Squash Coconut Curry to the Third Power

Multi-Squash Coconut Curry

This curry tastes fantastic, but its texture makes it really unique. The curry contains three types of squash that I would never normally put together- butternut squash, zucchini, and…cucumber! I know it sounds crazy to eat cucumber in a hot dish, but once the cucumber warms up and cooks down, it’s nearly unrecognizable. It transforms into a melty binder that holds the rest of the vegetables together, making them easy to scoop up with a piece of naan. You’ll want to cook more cucumber after this. And because this curry brings together summer and winter produce, it’s the perfect transitional meal to keep you warm as the days grow cooler.

Multi-Squash Coconut Curry

To make it, begin by cutting 1 pound of butternut squash into 1-inch cubes. Then, cut an equal volume amount of yukon gold potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Because butternut squash tends to be heavier than potatoes, you’ll probably need about 3/4 of a pound of potatoes.

Multi-Squash Coconut Curry

In at least a 6 quart pot, melt 3 tablespoons of ghee. Ghee is clarified butter (buy ghee, make it by melting butter and scooping out the milk solids, or just use regular butter). Then, add in 6 cardamom pods, 6 cloves, 2 bay leaves, 1 halved cinnamon stick, and 2 halved serrano chiles. I used 2 jalapeños because I didn’t feel like schlepping to Whole Foods to buy 20 cents worth of serranos.

Multi-Squash Coconut Curry

Once the spices become fragrant, add in the butternut squash and potatoes. Stir them occasionally over medium-high heat, letting them cook for 8-10 minutes until they pick up some color and begin to soften.

Multi-Squash Coconut Curry

While the first round of vegetables cook, cut 2 medium-sized zucchini and 1 English cucumber into 1-inch pieces.

Multi-Squash Coconut Curry

Once the squash and potatoes are softened, add the zucchini and cucumber into the pot, along with 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir them around, and allow them to cook for 4-6 minutes until they begin to soften as well. Then, cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium, and allow the vegetables to cook for about 15 minutes until they are very tender and easily pierced with a fork.

Multi-Squash Coconut Curry

Then, remove the lid from the pot, and add in 1 tablespoon of additional ghee, 1/2 cup of grated fresh coconut, and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Stir everything together, taste, and season with additional salt as needed. Serve the vegetables with crisped naan for scooping. To make a non-vegetarian meal, add some large shrimp into the covered pot about 5 minutes before the vegetables are done cooking. Once the shrimp are cooked, you can remove them, proceed with the recipe, and then add them atop the vegetables before serving.

This recipe is adapted from Saveur magazine.

Shopping list:

  • Ghee- 4 tablespoons
  • Butternut squash- 1 pound
  • Yukon gold potatoes- ~3/4 pound
  • Cardamom pods- 6
  • Whole cloves- 6
  • Serrano chilis- 2
  • Cinnamon- 1 stick
  • Bay leaves- 2
  • Zucchini- 2, medium
  • English cucumber- 1
  • Grated fresh coconut- 1/2 cup
  • Sugar- 1 teaspoon
  • Salt
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Cauliflower Steaks with Black Garlic, Almonds & Thyme

Cauliflower Steaks with Black Garlic, Almonds, and Thyme

I’m a few years late to the cauliflower steak party, but in this case, it really is better late than never. Cauliflower steaks are AMAZING! I bought a huge head of beautiful cauliflower when we went apple picking, and I knew that it was too pretty to break up into florets. And, so, these steaks were born. They don’t taste like typical cauliflower at all, instead, they take on a slightly smoky, savory taste– somewhat meat-like, we must admit. Dressed with tangy black garlic, nutty almonds, and bright thyme, the cauliflower is the star of any meal.

Cauliflower Steaks with Black Garlic, Almonds, and Thyme

To make it, get a head of cauliflower, pull off its leaves, and trim its stem. Then, turn the cauliflower upside-down so that the stem is facing up. Cut down either side of the stem so that you have a center cross-section of the cauliflower. The florets on either side will fall off, and you can save them for another use. Depending on the size of your cauliflower, you might be able to cut the cross-section in half so that you end up with two 1-inch steaks.

