Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” John Steinbeck

With winter just around the corner it is time for butternut squash, any soup is perfect for the winter season especially on a cold or snowy day. While winter hasn’t arrived here yet I can’t help but feel the need to make squash soup. So here is my favorite roasted butternut squash soup. I know how challenging it can be sometimes to cut raw squash so here is a link on how-to Peel and Cut a Butternut Squash

Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 large butternut squash (about 3 1/2 lbs)
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • ¼ tsp. ground turmeric
  • ¼ Curry powder
  • 1 ¼ Grounded cumin
  • 4-5 cups low sodium vegetable broth, or water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Serving options:

  • A drizzle of olive oil 
  • Roasted squash seeds, or pepitas seeds 

Direction:

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds.
  • Place diced squash on the baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, turmeric, cumin and curry, bake for 40-50 minutes or until the squash is tender. Remove from Oven and let it cool off.
  • While the squash is baking or cooling off in a large cooking pot heat the oil over medium high heat, mix in onion season with cumin, turmeric and curry. Let it cook for about 10-20 minutes until the onion is tender or golden brown.
  • After 20 minutes add the squash and vegetable broth and bring to boil. Let it cook
  • Oil baking sheet. Place squash, cut side down, on baking sheet. Bake until squash is very soft, about 50 minutes. Using paring knife, remove peel from squash; discard peel. Cut squash into 2-inch pieces. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-low heat. Mix in onion, brown sugar, ginger, garlic and cinnamon. Cover pot and cook until onion is tender, about 15 minutes. Add squash and 5 cups chicken broth. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Discard cinnamon.
  • Working in batches, purée soup in blender. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate.) Return soup to pot. Season soup with salt and pepper. Bring to simmer, thinning soup with more broth if necessary. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

A Taste of Home: Curry Lentil Cauliflower Soup

What are the fundamental or essential things in your life that reminds you of home? For many travelers or nomads the essential of their live are comfort home food.  The further they travel the more these comfort food absences become apparent. While I am not much of traveler or consider myself a nomad among the many essential in my life or comfort food that remains me of where I was born and raised for the early years of my childhood is lentil. Strange as it maybe, these essential food or comfort food have stories and deeper meaning; they are a part of who we are. Lentil brings me back to third grade in North Sudan; my holder cousin who is a year older than me waiting in line during lunchtime for both of us. While in class I can smell the lentil soup, its always-green lentil. Now, every time I have lentil or cook lentil it brings me back to that early childhood of being 8 years old, in all catholic middle school with my dark blue and white uniform; with my cousin always finishing class before me and waiting in line for both us during lunch time. The essential of our lives are never the big things, many time s they are the simple things, things that we don’t really look at as being potent. However, these essential of fundamental become potent when they are no longer accessible. But as far as we travel we can always remake the essential. What are the essential in your life?

Here is a take on my essential; this is a modification of Angela Liddon The Oh she Gloss Cookbook Indian Lentil-Cauliflower Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1-tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons hot curry powder
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 ½ tablespoon cumin
  • 1 ½ tablespoon black pepper
  • ¾ tablespoon salt
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup uncooked red lentils- rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium cauliflower, chopped into bite-size florets
  • 2 mediums size white potato, peeled and diced
  • 2-handful spinach
  • Pepitas seeds

Direction:

  • In a large cooking pot hear the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, ginger and potato. Salute for 10 minutes until translucent
  •  Add curry, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Saute for another 5 minutes.
  •  Add both broth and lentil. Bring the mixture to low boil and let it cook for another 20 minutes
  • Stir in the cauliflower, cover and reduce heat to low medium and let it simmer for another 15 minutes.
  • Add more spices as desired.
  • Add spinach and let it cook for another 5 minutes on low heat.
  •   Serve the soup in a bowl and top with pepitas seeds

Linguine with Caramelized Onions

There is something about reading a GOOD book and having to think and analyze certain points or even a simple quote in the book. I am currently on my way to finishing John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, and this morning I was once again awed by the beauty of his writing. The First book I read of Steinbeck was Of Mice and Men, while it was five or six years ago I can still remember certain quotes in the book and still find myself awed at his writing. While I was writing this morning I was embraced by this beautiful quote which I think a lot of us forget sometimes, the fact that we always have a choice; the notion of free choice over evil, a symbolic of optimism that is central to the human condition that we overlook by rendering ourselves as being powerless or lacking a choice.

“But the Hebrew word, the word timshel ‘thou mayest – that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open …….I have no bent toward gods. But I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed – because ‘thou mayest.”’

This quote made my morning and probably my day; we always have a choice regardless of where you are in life you always have a choice, the choice to do evil or to do good. As Hannah Arendt once wrote no one is completely powerless, which is another central aspect of the human condition, we are never powerless regardless of how powerless or out of control we sometimes feel. 

