Tag Archives: reciperedux

buttercup squash soup with coconut, sage + quince

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a few weeks ago, i discovered there’s a seemingly abandoned quince tree a couple streets over from us. instead of inquiring about picking the fruit to the nearby house or walking my ladder down the neighborhood and being for real about the situation, i instead ended my marathon-season track workouts for weeks by practicing my plyometric jumps into the lower branches, snagging one golden floral fruit each time, and smuggling it’s precious but ugly self back home to add to my for-soup collection.

i had an idea in my head about updating this soup and instead of sending the floral quince notes throughout, piling a few thin sauteed slices on top with fresh sage. the result is absolutely holiday (or just really nice self-care) worthy.

 

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speaking of holidays, here is what i’m making for the Thanksgiving weekend:

i. a brussels-heavy variation of this salad.

ii. apple pie. i’m planning to recreate the best gluten + dairy free pie crust i’ve made so far, adapted from Alanna’s recipe and fill it with apples + spice inspiration from Renee.

iii. if the weekend calls for more cozy time in the kitchen, i’ll be making cornbread stuffing (per William’s request), and/or pumpkin, sage + rosemary baked risotto, or perhaps just end the weekend with that cornbread alongside my favorite deep/rich vegetable-heavy chili with chocolate and walnuts.

iv. and more of this soup! the Recipe Redux challenge this month is to add some naturally colored holiday treats and trimmings to the table and this soup is definitely colorful! and, importantly, it’s also tasty. i gobbled up the first and then second batch before i took time for photos, so the third round, whipped up in the final days before we head to eastern oregon for family time, is going home to share.

 

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buttercup squash soup with coconut, sage + quince, serves about 4

Curious about quince? They’re a seriously old fruit, similar in many ways to pears, but much more floral in flavor and aroma. They require cooking too, as their heavy tannins and raw texture will dissuade even the hungriest neighborhood scavenger! Since they’re slightly precious and can be difficult to find outside of local shops and markets, a pear or apple can be substituted, or completely left out for a less sweet/interesting ending. For a little more substance, I’ve often been stirring in either cooked garbanzos or sometimes marinated/seasoned tempeh to my soup and rounding it out with some whole grain sourdough bread for a full meal deal. Also, use any squash you like. I used the last of the Buttercup from my garden. It’s a sweet, dense, slightly dry flesh variety, and any of the Kabocha, Hubbard and Butternut varieties are also good alternatives. 

2 lb. buttercup winter squash, exterior rinsed of any remaining soil
1 + tsp. coconut oil, divided
1 large onion, medium-diced
1 tsp. dried thyme
3 cups water or vegetable broth
2/3 cups full-fat coconut milk
1 1/2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
3/4 tsp. sea salt
ground black pepper
1 quince, cored and thinly sliced
1-2 tsp. minced fresh sage

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Slice the squash in half and turn cut-side-down on a baking dish. Add 1/2- to 1-inch water to bottom of pan and roast for about 45-60 minutes, until a fork slides easily through the skin and flesh of the squash. Let cool at least 5 minutes before handling.
  2. Set a large pot on medium heat and add coconut oil. Add the chopped onion and sauté 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it softens and becomes translucent. Then stir in the thyme and water or broth.
  3. Once the squash is done roasting and is cool enough to handle, scoop out the seeds and discard. Then scoop the flesh into the pot. You can either discard the skin or toss it in, as it is definitely edible and will add a little texture towards the end result.
  4. Add the coconut milk and apple cider vinegar.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool slightly, and then using either a blender or food processor, puree in batches until you have a smooth consistency. Turn it back into the pot, and add salt and ground black pepper and taste to adjust seasoning.
  5. For the quince, heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add a small amount of coconut oil, sliced quince, and minced sage. Try to spread the slices out over the pan so they are not overlapping and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side, until they are becoming golden and crispy on the edges.
  6. Serve the soup hot with the sauteed quince scattered on top. Enjoy!

 

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White Tea + Rhubarb Cake

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Last week, I celebrated a birthday. It was a very ordinary sort of day with no particular fanfare, leftovers for dinner, and Will at a school event for the evening.  So I enjoyed the evening after work in the garden, planting seeds. And then I made cake.

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On your birthday, you are supposed to feel special, or at least that’s what our society tells us–and though the day was particularly ordinary, I felt truly blessed and happy from its beginning to end.

Normally, in past years when my birthday didn’t include a big gathering over dinner and cake, I’d feel just a teensy bit like I was missing out on an annual rite. This year something changed, and I felt simply grateful for so very many friends who care and who show it in small ways, regularly. From the kind encouragements, to the brief check-ins and the funny moments where we laugh uncontrollably. Those things, those people, I am grateful for having in my life.

Though the hornblowers, smoke, and light show were left for perhaps another year and turning 27 isn’t exactly an exciting number, I am so joy-filled, so blessed to have gotten to celebrate another one.

