Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pumpkin fest recipe #1

Butternut squash, pumpkin, coconut soup

1 cup water
1/2 butternut squash cubed
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
salt & pepper to taste
a pinch cayenne pepper to the spiciness level you like
1 tsp thai curry paste of choice (I used masaman)
1 tsp oyster sauce
3/4 cup chopped mushrooms
4 oz sausage

Cook the squash in the water and coconut milk until it starts to get tender. Cook the sausage in a pan and add that to the pot. Add a little water to that pan and deglaze it and add the liquid to the soup. Add all the other ingredients.
So, basically I just used up some stuff I had in the fridge that I didn't want to go bad and I need to do something with all that pumpkin puree. Once I thought of adding the coconut milk it made it magical though. It was pretty good. I don't think I would have added sausage to it except that I had a half a package left and I thought, why not. If you don't use sausage, use broth instead of water.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin

I just roasted and pureed 2 pumpkins. I am going to have to start cooking with pumpkin every week. My current pumpkin recipe collection includes pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin bread, and a Julia Child's pumpkin soup recipe.

In celebration of the vegetable I'm going to find some new recipes and I'll update my blog if I find some winners. If you have a good recipe let me know.

If you want to make your own puree, you just cut it in half, scoop out the insides, put each half cut side down on a pan, and cook at 350 degrees until it's soft. You can poke it with a fork or do a push test. Let it cool down. Cut it into chunks and puree it in a food processor or blender. I put about 1 1/2 to 2 cups in a freezer bag and freeze it in stacks so it stays flat.

Also I'd like to update my quinoa and beans experience. Made another batch but used 50/50 mix of black eyed peas (a bean fyi) and black beans. I used dried beans and cooked them in the crock pot (low setting 6 hours). I cooked the quinoa separate and added it to the beans when they were done. Instead of roma tomatoes, I made a little salsa of tomatillas, cucumber and the cilantro and added that instead. Loved it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What's better for you? Fresh/frozen/canned

I watched a little nutrition video thing in my sports nutrition class this week. The guy was very practical and grounded in his philosophies. I've been asked recently a lot about what kind of vegetable is better for you, frozen or canned. This guy's response was, it's not the canned vegetables that are bad for us, it's the canned twinkies. Meaning, most Americans just need to get more vegetables in their diet however they will take them.

I agree with that absolutely. If you prefer canned vegies, go for it and leave the guilt behind you. Personally, I like fresh the best because I think they taste better. My preference. However, once you cook those fresh vegetables they lose some of their nutrients. It puts them about even with canned vegis. Frozen is the same deal. Once defrosted and cooked, you lose some nutrients. So, overall fresh, raw vegis are the best, but do you like raw vegis? I do, but I'm weird.

Most studies show, we aren't getting our recommended 3-4 servings of vegis every day. If you are getting 3-4 a day, then let's start splitting hairs over where they're farmed or shipped from, how they're preserved, and how you prepare them. Until then, just find some vegis you like and eat more of them.

Here's a little recipe to inspire you.

I ate this in China and managed to replicate it pretty closely by trial and error.

Szechaunese Green Beans

1 lb green beans (I hate to say it but get them fresh, the texture is better when stir-fried)
1 tbl chopped ginger
1/2 tsp chilli paste
1 Tbl dark soy (if at all possible use the dark soy, your standard table soy will not give you the same results)
1/2 tsp sugar
About 2-3 tsp peanut oil for cooking
2-3 oz ground pork (you can use ground turkey or chicken for a lighter meat)

Wash and snap off the ends of the beans. If they are really thick you may want to cut them length-wise, but I'm too lazy too, so I usually just toss them in whole.

Combine all the ingredients except the beans and meat if you use it.

Put the oil in a wok and heat it up. Add the meat (is using) and stir fry for about a minute. Then add the beans and continue stir frying for about another 2 mins. The meat should be cooked all the way through and the beans should be starting to brown on the outside. Brown, not burn.

Add all other ingredients and cook until most of the liquid is cooked off. About a minute.

This is a really quick dish. The longest part is snapping the bean ends. Since I'm single, I'll make this and eat most of it in one sitting. You can put it over rice too if you like rice. Another option is to toss in some peanuts instead of the meat. Peanut + rice = complete protein, good option for vegetarians.