GREEN TEA RICE WITH EDAMAME & BUTTERNUT SQUASH

I drink tea every evening and often incorporate it in my cooking (and baking). Any green tea will work well for this recipe, but I used a very special kind, that goes by the beautiful name Thunder Dragon. I did not know, but that’s how people of Bhutan call their country… Bhutan: The Land of the Thunder Dragon. Isn’t that beautiful? The tea they produce is rarely exported, but not too long ago was available for sale by “In Pursuit of Tea”, and I got some. First time I made this dish, I brewed some tea and used it to cook the rice later, but if you don’t have a problem with the tea leaves staying around… this method is easier and delivers the same flavor.

GREEN TEA RICE WITH EDAMAME AND BUTTERNUT SQUASH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the rice:
1 cup Basmati rice, rinse and drained
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
fresh ginger, minced (about 1 tsp, or to taste)
2 cups water
2 tsp green tea leaves (loose)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup shelled edamame (frozen works great)

for the butternut squash:
1/2 butternut squash, cut in 1-inch pieces
olive oil to coat
salt, pepper and paprika to taste

Start by roasting the butternut squash. Heat the oven to 420F. Coat the pieces of squash with olive oil, season with salt, pepper and paprika. Place as a single layer on a baking dish lined with aluminum foil, sprinkle a bit of water (a tablespoon or so), and cover tightly with foil. Roast for 25 minutes, remove the cover and roast for 20 more minutes uncovered while you prepare the rice.

If using frozen edamame, remove it from the freezer and place on a baking dish to defrost while you make the rice. Heat the grapeseed oil in a saucepan, add the ginger, saute for a few seconds, and add the rice. Season with salt, and saute for a minute, until all grains are well coated with oil. Add the water, tea, and bring to a gently boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Place the edamame on top of the rice and cover the pan again. Leave for 10 minutes undisturbed, and when the butternut squash is ready, fluff the rice, mix the edamame with it, and serve with the squash around it.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The rice can stand on its own as a side dish, but the color, texture and taste of the roasted squash was surprisingly good with it. I often do a very similar approach using frozen corn kernels instead of edamame. The residual steam as the rice is ready and waiting is enough to warm up the corn and it retains a very nice texture. If you ever want to perk your rice up, it’s a pretty easy way to do it. I might do a double feature next time, edamame and corn together, green and yellow, the colors of Brazil!

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ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND GRAPES WITH MAPLE POMEGRANATE GLAZE

You absolutely, positively, definitely, undoubtedly need this recipe in your life. I knew it would be tasty because Joanne raved about it, and she performs magic with vegetables. All. The. Time. I’ve only roasted grapes once for a focaccia (back in 2016!), but now I cannot stop thinking about other ways to incorporate them in savory dishes. They turn luscious.

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND GRAPES WITH MAPLE POMEGRANATE GLAZE
(adapted from Joanne’s Eats Well with Others)

12 oz red seedless grapes, removed from the stem
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 large butternut squash (about 2.5 lb), seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tbsp unsalted butter
⅓ cup pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp five spice powder
1/4 cup slivered almonds (or more)
fresh mint

Heat oven to 425F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

In a large bowl, toss the grapes with 1 tbsp olive oil. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Place the grapes on the baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in the same bowl toss the squash with 3 tbsp of the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the butter, pomegranate molasses, maple syrup, cinnamon, and five spice powder over medium-low heat. Heat for 3 minutes or until the butter is melted and the flavors can meld together. Toss the squash with a quarter of the sauce. Reserve the remaining sauce for later.

Add the squash to the pans with the roasted grapes, place the pan back in the oven and roast for another 20-25 minutes. When you have about 5 minutes left in the roasting time, sprinkle the almonds on top and mix them gently just to coat with the juices.

Remove the squash and grapes from the oven. Transfer to a large serving dish. Drizzle with the reserved sauce. Top with the mint leaves before serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I sometimes find butternut squash already cut at the grocery store, but often they are cut in pieces that are a bit too small. For this recipe, I went the extra mile, risked the integrity of my fingers and cut the squash myself. I know, right? What won’t I do in the name of this blog? It is enough to bring tears to my own eyes.

If you’ve never used grapes in savory meals, please make that happen in your kitchen. I am sold. As to pomegranate molasses, I have used it coupled with rose harissa to roast squash, and it is fantastic, but this step of turning the molasses into a sauce that is drizzled at the end? It raises the ingredient to a whole new level. The sauce would be fantastic on a simple piece of grilled salmon. Yes, I am trying that soon.

Joanne, thank you for another winner of a recipe! Who needs cookbooks with a blog like yours to follow?

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ROAST VEGGIES WITH BLACK BARLEY

Black sesame, black barley…  What can I say? Love them both, although black barley is not always available in our stores. Online I see what seems to be the exact same product described as “purple barley” and pretty expensive by comparison to the product I find here at Hy-Vee. I love the way it looks and it seems to be slightly more chewy and perhaps a bit more bitter than regular barley. In this recipe, I paired it with my current favorite way to roast all kinds of veggies.  It all started with carrots

ROAST BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND CAULIFLOWER WITH BLACK BARLEY
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

(use enough veggies to cover a baking sheet in a single layer)
Butternut squash, cut in 1 inch pieces
Cauliflower florets sliced to have a flat side
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp rose harissa
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
lemon juice to taste
1 cup barley

Heat oven to 425F.

In a large bowl, mix together the olive oil, harissa, paprika, pomegranate molasses and salt.  Add the veggies to the bowl and toss well to combine. Spread on a baking sheet, add a tablespoon or two of water, cover with foil and roast for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and roast for 10 to 15 minutes longer, until nicely golden brown.

