Steamed Kabocha Cake Roll かぼちゃのむしがし

I haven't tried this recipe yet, but it looks delicious! I have kabocha sitting on the counter, this may be one of the ways he meets his fate!

Cut 1 kabocha squash into quarters, scoop out and discard (or plant) seeds. Cut kabocha into chunks. Measure out 12 oz or 350g of raw kabocha to use in this recipe, and save the rest for another recipe.

Steam kabocha chunks in a covered steamer for 15 minutes over medium heat, or until a chopstick or fork can be pushed into the squash easily.

Remove steamed kabocha from heat, cover and rest for 5 minutes.

Peel skin from kabocha. Mash the flesh and push through a seize/mesh strainer, or food process.

In a mixing bowl, combine:
Mashed kabocha
2 TB all purpose flour
1 TB cornstarch
2 tea sugar
1/4 tea salt
1/4 tea ground cinnamon
1.5 TB water
2 egg yolks, beaten

Set up a piece of wet muslin or a clean dishtowel on a maki sushi mat (the bamboo mat for rolling up sushi, called "makisu").

Spread kabocha cake mixture over the muslin and the mat, now roll up and tie up or fold over the muslin ends.

Steam the whole contraption in the steamer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and let set 5 minutes.

Open sushi mat when the cake is cooled. Cut into 1 inch thick slices and serve cold with sliced fruit (pears or persimmons).


Thanksgiving Part 3: Roasted Butternut Squash with Herb Butter Sauce

Roasting Butternut Squash
1. Preheat oven to 400 F and wash the squash. In order to cut the squash, you may need to poke it with a fork and microwave it for 30-40 seconds, just to soften the outside a bit.

2. Slice raw squash into quarters or serving sizes

3. Place squash pieces on a cooking pan. Drizzle cut edges with a little olive oil to prevent burning. You can sprinkle some cracked black pepper on the squash if you'd like.

4. Roast squash pieces in 400 F oven for ___ minutes or until soft.

Hazelnut Herb Butter Sauce
1/5 - 2/3 C hazelnuts
1 TB chopped fresh sage
optional fresh rosemary

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Toast hazelnuts in dry pan, shaking to prevent burning. Turn out toasted hazelnuts and reserve.

Add 1/2 C (one stick) butter to hot pan and cook over medium heat until browned.

Slowly drizzle in cream and stir to combine. Add chopped herbs, salt and pepper to taste. Serve on vegetables or the roasted squash above.

Thanksgiving Part 1: Turkey Brining

I bought a free range, local turkey from Diestel Farms this year- 18.5 lbs!

You will need to buy a "brining bag" to hold the turkey and all the brine liquid. You should also plan to have a roasting pan large enough to hold the bird, but small enough to fit in your fridge.

This brine recipe is for roughly a 20 pound turkey. According to the info I've read, you should plan to leave the turkey in the brine for 12 hours or more- so plan ahead!

1. Bring to a boil in a large pan over high heat:
1 LB kosher salt (must be kosher salt, other salt will ruin turkey)
8 C water
1/2 C sugar

2. Now add and stir:
1/2 C molasses
1/2 C lemon juice
1/3 C maple syrup
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 TB fresh ginger, sliced
1-2 tea fresh ground black pepper

3. Let the brine sit and cool down- you don't want to cook your turkey with the brine mixture.

4. Once the brine is cooled, take the turkey out of the wrapper, and remove the internal organs, etc. Rinse turkey. Carefully place turkey in brining bag- you will probably need a partner to help!

5. Pour the cooled brine into the bag. Now pour additional 4 C water into the bag.

6. Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible. Stick turkey back in fridge until roasting time (should be 12 hours or more in brine).

Thanksgiving 2009: Part 2 - Wild & Brown Rice Risotto

1. Cook 2 cups brown/wild rice mixture either by stovetop or in a rice cooker- use 2.25 C water per cup of long grain brown rice, so 4.5C water for this recipe. Once done cooking, fluff rice and reserve.

2. Prepare 4.5 or 5 cups broth (veggie, mushroom or chicken) by bringing it up to heat in a pan on the back side of the stove.

3. In a large pan (separate from the broth pan), cook the following items in a dab of olive oil or other fat (butter, bacon grease etc.) until onion is turning translucent:
1 -2 white/yellow onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 C chopped celery
1-2 TB minced herbs, like rosemary
(optional sliced mushrooms)

4. Add 1.25 C raw arborio rice to onion/oil mixture and mix to coat rice in oil. Toast rice gently for 2-4 minutes-- rice should be golden but not burned.

