janet @ the taste space

Posts Tagged ‘butternut squash’

Vanilla Sweet Potato and Kale Curry

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on November 10, 2010 at 6:06 AM


I have been apprehensive of curries for a long time. I do not like curry. Rather, there is something in curry powder I do not like. A bit earthy, definitely spicy. I still haven’t figured it out. It may just be the chili pepper!

I enjoy Indian food, though, and bought 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer to help me conquer my fear of curries without the use of curry powder. I simply omit the peppercorns and add Aleppo chili flakes to my liking. 🙂 Browsing through the cookbook, you realized this is a cookbook of authentic Indian dishes along with contemporary dishes with an Indian spin. And they are all considered curries.

The word “curry” doesn’t exist in the Indian vocabulary. Authentic Indian dishes do not call for curry powder, either! So what is a curry then? Iyer describes it as any dish which is simmered with a sauce/liquid with spices and herbs, which can be pretty much anything.

Hence why this dish is considered a curry.

And I didn’t even know it until after I sat down to eat it.

In my quest to find interesting ways to use my large bunch of kale (superfood #1), I stumbled upon a vanilla sweet potato and kale soup by KathEats. I adapted it by swapping some of the sweet potato for butternut squash. I inadvertently added more coconut milk (my can was 19 oz, but I think 14 oz is the standard size) and instead of using garam masala, I made my own spice blend, loosely based off of Lisa’s post.

Vanilla Sweet Potato and Kale Curry
This was supposed to be a soup, but it was too thick to be a soup and too saucy to be a stew (although it technically could be considered a stew since everything was stewing). In the end, we christened it as a curry due to its Indian-flavoured spices and use of coconut milk.

Regardless, this was delicious. DELICIOUS. It was sweet, savoury, spicy, and salty. It was hearty, yet creamy. It was filling. It was everything great. Just not a soup.

The sweet potatoes and butternut squash cook down to a sweet hearty broth, aided by a blender. Coconut milk permeates along with the sweet/spicy flavours of the garam masala – cumin, cardamom, cloves, coriander, cinnamon and nutmeg – with a kick from Aleppo chili flakes. I almost thought to leave this as a nice soup after blending it, as it tasted great. But I am glad I persisted, because the kale was a delight. Chewy and full of texture. The vanilla worked well and the raisins were like hidden treasures, sweet jewels popping up in every few bites or so.

I am sure this would still be nice as a thinned soup, but served with rice, the textures balanced out nicely.

This is my submission to Ricki and Kim’s vegan SOS challenge featuring sweet potatoes and to this month’s Ingredient Challenge Monday for coconut.

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Creamy Bean Mole with Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale

In Mains (Vegetarian) on November 6, 2010 at 6:54 AM


I love to know how people choose their recipes. Especially food bloggers who tend to try a variety of food.

I scooped up a few butternut squashes when they were on sale, and they are great because they don’t take up coveted refrigerator space. I can plot and determine a strategy to use them in my cooking. What will I make first? Ina Garten’s Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with a Warm Cider Vinaigrette? Smitten Kitchen’s Squash and Chickpea Moroccan Stew or her Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese? The New Spanish Table‘s Lentil and Pumpkin Stew with Roasted Garlic? Joanne’s Tofu, Tempeh and Squash Peanut Butter Mole? Ottolenghi‘s Roasted Butternut Squash with Burnt Eggplant and Pomegranate Molasses? Fat Free Vegan’s Lemony Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash? 101 Cookbook’s Borlotti Bean Mole with Roasted Winter Squash? There are so many options to mull over as squash season starts up again.

So how did I narrow my choices? I didn’t have all the ingredients for any of the recipes, so I kept my eyes out for the missing links. While I was walking around the St Lawrence Market, I stumbled upon fresh cranberry beans (borlotti beans). I had bought some dried Romano beans earlier to make the dish, but when I spotted the fresh beans, I couldn’t resist! The Borlotti Bean Mole was the chosen one. How could I not have chosen it initially? It has lots of great ingredients – caramelized onions, roasted butternut squash, ground almonds, some kale is thrown in for greenery and it is smothered in a spicy chocolate mole sauce. Now, all I had to do was also find some kale. 🙂

My favourite part of St Lawrence Market is the Saturday morning farmer’s market in the North building. For early risers like me, it is great because it is probably one of the only places to buy groceries at 6am in the morning! 🙂 I spotted a bunch of kale for $2. Let me not fool you, this bunch was HUGE. It could not fit into my bicycle pannier, it was that big. It did not even fit in my refrigerator. I had to store it outside on my balcony! And when I measured out 3 oz of kale for this recipe, I needed one leaf. Just one leaf!

