Tagged: Butternut Squash


In the Kitchen :: Giving Thanks

The countdown to Thanksgiving is on...48 hours and going quickly.  If you're still stuck on what to pair with the turkey and stuffing, here's a few ideas to get you going.

This starter has become a go-to staple in my family...and with a few friends families as well.  It's one of my all-time favorites for fall.  Butternut Squash Bruschetta with Pine Nuts & Sour Cherries.  I'm thinking of changing things up a little this year and doing a riff off my mom's infamous chicken liver pate (chopped liver's basically a must at any holiday in my family).  Just a little indulgence to kickoff the holiday.  Chicken liver crostini with pickled shallots and sliced apples

 A bright and seasonal salad and a flavorful vegetable side or two brings wholesome balance to the table...color's never a bad thing on your plate.  Pear & Pomegranate Fall Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette.  Simple Pear & Pecorino Salad.  Balsamic Roasted Pumpkin with Crispy Shallots & Goat Cheese.  I'll likely be whipping up some sort of Brussels sprout dish like this one (my newest obsession featured on Levo League) or my faii-proof roasted Brussels sprouts with balsamic reduction and toasted pecans. 

And seeing that Thanksgiving is the holiday that hinges around a day of grandiose eating, even with my healthful angle, dessert is absolutely on the menu.  Autumn Apple Tart with Spiced Caramel Sauce.  Pear-Caramel Tart with Almond Crust.  

Whatever you end up making, here's to a warm and relaxed holiday filled with family, friends and delicious fresh food.


Images via :: Nourish & Pinterest

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Winter's Warmth :: Le Soup

So what do you get when...you've been daydreaming about a friend's trip to Morocco (see here & here) + a chilly February afternoon + a random assortment of leftover root veggies, winter squashes & herbs in your fridge?  A wildly coloful and flavorful SOUP!  After taking stock of my fridge and spice arsenal, I went to work on this rich, hearty soup that's not exactly Moroccan, and not exactly South Asian.  I wouldn't go as far as calling it the bastard soup child of both cuisines, I think the love soup child is a kinder, more appropriate reference.  Regardless, the flavors whirl themselves together wonderfully, leaving you happily slurping an steamy bowl of aromatic goodness.  I'll be slurping away while dreaming of faraway places and the food, people and culture that make them so beautiful. 

Butternut Squash, Carrot and Red Lentil Soup :: with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds and Lemon-Garlic Compote

Serves :: 8 to 10


1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
4 carrots, chopped
2 to 3 parsnips, chopped
3 to 4 shallots, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground (or 1 tsp ground cumin)
1 teaspoon harissa powder (or a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon brown sugar
good pinch of Aleppo pepper
3 bay leaves
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup of red lentils
salt to taste

lemon-garlic compote:

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

3 small garlic cloves, sliced paper thin

4 lemons, peeled and supremed, pulp roughly chopped

pinch of salt


additional garnish:

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted

1/2 cup cilantro


In a large stockpot, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add vegetables, shallots and garlic and saute for 8 to 10 minutes. 
Add in spices, brown sugar, bay leaves, broth, water, coconut milk and lentils.  Increase heat to medium-high, stir well and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes.  Discard the bay leaves and puree soup in batches in a blender until smooth.

For lemon-garlic compote, saute garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat until garlic is crispy and slight burned.  Add in chopped lemon and salt, saute for 30 seconds and remove from heat. 

Garnish soup with cilantro, toasted pumpkin seeds and lemon-garlic compote. 


Photos by Nourish

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Fall Cookbook Series :: Jerusalem

If you know me, or have been reading this blog for a while, you have most likely heard me fawn over Yotam Ottolenghi and his culinary empire of London takeaway shops aptly named Ottolenghi, his three cookbooks, his newest restaurant Nopi and most of all, his beautifully inspiring recipes.  Somehow I knew nothing about Ottolenghi until a visit to London nearly 4 years ago, and a completely chance encounter with his adorable jewelbox of a shop in Notting Hill, the first Ottolenghi location, there are currently 4.  I spotted the shop from across the street and made a mad dash.  And then walked inside and nearly had a heart attack.  It was almost as though my vision of food and philosophy around eating had spawned into a brick and mortar shop, with a distinctly Middle Eastern accent.  Ottolenghi places a huge amount of emphasis around vegetables in his cooking and at his shops...and it pays off.  His cookbook Plenty is devoted to veg and was a massive best-seller.  And thus we come to Jerusalem, the newest book from Ottolenghi and his business partner and childhood friend, Sami Tamimi.  Shocker, it's a doozy.  The two grew up together in Jerusalem, one on the west and one on the east, Jewish and Arab sides respectively.    The book weaves in the wonderful mixture of countless cultures and historical events that have influenced the city's cuisine for centuries.  When you can connect a story or meaning behind a dish, that's when magic happens around the table and that's when barriers can be broken.  I love all the snippets of childhood memories and mini history lessons sprinkled over the pages of Jerusalem, amongst 120 approachable recipes - both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, but all oh so enticing.  

A few of my favorites that I'll definitely be testing out...

Chermoula eggplant with bulgur and yogurt

Saffron rice with barberries, pistachio and mixed herbs

Watercress and chickpea soup with rose water and ras el hanout

Stuffed eggplant with lamb and pine nuts

...and cardamom rice pudding with rose water and pistachios - for my dad who loves rice pudding

To give you a sneak peek at just one of the incredible recipes in the book, below is Ottolenghi and Tamimi's recipe for roasted butternut squash and red onion with tahini and za'atar. 

kofta b’siniyah

spice cookies

Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion :: with Tahini and Za'atar

Serves :: 4


1 large butternut squash, cut into ¾ by 2 ½ inch wedges
2 red onions, cut into 1 ¼ inch wedges
3 ½ tbsp olive oil
3 ½ tbsp light tahini paste
1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp water
1 small clove garlic, crushed
3 ½ tbsp pine nuts
1 tbsp za’atar*
1 tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

*za'atar is a Middle Eastern spice mix and can be found online or in many specialty markets. 


Preheat the oven to 475F. 
Put the squash and onion in a large mixing bowl, add 3 tablespoons of the oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and some black pepper and toss well. 
Spread on a baking sheet with the skin facing down and roast in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the vegetables have taken on some color and are cooked through.  Keep an eye on the onions as they might cook faster than the squash and need to be removed earlier.  Remove from oven and leave to cool.
To make the sauce, place the tahini in a small bowl along with the lemon juice, water, garlic and ¼ teaspoon salt.  Whisk until the sauce is the consistency of honey, adding more water or tahini if necessary. 
Pour the remaining 1 ½ teaspoons oil into a small frying pan and place over medium-low heat.  Add the pine nuts along with ½ teaspoon salt and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, until the nuts are golden brown.  Remove from the heat and transfer the nuts and oil to a small bowl to stop the cooking.
To serve, spread the vegetables out on a large serving platter and drizzle over the tahini. Sprinkle the pine nuts and their oil on top, followed by the za’atar and parsley.

Images via Jerusalem by Jonathan Lovekin and via Telegraph.co.uk

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