5. Pour 1/3 C dry white wine and 1 TB lemon juice into the pan carefully, deglaze pan and stir.

6. Now add 1/2 C of hot broth at a time to the arborio rice. (If you omitted step 2 and used cold broth it will slow down the process too much b/c the rice has to get back up to bubbling temperature). Set a timer for 15 minutes, this should let you know when the rice will be done.

7. Keep adding broth in increments and stirring until rice has absorbed the broth and is cooked, about 15 minutes, or when your timer goes off (step 6).

8. Add to the aroborio rice mixture and stir:
cooked brown/wild rice from step 1

2 TB butter

9. Let rice heat through, add additional broth if necessary to maintain texture, then serve with garnishes:
chopped parsley
lemon zest

Corn Muffins + Bacon = Yum

Made these cornbread/corn muffins with my friend- they include bacon fat in the batter and candied bacon on top, as well as a savory sweet-hot cream cheese "frosting".



Dal Curry (or Potato, Tomato Curry Soup) UPDATED

Tasty soup, and quick with a pressure cooker. I got inspiration from this book, which has a lot of good sauce and spice recipes. The yellow split peas break down into a smooth soup, accentuated by potato and tomato. For us, one jalapeno and one serrano, with seeds included, was just the right spiciness. This is perfect served on a bed of basmati rice.

11/5/2009 UPDATE: after making this recipe for months (original post was 4/2008!), I figured I'd make a few updates to make the recipe more true to how I am making it these days!

In Pressure Cooker:
1/2 C yellow split peas or "channa dal"
2.5 C water or veggie broth
1 potato, peeled & cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 tea cayenne
1/4 tea turmeric, ground
1/4 tea fenugreek seeds (optional)

Get it bubbling, then cover with lid and cook on high pressure for 3-5 minutes. Take off the burner and let it cool down in order to take the lid off. If you cook too long, the split peas get too mushy, so if you are unsure, take off pressure sooner and finish stove-cooking if not yet done.

While that's happening, saute 1 onion, cut into half and then into rings, in olive oil until browned.

Pull onion off heat, and pulse into smooth paste in food processor with:
1 TB grated ginger (microplane tools are my favorite for grating ginger)
2 cloves garlic, finely food processed with the onion
1 jalapeno chile and 1 serrano chile, with seeds, food processed with the above

In hot pan with olive oil, throw into pan and cook until slightly browned or the mustard seeds pop:
1/4 tea mustard seeds
1/2 tea cumin seeds

Now add the onion (and ginger, garlic, chili) mixture and stir. After a couple minutes over medium heat, add & stir for 2 more minutes:
1 tea ground coriander
1/2 tea ground cumin

1/2 tea cinnamon (or more if you like)
1/4 tea nutmeg

Now transfer the spiced onion mix into the cooked split peas/dal and stir. Add:
1-2 tomatoes, cubed
1/2 tea salt

Cook another couple minutes to warm through and soften tomato. Serve with basmati rice, and optional toasted coconut (see below for directions on toasting coconut).

Optional: toast 1/4 C coconut in a nonstick pan (the dirty spice pan works fine) to use as garnish over soup over basmati rice.



It's Fall, and pumpkin is in! Of course you can roast your own pumpkin, but it's usually easier to pick up cans of organic pumpkin puree. Here are a list of fun pumpkin recipes:

Sweet Pumpkin Dip
Pumpkin Quinoa muffins
Silky Pumpkin Coconut Milk Panna cotta (vegan)
Pumpkin pie
Pumpkin Cheesecake

I am also tinkering with other silky smooth pumpkin desserts, like:

Pumpkin Mousse: base is whipped cream or gelatin
Pumpkin Custard: with eggs
Pumpkin Pastry Cream: egg/cream mixture over stovetop to create pastry cream, then add canned organic pumpkin, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice), honey/sugar and salt

Sweet Pumpkin Dip (from New Seasons)

Tasted this at New Seasons Market today, very yummy! This ends up as a dip or sauce that is sweet pumpkin-y flavor .

Blend in large bowl:
4 C powdered sugar
8 oz cream cheese, softened

30 oz canned pumpkin puree (organic is best)
2 tea ground cinnamon
1 tea ground ginger
Optional: nutmeg, cloves, blackstrap molasses, vanilla

Refrigerate and serve with challah bread, vanilla wafer cookies, or anything!