Middle East

roasted butternut squash with tahini yogurt sauce

I love tahini. Tahini is to sesame seeds as peanut butter is to peanuts. It is the second ingredient in good hummus after garbanzo beans. In fact, this sauce is like really good, authentic hummus with yogurt instead of garbanzo beans. Tahini yogurt sauce is very simple and flavorful; creamy, salty, lemony.  In this recipe, I roasted a whole butternut squash then topped it with this sauce.  It’s a delicious and pretty side dish or a wonderful vegetarian meal on its own. Plenty of fiber and protein!

roasted butternut squash with tahini yogurt sauce

serves 2

ingredients:

1 small butternut squash

yogurt tahini sauce:

8 ounces 2% or whole milk greek yogurt

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

2 cloves garlic- finely grated with a micro plane grater. I have this one and I use it all the time.

1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or smoked paprika (optional)

good salt like kosher and fresh ground pepper

garnish:

1 thinly sliced hot pepper such as fresno or red serrano

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the squash in half the long way. Scoop out all of the seeds. Drizzle with a tablespoon of the olive oil and season with plenty of salt and pepper. Roast the squash, cut side up, in the oven for 45 minutes. You want it to be really soft so it may take up to an hour, especially if you don’t use a small squash. Don’t rush this part because you’ll regret it if you do.

Meanwhile, combine the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, grated garlic cloves, and cayenne or paprika. Mix well. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil a little bit at a time until it’s all mixed in.  Taste it and add a little or lots of salt and pepper.  You want it to be a little on the salty side. At least I always do!

Take out the roasted squash. Fill in the hole of the squash with plenty of the sauce.  Garnish with chopped cilantro and sliced hot peppers and drizzle with more olive oil. Enjoy!

ps- tahini yogurt sauce is good with so many things such as any roasted vegetable or as a veggie or chip dip. I love it with roasted beef or lamb too.

North America

butternut squash corn chowder with goat cheese, bacon, and fried sage

It was about 8 years ago. We were invited to over to our new friend’s place for some drinks and snacks before we were going to go do….something.  I forget what we did! Really, the only thing I remember about that night was the food and friends part. Especially the part when my friend brought out this gorgeous little cup of chowder with all these luxuriously fancy toppings.  This chowder made quite the impression on me.  I immediately asked her to send me the recipe the next day.  It was quite involved, so I adapted it to be super easy for any night.  Instead of peeling, dicing and then roasting a butternut squash, I use frozen. Yes! Instead of boiling corn on the cob and sheering it off the cob, I use frozen. Yes! There is no doubt that using the fresh ingredients would taste amazing. But have you ever tried peeling a butternut squash and then dicing it? It will probably make you angry. Choose happiness!

One piece of equipment that makes this soup a breeze is my handy (ha) immersion blender.  You can definitely transfer the hot vegetables and broth to a blender and it will be just fine, but what a pain.  Go buy an here if you don’t have one.  That is the one I own and love.

butternut squash corn chowder with goat cheese, bacon, and fried sage

serves 4

ingredients:

10 oz. frozen butternut squash

10 oz. frozen sweet corn

1 quart chicken stock (this is my favorite kind)

1 chipotle pepper with about a spoonful of adobo sauce

1 yellow onion (sliced)

2 cloves of garlic (roughly chopped)

1 bay leaf

2 Tablespoons coconut or avocado oil (I prefer these two because of health reasons but you can use any oil, or butter!)

salt and pepper

toppings:

5 slices of bacon (sliced into 1/2 inch pieces)

20 fresh sage leaves

4-6 oz. goat cheese (crumbled)

Pour the oil into a large pot and heat to medium high. Add the sliced onion and season with salt and pepper.  Fry the onion until fairly soft and then add the garlic, chipotle pepper with the sauce, and bay leaf.  Fry about 30 more seconds and then add the frozen butternut squash and corn.  Season with salt and pepper.  Let that cook about 5-7 more minutes. Pour in the stock and turn the heat to medium low.  Simmer everything for a good half hour. Meanwhile, heat a non stick or cast-iron skillet to medium high and add your bacon pieces.  Fry until crisp. Take the bacon out with a slotted spoon, leaving the drippings behind.   Add the sage leaves to the bacon fat and fry until crip but not burned.

 

 

Take out the leaves with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Immediately season with salt.  Take out 3 small bowls for each of your toppings like this:

When the soup is done simmering for a half hour, get out your immersion blender and careful start to blend it up.  If you don’t have an immersion blender, you’ll have to transfer the soup in batches to your regular blender and then transfer it back to the pot.  You’ll want the soup to be fairly smooth and blended.  Taste it.  Needs more salt? Probably.  Try to keep in mind that you’ll be adding salty bacon, goat cheese and fried sage to your bowl.  Dish the chowder into a bowl and top with the toppings.  This would be delicious served with a simple green salad with olive oil and lemon juice and also some corn bread. Yes, the sweet kind!