Delicata Squash Stuffed with Lentils

March 20, 2016 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes, Recipe

Delicata Squash Stuffed with LentilsDelicata squash are beautiful little critters. They are long and yellow with green stripes in the crevices and have a sort of cross between butternut squash and sweet potato flavor to them. In this case, that flavor pairs marvelously with the hint of coconut that’s added into the lentils and tofu.

Delicata Squash Stuffed with Lentils

Delicata Squash Stuffed with LentilsDon’t get discouraged by the number of ingredients and steps. There are really only a few parts to this recipe that can cook while you work on the next: 1) marinate tofu, 2) cook squash, 3) cook lentils, 4) cook tofu, 5) put it together. Oh, and 6) Eat! Easy peasy.

Delicata Squash Stuffed with Lentils

Recipe by: Megabeth

Ingredients

  • 2 delicata squash (or other winter squash)
  • coconut oil
  • 12.3 oz extra firm tofu, drained
  • Tofu Marinade
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
    • 1/4 cup low-fat coconut milk
    • 1 t turmeric
    • 1 t cardamom
    • 1 t curry
  • 1/2 white onion, sliced
  • 1 t ghee or coconut oil
  • 1 cup yellow lentils (or brown)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 t turmeric
  • 1/4 t mustard seeds
  • 1 t cumin seeds
  • 1 t curry
  • 2.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup low-fat coconut milk
  • slivered almonds or roasted pecans as garnish, optional

Press tofu to remove excess water. Cut into cubes.  Whisk tofu marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Put tofu into medium bowl and coat with marinade and set-aside for at least 10 minutes. The longer the better…

Preheat over to 400.

Cut the delicata squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Place on oiled baking sheet cut side up. Rub with coconut oil and sprinkle salt on each half. Put in preheated oven for 25 – 30 minutes – until soft. Scrape the flesh with the fork to “loosen” it up a little.

Delicata Squash Stuffed with LentilsSaute onions in ghee over medium heat. Once  softened add garlic and cumin and mustard seeds. Stir. Allow to cook 1 minute. Add spices and cook for about 30 seconds.

Delicata Squash Stuffed with LentilsStir in dried lentils. Then, pour in vegetable broth and coconut milk.  Bring to a boil. Then, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes.

As the lentils and squash are finishing cooking, spread the marinated tofu on an oiled baking sheet and bake in oven for 20 minutes, turning frequently, until browned. **Alternatively** you can add some coconut oil into a saute pan on the stove and cook tofu over medium-high heat until browned.

Delicata Squash Stuffed with LentilsStir in the tofu into the cooked lentils.  Scoop the lentil mixture into the squash halves. Add some slivered almonds or roasted pecans, as desired.

Delicata Squash Stuffed with Lentils

 

Veggin’ Cookbook Chronicles: Poor Person’s Sukiyaki

July 03, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Cookbook Chronicle Challenge, Main Dishes

The title of my next cookbook is a novel in itself: From a Monastery Kitchen: A practical cookbook of vegetarian recipes for the four seasons complete from soups to desserts with breads. This cookbook, written in 1976, was inspired by a visit to a monastery in the Hudson Valley. The recipes were compiled by Elise Boulding with the assistance of Brother Victor Avila.

Divided by season, each section features starters to deserts. Illustrations are more whimsical and have nothing to do with the final dish.

Each recipe is framed with, as the author describes it, “a collage of quotations and art that is intended to reflect the nearly two-thousand-year-old experience of monastic life as an affirmation of wholeness, simplicity, and joy.” Many are good reading while you are waiting for your pot to boil or your food to cook.

These are a few the struck a cord with me:

“A little Madness in the Spring is wholesome even for the King” – Emily Dickinson

“Many’s the long night I dreamed of cheese – toasted, mostly” – Robert Louis Stevenson

“Many excellent cooks are spoiled by going into the arts” – Gauguin

“The bigger the dairymaid, the better the cheese” – Derbyshire Proverb

This is a strange yet fascinating little cookbook. The instructions and recipes are simple but sometimes basic steps or directions are missing. For example, one recipe begins, “cook the apples, using as little water as possible, sweetening at the end of cooking”. How am I cooking the apples? In a pan? In a skillet? In the oven? How long am I cooking them?

This is a primarily vegetarian cookbook but there are a few fish dishes included. The index is divided by type of dish such as “egg and cheese dish”, “pancake and cereal dishes”, “vegetable dishes”. The listings underneath are by recipe title. So, if you don’t know what Beans Bengal contains, you have to flip to the recipe page. (By the way, it’s yellow split peas, cheddar cheese, curry powder, onion, green pepper, olive oil and seedless raisins).

