Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My fall dance includes squash curry

Welcome back readers, I'm sorry it has been so long since we've seen each other.

Life is crazy here in my new little brown house with my new big orange cat. School is back with a vengeance, I've taken up a new hobby and there's always something fun to do, especially when your friends are just around the corner.

About that hobby, it's gardening. I've spent long, very long days digging out a pretty large garden by hand and making many a trip to Lowe's. I can now say that I'm a proud owner of a wheel barrow, I have a stocked shed of gardening tools and have purchased at least one bag of most varieties of organic fertilizer, soil and manure. I'll start posting pictures as the garden grows, but at this point I'm waiting for seeds to germinate and I don't want to jinx anything.



Back to the food.

This week, because the farmers market has been treating me so well and for a couple days it actually seemed like fall might be on its way here, I decided to make a vegetarian squash curry. I was so inspired by this incredibly gorgeous (and large) green Hubbard squash grown by my favorite Cedar Grove Farm.

Now let's talk about dancing, or eating in this case, to bring on fall. This dish is the perfect blend of wintery spices with a bright orange and yellow color palette to honor the summer days. The winter squash and sweet potato say a brief hello/goodbye to summer's bell peppers, grape tomatoes and basil in this visually delightful meal. Surely fall will stop by for a taste.



Vegetarian Squash Curry
  • 1 gorgeous local winter squash, preferably orange on the inside [Actually I probably used to much squash, so maybe go for only half a large squash. But I also have enjoyed yummy leftovers for quite a while]
  • 1/2 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed into roughly 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3-4 medium carrots, cut into thick slices
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, locally grown if possible. In face those really neat multi-colored ones would probably look lovely in this recipe
  • 1/2 can chick peas, drained
  • 1 orange's zest
CURRY SAUCE A.K.A. The Best Part
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 tsp Thai chili sauce
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Juice of one large lime
  • Juice of one medium-large orange
  • 2 1/2 - 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. rice wine
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin,1 tsp. fennel seed, 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp. red curry paste, optional
  • 1/3 purple onion, sliced
GARNISH: handful of fresh basil leaves leftover from sweet summer

 

Preparation:

I like to start by cutting everything up, mostly because I am slow and I never remember to go get my knives sharpened. This made for an amusing time hacking at this incredibly immense and hard-skinned squash. I think next time I might try route of roasting the squash and sweet potato in the oven and gently scooping them from their skins instead.

  1. Prepare squash by cutting it open and scooping out the seeds with a spoon. Either save the seeds for roasting or discard. Cut the squash into roughly 1/2 inch cubes, slicing off the skin. Prepare the rest of the vegetables plus the orange zest.
  2. To make the curry sauce, place all sauce ingredients together in a food processor (or blender if your food processor is always mysteriously missing a piece that makes it go). Process well. The sauce may only taste so so at this point, but as I discovered, it's the cooking that makes it simply divine.
  3. Place the squash, yam and carrots in the wok (ideally, but you could use a very large frying pan) together with the curry sauce over medium-high heat. Stir well.
  4. When the curry begins to boil, reduce heat to medium, stirring occasionally. Allow to simmer for 6-20 minutes, or until vegetables have softened. Ha. I didn't cube my squash and sweet potato small enough, so it took mine a while to cook. This is why I suggest 1/2 inch cubes.
  5. Add the bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, chick peas, and orange zest, stirring to incorporate. Simmer for 2ish more minutes.
  6. Do a taste test for salt and spice. If not salty enough, add a little more soy sauce. If not spicy enough add more chili sauce. If too sour, add a little more sugar.
  7. Serve in a bowl with a few fresh basil leaves on top and make a toast to fall.

A great thing also about this recipe and making a whole lot of it is that tonight I pureed the remainder with a bit of stock and had some yummy soup with even more of that amazing curry sauce flavor.

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