Candle Cafe’s Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Almond Cream and Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

2014-10-24 - VHC Butternut Squash Soup - 0001 [flickr]

My very first dish from Vegan Holiday Cooking! I decided to make it a practical one, so I chose a recipe that requires two of my current arch nemeses (butternut squash and apples, which are conspiring to make my fridge/freezer burst open at the seams). Seasoned with cinnamon, sage, rosemary, and chile powder, this Roasted Butternut Squash Soup is topped with an almond cream, as well as pumpkin seeds toasted with lemon juice and cinnamon.

The soup is hella tasty and easy to make; no problems there. The almond cream was a little trickier; mine didn’t get terribly creamy and didn’t look much like that in the fancy gourmet food photo. Actually the difference in aesthetics isn’t terribly surprising; my almonds had their skins intact, hence the variation in color. But it also seemed a little heavier that Candle Cafe’s version, even with extra water added. When I plopped a little into the soup using an ice cream scoop, it just sank right to the bottom, with only a tiny bit staying afloat. Kind of like an iceberg! It still tasted great, though; ultimately I just blended the unused cream with the leftover soup and enjoyed them as one. Why use two containers when one will suffice?

Also, you might notice that those are not pumpkin seeds perched atop the almond cream. Right you are! I didn’t have any, so I subbed in pecans instead. I think they worked just as well.

My to-do list for Vegan Holiday Cooking is more than a dozen items long, so stay tuned for more!

Roasted Butternut Squash & Pesto Pizza

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

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C’mon, admit it: you KNEW this was coming. Every time I find myself with an abundance of produce, I invariably figure out a way to put it on a pizza (P.I.Z.Z.A.).

Before trying my hand at a butternut squash pizza, I did a little googling to see what others have done; this is kind of a mashup of some of the ideas I found. The roasted squash was heavily influenced by the Fall Harvest Butternut Squash with Almond-Pecan Parmesan from The Oh She Glows Cookbook – and the Farfalle with Zucchini, Mint, and Almonds from Vegan Italiano provided the inspiration for the pesto recipe, which is much more moist than usual. The liquidy pesto is insurance against the oven, which always dries my pesto pizzas out more than a little bit.

The result is hella tasty, and definitely one of my best uses of butternut squash to date.

(More below the fold…)

Fall Harvest Butternut Squash with Almond-Pecan Parmesan

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

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You guys, if I hadn’t already given The Oh She Glows Cookbook five stars, I’d do it on the merits of this recipe alone. SO GOOD! Yet so simple!

It’s basically just butternut squash (duh!), diced and roasted with garlic, parsley, kale (not pictured here; I was all out!), and a chunky parmesan mixture of nutritional yeast, almonds, and pecans. Since I omitted the kale and roasted the nuts ahead of time, I was able to skip the second, shorter round of roasting altogether.

Liddon recommends serving this with Field Roast’s Smoked Apple Sage Sausage to upgrade it from a side to a meal, but I found that Tofurky’s Chicken Apple flavor works just as well. Simple pan-fry it, fold into the finished squash, and enjoy!

Serves two very hungry, very gluttonous adults.

Mac & Cheese & Butternut Squash

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

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2014-09-23 - Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese - 0005 [flickr]

So this past VeganMoFo I bookmarked a ton of recipes to try – but unlike years gone by, I actually did it! And in a timely manner! Yay me!

Necessity was the deciding factor here, as I had a ton of butternut squash from my garden that needed to be eaten stat. When I saw House Vegan’s Baked Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese, I knew it was meant to be. Her recipe was in turn inspired by the Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheeze at Oh She Glows; after comparing and contrasting the two, I ended up doing a sort of mashup, with roasted (vs. steamed) squash like in the original (fewer dishes, yo!), but baked with a panko topping similar to House Vegan’s version.

I also doubled the because hey, I am a growing girl and need my carbs!

But not the pasta! I only increased that by a cup, for extra-awesome creamy cheesiness. I think it turned out to be a pretty killer pasta-to-cheese ratio in the end. But you can go with a full four cups of pasta if you’d rather! Be your own decider person.

While it’s not as amazing as the processed, junky stuff, the butternut squash cheese sauce is still hella tasty, and makes for a rather satisfying macaroni and cheese. And the parmesan topping? Out of this world. Just be sure you supervise it during the broiling phase, lest you come dangerously close to charring it like I did. Learn from my mistakes!

(More below the fold…)

Butternut Squash Banana Ice Cream

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

2014-05-13 - Butternut Squash Ice Cream - 0007 [flickr]

So here’s the deal: I bought a butternut squash a few weeks ago and then completely forgot why. I assumed it was for a specific recipe, but I’ve combed through my cookbook pile and I’ll be damned if I can find it. So into the ice cream it goes!

This recipe’s a lot like the Sweet Potato Soft Serve I made last year, only with butternut squash in place of sweet potatoes! (Next up: Spaghetti Squash. I kid, I kid.)

2014-05-13 - Butternut Squash Ice Cream - 0012 [flickr]

Butternut Squash Banana Ice Cream

(Makes just under one quart of ice cream.)

Ingredients

2 cups roasted butternut squash (about 1/3 of a squash)
4-5 overripe bananas, peeled, sliced and frozen
sugar to taste (optional)
a splash of non-dairy milk or creamer, if needed
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

1. To roast the squash, cut it in half lengthwise. Place it on a large baking sheet, flesh-side up, and bake at 400F for about 30 minutes, or until the insides are soft and tender. Set aside and allow to cool.

2. When cooled, peel the skin off the squash and dice into 1/2″ pieces. Put two cups of diced squash in a food processor and pulse until smoothly blended. Add a little soy milk if necessary.

3. Next, add the bananas and pulse until smoothly blended. Most likely you’ll need to stir them by hand several times, as the frozen chunks tend to gather and become “stuck” on one side of the bowl.

Alternately, you can allow the bananas to defrost on the counter top for 30 to 60 minutes beforehand, so that they’re easier to work with. Before putting them in the food processor, break them up into smaller chunks with a butter knife.

Note: Since introducing extra liquids (such as non-dairy milk) into the mix results in a slightly icier finished product, I prefer defrosting to non-dairy milk. If you’re in a hurry, pop the bananas in the microwave for 20 to 45 seconds instead.

4. If the bananas aren’t sweet enough for your taste (sometimes this happens if you freeze them before they’re sufficiently ripe), add a bit of sugar to taste. Any sugar works fine – white, brown, etc. – but I find that powdered sugar results in a smoother blend.

5. Add the cinnamon and pulse until blended.

6. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container. Enjoy immediately as soft serve, or pop the ice cream in the freezer for an hour+ for a firmer dessert. Store any leftovers in the freezer in an airtight container. If the frozen banana ice cream proves too hard to scoop, microwave it for ten seconds to help loosen it up (or let the container sit on the counter for ten to thirty minutes prior to eating, depending on room temp).

 

P.S. I just so happened to photograph this ice cream during the dogs’ post-lunch bathroom break, and this happened:

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2014-05-13 - Butternut Squash Ice Cream - 0003 [flickr]

“It’s mine, you understand? Mine! All mine! Get back in there! Down, down, down! Go, go, go! Mine, mine, mine! Mwa-ha-ha-ha!”