I’m not really a cabbage person. I occasionally buy them to make coleslaw with in the summer but when I see them in the supermarket, I normally walk right past them and move on to something more familiar like kale or squash. Last week however, I got a cabbage in my CSA box. If you’re not familiar with the CSA model it stands for Community Supported Agriculture and it is a wonderful system of accessing organic fruits and vegetables and supporting local farms. The only slight problem with this model is that you can’t choose what is in your box and sometimes you end up with fruits or vegetables you aren’t quite familiar with or don’t quite know how to cook. Like a cabbage.
This fall, I’m officially in love with squash of all kinds. I love roasted rainbow slices of delicata squash, butternut squash soup and of course my old favorite acorn squash. Squash is such a versatile and easy fall vegetable and there is no reason to be intimated. In fact, you don’t need to peel squash at all when roasting. Just cut it in half, drizzle over some olive oil, add a pinch of salt and pepper and roast until soft. Roasting squash is kind of a miraculous event – you can’t even imagine that something so hard could turn into something so sweet and caramelized in the oven.
Even though I’m not vegetarian and look forward to my Thanksgiving turkey every year, I have many vegetarian friends and clients and they are always looking for an extra special dish for the holidays rather than being left with all the vegetable side dishes. Personally, I’m moving away from eating meat with every meal to having meat once in a while for a little extra flavor so this roasted acorn squash would be perfect for anyone – vegetarian or carnivore come Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. You can experiment your own spice mixture and add some holiday pizzazz with some cranberries or pomegranates too. Of course, you could add in a little ground pork or turkey into the stuffing mix but I think this is perfect just as it is.
Stuffed Acorn Squash with Cranberries and Pomegranates (serves 2 or 1 hungry vegetarian)
1 medium acorn squash halved lengthwise and seeds removed
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
4 scallions, finely chopped
8 cremini mushrooms, sliced thinly
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 tablespoon thyme
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 cup mix of cooked wild rice and brown rice – preferably cooked in vegetable or chicken stock instead of water
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper – to taste
1 tablespoon cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds
- Heat the oven to 450°F.
- Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and place cut side up on a roasting tray. Drizzle over a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until just a little soft for about 30 minutes.
- Saute the onion, scallions, mushrooms and celery in the butter. Stir occasionally and cook on low heat until the onion is translucent and the vegetables are soft for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the thyme and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in the rice, chopped walnuts and cranberries.
- Remove the squash from the oven and add the rice filling to each half.
- Lower the oven temperature to 350°F.
- Place squash back in the oven and roast for a further 25 minutes until the squash is completely tender.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle the fresh parsley and pomegranate seeds over the top. Serve warm.
In the Northeast right now, we’re experiencing some crisper mornings, shorter days, orange leaves on trees…fall is right around the corner. It’s my favorite season of the year. The temperatures are so much more comfortable for me (I’m an English Rose suffering in the NYC summer heat!) and I love to get out on my bike, take a run in the local park or go hiking in the local mountains. I love the colors, the food, the chance to drink more tea, make soup and cosy up with a good book.
At this point in the year, I think it’s important to take a little step back and reflect on our health.
As they say, September is the new January and with kids back at school and a renewed energy in our workplaces it’s time to set some new health and wellness goals for the fall.
It’s been a little quiet here over on the Hello to Healthy blog. Please forgive me. I just moved (again). Moving sucks. No other word for it. We’re still unpacking over a week later but now I feel a little clearer and am back to the blog. Lots of recipes and healthy inspiration to come!
This recipe is just so wonderful, I couldn’t not share it. I dragged my children to our local Farmers’ Market on Saturday. In subzero temperatures, they were not happy. So our visit was super quick and they calmed down after we had picked out some apples and fresh bread rolls for lunch. In the middle of the market, the amazing volunteers were giving out little samples of this stew. It wasn’t much to look at and I was skeptical. But when I tasted it – oh my! Delicious sweet potato, coconut milk, flavors of rosemary and chili filled my mouth. If you think vegan food is bland and boring, try this. It’s got so many delicate layers of flavors and is perfect for this polar vortex that we are living through right now. It’s also the perfect dish to impress your guests at a potluck or dinner party.
