Tuesday, November 16, 2010

This Week's Menu

It wasn't intentional, but butternut squash became the theme for this week's menu.  How can you not feature it when winter squash is so abundant this time of year?  I love the variety of tastes and vibrant colors of the Hubbard, acorn, kabocha, butternut, delicata, and even spaghetti squash.  Pumpkins are also in this vining gourd family, though their flavor is less sweet.  Interestingly, the canned pumpkin you buy from the grocery store actually contains a mixture of many of those other squashes since pumpkin isn't as flavorful. 

Purely for ease of preparation, my default is butternut since I can use my vegetable peeler to remove the relatively thin skin and don't have to struggle with my knife to whack it open.  So I made a Penne Pasta with Butternut Sage Cream Sauce topped with Shallot, Shiitake, Snow Peas and Toasted Pistachios.

The other winter squash meal was one that I've done before:  Curried Butternut Squash Risotto served with Baked Tofu and Broccoli.  This risotto is rich and creamy without being heavy, and the unexpected Indian spices are a nice contrast with the sweet squash. 

The third meal featured another seasonal vegetable, cauliflower, as well as more Indian seasonings:  turmeric, ginger, coriander, and cumin.  These are the foods and flavors of the cold & flu season since all are natural antibiotics and immune system boosters.  I also learned recently that the spice combination of cumin-turmeric-coriander helps with digestion of protein, which is perfect since this meal also contained chickpeas.  It's always a bonus when something this yummy is also good for your health.

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