I have never had a Mexican mole before. For the other newbies out there, it is pronounced mo-lay, not mole like the skin lesion. I was corrected, thanks Rob! My Mexican modesty was revealed! 😉

While I generally am a bit apprehensive with traditionally spicy dishes, I really enjoyed this. I modified Heidi’s recipe (who in turn adapted it from Wild Garlic, Gooseberries and Me) to increase the beans and squash, and I used Aleppo chili flakes instead of the jalapeno peppers. The chocolate softens the spicy kick. I otherwise kept things the same and really enjoyed it. It takes a while to make, at least an hour prep, with a further 2 hours of slow cooking, but you have a wonderfully fragrant meal. I think you could skip the 2 hour cooking time, if you really need to. It would still taste great. Everything was basically cooked before it went in and when I snuck in a lick before I popped it into the oven, it was very tasty. It was also slightly colourful at this point. Two hours later, the flavours were more robust, deeper, darker and savoury but it was still great beforehand. The cranberry beans are creamy, the squash is sweet, the kale has a slight bite to it and it is smothered in a spicy chocolate sauce. Who says you can only have chocolate as a sweet treat? It is wonderful savoury as well. 🙂 Enjoy!

This is my submission to this week’s BSI featuring chilies and to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Lisa’s Kitchen.

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Miso-Butternut Squash Soup with Soba Noodles and Spinach

In Soups on November 29, 2009 at 6:10 PM

Here I present an interesting miso soup with butternut squash, spinach and soba noodles. It had been a while since I made a Japanese dish, as I was sidetracked with buttermilk, pumpkin and cranberries, but I was craving a soup. I liked how the sweet butternut squash mixed with salty miso.  This soup was adapted from a recipe in Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons by Nava Atlas. I have learned that Asian recipes may not be the best from non-Asian sources, but this was pretty good although certainly not authentic Japanese. It attests to the beauty of soups and how hard it is to mess them up. 🙂

The hardest part of the soup was prepping the squash. I found it easy to microwave the squash first, let it cool slightly, then peel and cut the squash for the soup.  Alternatively, you could cut and peel before you microwave it. Roasting it would be easy as well, but takes longer and you are more likely to get soft (roasted) squash.

This is my submission for this month’s Monthly Mingle which is featuring Soups, hosted by Tongue Ticklers (update posted here).

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Roasted Squash and Apple Soup

In Soups on November 4, 2009 at 10:20 PM

roasted squash and apple soup

I was catching up with a friend last week. Of course, the conversation veered to food. 😉  She was teasing me as she described all the baked goods she had made with her new Cuisinart. This didn’t surprise me as I know she is a fabulous baker, but what shocked me was that she told me that she doesn’t make soups. WHAT?!

I LOVE soups!  They are easy to make, difficult to screw up, very tasty and usually healthy. I will concede that I rarely make my own stock (save Japanese dashi), but that doesn’t stop me from making delicious, flavourful soups.

I am sharing a soup I made this weekend with some of my favourite ingredients, including squash. I decided to combine my two favourite fall ingredients: squash and apples (those who know me well, know that I recently bought lots of both; on sale, of course!).  It takes a bit of time to come together, but you can do other things as it roasts and simmers. The apple adds a bit of subtle tang to the warm, colourful squash base. I don’t like to make soups with cream; not from the taste (as it tastes great), rather due to cost and calories. I threw it in this soup because I had some lying around but extra stock would work out fine as well. Hopefully this is the beginning of many soups to come on the blog. 😀

My inspiration for the soup came from 300 Sensational Soups by Carla Snyder and Meredith Deeds. The soups are a bit heavy on the added cream, but this one piqued my interest.

roasted winter squash and apple soup

roasted winter squash and apple soup

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