Cooking Club: Week 57

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I wore a sweatshirt this morning! I roasted my first squash this week! The menu will start tilting fall, but I’m suggesting we make tomato soup ooonnneeee more time because it is so good and easy and maybe you should even make extra so you can freeze some for the winter months when you don’t want to eat ANY. MORE. PUMPKIN. These granola cups are from my friend Robyn’s blog, Sweetish and I think you are really going to like them - versatile and kid-friendly like those breakfast cookies we made a few months ago.

I am trying to do an Instagram live every Monday about the weeks’ menu. I showed up on the wrong account last week butttttt this week I’ll pay closer attention :) If you have a request for me to demo something or chit chat on a particular subject, let me know. I plan for late morning after the kids are off an I’ve organized myself a bit, but the video stays up for 24-hrs. if you can’t make it. Hope to see you there.

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SEATTLE FOLKS! I am going to be in town for a quick work trip in October and I am hoping to gather my beloved SKCC friends at Oddfellows on Sunday 10/13 at 11am. They are letting us reserve the communal table so folks can come and go and order something if they wish or just say hi. Would love to see your face and give many unsolicited hugs. If you could drop me a note and let me know if you’re coming, it would be nice to give them a general head count. Hope you can make it!


1-hr. Prep

Do this

  1. Chop, clean, season, and roast butternut squash for #1.

  2. Chop, season, and roast tomatoes, onions, garlic, and pepper for #3.

  3. Meanwhile, rinse, drain, and cook your coconut rice for #2.

  4. Prep and bake granola cups #4.

Get this

  1. Butternut ready for a quick gnocchi for #1.

  2. Base of the Roasted Tomato Soup ready to go for dinner #3.

  3. Coconut rice prepped for the Seared Ahi #2.

  4. Granola cups for snacks all week #4.


groceries

I am assuming you have sea salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and a higher heat oil, such as avocado oil or coconut oil. Check your stock on these before you head to the market, and check off any other items you may already have. As you continue to use these recipes, you will see repetition of my favorite ingredients. For example, while real maple and pine nuts are pricey pantry staples, they won’t sit in the pantry, you’ll use them in upcoming weeks. Use bulk bins at your local health food store to buy in smaller quantities if you prefer.

Your List i

gnocchi w/ butternut, kale & pancetta seared ahi w/ coconut rice & cucumber salad roasted tomato soup (member favorite) granola cups

Produce

Pantry

Meat + Dairy + Frozen


recipe 01: gnocchi w/ butternut, kale & pancetta

serves 4

If you are gluten free or try to eat a little less carbohydrates, Trader Joes makes a cauliflower gnocchi in the frozen section. It is chewy, but it’s a great option.

This does have some pancetta in it, but if you want a heartier protein, some ground Italian sausage works in here too.

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Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: The butternut squash can be roasted in advance. The pancetta can also be crisped up in advance.

Use it twice: This packs well for lunch the next day! I love having leftover roasted butternut and I smash it into quesadillas.

Kid Friendly: If you think the kale with deter your littles, pull some of the gnocchi out before you stir in the kale. Gnocchi are basically large pasta balls, soooo sell them that way?

Vegetarian Swap: You do not need to use the pancetta. I would crumble up some toasted pecans or breadcrumbs over the top for a little fatty crunch.


Ingredients 

3 cups cubed butternut squash
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
Few dashes of pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

4 oz. pancetta
3 Tbsp. salted butter
12 oz. gnocchi - packaged or frozen
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small shallot, minced
1 bundle lacinato kale, stemmed and chopped (about 3 packed cups - a pre-chopped bag is fine!)
Juice of one lemon

Grated parmesan, for serving
Chopped parsley and chives, for serving

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400’. Put the cubes of butternut on a baking sheet and drizzle them with 2 Tbsp. of the oil, paprika, oregano and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Toss everything to coat and spread in an even layer. Roast for 25 minutes and set the squash aside. 

While the butternut roasts, heat another frying pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until crispy, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. 

Here is where some directions may change depending which gnocchi you buy. Follow the instructions on the back. Generally speaking, we do a quick boil, drain and then a pan fry for crisp edges. Do not use the microwave even if the back suggests it, just trust me.

So, boil the gnocchi or whatever it says, and drain them completely. Heat the butter and remaining oil in that same pancetta pan until melted and hot, add the gnocchi, shake the pan and let it sit for 3 minutes so you get a crust. Add the garlic and shallots and shake again. Let it all brown another few minutes, add the kale and let it wilt for just a minute, squeeze the lemon over everything, then transfer it to a family style serving dish (being sure to dribble in all the browned butter!!) and toss it with the butternut squash, pancetta.

Garnish with grated parmesan and fresh herbs. 

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
    709
  • fat i
    35 g
  • carbs i
    83 g
  • protein
    18 g

recipe 02: seared ahi w/ coconut rice & cucumber salad

serves 4

If you’ve been around awhile, we have a poke bowl recipe in the archives, and it is so simple and light. While I love a poke, there is something nice about tuna with a sear. As for feeding kids, I am more likely to see them eat a seared tuna that a raw poke so there’s that too. 

Make the rice in advance, or get started on that first, and you can have this dinner in 30-minutes. If you are not into sriracha mayo, the citrus tahini miso in the sauce archives is excellent here too. 

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Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: The coconut rice can be made in advance and reheated. I suggest cooking and eating the fish the day you buy it for optimal freshness.

Kid friendly: It would be dry and tough for an adult, but I cooked the kid’s ahi all the way through. It has a texture closer to (very dry) chicken this way.

Veg Swap: I know there is a recipe back in the archives for an Asian-marinated portobello mushroom. I’m aware mushroom is not equal to ahi, but that, or tofu, would work here in its place. Both needing a little marinade bath before cooking.


