This Thanksgiving, Mom requested butternut squash soup and grilled cheese. I made enough to freeze for easy meals in December, and I’m glad I did … this soup may be simple, but it’s gooood.
I was lucky enough to nab a leg of organic, sustainably-raised lamb from Montana’s Willow Spring Ranch at Shelton’s Market for this and was rewarded with succulent, juicy meat spiked through with Moroccan spice. To find a source for grass-fed lamb (and other meats) near you for your Easter meal, check out Eat Wild. Serve this with quinoa, mixed greens, sliced black olives, thick slices of orange, thinly sliced fennel and red onion tossed with the dressing from this salad here.
5 garlic cloves
1/2 medium onion
1 small lemon, trimmed of top and bottom, quartered and seeded
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup pomegranate syrup (or 1/2 orange juice and 1/2 honey)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
5-6 pound boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of excess fat
Puree garlic through olive oil in a blender or food processor. Stir in salt. Lay lamb in a shallow dish or roasting pan and carefully pierce deeply all over with a paring knife. Slather on the marinade, pushing into the holes, then coat all over with any remaining marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 325. Transfer lamb to a Dutch oven, cover and roast for 3-1/2 to 4 hours, until lamb is fork tender. Let rest for 20 minutes, then pull apart into large chunks to serve.
I consider myself a lucky girl for many reasons, one of them being that I have so many way cool colleagues in the food writing world. Like Robin Asbell. Robin has been putting the “yuummm” into veggie and whole grain based cooking for several years now, with her New Vegetarian, Big Vegan and New Whole Grains Cookbooks. Now, she’s gracing us with Sweet and Easy Vegan: Treats Made with Whole Grains and All Natural Sweeteners.
When Robin asked me to be part of her virtual potluck, I had a hard time choosing from the list of dishes. Mocha Scones with Cacao Nibs? Yum. PB&J Crisp? Sweet Potato Coconut Cupcakes? All good. I, though, decided to bring Orange and Dried Plum Bars to the party. Orange and plum has always been a favorite pairing of mine, and with a walnut streusel topping? Done.
Not only have Robin and Chronicle given me permission to share the recipe here with you, they’re also giving you the chance to win your very own copy of the book (trust me, whether you’re vegan or not, this would be a good thing).
Unlike many of my fellow potluck pals (who are more confident bakers than I am), I opted to cook the recipe exactly as is* out of the book for two reasons: one, because I tend to get into BIG trouble when I mess with any baking recipe and, two, because I was curious about the vegan ingredients. Nothing in the ingredient list was new to me, but some–palm sugar, coconut oil, soy milk, agave syrup–were, for me, novel ingredients to be baking with.
I’m not the biggest baker to begin with, but part of the reason is because I don’t feel great about having goodies that are basically processed flour and sugar in my fridge, no matter the guise. Which is why I was so excited to delve into Robin’s book. I can get behind bars that are mostly fruit, whole grains and nuts. I love that I’m adding not only to my sweet-leaning repertoire, but also to my ‘nourishing baking’ skill set.
Oh, before I forget … to enter to win a book of your own, just leave a comment below with a way to get in touch. I’ll pick a winner this Friday (October 26th). In the meantime, check out the rest of the virtual potluck dishes here.
Dried Plum Filling
1 pound pitted dried plums
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup agave syrup
3 tablespoons orange liqueur*
5 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup Sucanat or granular palm sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons coconut oil, chilled
3 tablespoons soy milk
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup Sucanat or granular palm sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted, plus more as needed
To make the plum filling: In a small saucepan, combine the dried plums, water, agave syrup, and orange liqueur. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat as much as possible, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and stir until thoroughly combined.
Preheat the oven to 350. Oil a 9-inch square baking pan.
To make the crust: In a medium bowl, combine the pastry flour, Sucanat, and salt and stir until well mixed. Grate the chilled coconut oil into the flour mixture, then toss until the bits of coconut oil are evenly coated. Mix gently with your fingers, squeezing to break up the bits and working quickly so the warmth from your hands doesn’t melt the coconut oil. Add the soy milk and stir until just combined. Press a bit of the mixture in your hand to see if it holds together; if it’s crumbly, stir in a bit more soy milk.
