Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash

Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash

As you may have noticed, I never tire of squash, so autumn has been full of great meals. This recipe is incredibly simple, but satisfying and tasty. Squash is a good, dense vegetable, so it can take the place of a less healthy dish while filling your body with important micro-nutrients. Cinnamon is a “warming” herb, so it’s perfect to make you feel more cozy during the cooler months. (And as a bonus, cinnamon even assists in blood-sugar regulation. This gives me an excuse to add more of it.) Add a side of sauteed kale and cranberries, and you’ve got a balanced fall meal. Cinnamon Sticks

Ingredients:

  • 1 small or medium butternut squash, cut in half.
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Butter or Earth Balance (optional)

Directions: Roasted Butternut Squash

Preheat the oven to 400F. Oil the cookie sheet or baking pan, and pour 1/2 cup of water in the pan. Cut the butternut squash in half. Scoop out the seeds and discard, then place each piece face down on the pan.

Cook for about 30-45 minutes; it is cooked when you can pierce it with a fork. Take the squash out of the oven, and using a tongs, flip each side over. Once the squash is face-up, drizzle honey over each piece.  Sprinkle cinnamon over the honey, be as generous as you want. If you want to use butter (or butter substitute) place a couple pats of it on top of each piece. Place it back in the oven, and cook an additional 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove the squash from the oven, and wait for it to cool a little. Cut each half into 3 pieces, and serve warm. You can always add more cinnamon in the end!

Kabocha Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Kabocha Pumpkin Soup

By Chef Jamie Woolner

As I’ve mentioned, I looooove fall…mostly for the squash. With all the squash to choose from, pumpkin has to be my favorite. When the holidays come, I use it as an excuse to make pumpkin-themed everything. I have a friend who swaps cooking days with me, and we come up with new pumpkin-themed meals every week. When I tried this pumpkin soup by Chef Jamie, I begged him to share the recipe. Kabocha is a Japanese pumpkin, and it has a wonderful, creamy texture. It is the perfect base for a hearty, filling soup that will warm you during the chilly days of fall.

Serves 5

Ingredients:

1 Whole Kabocha Pumpkin cut in half (found at your local Japanese Market)

2 sliced onions

2 garlic cloves, mincedScooping out kabocha squash

2 tsp pumpkin spice

Salt tt

4 cups water

1/2 cup cream or dairy substitute (optional)

2 tsp olive oil for sautéing

Special Equipment:

Blender, Ladle, Sheet Pan, Stock Pot, Sauté Pan, Knife, Cutting Board, bowls for hold ingredients, wooden spoon

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place pumpkin halves-cut side down-on a greased baking sheet. When the oven is ready, put in thRoasting Kabochae pumpkin halves and cook for about 45 minutes, or until a butter knife slips through easily.

2.) While the pumpkin is cooking, heat a pan with the olive oil and sauté the onions on medium heat. Once the onions are colored nutty brown and translucent, then add the garlic. Cook for one more minute, being sure not to burn the garlic.

3.) Once the pumpkins are soft, scoop out the seeds and discard. You can also wash the seeds clean, then toast until crunchy and slightly browned, and use them as a garnish for the soup. Once the seeds are removed, scoop out the meat and place into a blender. Blend in four stages; at each stage add a quarter of all of the following ingredients: pumpkin meat, sautéed onion, garlic and water.  Blending Kabocha

4.) Once you’ve finished blending, add the blended ingredients to a large pot. Simmer and reduce. The soup is down simmering once it can coat the back of the spoon, but isn’t as thick as mashed potatoes. If you are adding cream, add it now. Season the soup with salt and pumpkin spice and finish with toasted pumpkin seeds, milk foam, caramelized onion or a combination of all three.

Note: Season well once you have the consistency you want. Remember, not too thick, not too thin. The soup should coat a spoon thinly and remain their like cream consistency.

Kabocha Pumpkin Soup

Chef JamiChef Jamie Woolnere Woolner studied culinary arts at The Art Institute of California. He has cooked in many restaurants making Japanese, Latin, Italian, and American cuisine. Currently he owns and operates Pizza of Venice, CA, where he supplies events and restaurants with custom pizzas. You can find his company on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/povpizza

Roasted Acorn Squash with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds and Balsamic

Although I love summer, fall is my second favorite season. I love the smells, the colors, and the cooler nights. But really, my favorite part is the squash. I love almost all kinds of squash…spaghetti squash, acorn, pumpkin, butternut…I love them all. They’re full of nutrients and fiber, and they’re more filling than many other vegetables.