Getting off that Steinbeck cloud I had a chance today after work to make this quick pasta recipe that only took 45 minutes. This is a simple and quick recipe that anyone can make, the ingredients are simple and health, above all you can either make it vegan or not given the simplicity and flexibility of the recipe

Ingredients: 

  • 8 oz fresh Linguine
  • 2 handful of baby Spinach
  • 2 cups of Brussels Sprouts
  • 1/2 cup parmasean cheese + additional for serving
  • 2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 tbs olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoon of rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • Red wine

Direction

  • In a large pot add water, oil and salt. Bring it to boil, add pasta. Cook until pasta is al dente. 20-25 minutes. 
  • In a skillet over medium hear warm 1 tbs olive oil, addd onions, and garlic powder, let it cook for 20 minutes. Stir onion evert now and then for, add little of red wine and water. Let it cook until blonde in colour. Set it aside. 
  • In another skillet over medium heat add 1 tbs olive oil, add Brussels Sprouts season with salt, pepper, rosemary, and garlic powder. Let it cook for 20 - 25 minutes until golden brown. Once done set it aside. 
  • In another skillet, add olive oil, when hot add baby spinach, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Sauté spinach until wilted, about 6 minutes. 
  •  Add the cooked past, Caramelized onion and Brussels Sprout with the baby spinach. Add parmesan cheese until cheese is melted ad the sauce coats the pasta and spinach

The Binding Bowl

Inspired by dinner at (Pure Kitchen), I had a chance today to create my first vegetarian bowl; inspire by their creation of the warrior bowl.  I am fascinated by meal bowls, there is something beautiful and eye catching about bowl meals, big, bountiful bowls are all the rage and it's easy to see why. A simple bowl meal is a creation of beauty and art in itself that catches the attention of everyone. A bowl is arrangement go veggies, and proteins (grains, noodles, quinoa, chickpeas etc....). It is beautiful creation that is made of everything,a little of this and little of that. 
1-2 serving

Ingredients

  • 2 cup of white Quinoa
  • 1 cup of Almond
  • 2 tomato
  • 1 or 2 Avocado
  • 3 organic eggs
  • 3 cups of kale leaves

Dressing

  • 4 tb. s spoon of grounded yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp. spoon of black mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp Mexican Chili powder
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 1 cup of Sesame seeds
  • Lime
  • 1 tbsp Turmeric
  • 1/4 Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup of vinegar

Direction

  • Quinoa: Add quinoa and water to a medium sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the quinoa is translucent and tender. 
  • Drain off excess water and transfer to a bowl. 
  • Add salt, olive oil and pepper toss to coat. 
  • Refrigerate in an airtight contain until ready to use. 
  • My New Roots How to cook Quinoa
  • Kale Omelette: In a bowl beat the two organic eggs and stir in the kale, salt and pepper. 
  • In a small skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat cook the eggs mixture for about 3-4 minutes. Flip with a spatula and continue cooking 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to low and connote cooking for 3-4 minutes or until desired doneness. 
  • Once done set aside or in a bowl
  • Dressing: In a small bowl add vinegar, olive oil, turmeric pepper, salt, lime, cumin, chill powder black mustard seeds,  ground yellow mustard seeds and sesame seeds. Mix until the density of the dressing is thick. Place in airtight container and refrigerate it. 
  • Leafy greens/kale salad: Chop tomatos to desire shape, kale and avocado. Add olive oil and salt toss to coat. 
  • Assemble the Bowl: In  a simple white bowl or airtight container add in some quinoa, omelette egg, kale salad, avocado and almond. Garnish with black pepper, salt and a french spritz of lime juice.

"Nice' Cream Breakfast

I have been obsessed with this stuff lately! It has solved my breakfast dilemma. My breakfasts is consisted, I always have the same thing that can be little boring after a while. My daily breakfast consists of YOSO vegan yogurt (Unsweetened, Vanilla, and Strawberry) toped with chia seeds and other fruits (Banana, strawberry, kiwi etc..). But recently this has changed, after discovering Nice Cream, which I am completely obsessed. It tastes SO delicious and I can't believe the main ingredient is a banana; with no additional diary, sweeteners or ingredients needed whatsoever. Also, it is a much healthier version of regular ice cream and you can create so many different varieties!, but also it can serve as either a breakfast or late night snack. 

Ingredients

  • 1 large ripe banana

Equipment

  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Airtight, freezer-safe container
  • Small food processor
  • Spatula

Direction

  • Start with ripe bananas: They should be sweet and soft. 
  • Peel and chop your bananas into small pieces, it does not matter what shape or size the pieces are in, as long as they are chopped into evenly sized and somewhat small pieces. Put in the bananas in an airtight container or a simple ziplock bag. 
  • Freeze the banana prices for at least 2 hours, or overnight. Ideally overnight. 
  • Blend the frozen banana pieces in a small food processor or powerful blender
  • Process until bananas look crumbly, then scrap down the sides and keep processing. Repeat this process until banana starts to look like soft serve ice cream. Blend for a few more seconds to aerate the ice cream (If adding any mix-ins, like peanut butter or chocolate chips, this is the moment to do it.) 
  •  You can eat it straight away or put it in a container and back in the freezer, to have the same consistency as regular ice-cream. I prefer eating it right away, particularly if I make it for breakfast
  • Making a bigger batch: Yes, you can make a bigger batch with more than one banana! Just make sure your food processor is big enough (and powerful enough).