Steamed Butternut Squash with Ancho Chili Dressing

Between entertaining out of town guests, exercising my right to a social life, training for the next big race (we have our mile down to 9:28- yay!), and living life in general I have neglected my blog.  For this I should be ashamed.  But it is not for lack of cooking, or trying out new recipes.  There is just not time enough in the day to get them all out on the internet 😉  That said….

We are entering the fall season very soon (9/23 to be exact) and with this new season come a whole load of new crops from the farmers.  Our October CSA shares will boast of goods such as: beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celeriac, collards, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, mustard greens, onions, potatoes, pumpkins, cool-weather spinach, swiss chard, sweet potatoes, turnips and squashes.  As I tend to cook with what I have in the fridge, I’ll attempt to keep you stocked with interesting ways to use these fabulous ingredients.

This particular recipe was inspired by World’s Healthiest Foods and turned out quite lovely.  It fills the house with the warm smell of cinnamon and sweet onion while it simmers.  The finished dish is naturally sweet and the squash has a creamy consistency.

Ingredients:

1 medium-sized butternut squash, cut into cubes

1 medium red onion, cut in half and sliced

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon ancho chili powder

1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon & 1 cup chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  • Steam the squash cubes for about 6 minutes

  • While the squash is steaming, sauté the onion in a tablespoon of broth for about 3 minutes over a medium heat, stirring frequently
  • Add the garlic and spices and mix well

  • Next, add the remaining broth and begin to simmer
  • Add in the steamed squash and cook together for another 3-4 minutes

  • Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with cilantro, and serve

We had this as a side to a chicken from our meat CSA which we had put on the rotisserie smothered with herbs de Provence.

Black Bean Chili with Chicken & Zucchini

This recipe is a great way to get some low-fat protein and fiber worked into your diet with a huge flavor profile.  It’s simple to make and only takes about half an hour from start to finish.   And did you know that the Chinese black bean, also known as Douchi, is a fermented soy bean? So if you’re trying to eat a more primal diet, these are an acceptable item.

Ingredients:

1 chicken breast

1 teaspoon ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

Salt & pepper

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium zucchini, quartered & chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups of black beans

2 cups of diced tomatoes

1 small can mild green chilies

2 Tablespoons ancho chili paste

1/2 cup cilantro

Sour cream

Directions:

  • Warm a skillet over a medium heat, add olive oil
  • Season the chicken breast with chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper & sauté for a couple of minutes per side- just to get the cooking process started.  Remove from heat & set aside
  • In a large soup pot, sauté the onion, zucchini and garlic for 5 minutes.  While these are cooking, cut you chicken into bite-sized pieces
  • Add the chicken, beans, tomatoes, chilies and chili paste to the pot, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes
  • Top with sour cream & cilantro and serve

Kidney Bean Soup with Lime Yogurt

Now that we’ve had the tiniest turn in the weather here in New England, I feel as though I can post a soup recipe again without being driven from the free land of the internets 😉

This soup is high in protein, low in fat, and has a wealth of vitamin A.  It’s also got a fantastic thick and creamy consistency.  As far as flavor goes you get the standard kidney bean with the tangy yogurt and sweet lime all at once.  Then that’s all rounded out with the cumin & chili powder for a wonderful finish.

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped in 1/2-inch pieces

1 celery stalk, chopped in 1/2-inch pieces

4 medium garlic cloves, chopped

3 cups + 1 TBS chicken or vegetable broth

3 TBS tomato paste

1 TBS ground cumin

2 TBS ancho chili powder

1 TBS dried Mexican oregano

1 15 oz. can red kidney beans, rinsed & drained

salt and pepper to taste

Lime yogurt

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 TBS lime juice

1 TBS chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  • Chop onions and garlic, carrots and celery & set aside

  • Heat 1 TBS broth in medium-sized soup pot and sauté the onion in the broth over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently
  • Add garlic, carrots, celery, and continue to sauté for a minute
  • Add broth, tomato paste, kidney beans, and spices and bring to a boil
  • Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for another 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender ·
  • Make lime yogurt by combining yogurt, lime juice, and cilantro in small bowl
  • Puree the soup in a blender in small batches
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste
  • Reheat, and pour into serving bowls, top with lime yogurt, and serve

I opted to serve this soup with a side salad topped with edible flowers (greens & flowers from Old Friends Farm).