There is also a page of “useful culinary instructions” with some interesting tidbits about how to make “hi-protein matzo balls” (“Follow recipe on box, double egg and add wheat germ.”) and a heading called “Curry” (“Is very digestible. (OK for persons with ulcers!) Use in white sauces.)” I did learn how to “pseudosaute” with the instructions appearing at the end of the recipe below.

I did find that there is a new edition of the cookbook printed in 2002. Looking through it, there are fewer quotations and excerpts, and the recipes are updated. (I compared the chickpea soup recipe and the instructions changed from, “Boil, in plenty of water, until soft. Chop vegetables and simmer together with seasonings. Combine with cooked chickpeas and serve as soup.” to, “Add the remaining ingredients and cook slowly over medium heat for about an hour, until chickpeas and vegetables are tender.”)

I found that in the 1976 edition, while some of the recipes are a bit simple, they do sort of provide a foundation for elaboration. And, most a pretty adaptable, like this recipe. The recipe reads as if someone is verbally telling giving you the recipe and giving approximations a la “you can throw a little bit of this, and a little bit of that and then cook it. ” So, I decided to do just that.

Instead of rice, I used risotto. I omitted the beans and used a smoked tofu instead of regular tofu. (If you haven’t used smoked tofu before, run out and get some, it adds depth to any dish and provided a sort of, dare I say, “meaty” flavor.) Towards the end of cooking, I just ended up throwing in all the mushrooms I had and could also see throwing in steamed broccoli, snap peas and other asian vegetables into the sauce. I think the key with this dish is that if you’re adding vegetables, precook them and then drench them with the sauce.

Poor Person’s Sukiyaki
From a Monastery Kitchen, 1976 edition

  • 1 cup scallions or onions finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup light cooking sherry or sweet wine
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 cups fresh spinach or well-drained frozen (any steamed greens can be substituted)
  • 2 cups mushrooms, if available, other vegetables can be added
  • sugar to taste if desired
  • soy bean curd (tofu) cut in squares (if available)
  • 4 cups cooked or 1 1/2 cups uncooked rice (or any combination of rice and beans such as blackeye peas and rice, pinto beans and rice, etc.)

Cook scallions or onions according to the “pseudosauteing method” (see below).

Add sherry and soy sauce and stir.

Add spinach and other vegetables. Simmer 3 or 4 minutes. Add a little sugar as sauce cooks, if desired.

Remove from heat. Add tofu and pour mixture over rice or rice and bean combination. Other vegetables can be added. Amounts of all ingredients can be varied. Serves 6 to 8.

“Pseudosauteing technique”: delicious and healthy To give a sauteed taste without indigestibility of fried foods: instead of sauteing in butter or oils, cook in just enough slightly sugared water or broth so that when fully cooked water is all absorbed and fod is beginning to stick to the pan and burn a little. Quickly pour in a little cold-pressed oil; stir it up well and scrape all the brown which had begun to burn. (This retains all the vitamins from vegetables and oil, uses oil as seasoning, and still gives the sauteed taste. Recommended for carrots, greens, potatoes, parsnips, onions, string beans, broccoli, etc.) People who can’t digest fried foods can eat these. Salt and pepper to taste after cooking.


Crispy Baked Tofu with a Quick Curry Sauce

March 22, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes

Crispy Baked Tofu with a Quick Curry Sauce
Even before putting the sauce on the crispy tofu I kept popping them in my mouth. The tofu was fabulous on it’s own but was taken to another level once I added the sauce. The sauce is deep in flavor and unique in taste. However…

How many times have you worked your way through a recipe, only to realize whilst eating your creation, you forgot a major ingredient? Well, that’s what happened with this dish. I was munching away, enjoying my dinner when I remembered that I forgot to add the cream to the sauce. As you can see from the pictures, the sauce was thick and chunky rather than smooth and creamy. Never fear. It was darn good. In fact, I’d probably skip the cream sauce next time. Besides, it’s a way to make the dish vegan and cut fat from this dish. But, if you’re looking for a thinner sauce, add the cream.

Crispy Baked Tofu with a Quick Curry Sauce
from 28 Cooks

Marinade

  • 1 pkg. water-packed tofu, drained and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar

Coating

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder

Curry Sauce

  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup slivered onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce (Note: I whipped up a version of my quick tomato sauce* instead.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (Note: Reduce this if you’re not using cream)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (depending on the acidity of your tomatoes)
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly chopped parsley (Note: not in original recipe)
  • 1/4 cup fat-free half and half

In a ziploc bag, combine tofu and the remaining marinade ingredients. Place in refrigerator and allow to marinate for at least an hour, although overnight is best. Preheat oven to 350. Combine cornstarch and chili powder in a shallow bowl. Toss tofu cubes, a few at a time, in cornstarch until well coated and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Lightly spray with cooking spray and place in heated oven.

