Roasted Kabocha Squash and Creminis with Fresh Herbs

2 small or 1 large kabocha squash (you could use buttercup or red kuri as well)
2 leeks, sliced lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch strips
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1-pound cremini mushrooms, wiped clean
1 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp. minced fresh sage

1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Wash squash well, cut in half and remove seeds. Chop into bite sized pieces (leaving skin on) and toss in a large bowl with leeks. Add vinegar, oil and salt.
3. Spread onto cookie sheet and roast 10 minutes. Remove from oven, add mushrooms and continue roasting another 10 minutes.
4. Sprinkle with rosemary and sage and roast a final 10 minutes (a total of 30 minutes). Remove from oven and serve.

Winter Vegetable Chowder

The Milk–2 cups milk, preferably whole
3 large parsley branches
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 onion, sliced
10 peppercorns, lightly crushed
5 juniper berries, lightly crushed

The Soup–
2 Tablespoons butter
2 large leeks, white parts plus an inch of the greens, chopped
4 cups chopped winter vegetables–turnips, carrots, celery or celery root, rutabagas, a little parsnip
3 boiling potatoes, about 12 ounces, peeled and diced
2 small bay leaves
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
salt and freshly milled pepper
2 Tablespoons flour
4 to 6 large slices sourdough or country-style bread, toasted
grated Gruyere or Parmesan cheese
chopped parsley, tarragon, or lovage

1. Put everything for the milk in a saucepan, bring it to a boil, then turn off the heat. Cover and set aside while you prepare the vegetables.
2. Melt the butter in a soup pot over low heat.
3. Add the vegetables, bay leaves, parsley, and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Stir in the flour and add 5 cups water; bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.
5. Pour the milk through a strainer right into the soup. Taste for salt and season with pepper.
To serve, lay a piece of toast in each bowl, cover it with grated cheese, ladle the soup on top, and sprinkle with parsley.
Serves 4 to 6

Thai Tofu & Winter Squash Stew

2-3 leeks sliced
2 tbls peanut oil
2 cloves garlic
2 serrano chilis (optional)
mince
1 tbls finely chopped ginger
1 tbls curry powder
1 tbls green curry paste
1 tbls light brown sugar
3 tbls soy sauce
1 15 oz can coconut milk
1 ½ pounds delicata squash-cubed, (you do not have to peel it!)
salt to taste
1 10 oz cube of firm tofu
juice of one lime
1/3 cup toasted peanuts
¼ cup chopped cilantro

Chop all veggies and ginger ahead of time.
Heat oil in the soup pot.
Add leeks and sauté about 3 minutes
Add garlic, chilies, and ginger Cook 1 minute more.
Add curry powder curry paste, sugar, and soy sauce. Stir well, scraping the pot.
Add 3 cups water or chicken stock, coconut milk, squash, salt.
Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer covered for 15 minutes until squash is tender.
Taste for salt and add lime juice.
Sauté the tofu in peanut oil until browned.
Serve soup over basmati or jasmine rice with tofu, cilantro, and nuts sprinkled on top.
VARIATIONS: You can add all sorts of additional veggies to this. Carrots, mushrooms, and red peppers are especially good.

Potato Leek Soup

2-3 leeks, cleaned and chopped
2 lbs. Yellow Finn potatoes, cubed
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons butter
milk
1 teaspoon salt

1. Sauté leeks and garlic in melted butter until leeks are translucent.
2. Add cubed potatoes, salt, and enough water to just cover veggies.
3. Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are soft.
4. Puree soup in a food processor and return to the pot. Add enough milk to get to the
consistency you like and add more salt if necessary.
5. Gently warm the soup, but do not boil.

Variations: You can use just about any type of potato. I often add carrots for extra nutrients and sweetness. You could probably tuck a turnip in there and no one would be the wiser! Finally, I use an one of those hand-held “stick in the pot” blenders, which saves on dishes and reduced the risk of splashing hot soup on yourself.
Serve with a crusty French type bread.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

2 TBLS butter
½ cup minced shallots or 1 & 1/3rd cup leeks-cleaned and chopped small
1 Tbls flour
2 cups chicken stock or veggie stock
¾ pound broccoli
¼ cup heavy cream
¾ tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat butter in large saucepan over low heat until foaming. Add shallots or leeks and cook covered until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add flour and stir constantly for about 30 seconds.
Slowly add the chicken stock, stirring as you go.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes
Broccoli prep:  Separate florets from stalks and break up florets into smaller pieces. Peel the stalks and chop into small chunks.
In a food processor separately process stalks and florets with quick pulses so the pieces are like the size of peas. Do not puree into mush! Preparing the broccoli this way allows it to cook quickly and evenly, thus avoiding an over-cooked sumptuous smell and taste.
Add broccoli to the simmering stock. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer uncovered until broccoli is tender.
Puree soup in a blender or food processor until smooth.
Transfer soup back to pot and stir in the cream. If the soup is too thick, add hot water or milk to achieve the desired texture.
Warm soup over low heat until warmed through. Add lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