I made this particular recipe with a friend. She had bought some acorn squash and wanted to experiment. Our favorite part was the pan-toasted pumpkin seeds. Once I discovered pan-toasting, I toast almost every nut and seed this way. It’s quick and easy, and is less damaging to the sensitive oils. And best of all, it’s so tasty! So please enjoy, and let me know if you have any suggestions to make it even more delicious.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

2 medium acorn squash

4 tablespoons olive oilPumpkin Seeds

salt and pepper, to taste

¼ cup shelled pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas)

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

***Optional: ¼ cup fresh parsley, sage, or mint leaves, torn.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425°.

2. Cut squash in half, and spoon out seeds (and the stringy stuff) and discard. Cut squash into 1½”-thick slices. Coat slices with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Lay slices on a baking sheet.

3. Place in then oven and roast for about 30 minutes, turning slices over halfway through. They should be golden brown on both sides, and soft enough to eat.

4. Heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add pumpkin seeds, turning them often so they don’t burn. They should brown slightly, but still be a little green. Once they’re down, place them on a paper towel to soak up excess oil.  Season with salt. Roasted Acorn Squash with Pan Toasted Pumpkin Seeds 5. Place squash on serving plates, and sprinkle toasted pumpkin seeds on each piece. Drizzle on balsamic vinegar. (Don’t over-do it, vinegar goes a long way!) If you are using any fresh herbs, lightly sprinkle those on as well.

6. Serve warm and enjoy!

Pomegranite Marinade on The Blissful Chef

Check out my recipe for Pomegranate Marinade and Veggie Kabobs on the awesome website The Blissful Chef. Try marinating just about anything for a tangy, sweet and rich flavor. I discovered this recipe on accident, and ended up making portabella burgers that impressed everyone!

http://theblissfulchef.com/2012/09/guest-post-pomegranate-marinade-and-veggie-kabobs/

“The Blissful Chef” herself is my dear friend Christy Morgan, who happens to be one of the best chefs that I know. Her cookbook Blissful Bites is a staple in my kitchen. Filled with simple, healthy recipes, I’ve learned how to cook everything from gluten-free grains to lotus-root chips. I’ll be making a recipe from her book this month, so look for a grain-free take on pasta coming soon.

Balsamic Marinated Figs and Blueberries with Brie

Happy Labor Day! Although relaxation is imperative for health, holidays are often associated with overeating and unhealthy food. I decided to post this recipe, although to be totally honest, it’s not the healthiest thing I’ve posted…but I decided that for a holiday, I could meet halfway and go for a treat. It does has antioxidants and fiber in the figs and blueberries, and protein in the brie. Good-quality balsamic can ease digestion. It can be made gluten-free with a gf bread choice. It’s not the best for food combining, and it’s not vegan…but like I said, this holiday. Let’s meet in the middle. I first made this on a lovely day off, after I had picked some fresh blueberries off an alpaca farm. I hope you enjoy!

Balsamic Marinated Figs and Blueberries with BrieBalsamic Marinated Figs and Blueberries with Brie 

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 ripe figs
  • Blueberries
  • Aged Balsamic, or blackberry balsamic vinegar **
  • Extra virgin olive oil**Oilve Oil, Aged Balsamic, Brie, Figs, and Blueberries
  • 1/2 round of Brie or Camembert Cheese
  • Fresh bread (Italian or Ciabatta work best) or crackers
  • Fresh or dried thyme
  • Fresh or dried marjoram
  • Salt and Pepper
  • *Optional: white or black truffle salt

**Quality is very important! You want thick, barrel aged balsamic. I love the classic We Olive Balsamic that is local to California, but you should be able to find some online, or in a specialty grocery store. The same goes for olive oil! By law, olive oil can be mixed with a certain % of low-quality vegetable oil. So if it’s very cheap, it’s probably not pure! Besides We Olive, I also LOVE Temecula Olive Oil Company. The Fresh Basil Olive Oil is to die for. Supporting local products is also more environmentally friendly, as it saves on the shipping fuel.

