Sunday, September 4, 2011

Notes from Nikki-Recipes for Acorn Squash and More

Hope everyone is have a nice weekend.  Just a quick reminder that depsite the holiday, I will still be having CSA pick up tomorrow (Labor Day).  Nikki has been busy creating some great recipes with last weeks share, check out the 3 delicious "dishes" below.  Hopefully her culinary adventures will inspire a little time in the kitchen this long weekend.

Baked Acorn Squash with Maple, Rosemary, and Bacon

A little taste of fall, although technically it's still summer. I feel the change a comin', though. This dish makes it easier to say goodbye to my beloved summer. Enjoy!

2 small acorn squash, halved and de-seeded, stems removed to alleviate excessive tilting
2 T butter, divided into 4 equal parts
2-4 T pure maple syrup
2 sprigs rosemary, de-stemmed and minced
4 slices of bacon, fried and crumbled (optional, use smoked finishing salt as an alternative)
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 400.
2. Place the squash halves on a baking sheet, put 1/2 T of butter in each, along with 1/2-1 T maple syrup, a generous sprinkling of the fresh minced rosemary, a bit of sea salt, and some fresh ground pepper.
3. Bake in the oven until the squash is tender and browned along the rim.
4. Allow to cool a bit, top each with a crumpled slice of bacon (if using), and serve.
Serves 4

Roasted Curried Potatoes and Eggplant

This delectable dish is a cinch to make. Served with a side of steamed rice, it makes for a quick and satisfying meal. Use your favorite curry powder blend and end-of-the-season heirloom tomatoes that perhaps got too big for their britches. I used two GIANT heirlooms that I picked up from the KSQ farmers market. They were a little too overripe to eat raw, but roasted, along with the eggplant, potatoes, and a sweet onion, they were divine. Enjoy!
1-1 1/2 lbs. new potatoes (I used yellow fingerlings), halved or quartered the long way
6-8 T extra virgin olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 long, skinny eggplant, sliced
2 small, globular eggplant, quartered and sliced
2-3 large heirloom tomatoes (or more smaller ones), cored and roughly chopped (large pieces are fine)
3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
Handful of fresh, chopped cilantro leaves (save a few leaves for garnishing)
2-3 T of your favorite curry powder
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Plain yogurt or sour cream for topping (optional, but highly recommended)
Steamed rice to serve along side (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 400.

2. Drizzle 3-4 T of the olive oil onto a baking sheet, and spread the potatoes atop. Season the potatoes generously with sea salt, pepper, and about a tablespoon of the curry powder. Pop the potatoes in the oven and roast until tender.
3. Drizzle the remaining 3-4 T of olive oil along the bottom of a baking dish. Spread the onion, garlic, eggplant, and tomatoes atop and season with sea salt, pepper, and the remaining tablespoon of curry powder. Toss to coat. Roast alongside the potatoes until the tomatoes fall apart and the eggplant is tender.
4. Toss the potatoes with the eggplant/tomato mixture and the cilantro.
5. Taste and adjust to your liking.
6. Serve with steamed rice (if desired), and a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream.

Chocolate Zucchini MuffinsHaven't used up the mountain of zucchini living in your fridge yet? Me neither. This is about the time of year that I start grating zucchini and putting it in everything... pasta sauce, chili, muffins, bread, etc. The following recipe is one that I adapted from my dear friend Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks site. The recipe is basically the same, I just switched out all-purpose flour for white whole wheat (ww pastry flour would work too), sugar for pure maple syrup, and milk for buttermilk (I didn't have buttermilk on hand). I also halved the amount cocoa powder and chocolate chips (my kids aren't big on super rich chocolate goodies... I know, what's wrong with them?). Because of the reduced chocolate chips and maple syrup swap, this probably isn't as sweet as Heidi's version. Feel free to use more maple syrup. You could probably use up to 1 C safely. As always, I encourage you to play around. Make it your own. :-) Enjoy!
1/2 C pure maple syrup (or more for a sweeter version)
3/4 C organic, extra virgin coconut oil, warmed to a liquid state
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 C milk (or buttermilk or plain yogurt)
2 C grated zucchini (or any summer squash)
1/2 C semisweet chocolate chips (or more if you want a richer chocolate experience)
2 C white whole wheat flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
Butter for greasing the pans (or more coconut oil)
1/2 C good quality cocoa powder (I used Green & Black's)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch or two of sea salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp allspice
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Grease 1 and 1/2 standard muffin pans with the butter (to total 18 muffins).
3. Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl.
4. Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl (make sure your coconut oil is really warm so it doesn't solidify when it comes in contact with the cold eggs and maple syrup).
5. Fold in the chocolate chips and zucchini.
6. Fill the pans with the batter, and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the muffins are cooked through (don't leave them in for too long or they will dry out).
Makes 18 muffins

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