Thai Tofu & Winter Squash Stew

2-3 leeks sliced
2 T peanut oil
2 cloves garlic
2 serrano chilis (optional
minced
1 T finely chopped ginger
1 T curry powder
1 T green curry paste
1 T light brown sugar
3 T soy sauce
1 15 oz can coconut milk
1 ½ pounds delicata squash-cubed, (you do not have to peel it!)
salt to taste
1 10 oz cube of firm tofu
juice of one lime
1/3 cup toasted peanuts
¼ cup chopped cilantro

Chop all veggies and ginger ahead of time.
Heat oil in the soup pot.
Add leeks and sauté about 3 minutes
Add garlic, chilies, and ginger Cook 1 minute more.
Add curry powder curry paste, sugar, and soy sauce. Stir well, scraping the pot.
Add 3 cups water or chicken stock, coconut milk, squash, salt.
Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer covered for 15 minutes until squash is tender.
Taste for salt and add lime juice.
Sauté the tofu in peanut oil until browned.
Serve soup over basmati or jasmine rice with tofu, cilantro, and nuts sprinkled on top.

VARIATIONS: You can add all sorts of additional veggies to this. Carrots, mushrooms, and red peppers are especially good.

Meatloaf with Lots of Hidden Veggies

Though I despised meatloaf as a child I love it now, especially in the late fall and winter when I crave filling comfort foods. This recipe calls for pureeing a whole host of vegetables and adding it to the meat. This is perfect for kids or others who claim to hate _______ (fill in the blank)! I vary the veggie contents based on what I have on hand. This recipe is pretty forgiving so feel free to modify. Serve with mashed potatoes and a big salad. Then enjoy cold leftovers for lunch during the week.

INGREDIENTS:
2 lbs. ground beef (you can use a mix of pork, cow, bison, whatever….)
2 slices bacon (Optional)
1 onion or leek –chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 large carrot-chopped
1 potato-chopped
½ stalk celery chopped
½ green pepper
½ cup tomato sauce or catsup
1 tsp paprika
1-2 tsp dried herbs (thyme, marjoram, savory, basil-choose what you like_
¼ cup minced parsley
1 cup fine bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste.
1 egg

PROCEDURE:
-Put meat into a large mixing bowl.
-Puree all the veggies and bacon if using. Add to meat.
-Add the egg, breadcrumbs, and herbs and mix altogether.
-Press into 2 bread pans and bake at 375 for about an hour. Cooking time varies with how many of what vegetables you add. When the edges start pulling away from the side of the pan and top is a bit brown, it is probably done, but check for pinkness in the middle or insert meat thermometer and follow the recommendation for the type of meat you are using.

Eggrolls

 

You can play with this recipe quite a bit, adding and subtracting what you like. I did not list precise measurements, since the amount you make will depend on how many you are feeding.

Ingredients:
green cabbage-shredded
carrots-grated
fresh ginger-grated
garlic-minced
onion or leek-finely chopped
tamari
canola oil for deep frying
eggroll wrappers

Procedure:
1. Sauté all the veggies and add tamari to taste.
2. Wrap a spoonful of mixture securely in and eggroll wrapper.
3. Fry in enough very hot oil to submerge the eggroll. You may need to flip them over.
4. Lay on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
5. Serve with peanut sauce or sweet and sour dipping sauce.

Helpful hint: The hotter the oil, the less your eggroll will absorb.

Butternut Squash Gratin

 

Ingredients:
2 leeks, chopped
3-5 TBS olive oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried sage
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 butternut squash
1/4 lb Gruyere cheese, grated

Procedure:
1. Prepare squash by cutting in half lengthwise, scooping out seeds, and cutting into thick half-circles. Heat some of the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the squash in batches until brown on both sides.
2. Sauté the leeks, garlic, and herbs until leeks are soft. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Spread a thin layer of the tomato sauce over the bottom of a pyrex baking dish, then a layer of squash, then a dusting of the grated Gruyere. Repeat these layers until all the squash is used.
4. Bake at 350 until the sauce bubble up through the squash and the cheese on top is browned.