This recipe inspired by a post on WHF.

J

Southwest Salmon & Black Beans

This dish was the best way that I have ever had salmon prepared.  It’s zesty and flavorful, has a great variety of textures, and is super-healthy.  Grilling the fish avoids stinking heating up the house on these days of 90+ degrees and ridiculous humidity, and it allows it to get a great crisp on.

I can honestly say that I was weary of using all of the herbs called for in the dressing.  I love mint, but I love it in desserts, and sometimes it weirds me out to have it in a savory dish.  Well not this time.  The cilantro, basil and mint meld together and you taste none of them individually, but the combination is smooth and wonderful.  Now if I can only figure out how to use of the remaining 4 lbs. of mint in my back yard, I’ll be all set….

I opted to take creative liberties with the recipe that I followed (of course) and served the beans on the side with some jasmine rice that had been cooked in chicken broth.  It was probably unnecessary as both Neil and I were so stuffed by the end of this meal that is was silly, but I was initially worried that a piece of fish on top of lettuce wasn’t going to cut it with our appetites.

Ingredients:

1 ½  lb salmon

1 small onion, minced

1 small red bell pepper, diced 1/4 inch

4 medium cloves garlic pressed

1 TBS +  ½  cup chicken or vegetable broth

2 cups or 15 oz can black beans, rinsed & drained

1 ½  TBS ancho chili powder

2 cups chopped lettuce (like butter or romaine)

Dressing:

4 TBS fresh chopped cilantro

2 TBS fresh chopped mint

2 TBS fresh chopped basil

5 TBS fresh lemon juice

4 TBS olive oil

1 TBS chopped pepitas

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Season salmon with salt and pepper and set aside
  • Heat 1 TBS broth in a skillet and when it begins to steam add the onion, bell pepper and garlic and sauté over a  medium heat for about 5 minutes
  • Add 1/2 cup broth, black beans, and ancho chili powder. Cook for another 10 minutes and season with salt and pepper to taste
  • While the beans are cooking, preheat your grill
  • In a bowl mix together cilantro, mint, basil, lemon juice, olive oil, pepitas, salt and pepper
  • Grill the salmon for about 10 minutes (your grill should be between 400 and 500 degrees)
  • Serve the salmon on a bed of lettuce, topped with the dressing, with beans on the side

J

Black Bean Soup

In my ongoing quest to discover recipes low in fat and high in protein, fiber and nutrients, I came across this one.  While it’s not necessarily what I would term “soup weather” in New England right now, this really doesn’t heat up the kitchen all that much, and it’s packed with flavor.  The yield on this recipe is such that Neil and I each had heaping bowls of soup for dinner and there was equally as much left over so I froze it (which will come in handy this weekend when I’m running around like a lunatic prepping food-stuffs to co-host a baby shower with my sister) so it will easily feed four.

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, minced

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 TBS ancho chili powder

3 cups + 1 TBS chicken (or vegetable) broth

1 small zucchini, quartered and diced

1 cup chopped collard greens

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes

1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed

1 cup frozen yellow corn

1 4 oz can diced green chili

1 roasted red pepper

1 tsp dried Mexican oregano

1 tsp ground cumin

1/4 cup pepitas

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Heat 1 TBS broth in a medium soup pot. Sauté onion and garlic in broth over medium heat for about 5 minutes
  • Add red chili powder and mix to coat
  • Add broth, zucchini, collard greens, and tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes
  • Add beans, corn, green chili, roasted red peppers, oregano, and cumin
  • Bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes
  • Add chopped cilantro, pumpkin seeds, salt, and pepper

We decided to have a nice fresh green salad with our soup.  It was a great combination because there was something cool to pop in our mouths when the heat of the soup got to be a bit much.

J