October 12, 2011

Harvest Moon Recipes

This full moon also known as harvest moon, the hunters' moon, blood moon, and moon of first frost. The last squashes and hardy greens are coming from the garden as crimson and gold leaves cover the beds, mulching the soil as they decay.Take time to cook simple, warm, and nourishing soups and whole grains. Choose as few ingredients as possible. Let them speak for themselves as you savor their simplicity with each bite.  

Pumpkin Paprika Soup
1 two-pound cooking pumpkin or Kabocha squash to yield 3 cups roasted pumpkin OR two cans of pumpkin purée
4 Tablespoons coconut oil OR butter
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
¼ cup cream OR ½ can coconut milk

To make pumpkin purée, cut a Kabocha squash or pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds* (an ice cream scoop works well), and place face down on a greased baking sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees until soft, about 45 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes then scoop out the flesh.
Freeze whatever you don't use for future use.

*You can save the seeds, rinse them, coat them in salt, olive oil, cumin and coriander and toast them on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes. They are a delicious snack or a lovely soup garnish.

Meanwhile, chop vegetables for the soup.
When pumpkin/squash is ready, melt butter or coconut oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes.
Add all spices and stir briefly.
Add pumpkin purée. Add broth and water. 

Mix well with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. 

Working in batches, transfer soup to a blender or a food processor. Blend until smooth. Return the soup to the pot. 
If you have an immersion blender, you can blend directly into the soup pot.

With soup on low heat, slowly add the cream or coconut milk, stirring to incorporate. Add salt to taste. 

Serve with biscuits or cornbread. 

Pumpkin: high in Vitamin A and fiber, this sweet, satisfying winter vegetable has a high carotenoid content, which lends an orange color and provides zinc to strengthen immunity and lutein to stave off free radicals that contribute to macular degeneration.

Kasha Biscuits
¾ cup cooked kasha (buckwheat groats)

¼ cup coconut oil OR butter
¼ cup ground flax seeds

¼ cup ground sunflower seeds
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon each: baking powder, baking soda, salt

Place ½ cup dry kasha (buckwheat groats) and 1 ½ cups water in a stock pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until kasha begins to thicken.

Stir vigorously until grain reaches porridge-like consistency. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Grind flax seeds then sunflower seeds in a spice/espresso bean grinder until they reach a flour-like consistency.

Place in a mixing bowl and add the coconut oil OR butter, cut into chunks.

Add spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda and mix well. Incorporate the cooled kasha and then the lemon juice.

Drop mix in heaping spoonfuls on a greased glad baking dish.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges have turned dark brown.

Kasha: also known as roasted buckwheat groats, this gluten-free whole grain contains all essential amino acids (eight proteins that the body cannot manufacture), provides a complete protein source, and soothes the nervous system.

Millet Cauliflower Casserole
Pour 1 cup millet into a cooking pot with 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and add 1 teaspoon each: turmeric, cumin, coriander, salt. 

Cook with the lid askew, for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop one large yellow onion into crescents.

Coat the bottom of a deep skillet with olive oil, heat the oil, and add the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and saute for 10 minutes, or until onions are translucent.

Rinse and chop 1 head cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. 

Push onions to the edges of the skillet and add cauliflower.

Splash 2 Tablespoons lemon juice or white wine over the cauliflower, cover, and sauté for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally and add a splash of water if vegetables are sticking to the skillet.

Once cauliflower is browned, incorporate with onions, turn off the burner and set aside.

Tend to your millet. Stir it as though you were cooking oatmeal. Add 3 Tablespoons olive oil.

Cook on low heat and stir occasionally until millet reaches thick consistency. Cook it long enough so that the grains break down but the mixture maintains a batter-like consistency. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

Grease a 9x9 square glass baking dish. Assemble the casserole by starting and ending with a layer of millet. Alternate layers of millet and vegetables.

Bake for 20 minutes, until top has started to brown. Enjoy with grilled tempeh, chicken, or white beans and a bowl of soup.

Millet: gluten-free whole grain, rich in B vitamins and iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus; ideal for blood glucose control and weight management.

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