Bake for 45 minutes, flipping at least once, until crispy on the outside.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat butter oven medium high heat until melted. Add onions and saute 3-5 minutes, until almost tender. Add garlic, and saute an additional minute or so. Add curry powder, coriander, cumin, and cayenne pepper, and saute for another minute. (Note: I added some freshly cut parsley into my sauce.)

Add tomato sauce and allow sauce to simmer for a few minutes. Add sugar if desired. Simmer for another few minutes, then remove from heat.

Stir in half and half. Toss tofu in sauce and serve over rice.

*Bonus Recipe – Tomato Sauce

  • Every cook should be able to whip up a quick tomato sauce. It’s easier than you think. You really can’t go wrong.
  • Throw a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a saute pan and add some diced onions and garlic. Saute until onions are soft and translucent.
  • Dice two tomatoes and throw them into the pan.
  • Add whatever Italian spices and fresh herbs you have on hand to taste – oregano, basil, Italian seasonings, parsley.
  • Add a little salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
  • Add at least two tablespoons of tomato paste. More if you want a thicker sauce.
  • Let simmer on the stove for at least 20 minutes and adjust seasonings as needed.
  • If you want a smoother sauce either push it through a sieve or puree in your food processor/blender.

Potato Rösti and Tofu with Fresh Tomato and Ginger Sauce

February 13, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes

Potato Rosti and Tofu with Fresh Tomato and Ginger Sauce

Although there are many steps to make this dish, they are all easy to do. In the end, you’ll be rewarded with an interesting twist of flavors from the fresh tomato sauce and the Asian-influenced flavor in the tofu marinade.

But, be forewarned, don’t start making this late in the evening or if you are starving – it requires marinating, simmering, and getting your hands pretty gloppy when forming the röstis. I also used several pots, pans, and bowls that took a while to clean-up.  If that doesn’t scare you off, then push up your sleeves and enjoy this unique meal that is sort of a main dish and a side dish all rolled into one.

Potato Rösti and Tofu with Fresh Tomato and Ginger Sauce
from The Best-Ever Vegetarian Cookbook

  • 3 3/4 cups tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 large potatoes, about 2 pounds total weight*
  • sunflower oil, for frying (I used canola oil)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons sunflower seeds, toasted to serve (I used toasted sesame seeds)

Marinade

  • 2 Tablespoons tamari or dark soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon clear honey (I used agave nectar)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 1/2-inch piece fresh root ginger, grated
  • 1 Teaspoon toasted sesame oil

For the sauce

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 tomatoes, halved, seeded and chopped**

* I cooked all four potatoes that I had on hand and didn’t base it on weight. I must have had giant potatoes because I ended up with an overabundance of potato rostis. It wasn’t a big problem because the leftovers were good and can be eaten with other sauces, applesauce or sour cream.
**Because I was snowed in when I made this recipe, I used 8 campari tomatoes and added 1 14.5oz can organic diced tomatoes.

 

Mix together all the marinade ingredients in a shallow dish and add the tofu. Spoon the marinade over the tofu and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Turn the tofu occasionally in the marinade to allow the flavors to infuse.

To make the rösti, par-boil the potatoes for 10-15 minutes until almost tender. Leave to cool, then grate coarsely. Season well. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the tofu from the marinade and reserve. Spread out the tofu on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden and crisp on all sides.

Take a quarter of the potato mixture in your hands at a time and form into rough cakes. (Note: If you end up with a lot of shredded potatoes like I did, eyeball your cakes so final size will be about 3-4 inches in diameter.)

Heat a frying pan with just enough oil to cover the base. Place the cakes in the frying pan and flatten the mixture, using your hands or a spatula to form rounds about 1/2-inch thick. Cook for about 6 minutes until golden and crisp underneath. Carefully turn over the rosti and cook for a further 6 minutes until golden.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the reserved marinate and the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. (Note: I added a little more tamari and agave nectar into the tomatoes because I did not have a lot of marinade left. I guess the tofu was thirsty.) Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes break down.

Press through a strainer to make a thick, smooth sauce.

To serve, place a rösti on each of four warm serving plates. Scatter the tofu on top, spoon over the tomato sauce and sprinkle with sunflower seeds.


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