butternut baby

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So I found this recipe via Weight Watchers Online. Despite my own misgivings, the food I’ve made from their site has often been stunning… and that’s a nice surprise, of course. This dish is hands down, one of my favourites. You don’t add a lot of herbs and spices to the dish, and yet what is there plays with the flavour of the butternut and fruit. Not too unlike a more complex red wine, each bite has a few layers of taste that your tongue processes one by one, which is actually rather exciting!

What you’ll need, keeping in mind that I’ve made substitutions for my dietary preferences, as noted

1 tsp table salt, or to taste

1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground

1 pound(s) uncooked boneless skinless chicken breast(s), four 4 oz pieces (I used Quorn chicken substitute)

3 spray(s) cooking spray

2 tsp olive oil

1 tsp ground cumin, or to taste

1 tsp ground coriander, or to taste

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, or to taste

1 large uncooked vidalia onion(s), chopped

2 cup(s) uncooked butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3/4 lb)

3/4 cup(s) uncooked jasmine rice, or basmati rice, rinsed

16 halves dried apricot halves, roughly chopped (I used white peaches as I couldn’t find apricots. I think apricots are pretty important here, and if I had to replace them again, I’d opt for plums instead as their density is more close to the apricot)

1 1/2 cup(s) canned chicken broth, or more if needed (I used veg broth)

1/4 cup(s) cilantro, fresh, minced (This is a must-have, but if you can’t get some, use parsley, flat leaf if possible, as I have done here)

 

What you do:

Coat a large crock or cast iron pot with a little cooking spray; heat over medium heat.

Heat and add cumin, coriander and cinnamon; cook until fragrant, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. You’ll notice that it starts to stick immediately, at this point, I added a small amount of broth so it didn’t burn. You really want some pan scrapings so don’t add too much.

Add your “meat” cook until lightly browned and remove to a plate; set aside.

Add onion and squash to pot, scraping down sides and bottom of pot to incorporate the charred spices. Cook, fruit. Pour in broth; bring to a boil for 1 minute.

Cover pot and simmer until rice and squash are tender, checking half way through to see if more broth is needed, about 20 to 25 minutes.

I added my soy chicken at the very end, to preserve the flavour and prevent it from getting soggy.

Sprinkle with cilantro before serving.

Yields about 5 servings but it depends on your appetite. I found that the rice swelled up quite a lot in the end and it was pretty heavy and filling so I didn’t eat too much.

You want to make sure you have enough broth in the pot so it’s slightly saucy, otherwise I think it will be too thick. Play with it and see what suits your taste!

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Soothing my Soul

Cooking last night was from Post Punk Kitchen. I tried 2 recipes, which turned out quite nicely.

Tempeh Chili… below is a shot off their site of the chili. Mine looks JUST as good, actually. I made it über spicy (on accident) so it’s sort of ”hell fire” chili, but I don’t mind. If you’re not clear on what tempeh is, it’s essentially fermented whole soybeans which make a patty as a result of the fermentation process. Admittedly, it sort of smells like old socks… but when you prepare it properly, the smell lessens. It’s actually good, but I have a really sensitive nose so I have to adjust myself for it, perhaps more than an average person might.

What you need:

Ingredients:

1 package (8 oz) tempeh, diced medium
1 large yellow onion, diced medium
1 green bell pepper, diced medium (I forgot this)
1 large carrot, diced small
3 cloves garlic
1 Tablespoon olive oil + 2 teaspoons
2 teaspoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Couple of generous dashes fresh black pepper
15 oz can pinto beans, drained
1 cup good dark beer (I use Negra Modelo) (I used wine)
15 oz can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste (forgot this)
1 1/2 cups water or veg broth
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup (forgot this too)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon (oh, I forgot this, wow… the list keeps expanding)
Handful fresh cilantro, chopped (about a cup, lightly packed)

In a large pot, cook onions, green bell pepper and carrots over med-high heat, until tender and a little brown (15-20 minutes) stirring occasionally.

At the same time, put tempeh in a large frying pan and fill with water until it is almost covered. Add 2 teaspoons soy sauce and let simmer over high heat for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed, stirring occasionally. When water is mostly absorbed, mash tempeh with a fork, so it’s crumbly but still chunky. Lower heat to medium and add 2 teaspoons olive oil , saute for 15 more minutes.

At this point, the twenty minutes for your veggies should be up. Add garlic and saute one minute, then add salt and spices (except cilantro, you add that last) and saute a minute more. Add beer red wine and deglaze the pot. Cook for 2 minutes. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, beans and water. Your tempeh should be done cooking so add that as well. Lower heat to medium, stir it up and cover for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook 30 more minutes stirring occasionally. Add maple syrup, lemon juice and stir it up. Add cilantro. Serve.