Preheat your oven to 400º F. Then, heat some oil in a large, oven-proof skillet, and sear your cauliflower steaks on both sides until they pick up good color. If you don’t have a skillet large enough to fit both of the steaks, you can sear them individually and then transfer them to a baking sheet.

Cauliflower Steaks with Black Garlic, Almonds, and Thyme

Once the cauliflower is browned, sprinkle each half with salt. Then, spread on some black garlic and sprinkle over sliced almonds. I filled in the rest of the skillet with some of the extra florets, but that’s optional. Bake the cauliflower for approximately 20 minutes until it is tender and can easily be pierced with a knife. When the cauliflower is done and still hot, sprinkle over some fresh thyme leaves.

Cauliflower Steaks with Black Garlic, Almonds, and Thyme

Black garlic is nothing like fresh garlic. It is fermented, so it is tangy and savory but doesn’t have the sharpness or spiciness of fresh garlic. The garlic flavor is much more subtle. The tanginess works so well with this cauliflower that I urge you not to skip it. It perfectly balances the cauliflower’s deep meatiness. Because this cauliflower was the star of our plates, I recommend serving it as a vegetarian main course rather than trying to find a protein that can match it.

Shopping list:

  • Cauliflower- 1 large head
  • Oil
  • Salt
  • Black garlic- 1 clove per steak
  • Sliced almonds- 1/4 cup
  • Fresh thyme
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Dutch Apple Cider Pancake

Dutch Apple Cider Pancake

With 35 pounds of apples sitting in the refrigerator, apples must be eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Starting the day with this apple pancake is wonderful because it’s delicious, impressive looking, and I’ve engineered the cooking process to be as efficient as possible. The extra-large pancake is baked in a skillet, which makes the simple batter puffy, rumpled, crispy around the edges, and golden brown. The pancake encases meltingly soft apples, and the whole thing is drizzled with a tangy apple cider reduction that makes its flavors pop. This pancake also eases the transition into waking hours because it looks like a warm, cozy comforter…that I can eat.

Dutch Apple Cider Pancake

One pancake can serve between two and four people depending on what other breakfast items you will serve. To make it, warm a 10-inch, oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add in 4 tablespoons of butter. While the butter melts, halve and core 1 apple. Cut the apple halves into 1/4-inch thick slices. Add the apples to the skillet in a single layer. Then, preheat your oven to 400º F. While the oven heats, let the apples cook undisturbed. They will soften and the butter will brown.

Dutch Apple Cider Pancake

Meanwhile, prepare the pancake batter. In a bowl, whisk together 2 eggs, and then whisk in 1/2 cup of milk. To the bowl, add 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 pinch of salt, and 1/2 cup of flour. Whisk the batter together until it is combined, but it’s ok if some small lumps of flour remain.

Dutch Apple Cider Pancake

Once the oven is heated and the apples are soft, remove the skillet from the heat, and pour in the pancake batter. Stir it so that the melted butter gets mixed in. Push the apples into a single layer, and then transfer the skillet to the oven. Let it bake for 25 minutes until the pancake is puffed, rumpled, and golden brown.

Dutch Apple Cider Pancake

While the pancake bakes, spread 1/3 cup of sliced almonds on a baking sheet, and let them toast in the oven for about 5 minutes until they are aromatic. Meanwhile, add 1 cup of apple cider to a small pot, and bring it to a boil on the stove. Let the cider cook down until it has reduced to about 1/3 cup. The cider should be tangy and irresistible.

Dutch Apple Cider Pancake

When the pancake is done, remove it from the oven, and drizzle over the apple cider reduction. The tanginess is very important, so if you don’t have apple cider or don’t feel like making a reduction, you can squeeze over some lemon juice (either alone or in addition to unreduced apple cider). Then, scatter over the toasted almond slices and sift over about 1 teaspoon of powdered sugar. Serve the pancake immediately, and enjoy!

This recipe is adapted from Williams-Sonoma and Smitten Kitchen.

Shopping list:

  • Apple- 1
  • Butter- 4 tablespoons
  • Eggs- 2
  • Milk- 1/2 cup
  • Flour- 1/2 cup
  • Cinnamon- 1 teaspoon
  • Sugar- 1 tablespoon
  • Salt
  • Apple cider- 1 cup (and/or a lemon)
  • Sliced almonds- 1/3 cup
  • Powdered sugar- 1 teaspoon
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