Meanwhile cook the barley. Fill a large saucepan with lightly salted water, when it comes to a boil drop the barley and cook gently until soft. It should take between 30 and 40 minutes. I prefer to retain some texture. Drain it, coat lightly with olive oil and reserve.

Remove the veggies from the oven, add some lemon juice and serve over the cooked barley. Adjust seasoning if needed.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I love this type of recipe, it “almost” makes me feel that becoming a vegetarian would be possible. Almost is the key word, though. I rather embrace my omnivore nature. Leftovers? You know I always cook dinner with leftovers in mind, and more often than not I pair them with another favorite food item of mine.

Lunch is served!

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THE JOYS OF GRATING SQUASH

Have you ever thought of eating raw butternut squash? Probably not. Well, I am here to tell you it is surprisingly good, but I cannot take credit for this mind-blowing gastronomic twist. I saw this recipe years ago watching Southern at Heart, hosted by Damaris Phillips. Made a note to try, in fact I went as far as printing the recipe and filing it in my gigantic folder entitled “To Make Soon” ideas. Forgot about it until last month, when our friend Cindy visited us and mentioned that she makes it often, it is now one of her favorite salads. That nudged me in the right direction. Now, I will not lie to you, grating butternut squash is not fun. But once you try this simple, but super flavorful salad, you will grate it wearing a smile of anticipation. Ok, that might be a bit of a stretch…

BUTTERNUT SQUASH SLAW
(adapted from Damaris Phillips)

2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 pound butternut squash, peeled, grated on a box grater
1/4 cup dried green raisins (or substitute regular raisins)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
salt and black pepper to taste

Whisk together the maple syrup, vegetable oil and sherry vinegar in a large bowl. Add the squash, green raisins, and sunflower seeds; toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature or 1 hour in the refrigerator before serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: For this salad, I used a new (to me) ingredient, green raisins. I first learned about them in a cookbook called Bowls of Plenty, by Carolynn Carreno. She confessed being addicted. I was lucky enough to find a bag in our special Oriental grocer in town, and brought it home. They look exactly the way a green raisin should look. Green. Not yellow, not brown. They are delicious indeed. I would say less sweet, almost lemony. Perfect for this salad, in place of dried cherries used by Damaris.  Feel free to substitute any dried fruit of your choice. All it matters in the salad is some bits of sweetness.  The raw butternut squash considerably mellows down by sitting with the dressing.  Leftovers were still very good next day, actually. And a tiny bit that was left on day three was incorporated in a stir-fry with ground turkey. I felt virtuous, even if the resulting dish was not exactly eye-candy. But, it all looked pretty nice on the first time around, as you can see below…

Dinner served: Butternut Slaw, Asparagus, and Grilled Pork Tenderloin.
Life is pretty good.

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KADOO BORANEE: BUTTERNUT SQUASH PERFECTION

My first cooking post in 2016 needs to be special, and special it will be. Maybe you don’t like butternut squash, maybe you are anti-pumpkin in general, but even if you are, please bear with me.  I fell in love with this recipe from the moment I tried the first bite, not sure what to expect. Kelly blogged about it a while ago, a great post crowned with the sweetest photo of her and her husband on the evening they got engaged just a few months ago (wink, wink, wink). I can understand how this humble butternut squash preparation could leave such a strong impression. It is warm, it is creamy, it is luscious, at the same time refreshing due to the acidity of the yogurt. You must, absolutely must make it. Even if you live with a crowd of picky eaters who are afraid of squash. Dare them to try a little bite. They won’t be able to stop there.

Kadoo
KADOO BORANEE
(very slightly modified from Inspired Edibles)

for the butternut squash:
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound butternut squash, cubed
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp coconut sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup liquid (mixture of veggie stock + water)

for the yogurt sauce:
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup sour cream
good pinch of salt
1 clove garlic, smashed

for topping: 
toasted slivered almonds and dried mint

Make the yogurt sauce by whisking together: yogurt, sour cream, salt and garlic in a bowl – cover and place in fridge while prepping the remaining ingredients.

Purée onion in a small blender/food processor. In a separate small dish, combine the dry spices: turmeric, cumin, chili, coriander & ginger.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over low-medium heat and sautée onion until golden. Add fresh ginger, and the ground dry spices: turmeric, cumin, chili, coriander and ground ginger, stirring until the seasonings are well combined and fragrant. Add tomato paste, broth, water, sugar and salt, mixing well to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and add the cubed butternut squash.

Reduce heat and simmer covered for 10 minutes (lifting the lid to stir the squash once or twice during this time). Remove the lid for the remaining cooking time until the squash is tender but still holding its shape. Continue to stir the squash on occasion and use more water or stock while cooking, if needed. The goal is to have about 80% of the seasoned liquid absorbed into the squash while retaining the remaining liquid as a golden sauce.

Remove yogurt sauce from the fridge, reserve about 2 tablespoons, and spread the rest on plates to make a base for the squash. Top each yogurt base with some of the warm butternut squash, then add a bit more yogurt sauce on top, sprinkling the toasted almonds and dried mint right before serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Kadoo2

Comments: This preparation goes to my personal Hall of Fame of Veggies. I cannot think of a better way to enjoy butternut squash, in fact it would work for all kinds of pumpkin, I am sure, as long as you respect their optimal cooking time.  As Kelly says in her post, you could omit the sour cream if you prefer to keep it lighter, but it does add a lot to the dish in terms of texture and also taste.  Try it exactly this way, you won’t be disappointed. I added toasted slivered almonds, my main modification to the recipe. I like the added crunch and feel that almonds go very well with squash and all the spices in the sauce.

Kelly, thanks for yet another great recipe!

Looking forward to more deliciousness coming from your blog…

 .holidays

 

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