November 5th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
’Tis the season to buy winter squash at your local natural and organic food store or farmers’ market.
Whether you select the acorn, buttercup, butternut (above) or Hubbard variety, you’ll enjoy numerous health benefits, as well as a tasty entree or side dish.
Let’s review the four basic ways to get cooking.
This method is super-delicious because it caramelizes a squash’s natural sugars:
Read More:4 Simple Ways to Prepare Winter Squash
November 20th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Americans have expanded their Thanksgiving repertoire in recent years. While many of us have fond childhood memories of the classic Sweet Potato Bake studded with miniature marshmallows, our adult tastes now run more toward organic Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Apples with Pecan Streusel Topping or Curried Sweet Potato.
In recent years, winter squash has replaced sweet potatoes on many Thanksgiving tables. The two are interchangeable in many recipes (see Candied Butternut Squash and Butternut Squash Soup with Sage), and both veggies contain high levels of cancer-fighting carotenoids.
The beauty of winter squash is its many varieties, flavors and preparations. Registered dietitian Karen Collins, nutrition adviser for the American Institute for Cancer Research, offers the following tips:
- Acorn squash is small, with a very hard rind. Your best bet is to cut it in half and bake it, without peeling it. Season with pumpkin-pie spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Butternut squash is sweet and moist, with a slightly nutty flavor. The skin is easy to peel, and you can roast cubes or add chunks to a soup or stew.
- Buttercup squash has a sweet flavor, but it can be dry. Use it in moist dishes to avoid drowning it in butter.
- Large squashes (like Hubbard) are also delicious and will provide lots of leftovers. Use what you need now, and freeze cooked cubes or purée.
- Spaghetti squash is a little lower in calories, fiber, and nutrients like vitamin C and potassium. Its preparation is unique, as strands of cooked squash are pulled from the flesh with a fork. As the name implies, it’s often served like pasta.
Read More:Organic Winter Squash Basics
September 4th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Top Chef, one of my favorite competitive cooking shows, has motivated many viewers to sharpen their knives and try their hand at cooking restaurant-quality fare.
The troubled economy has also become a significant incentive, as consumers are dining out less frequently.
If you’re a fan of the Bravo show, you’ll appreciate our weekend recipe, which was inspired by a past season’s “quick-fire challenge.” With only 30 minutes to prepare a dish, the “cheftestants” relied on prepared broths and stocks—a shortcut on which many professional restaurant chefs rely.
That’s the case with Thai Roasted Squash Soup, a sweet and spicy dish that’s infused with traditional ethnic flavors like coconut, curry, fresh ginger and cilantro.
Prep time is 35 minutes, bake time (for the fresh vegetables) is 35 minutes, and cook time is 25 minutes. All of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store.
Thai Roasted Squash Soup
Makes 6 servings
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2” pieces (about 6 cups)
1 large sweet onion, cut into eighths
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger root
3 cups Swanson certified-organic chicken broth
1 can (15 ounces) cream of coconut
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Heat oven to 425°F.
- Stir oil and curry in “a large bowl. Add squash and onions, and toss to coat. Spread vegetables onto a 17” x 11” roasting pan.
- Bake for 25 minutes, until vegetables are golden brown, stirring occasionally.
- Heat vegetables, ginger, broth and cream of coconut in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
- Spoon 1/3 of the vegetable mixture into an electric blender or food processor. Cover and blend until smooth.
- Pour mixture into a large bowl. Repeat blending process twice more with remaining vegetable mixture.
- Return all of the pureed mixture to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat until hot.
- Season to taste. Divide soup among 6 serving bowls. Sprinkle with cilantro.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Swanson Broth
Read More:Thai Roasted Squash Soup