Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash


yield: 4 –5 SERVINGS
prep time:10 MINS
cook time:30 MINS
total time:40 MINS

Easy Maple Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash. Cubes of butternut squash tossed with maple syrup, cinnamon, and rosemary, roasted to caramelized perfection.

Ingredients

  •  1 large butternut squash — about 3 pounds, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  •  1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  •  1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  •  1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt — no not table salt, or the recipe will be too salty (or reduce the amount and add a bit at the end as needed)
  •  3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •  1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  •  1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

Instructions

  1. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Generously coat two baking sheets with nonstick spray.
  2. Place the squash cubes in a large bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and maple syrup, then sprinkle the salt, cinnamon, and pepper over the top. Toss to coat, then divide between the two baking sheets, discarding any excess liquid with that collects at the bottom of the bowl. Spread the cubes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets, taking care that they do not overlap.
  3. Place the pans in the upper and lower thirds of your oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven, turn the cubes with a spatula, then return to the oven, switching the pans’ positions on the upper and lower racks. Continue baking until the squash is tender, about 10 to 15 additional minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the rosemary over the top. Serve warm.

Egg Plant Parmesan

The first step in making eggplant Parmigiana is to purchase the eggplants.  I usually try to select male fruits because they have fewer seeds, so check a few and look for the round bellybutton where the flower was attached, also because many grocery store are staffed by folks the do not care about how they handle the produce look for eggplant with out soft spots.  You should know your store and be able to find the best product. Simple, right? Not always. Some are harder to tell than others. If you fish around in the bin, comparing as you check out different bellybuttons, you’ll find it easier to make a final decision, just as I did when making my choice

The female is on the left (slit) and the male (round) on the right

Note: To salt or not to salt prior to cooking? Sprinkling salt over eggplant slices before cooking them draws out the vegetable’s moisture. It’s a process known as “degorging”.

Larger, older eggplants have brown seeds that contain a bitter liquid. Salting eggplants removes some of this liquid and improves their flavor. In general, it’s not necessary to salt smaller eggplants since they have fewer seeds than larger eggplants.

I like the taste of eggplant and prefer to fry the eggplant lightly for that reason.  I do not use breadcrumbs, I simply dip in season flour and then egg wash; eggs beaten with a little water and then fry.

Seasoned flour for dipping and egg wash

I salted the eggplant for this version because there were some brown seeds.

I like to fry my eggplant is a fryer, (375-degrees) it takes a bit longer, however, it uses less oil because the temperature is easier to control, however it you do not have an electric fryer it can be done in a pot with a frying thermometer or simply in a sauce pan.

Assembly is easy, a bit of sauce in the bottom of a pan, a later of eggplant slightly overlapping, with a layer of mozzarella cheese and your favorite marinara sauce.  I suggest that you do not use pre-shredded cheese. It’s a tempting shortcut: spend a few more dollars for a bag of shredded cheese and save time—and potentially skinned knuckles—by not having to grate the cheese yourself. I usually prefer to shred my own mozzarella for pizza, pasta bakes, etc., since most pre-shredded cheese contains anti-caking agents like cellulose powder (miniscule pieces of plant fiber) that can make the cheese stiff and dry.

Bake at 350-degrees for about 30 minutes, I like to make a day ahead and re-heat because I thing the flavor meld better.

 

It’s been awhile

Well I’m back, I have been busy moving, renovating our Rivah house and traveling. We spent a about a month in Cambodia and Vietnam so I wanted to post a few recipes for my readers.  While there I took a cooking class and a street market tour to familiarize myself with the local ingredients.  You can find more about some of the local fruits at this post on our travel blog.

Sloppy Joe

THE BEST HOMEMADE SLOPPY JOES

6 SERVINGS 

prep time 5 MIN

Cook time 20 MINS 

total time 25 MINS 

Step away from the canned sauce and give these homemade sloppy joes a try! They’re truly the best version of a childhood favorite!INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/3 green bell pepper, minced
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 3/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • dash of hot sauce (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat butter and oil in large skillet over MED/MED-HIGH heat.  Add beef and brown, breaking apart into crumbles as it cooks, about 5 minutes.  Drain.
  2. Add onion and bell pepper to same skillet and cook 2-3 minutes, until soft.  Add garlic and cook 30 seconds or so, until fragrant.  Add beef back to the skillet and add tomato paste.  Stir well.
  3. Add ketchup, water, brown sugar, mustard, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, salt, red pepper flakes (if using), and black pepper.  Stir well to combine.
  4. Cook over MED heat for 10-15 minutes, until mixture has thickened to your liking.  Remove from heat and serve over toasted buns.