October is my favorite month of the year. The leaves are starting to change color, everyone is in full back-to-school mode and settled into routines and the Farmer’s Markets is bursting with autumn vegetables. Of course, as I write this blog it’s 85 degrees in NYC and we are still in shorts and t-shirts so I’m hopeful for some cool drizzly days soon when I can dust off my boots, wrap up in a big scarf and enjoy the season. And make soup. Why not try this easy butternut squash soup this week. It’s not fiddly (no peeling, cutting and cursing at raw butternut squash as you try to chop it up to fit in your pot) as it’s roasted in the oven and has some seasonal apple for extra flavor and sweetness. Enjoy!
2 medium butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
olive or coconut oil
4 carrots, chopped
1 medium Honeycrisp or Gala apple, cored and diced
1 medium onion, diced
6 fresh sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried sage
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
3 cups water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Garnish: roasted pumpkin seeds or chopped parsley
- Heat the oven to 425°F
- Place the squash pieces cut-side up on the baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Brush olive or coconut oil all over the tops of the squash. Roast until the squash is tender (about 1 hour) then cool on a wire rack.
- Place carrots, apple, onion, sage, a pinch of sea salt and pepper in a saucepan and cook until softened. Set aside.
- Scoop out the flesh of the squash and put it into the pan with the apple mixture. Discard the squash skin.
- Add the broth, water, pinch of sea salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Using a blender or immersion blender, purée the soup until smooth in batches. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds or fresh parsley.
It’s official. I don’t plan to turn on my oven until September. It’s sticky and hot in NYC and so my summer diet consists of delicious smoothies, salads and chilled soups. That’s all I need to stay cool. Ever tried gazpacho? It’s a delicious, fresh-tasting chilled soup from Spain. I like to think of it as a salad in a cup. I picked up lots of gazpacho ingredients on my trip to the local Farmer’s Market at the weekend, threw them in the blender and made a big batch of soup in less than five minutes. This recipe is gluten free and detox friendly.
2 cups red tomatoes
1 small onion
1 green pepper
1-2 cloves crushed garlic
1 medium cucumber
4 cups cold tomato juice (this makes the gazpacho a vibrant red color)
1/4 cup parsley
Juice of 1/2 lemon & 1 lime
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tsp dried basil or 2 tbsps chopped fresh basil
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Roughly chop all vegetables
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and chill for at least 2 hours
- Serve in glasses with diced vegetables such as peppers, cucumbers and onions
One of my family’s most precious rituals is a Saturday morning spent at the local Farmer’s Market in Brooklyn. We love to wake up and saunter down the road, bumping into neighbors on the way, petting some dogs and then perusing the stands. My children love to sample the blueberries, sliced peaches and cooked turkey sausage and beg me for apple donuts and fresh cider. Sometimes we watch a little puppet show or nibble bread on the bank listening to bluegrass.
While I have my standard weekly purchases like delicious fresh flounder and smoked blue fish, apples and grainy bread, I love to be spontaneous and find some other fruits or vegetables that are not on my list for tonight’s supper. Whatever looks too tempting to pass by, I grab. Today I bought garlic scapes, corn, peaches and beets – who knows what next week will bring; that is part of the adventure.
Farmer’s Markets may seem a little pricier than your local supermarket, but the quality of the food you buy is much better, you can trust the sources and the food is more nutrient dense because it hasn’t flown half way across the world in an airplane to get to you. Farmers are typically traveling between 10-150 miles to get to the market, not 3,000 miles. Most produce is also organic or minimally treated. I also often find bargains at the market – big bags of root vegetables to make soup with in the winter or large bundles of beets or salad leaves in the summer which can beat any supermarket deal. Plus, you are supporting your local farms with every purchase. What do you like about your local Farmer’s Market?