Scrape the dough into the prepared pan and press it in an even layer. Bake for 5 minutes. Let cool. Leave the oven on.
Meanwhile, prepare the streusel: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, walnuts, Sucanat, and salt and stir until well mixed. Add the coconut oil and stir until thoroughly combined. If any loose flour remains, stir in a bit more oil.
Spread the plum filling over the crust in an even layer. Scatter the streusel evenly over the top and press to flatten slightly. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the streusel is golden brown and feels firm to the touch.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cut 4 by 4, to make 16 squares. Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, the bars will keep for about 1 week.
* Full disclosure … I did change one thing. I thought I had Cointreau, but didn’t, So I used amaretto instead.
Acorn squash skins are quite leathery and the cooked flesh will pop out of it as you cut the wedges. Use a butter knife to help separate the skin and flesh if needed. This combo of winter squash, hearty wheat berries, toasted walnuts and blue cheese is the essence of fall. Soaking the wheat berries overnight is smart trick to help slash the cooking time in half. It’s the same principle as soaking dried beans.
Panini are the upscale Italian cousins to the average Joe grilled cheese sandwich, and these panini, made with pear and prosciutto are a perfect match with creamy soups. Feel free to mix up the cheese; I like to add a generous grind of pepper on top of the pears before topping too. You can use any type of pear you like, but Anjou pear’s sweet, citrusy tang pairs well with the goat cheese. If your pears don’t yield slightly to a squeeze, ripen them on the counter for a few days.
I’ve always wanted a potato cake recipe like this, and I spent some time perfecting it. Would it be better to coat the mashed potato cakes in panko? I wondered. It turned out to be too much trouble, and didn’t make the cakes that much crispier. What if I sprinkled cheese on the outside to make a crisp, savory crust? Nope. That didn’t add as much punch as I’d expected. This straightforward recipe — it takes just a few minutes to pull together if you have leftover mashed potatoes on hand — yielded the best results, and will be a potato pancake I go back to again and again. I hope you do, too.
Strangely enough, peanuts and sweet potatoes make a great pair. Between the warm fall hues of this sweet potato soup and the crisp, bright flavors of the Fennel-Apple Salad accompanying it (get the recipe in the Nourish Weekly Menus archive), this meal is truly a feast for the senses.
My husband claims to not be very fond of egg salad . . . but he loves deviled eggs. I, on the other hand, can’t be bothered with filling those fragile egg white shells. So this egg salad recipe is my compromise. It tastes like spicy deviled eggs (with a little added heft from minced celery), but it’s a much easier way to use up those Easter eggs. Heaven.
Premade eggnog gives you a head start on this easy holiday dessert, while using maple syrup saves you the trouble of making caramel to coat the bottoms of the ramekins. You’ll need to make these flans at least 1 day (and up to 3 days) ahead, so the custard has plenty of time to infuse with the maple flavor.
Position 1 rack in middle of oven; position second rack in top. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Whisk together the first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Place eggnog in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat; heat to 180 degrees F or until tiny bubbles form around the edges (do not boil). Gradually pour eggnog into egg mixture, whisking constantly. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a large 4-cup measuring cup or clean spouted bowl. Skim any foam from surface of custard.
Arrange 8 (5-ounce) ramekins in a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Place pan on a rimmed baking sheet. (This will make it easier to maneuver the pan in and out of the oven.)
Pour maple syrup evenly into ramekins. Top evenly with custard. Skim any bubbles from surface of custard. Fill pan with hot water to a depth of 1-1/2 inches. Place pan on middle rack of oven. Place a second baking sheet on the top rack (this prevents the tops of the flans from browning). Bake 45 minutes or until set. Carefully remove ramekins from pan. Cool to room temperature. Cover, and refrigerate 24 hours or up to 3 days.
To serve, run a thin, sharp knife around the edge of each flan. Place a dessert plate upside-down over each flan. Invert to unmold flan, allowing maple to drizzle over flan. Garnish with nuts.
Who says Hanukkah latkes have to be made with potatoes? A trio of root veggies — carrots, parsnips and golden beets — lend our latkes a golden hue and a touch of sweetness while exotic spices add a bit of heat.