MARINARA SAUCE

  • 1(6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 4(28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 12cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 14cup fresh basil
  • salt
  • 1 -2 teaspoon sugar as needed
  • ONION MIXTURE
  • 2 TBLS olive oil (3 onions, chopped fine)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

For the onion mixture: Heat oil in oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook onions until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

For the marinara: Add tomato paste to  onion mixture in pot and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add wine and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in water and tomatoes and simmer over low heat until sauce is no longer watery, 45 to 60 minutes. Stir in cheese and basil and adjust seasonings with salt and sugar.

Green Lentils with Sweet Curry

Green French Lentils

4 servings

1 cup dry green lentils
3 cups of chicken stock
1 tsp sweet curry

Simmer lentils in a saucepan covered until all of the liquid is absorbed into the lentils. This should take between 15-20 minutes, about ½ way through add the curry.  Just before serving add salt to taste, in this recipe I used Himalayan pink salt.

Can be halved.

Cornbread Muffins for 2

Ingredients

IMG_1967
1/4 c. cornmeal
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 Teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-½ oz vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 Tablespoons. honey
1 egg, beaten or ¼ cup liquid whole eggs
5 oz whole milk

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 4 large Muffin Cups.
In a large mixing bowl, stir the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Pour in the vegetable oil, melted butter, honey, beaten eggs, and milk, and stir just until moistened.
Pour the batter into the greased baking muffin cups and bake in 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes. Watch the cornbread towards the end, you want it to be turning golden and starting to show some cracks.
Remove from oven, serve warm with butter or honey or simply plain. It’s amazing!

 

COCONUT TRES LECHES

Courtesy of Pastry Chef Christina Lee
Recette – New York City, N.Y., USA

Yield: 16 servings17501D1

Butter, soft 28 g
Coconut oil 85 g
Sugar 225 g
Eggs 5 each
Vanilla extract 1 TBS
Salt 1/2 tsp
Pastry flour 195 g
Baking powder 1 tsp
Coconut flakes 1/2 C
Condensed milk 14 Oz
Evaporated milk 12 Oz
Coconut milk 16 Oz
Basil seeds, bloomed in 1 C cold water 2 TBS
Jalapeño, brunoise 1 each
Pineapple sorbet as needed

Instructions:
1. Combine butter and coconut oil in a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together and then add sugar and cream until light and fluffy.
2. Turn mixer to a lower speed and add eggs, 1 at a time, until fully combined, then add vanilla and salt.
3. Sift together pastry flour and baking powder and set aside.
4. Add coconut flakes to egg mixture and fold in flour mixture just until combined.
5. Pipe batter into individual 2.5-ounce silicon molds coated in cooking spray and bake in a preheated 350-degree F oven until centers spring back and cakes are light golden brown on top, about 16-minutes. Cool before unmolding cakes.
6. Whisk together condensed milk, evaporated milk and coconut milk and then divide milk sauce in half.
7. Combine half of milk sauce with bloomed basil seeds and jalapeños and set aside.
8. Soak cakes in remaining milk sauce for at least 20 minutes. Remove cakes from sauce and serve at room temperature or slightly warm with pineapple sorbet and basil seed-jalapeño sauce.

For the Sorbet:

Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar
1 pineapple, cored, trimmed, reserving 6 large wedges for garnish, puréed in a blender, and forced through a fine sieve (3 cups strained purée)
1 1/2 cups well-chilled milk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
fresh mint sprigs for garnish if desired

Preparation

In a small saucepan combine the sugar and 1/2 cup water, bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer it for 5 minutes, or until it is reduced to 1/2 cup. Let the sugar syrup cool completely. In a bowl whisk together the pineapple purée, the sugar syrup, the milk, the lemon juice, and pinch of salt. Chill the mixture until it is cold and freeze it in an ice-cream freezer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Serve the sherbet in scoops on dessert plates with Coconut Tres Leches above