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Now for cake. I’ve been bent on a rhubarb obsession this past several months, and since it’s spring and rhubarb is at the peak of its season, I’m going to eat it up while it is available! This is White Tea & Rhubarb Cake.  I made a simple rhubarb sauce, then strained it through a sieve and infused just the juice into a loose-leaf white tea. The tea and rhubarb mixture serve as the liquid for this cake. The flavor is very light, very subtle, and quite good. If you’re big on frosting, go ahead and make it–the beautiful pastel pink comes from the rhubarb, not food dye! If you would prefer the white tea and lovely rhubarb flavors to shine through and aren’t big on super sweet, go ahead and foreg0 the frosting. It’s quite nice to eat it simply–and the Rhubarb-Infused White Tea is a treat all on its own!

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White Tea + Rhubarb Cake, makes one 6-inch cake
1 3/4 cups Sarah’s gluten free flour blend
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup rhubarb-infused white tea 
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup canola oil
1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Mix together flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, pour in the rhubarb + tea mixture. Add the sugar, honey, oil, and vanilla extract. Slowly whisk in the flour mixture. Beat for one minute or until the batter becomes smooth and starts to thicken.
  • Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating half way through. Insert a toothpick into the center if you are uncertain if its done. The toothpick will come out clean.
  • Place on cooling rack, and remove from pans after about 10 minutes. Cool completely before frosting or serving.
Rhubarb-Infused White Tea
3-4 rhubarb stalks, chopped
water
1 Tbs. Loose-leaf white tea, such as Silver Rain
  • Make a rhubarb sauce by simmering rhubarb stalks and a small amount of water (less than 1/4 inch to the bottom of a small saucepan) until the rhubarb has turned into a puree.  With a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth, strain the rhubarb sauce, reserving the bulk of the mixture for another use.
  • Meanwhile, bring water almonst to boiling, and with the tea in an infuser, steep a good 3/4 cup of white tea for a lengthy period of time, until it is strong. Keep in mind that white tea will not get too strong like black tea. The flavor is subtle. Add the rhubarb sauce liquid to the steeped tea until you have 1 1/4 cups.  Measure out 1 cup for the cake, and reserve 1/4 cup for the frosting.
 Tea + Rhubarb Vegan Frosting
1/2 cup vegan butter, such as Earth Balance
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup rhubarb-infused white tea 
  • To make frosting, whip together all of the ingredients, adding a touch more rhubarb liquid for color and moisture, as needed.


Blackberry Lemon Coconut Cream Bars

Friday morning, summer ended.  From my office window, I watched dark clouds blow in and with them came all autumn’s wet and windy glory, leaves swirling through the mist.  I trudged through the garden after school, feet tingly wet, and with muddy fingers, pulled fallen cornstalks, bolted lettuce, and withered melon vines.  I reminisced back to July and August, and even the day before, Thursday, when I was still picking blackberries, knowing all too soon, the weather would change.

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Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not.  – Seamus Heaney

Blackberries. Blackberry picking. Our new apartment complex cozies up to the forest on this edge of town. Wild briers take over here, and to my delight, I have noshed on blackberries for weeks. While not many have found their way into a bucket for later, I’ve made it a mission to send summer off proper like with lemony-coconut cream blackberry bars. They just so happen to be raw, vegan, gluten-free, and super easy.

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Though the photos are a delicious mess, I’d still like to tell you about all the layers of goodness. Dates, nuts and spices make up the salty-sweet bottom layer, followed by fluffy coconut cream with a hint of lemon. The topping, so simple and divine, is pureed berries mixed with a bit of chia seeds to help it set. If they fall apart coming out of the pan, that means you were like me and in being overly anxious to taste, weren’t patient. That’s fine. As is running to snag some frozen berries from the store if all the wild ones in your area are long gone. Relish the last day of summer with me before snuggling into that sweater and pumpkin spice latte.

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This recipe is part of September’s Recipe Redux challenge to create a healthy no-cook dessert. 
 
Lemon Coconut Cream Blackberry Bars {raw, vegan & gluten-free}, inspired by Sprouted Kitchen
4-5 medjool dates, pitted
1/4 cup raw walnut pieces, toasted
1/4 cup raw almonds, toasted
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. coconut oil
pinch of salt
1 15 oz. can full-fat coconut milk, chilled
2 Tbs. powdered sugar
zest from 1/2 a lemon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups blackberries
1 Tbs. chia seed
Stevia extract, to taste 
  • In a food processor, combine dates, nuts, cinnamon, oil and salt.  Puree until finely chopped and the mixture sticks together when pinched with your fingers.  Turn out into a square baking dish (I used a 6 x 8 glass container).
  • Open the chilled coconut milk and without stirring, spoon out the cream layer into a medium bowl.  With a fine mesh strainer, pour out the remainder of the can and keep all the cream that is in the top.  Reserve the watery milk for another use.
  • Whip the coconut cream along with the powdered sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla.  Pour atop the nut layer.
  • In the food processor, puree berries and chia seed until smooth.  Add stevia or sugar to taste.  Pour atop the cream layer, and set into the refrigerator to set for at least 2 hours.  (Or dig in and make a mess, like I did!)


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