out earlier this year to sow a bunch of seeds that he thought would turn into beautiful butternuts. Instead, what he got was a bunch of green, bowling-ball-sized squash that looked like cantaloupe inside.

As he was describing these to me over the phone, I immediately thought (and wished, and prayed) that they must be kabocha squash.

Fall Indian Coconut Curry

“Kabocha?” he said. My dad, the garden-guru, the man who puts on his farm boots daily and holds a hoe as if it were his full-time job, was stumped. He quickly found out that kabocha can combat a butternut, easily, and perhaps even come out on top.

Fall Indian Coconut Curry

Sweet, creamy, orange…it’s everything you could want in a squash. And this “Japanese pumpkin” is all the rage these days in the culinary world. Perhaps that’s why I befriended it before my soil-drenched daddy-o.

Fall Indian Coconut Curry

Anyway, I stole away with a bunch from my dad’s harvest, and it turned into the inspiration for this autumn curry. Lately I’ve been doing a ton of Thai curries, so I decided to take this one in an Indian direction with some quality curry powder, and finished with a spritz of lime and fresh cilantro. Serve it over brown rice, and if you’re feeling fancy, add some warn naan on the side. Continue Reading…

Spiced Butternut Apple Smoothie

Spiced Butternut Apple Smoothie

As soon as the first crisp days of autumn arrive, I subconsciously, and rather rapidly, begin to shift my diet to match the shifting environment that surrounds me. Outside my window, I admire the many shades of orange spreading across the sky. Then soon after, near as many orange hues start appearing on my kitchen counters.

Squash of every variety, and sweet potatoes too, fill up my empty wooden baskets, my ceramic plates, and now my mason jars, too.

Spiced Butternut Apple Smoothie

When Williams Sonoma kicked off this week with the theme of “Not Your Average Smoothie”, naturally I knew I needed to throw some squash into my blender.

I’m all about going outside the traditional smoothie box, and I’m also all about squash, so it seemed like a perfect platform for experimentation.

I turned on my oven, said bottoms up, and began getting to work.

Spiced Butternut Apple Smoothie

I decided upon butternut, loving its creaminess in soups that I often create with apples. I figured, why wouldn’t that be delicious iced and turned into a smoothie, too?

After testing out this smoothie several times, I finally came up with a recipe that’s a little weird, a little wild, yet totally straw-worthy and insanely refreshing.

Through my testing, I learned to save the oven for the squash soup, and stick to steaming for the smoothie. Steaming enables the squash to stay juicer and not as dense so you end up with a shake that has a nice light, whipped consistency. Along with some spirited spice – curry powder and a kick of cayenne (ow ow!) – this smoothie embodies some of fall’s best warming qualities while remaining refreshing till the last sip.

Feel free to try swapping the butternut with sweet potato, or even pumpkin. Just be mindful of possibly needing to adjust the liquid. If you want to step further out of the box, add some spinach. I did this to one batch, and the results were great (even if it sounds a little weird). To get a little wilder, top your smoothie with toasted walnuts or pecans. Or an extra kick of that spicy cayenne, if you like it hot.

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Curried Sweet Potato and Lentils

Curried Sweet Potato and Lentils

I’ve been trying to use up all my winter foods before the much anticipated spring veggie takeover. While I could certainly eat sweet potatoes year-round, it’s likely they’ll soon be swapped for a greener, but equally sweet, starch. I’m talking spring peas, and buckets of them. I’m talking sweet pea soups and all the other early seasonal veggies I can pair with them. Man am I ready for that.

However, in the meantime, I’m still going strong with my long-term love of sweet potatoes and relishing in their convenience. Sweet peas are great, but to enjoy them at their best, you’re in for an hour or so of shucking away their pods. (Totally worth it though!) On the other hand, the sweets used in this dish needn’t even be peeled. In fact, after a good wash, you’ll want to leave on the skin as you chop. It’s this thin outer layer that holds much of the healthy tuber’s potassium and fiber.

Speaking of fiber, I’m not sure there’s an easier (or cheaper), cholesterol-lowering source than lentils. Lentils really don’t get enough credit in my kitchen, but I’m always happy with the results when they do make it to the stove. Filling and versatile, I hope to see more of these on my blog soon.

Here, they’re paired with a flavor-heavy variety of spices and sweetened with both the coconut milk and the potatoes. The potatoes every so slightly melt into the dish, complimenting the coconut which gives the low-fat lentils a slight richness. I recommend serving in a wrap with diced avocado, but any whole grain would work below them as well.

Note, this recipe is meant to feed a crowd. Cut the recipe in half or freeze for later use if yield is too much.

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