Green Beans and Pancetta with Browned Butter

2 lb. thin green beans or haricots verts, trimmed
4 oz. pancetta
2 shallots, thinly sliced
6 Tbsp. butter
6 oz. peeled and roasted chestnuts, sliced

1. In a 4-quart saucepan cook green beans, covered in boiling water 4-7 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and set aside.
2. In an extra-large skillet, cook pancetta over medium heat until crisp. Drain pancetta on paper towels, reserving the drippings in the skillet.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add shallots to pan and cook for 4 minutes or until golden brown and beginning to crisp, stirring frequently. Using tongs, transfer shallots to a paper-lined plate. Season to taste with salt.
4. Add butter to drippings in skillet. Melt butter over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Continue to cook without stirring, for 4 minutes or until butter becomes light brown and fragrant. Reduce heat to low. Add chestnuts. green beans, and pancetta. Cook 2-4 minutes to heat through, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately topped with shallots.

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.

Butternut Squash Soup

1 (3-pound) butternut squash
Extra-virgin olive oil, for roasting, plus 2 tablespoons
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 shallots, chopped
1 quart low-sodium chicken stock
2 teaspoons curry powder (mild or spicy)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
1. Cut the squash in half through the stem and remove the seeds. Drizzle the cut edges with oil, season with salt and pepper, and put it, cut side down, on a baking sheet. Roast until very soft, about 1 hour. Remove the squash from the oven, turn the halves over and let them stand until cool enough to handle. Scoop the flesh from the shell, into a bowl and discard the shell.
2. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven with a lid, heat the 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the squash flesh, chicken stock, and curry powder and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the squash is broken down, about 10 minutes.
3. Cool the squash mixture for about 5 minutes before adding it to a blender. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth, transferring the puree to a clean saucepan as you work. Season the soup with salt and pepper, to taste, and simmer a few minutes over medium heat to combine the flavors. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and serve immediately.
OPTIONAL: Stir in coconut milk and a little curry paste for additional creamy texture and complex flavor.

Julienned Beet, Broccoli Stem and Carrot Salad

1 raw golden beet, peeled and julienned (you could use a red beet, but it will color the dish)
3 raw broccoli stems, peeled and julienned
2 carrots, julienned
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
1 cup chopped toasted cashews

1 small shallot, minced
1 T lemon juice
2 T maple or honey mustard
2 T brown rice syrup
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine beet, broccoli stems, carrots, chickpeas, raisins, and parsley or cilantro in a large bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, combine dressing ingredients with whisk or handheld blender.
3. Pour dressing over vegetables, toss to combine, top with toasted cashews and serve.
Serves 6