Directions:

  1. Slice the tops off the figs, and cut into quarters. Place the figs and a handful of blueberries into a bowl. Finely chop the thyme and marjoram, and sprinkle over the top (fresh herbs are always best, but if not available dried works as well). Season with salt and crushed pepper. (Use less salt if you plan to use the truffle salt. But don’t put the truffle salt in yet; it will be used later.)
  2. Pour We Olive balsamic vinegar over the fruit. They should be pretty well covered, around 3 tablespoons. Put the bowl aside in a cool, dry place. (Not the refrigerator.) Let it marinade for at least an hour. Balsamic Marinated Figs and Blueberries
  3. If you’re using fresh bread, cut it into thin slices. Toast until crispy.
  4. Arrange the toasted pieces (or crackers) on a plate. Slice the Brie to your desired thickness, and place several pieces on each slice of bread.
  5. Take the bowl of marinated fruit, and place a some figs pieces and blueberries on each slice of bread. Drizzle some additional balsamic over each piece.
  6. When all the fruit is used, drizzle We Olive olive oil over each piece. Sprinkle some additional thyme, marjoram, and pepper on top for presentation.
  7. If you have truffle salt, sprinkle a pinch on each piece.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Peruvian Anticucho Grilling Sauce

Grilling with Peruvian Salsa Anticucho!
It’s a Baste, Marinade and Sauce
by Chef Jamie Woolner

There is a common misconception about health food…people often tell me that it’s bland! Since I am a nutritionist AND a foodie, this wouldn’t be true or I wouldn’t be interested. The key? Spices! I make all sorts of sauces, marinades, and rubs out of spices, peppers, vinegars, and healthy oils. So when I went to a bbq and tried this sauce, I begged the chef to share the recipe! It doubles not only as a baste, but also as a sauce or marinade. I even put it on my potato salad!

There’s no better way to bring in the summer than grilling out! Grilled foGrilling Veggiesod can be a unhealthy disaster, or a great way to add to your daily serving of vegetables! Almost any vegetables, proteins, (and a lot of fruit!) can be transformed after grilling. Get creative! I’ve  grilled slices of white squash, zucchini, tomatoes, tempeh, asparagus, and portabellas. I’ve even had things like peaches on the grill! So remember, vegetables don’t have to be boring. Spices can be healthy, too!

-Makes about 2 Cups-

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbs          Aji Amerillo Puree (Peruvian Yellow Pepper)*
    *Substitute: 2 yellow bell peppers, boiled in vinegar and water until soft and pureed w/ a half teaspoon of cayenne
  •  6 Tbs         Aji Panca Puree (Peruvian Sundried chili)**
    **Substitute: 1 Tablespoon of Chipotle adobo Puree w/ 3 red bell peppers boiled in vinegar and water until soft and pureed
  • 2 Tbs          Soy Sauce
  • 1 Clove      Garlic, Finely Minced
  • 3 Tbs          Rice Vinegar
  • 1 Tbs          Red Wine Vinegar
  • 4 Tbs          Lager Beer or Lighter Colored Beer (I used Heineken)
  •  Salt and Pepper to taste
  •     ½ Cup        Olive Oil
  •      1 Tbs         Cumin
  •      1 Tbs         Oregano Flakes or 1.5 tsp Oregano powder
  1. Heat up your grill.
  2. Add all ingredients into a large bowl (except for salt, pepper, and olive oil) and whisk to combine.
  3. Add olive oil as a slow stream while whisking.
  4. Season w/ salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Get a basting brush or a spoon and set the Anticucho next to your grill.
  6. Take any items that you want grilled, cut them into equal sized pieces and rub them in a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.
  7. Start grilling. Baste vegetables and proteins on the topside. Flip and baste the other side. When the item is cooked, give it a final baste.

Note: if you choose to grill meat, get a separate container and brush for the finishing antichucho sauce.

So enjoy, and happy grilling!

Chef JamiChef Jamie Woolnere Woolner studied culinary arts at The Art Institute of California. He has cooked in many restaurants making Japanese, Latin, Italian, and American cuisine. Currently he owns and operates Pizza of Venice, CA, where he supplies events and restaurants with custom pizzas. You can find his company on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pizza-of-Venice-CA/308622362552449