I also made rice with this. Thank god because it’s so spicy, the rice helps to soak up the pain a little.

Recipe: Post Punk Kitchen

Seitan Portobello Stroganoff

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound wide noodles (I forgot this so I made mashed potatoes instead)
  • 3 1/2 cups seitan, sliced in thin wide strips
  • 2 tablespoons +1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, quartered and sliced in half moons
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (skipped this)
  • 2 portobella caps, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup burgundy cooking wine
  • 2 cups cold water 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (corn or potato starch will work, too)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped up (oops)
  • 1 tablespoon hungarian paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard (didn’t have mustard, so used mustard seeds)
  • 1/2 cup original flavored soy milk
  • 1 cup peas

Directions Dissolve the arrow-root in the 2 cups of water, set aside.

Heat olive oil in skillet over med-high heat. Add the shallots and onions, saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic, mushrooms and thyme. Saute for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a cast iron skillet with 1 teaspoon olive oil, just to coat it. Add the seitan and saute over medium heat about 25 minutes, until it is dark brown and crispy on the outside. If you are using store-bought seitan you need only cook it for 10 minutes.

Back to the sauce: add salt, wine and paprika. Turn heat up high to reduce the liquid, about 10 minutes.

Lower heat to med-high, add water and arrowroot, stir well and let sauce thicken, about 5 minutes. Add nutritional yeast and mix well until it is dissolved. Add soymilk and mustard and bring heat down to low, be very careful not to let it boil now because it can make the soymilk and mustard bitter. Add seitan and peas, cook for 10 more minutes.

Divide noodles into bowls and mix with the stroganoff. It is best to mix immediately so that the pasta doesn’t stick. You can top it off with tofu sour cream, but I like it just the way it is.

Seitan is nice because you can make it at home. It’s a strange preparation made by separating flour and gluten. The result is a substance that is quite versatile and can be used to “beef up” a dish. Not that you need to pretend it’s meat, but with the right marinade, it actually tastes nice and does make your dish more substantial.

I really like my kitchen, and how open and social the cooking is as I now face the room and the seating area so I can chat with my flatmate or guests. I really like my new place so much more than the Leiden house. It’s larger, yet more modest. It’s definitely not in as good shape however it’s warmer and by far feels much more like a home to me. So… there’s my cooking. Now I need to pack and get on a plane in 2 days.

Recipe: Post Punk Kitchen

Stroganoff image: AsstroGirl

And so it goes…

I feel utter relief that I’ve come to accept that I cannot manage this level 2 Dutch class, my new job, and maintaining something similar to normal human behavior. Of course I say similar to normal as I tend to be slightly outside that category.

As I’m on a roll with cooking, I made another meal today… it was delish. I know it’s easy to say that over and over but I’m serious. I’m a good cook, and apparently I’m choosing solid recipes to start with. So Saturday I started soaking my chickpeas, as I’d known that I wanted to try this recipe for a vegetarian curry. One good thing about using dry legumes is that once you commit to them, it seems like too much of a shame to let them go to waste. Today I knew I needed to use them, so I whipped this bad boy up.

The film of the evening was called, “Änglagård” and it was a really fun film. Makes me want to visit Sweden in the summer! It’s a gorgeous landscape.

Simple Vegetable Curry

(Mine looked JUST like this, except I sliced my sweet potatoes differently)

  • Prep Time 20 minutes
  • Total Time 30 minutes
  • Yield Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds (I didn’t use this)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (from a 13.5-ounce can)
  • 1 sweet potato (about 3/4 pound), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • fresh cilantro, for serving (I just happen to have a cilantro plant. Huzzah!)

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high. Add mustard seeds and half the onion and cook, stirring often, until onion is soft, 3 minutes. Add rice and stir to combine. Add 1 1/2 cups water, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer; cook until water is absorbed and rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving. (Fluff it? I’m no fluffer!)
  2. Meanwhile, in a large Dutch oven (There’s no such thing as a “large” oven in the Netherlands, FYI) or heavy pot, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high. Add remaining onion and cook, stirring often, until soft, 3 minutes. Add curry paste and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in coconut milk and 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Add sweet potato and cauliflower and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Stir chickpeas into curry and increase heat to high. Simmer rapidly until liquid reduces slightly, 2 minutes. Serve curry over rice with cilantro. (I simmered my chickpeas in the broth for about 20 minutes as they were still quite firm)

via: Whole Living