Kabocha Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
I love dessert recipes featuring vegetables! Most people never know they're eating something that's healthier for them than a traditional recipe. You can make the squash puree up to 2 days ahead of time and freeze any leftovers up to 6 months.
For the cupcakes:
1 kabocha squash, about 2 lb.
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup low-fat milk
For the frosting:
8 oz. Neufchâtel cheese, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
To make the cupcakes, cut the squash in half crosswise and place, cut side down, in a baking pan with the water. Bake until very soft when pressed, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool, then scoop out and discard the seeds. Scrape the flesh from the peel into a bowl. Mash with a fork or puree until smooth; measure out 1 cup.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla and the 1 cup squash puree until smooth. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Stir the flour mixture into the squash mixture, followed by the milk, until well blended.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each one about two-thirds full. Bake until a tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
To make the frosting, in a bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the cheese, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and lemon juice until smooth. Spread the frosting on the cooled cupcakes and serve immediately, or refrigerate the frosted cupcakes for up to 1 day. Makes 12 cupcakes.
Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup
This soup is a beautiful golden yellowy-orange color. It is thick, smooth, buttery, cream, rich, and a bit sweet and savory all at the same time. And it's very easy to make!
1 medium to large size kabocha squash
1 Tbsp. + 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil, separated
2 small, or 1 large, yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 14-oz. can coconut milk (I used light coconut milk)
2 cups chicken stock (can use whatever kind of stock you prefer)
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut kabocha in half, scoop out seeds and stringy insides, then prick flesh with a fork. Brush 1 tablespoon of olive oil on flesh and set halves face down in baking sheet in approximately 1/2 inch of water. Bake for about 45 minutes until flesh is soft.
While kabocha is baking, caramelize onions in 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil. After kabocha is finished cooking, scoop flesh out of skin. In a food processor, add kabocha, onions, coconut milk, stock, salt, and pepper and process until smooth. Serve.
*I suggest adding half of the coconut milk and half of the stock and then tasting it. Depending on your tastes, you may want to add all of the coconut milk, or you may want to add more stock. Also, if the soup is too thick, add additional stock until it reaches the consistency you desire.
You could include your braising mix in this soup or even your tatsoi.
1 cup chopped onions, scallions, and/or shallots
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup diced (1/3 inch) peeled potato
8 cups coarsely chopped lettuce leaves including ribs (3/4 lb)
3 cups water
Cook onion mixture and garlic in 2 tablespoons butter in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add coriander, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in potato, lettuce, and water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until potato is very tender, about 10 minutes.
Purée soup in batches in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids) and transfer to a 2- to 3-quart saucepan. Bring soup to a simmer, then whisk in remaining tablespoon butter and salt and pepper to taste.
What to do with all the shallots besides tossing them into a stir fry? Make these caramelized shallots! This recipe, from the Smitten Kitchen, is a great way to maximize the sweetness of the shallots.
6 tbs unsalted butter
2 pounds fresh shallots, peeled, with roots intact
3 tbs sugar
3 tbs good red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbs chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Melt the butter in a 12" oven-proof saute pan, add the shallots and sugar, and toss to coat. Cook over medium heat for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shallots start to brown. Add the vinegar, salt and pepper and toss well.
Place the saute pan in the oven and roast for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the shallots, until they are tender. Season, to taste, sprinkle with parsley, and serve hot.
Butter Braised Kohlrabi
Cooking the kohlrabi brings out it's natural sweetness.
1/2 lb kohlrabi, trimmed but unpeeled and cut into 1? cubes
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Put kohlrabi, chicken stock, 1 Tbsp. butter, and thyme into a 12? skillet over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper and cover with a parchment-paper circle cut to fit inside rim of skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until kohlrabi is tender, about 15 minutes. Uncover, remove pan from heat, and add the remaining butter, swirling skillet until butter melts. Serve warm.
Spicy Sauteed Kale with Lemon
Probably the easiest way to prepare your kale, this is a very nutritious, warm side dish.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 Thai or jalapeno chile, thinly sliced
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed and slices quartered
1 tablespoon honey
1 handful kale, tough stems and ribs removed, leaves coarsely chopped
In a large skillet, heat oil, chile, and scallion over medium-high heat. Add lemon and honey and cook, stirring, until lemon begins to break down, about 2 minutes. Add kale and cook, stirring, until just wilted, about 3 minutes. Add leeks, season with salt, and cook 1 minute. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Caramelized Onion, Kale, and Chevre Pizza
Here's a basic pizza recipe that is easy and tastes amazing!
1 onion, sliced
several cloves of garlic
1 shallot if you have it, minced
around 10-12 leaves of kale stripped from stalk and chopped into ribbons
1/2 log Chevre (4 oz)
crushed red pepper
Preheat the oven to 425F. Stretch your pizza dough with well floured hands and place on baking sheet, let rest.
Heat a skillet, and add olive oil to coat. Add the onion and cover and simmer first on medium for around 5 minutes. Add youur shallots (if using) and garlic and saute a bit more til these soften but don't brown, and then remove to a plate.
In same skillet, toss in a bit more oil, some water, and the chopped kale and saute the kale til it softens. Steam will help achieve this and might take 5 mins. Then turn off.
Build pizza. Start with a smear of olive oil on the crust. Crumble the chevre between fingers and spread over crust. Then the kale. Next give your pizza a good sprinkling of oregano, crushed red pepper, and a bit of salt.
Bake for 10-15 mins until bottom is nicely baked and top comes together. Remove to a rack, slice and enjoy.
Walnut Parsley Pesto
Think pesto is just a summer staple made with basil? Try this version which is just as green, garlicky, cheesy and nutty. It's great on pasta, with meats, or as a sandwich spread. It would also be awesome spread on a pizza!
1 cup shelled walnuts, about 3 1/2 ounces
2 cups chopped parsley, about 1 bunch
1/2 cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
Put the walnuts, parsley, cheese, garlic, and salt in a food processor and pulse for a few seconds to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then pulse again. Drizzle in the olive oil while the machine is running just long enough to incorporate the oil, about 20-30 seconds.
Use immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to store. Will last several days chilled.