Coconut Curry & Butternut Squash

curry.dish

This past week I put together a few of my produce box vegetables to make a curry dish.  This coconut and curry dish is slightly sweet with a thick sauce made of puréed squash. It made plenty of food – enough for freezing, leftovers, or to feed a large crowd.  I served it with cooked Basmati Rice.

I made it milder for my kids, but amped up my own bowl with a few more spoonfuls of curry paste.  Curry is one of my favorite flavors of all time and I am fairly certain I could put it on just about anything. Curried ice cream, curried cookies, curried bananas…you name it and I will try it with curry.

IMG_8677

Start by cutting 1 medium butternut squash into 4 sections and removing the seeds.  Place the squash sections on a rimmed baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, and bake it at 400° for 35-40 minutes.  This is the easiest method for preparing butternut squash, because after the squash has cooled off, the skin just peels right off.

IMG_8679

Purée the cooked and peeled squash with 1- 13.5 oz. can of coconut milk and 1 cup of water.  I split my pureé into 2 sections, so as to not overflow my Ninja Professional Blender (this is the best blender I have ever owned!)  You may have more or less, depending on the size of the squash, and therefore adjust water as needed.  Place the squash mixture into a slow cooker and turn it on low.

IMG_8681

Peel and cube 2 medium potatoes.  Add to slow cooker. Sauté 1/2 of yellow onion in oil until softened, add to slow cooker. Mix in 2-5 tablespoons Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste (less for milder dish, more for spicier dish).

IMG_8683

Cube 1 block of extra firm tofu.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, spray with oil, and spread out tofu.  Flip to coat in oil.  Bake in oven at 400° for 15- 20 minutes, flipping once.  This helps to dry out and the tofu before adding it to the squash mixture.  For crispier tofu, follow broiling steps, with or without flavoring.  Remove tofu from baking sheet and add to slow cooker.

slow.cooker

Remove seeds and ribbing, and slice 1 medium green bell pepper, add to slow cooker. Stir mixture well, and cook on low, covered, for 6-7 hours or high for 4-5 hours.  I served this with cooked Basmati rice.  As you can see, the recipe creates a very full slow cooker.  You can reduce veggies or tofu amounts, if desired.

IMG_8644

Other things going on in my world – caucusing is coming up. I live in Iowa, so of course the political scene is a big deal right now.  February 1 is the big date and the candidates are still working Iowa hard.  I haven’t caucused since college and am looking forward to being a part of the process again.  We found this hilarious shirt at the downtown Des Moines Raygun shop.

IMG_8659

It’s been cold, so the kids and I have been catching up on our reading.  This is a new family favorite – Star Wars ABC.  My daughter just giggles when I tell her that wookies are my favorite part of Star Wars.  I haven’t seen the newest one yet and have a rule in my classroom that students aren’t allowed to spoil it for me.  I need to get Eric up to speed first, as he is not as much of a Star Wars fan as I am.

 

Coconut Curry & Butternut Squash 

  1. Cut 1 medium butternut squash into 4 sections and remove the seeds.  Place the squash sections on a rimmed baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, and bake it at 400° for 35-40 minutes.  Allow squash to cool and remove skin.
  2. Purée the cooked and peeled squash with 1- 13.5 oz. can of coconut milk and 1 cup of water.  Place the squash mixture into a slow cooker and turn it on to low.
  3. Peel and cube 2 medium potatoes.  Add to slow cooker.
  4. Sauté 1/2 of yellow onion in oil until softened, add to slow cooker.
  5. Mix in 2-5 tablespoons Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste (less for milder dish, more for spicier dish).
  6. Cube 1 block of extra firm tofu.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, spray with oil, and spread out tofu.  Flip to coat in oil.  Bake in oven at 400° for 15- 20 minutes, flipping once.  Remove tofu from baking sheet and add to slow cooker.
  7. Remove seeds and ribbing, and slice 1 medium green bell pepper, add to slow cooker. Stir mixture well, and cook on low, covered, for 6-7 hours or high for 4-5 hours.  Serve with cooked rice of your choice.

Creamy Wild Rice & Parsnip Soup

soupI jump started my New Year’s resolution to eat healthier and signed up for Door to Door Organics back in November. I now have a delivery of fresh, organic produce show up every single week right on my doorstep. It has been the single best healthy decision I have made for our family in the past few years.

Not only is it an incentive to eat healthier, but to cook more creatively.  I now have an entire box of ticking time bombs of expiring produce to jumpstart my creative recipe juices on a daily basis.  I thank my sister-in-law every day for telling me about this great service.  There are multiple options for box contents, sizes, substitutions, delivery dates, and add-ons like meat, dairy, and bread.  If you want to get a discount off of your first box, e-mail or message me for a code!

IMG_8547Anyhow, this soup idea came about from my plethora of produce and this view. Goliath.  Yes, they have started to name winter snow storms in the Midwest.  It had been snowing off and on all day last Monday, we had utilized every room in the house, plus the backyard, front yard, and driveway to try and blow off steam.  So, soup just sounded easy and delicious for dinner that night.  Big bonus – both kids loved this soup!

IMG_8542 I started with my produce and my fancy new vegetable peeler that I got as a Christmas gift (this Zyliss Peeler is my new favorite – it is sharp and cuts with a nice ribbed texture!). As far as my produce selection goes, I absolutely love parsnips – they are far superior to carrots, if you ask me.  Please, please try them if you have not already!

IMG_8543I dug around in my pantry for some grain or pasta choices and settled on some  Minnesota Wild Rice that I picked up during my last trip to Minneapolis.  I just love the texture and taste of wild rice, which is not actually rice as we know it, but a semi-aquatic grass.

simmeringThis simmering concoction of vegetables, broth, and bay leaf was the perfect way to end a snowy day. Scratch that.  Almost perfect way to end a snowy day.  I ended it with a bowl of blueberry pie and homemade whipped cream – my contribution to my husband’s family Christmas dinner this year. I decided to go with something out of the ordinary for this time of year and splurge on blueberries.

Creamy Wild Rice & Parsnip Soup

  1. In a large pot, sauté 1/2 a diced yellow onion, 3 cloves of minced garlic in 3-4 tablespoons heated olive oil until softened.
  2. Add 6 cups of broth (vegetable or chicken) and 1 bay leaf.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
  3. Meanwhile, start a medium saucepan boiling with water.  Add 6 oz of wild rice and bring to a boil.  Reduce and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Peel and slice into 1/2-inch pieces, 4-5 medium parsnips.  Add to broth.
  5. Slice 3 stalks of celery, add to broth.
  6. Drain and rinse wild rice.  Add to broth and vegetable mixture.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Stir well.
  7. Optional: add 2 chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces.  Stir and return to boil.
  8. Simmer on low, covered for 30 minutes.  Remove bay leaf before serving.
  9. To serve, ladle into bowls and add 3-4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream per bowl, more or less depending on preferences or bowl sizes.  Stir and serve with toasted marbled rye bread.