Thursday, October 8, 2015

Hi! Remember Me?... Plus:
Coconut Curry with Apples and Winter Squash

Contrary to what this poorly updated blog might indicate, I have been cooking! I just haven't been writing.

Remember March and April? When I did the Whole30 and felt amazing and lean and energized?

And then remember July? When I read a book about the hog farming industry that pretty much rendered me vegetarian overnight?

And then came August, when I read The Good Gut, all about how to restore a compromised microbiota. (In case you are wondering how: beans + kale.)

Then September brought us two hospitalizations and a staggering stack of medical bills and a lot of mac and cheese and what do you know? It's October. And my food baggage is heavy.

But! I've been feeding my family, teaching at Local D'Lish weekly and in my home occasionally. I am focusing on technique rather than creativity at the moment and, to that end, am currently enrolled (from the comfort of my own kitchen) in The Kitchn's baking school. I also made and have been updating a Facebook page (like me, yo! - Cake and Edith Cooking Classes). But I have not been documenting much here. I hope I haven't lost you entirely. Because I'm ready to get back in business. The kind of business that is a total labor of love with no pecuniary gain whatsoever.

It's also the kind of business that stores a list of recipes I want to tackle in the near future because my bookmarks bar and Pinterest fail me every time. In the spirit of technique, and just reminding myself how to follow a recipe every so often instead of relying solely on my resourcefulness and the random contents of my refrigerator to dictate what I end up cooking... hold me accountable, friends.

Slow-Cooked Boeuf Bourguignon (I said mostly vegetarian)

And now... curry! I used half a butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces. You could use any winter squash though, cook it however you'd like and add about 3 cups of 1/2"-ish chunks of it to the curry on your stovetop and cook until hot.


Really anything goes here. I browned my butternut squash in a pan with some coconut oil, salt and pepper. Then I set it aside and sautéed a makeshift mirepoix. Just start with whatever vegetables you have in your refrigerator to make an aromatic base. Here I've got carrot, celery, a few cherry tomatoes, and some scallions.


Add some apple. My thinking: the inclusion of apples might prompt one's picky children to eat curry. We've had a 50% success rate with this effort. (Girl yes, boy no.)


Once the apple has softened, add some other aromatics, e.g. ginger, lime zest (pictured). Add your curry powder (I used a mild curry + some fenugreek and amchur powder because I like sweet-sour flavors and I also like to use my spices up before they are no good). Have some liquid ready to go - water or broth.


Once the stock has turned everything into a nice saucy base, add in coconut milk, squash, and some chickpeas and cook until everything is heated through and the sauce is as thick as you'd like. It took mine about 10 minutes at this point. Off the heat, drizzle juice from half a lime over the curry and stir to incorporate. Serve over rice or perfectly fluffed quinoa.


Garnish with avocado and some mint or cilantro.


This was a weeknight meal for us, but I am a stay-at-home mother, so I had the 40 minutes it took from start to finish (including peeling and dicing squash). I chopped the aromatics while my butternut squash was browning and then I grated ginger and lime zest while the apple was softening. It keeps well in the refrigerator and only gets better over a couple days. And like I said before, anything goes.


Coconut Curry with Winter Squash, Apples, and Chickpeas
This curry is infinitely adaptable. Substitute whatever vegetables you have on hand for the ones listed below. Brown tofu or chicken with or in place of squash (tofu will take about the same amount of time as squash, but chicken cut into 1” pieces will brown more quickly – just about 3 minutes per side is fine before setting aside).
Yields 4-6 servings

2 tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil, divided
3 cups peeled, ½”-diced butternut squash or other winter squash (about 1 delicata squash, half an “average”-sized butternut squash)
½ an onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1-2 large apple(s) (you decide what kind!), peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
Zest and juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons curry powder (plus other spices you might want to add)
1/2 cup water or broth
1 can full-fat coconut milk, well shaken 
1 1/2 cups cooked (or one 15-oz can) chickpeas, drained and rinsed 
1+ teaspoon salt*
Freshly ground pepper to taste

* Measure out your teaspoon of salt before you begin cooking and then sprinkle a little bit of it into the pan every time you add a new layer of flavors. This allows each ingredient to interact with the salt so that you are drawing out more flavors and allowing for more complexity in your finished product. After adding the lime juice at the end, taste and add a little more salt if desired, 1/4 teaspoon at a time.

In a large skillet, over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Add squash to pan, spreading evenly in one layer. Don’t touch the squash for 4 minutes. Check on your squash and once it has started to brown on one side, stir, add some salt (~1/8 teaspoon), and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes. Remove squash from pan and set aside.

Add remaining oil to pan over medium high heat. Add onion, celery, and carrot with a big pinch of salt and cook for 4 minutes, until beginning to soften. Add apple and another big pinch of salt; cook for two minutes. Stir in ginger, lime zest, curry powder, and the rest of your salt, and cook for one more minute. Add half a cup of water or stock and stir so that it loosens up any browned bits of vegetables or spices from the pan and forms something in between a sauce and a paste. Bring to boil. Add coconut milk, chickpeas and squash to pan. Bring to a low boil. Stir until curry has reduced and thickened a bit, vegetables and apples are cooked through, and chickpeas and squash are piping hot. Off heat, stir in juice from half a lime. Taste and add more salt, lime juice, or black pepper to taste. Garnish with avocado and cilantro or mint. Serve with pita bread or over rice or quinoa.

No comments:

Post a Comment