Ingredients

COCONUT RICE

1 cup white rice (such as cal rose), rinsed
1 cup water
1 cup coconut milk
Pinch of salt + pepper
Pinch of sugar

TUNA

2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp. avocado oil
1.5 lbs. sushi-grade ahi
1/2 cup sesame seeds
Salt and pepper

CUCUMBER SALAD

3 Persian cucumbers, sliced super thin
Small bundle of cilantro chopped
3 green onions, sliced thin
3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
Salt and pepper

SRIRACHA MAYO

1/3 cup mayo 
2 Tbsp. Sriracha (to taste)
squeeze of fresh lime juice

avocado
tamari/soy sauce

Instructions

Start the rice. Rinse the rice and drain of the murky water. Put it in a pot with the water, coconut milk and a pinch of salt and pepper and pinch of sugar. Stir it around. Bring it to a simmer, then turn the heat down to low, cover and cook for 25 minutes or until tender and cooked through. Set aside. 

In a large skillet, and heat the oils over medium heat. Set the ahi on a plate and sprinkle it with salt, pepper and the sesame seeds. When you hold your hand over the oil and can tell its hot, add the ahi and let it sear on one side for not even a minute, just so you see a crust. Flip it, and cook for a minute on the other side. Remove to cool down. 

Shave/cut the cucumbers super thin. Mix them with the green onions, rice vinegar, sesame seeds, sesame oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Slice the ahi against the grain. Arrange your bowls with some coconut rice, seared ahi, cucumber salad, a drizzle of the spicy mayo and some avocado if you wish. 

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
    779
  • fat i
    44 g
  • carbs i
    47 g
  • protein
    49 g

recipe 03: croasted tomato soup (member favorite)

serves 4

End of the season! We must make this one more time. 

I tend to overbuy beautiful market tomatoes, and no one else in my family enjoys them raw. Here, we are roasting them, to concentrate their flavor. This is an original blog and cookbook recipe, and I tinkered with it to make it dairy free by using soaked cashews over the cream for those who need that. Both are listed below and in the grocery list, so toggle off your check mark as needed. You can go either way. I like to buy tomato paste in the squeeze tube - a little more up front cost but it is cleaner and easier to store in the fridge to use as needed instead of that crusty tin.

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Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: Roast the vegetables the morning of to make quick work of the soup come dinner time. The croutons can be made a day in advance and kept in an air tight container.

Use it Twice: the soup makes a great base to add some quick turkey meatballs to (homemade or store-bought) and then topped with fresh basil and parmesan.

Kid Friendly: Not that my kids would turn down a crouton, but they prefer a grilled cheese. I add a layer of baby spinach in with the cheese, cut the sandwich into small squares, and give them a toothpick to make it more fun.

Gluten Free: use gluten free bread for the croutons.

Dairy Free: in place of the cream, use 1/3 cup cashews that have been soaked in water for a few hours, or as long as overnight.

Extra Credit: make twice as much as you need and freeze some for the winter months when good tomatoes are no longer available. Or better yet, deliver some to a friend who could use a thoughtful gesture.


 Ingredients

FOR THE SOUP

1.5 lbs. tomatoes
1 red or orange bell pepper, halved and cored
1 small yellow onion, peeled and quartered
3 cloves peeled garlic
1 Tbsp. avocado or extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper
3-4 cups low sodium broth (vegetable or chicken)
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/3 cup cream or soaked cashews
nub of butter, optional

FOR THE CROUTONS

3 cups torn bread (preferably day old country loaf, sourdough or similar, crusts removed for a more tender mouth-feel)
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt, to taste
1/2 tsp. dried oregano or Italian seasoning

FOR GARNISH

fresh basil
grated parmesan

instructions

Preheat the oven to 375’ and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Halve or quarter the tomatoes depending on size, it will turn out fine either way. Collect them on the baking sheet along with the bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Toss them in oil and a generous season of salt and pepper. Bake for 25 minutes and remove to cool. 

While the vegetables roast, prepare your croutons. Toss the bread in the olive oil, salt, and dried oregano and spread them on a baking sheet. Turn the oven up to 400’. Put the croutons on the middle rack to bake for about 15 minutes. Remove to cool. 

Transfer the vegetables into a large pot or dutch oven over medium low heat. Add the broth (starting with 3 cups, you can always add after blending), tomato paste and let it simmer for a few minutes. Add in the cream or cashews and blend the soup until smooth. Working in batches if necessary. You can alternatively do this in a blender, in batches if needed, though in that case, make sure the soup is not piping hot. Stir in a small nub of butter, if using. 

Serve warm bowls of soup with a generous handful of croutons on top and a sprinkling of parmesan and fresh herbs. 

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
    309
  • fat i
    20 g
  • carbs i
    30 g
  • protein
    6 g

recipe 04: granola cups

Serves 12

I met Robyn at a food photography workshop Hugh and I taught up in Seattle a few years ago. She is enthusiastic, genuine, an avid learner and exceptional baker. Within that baking skill, is a desire to teach, and she is so good at it in the ways she speaks on Instagram or her own blog, Sweetish. Not to mention she takes gorgeous photos. Robyn is sharing this recipe with us this week and it is so good. Granola is great, but in handheld format with chocolate chips? Even better.

In Robyn’s words, “I love breakfast, I really do, but most of the time I find myself salvaging leftover toast crusts and grape halves from my son’s breakfast. These feel like a treat, are full of chocolate, fiber, good fats and protein and keep you full for a few hours. It’s basically everything I could ever ask for in a quick, grab it and go breakfast, and if I had to choose one thing to eat for a week straight it would be these.” I agree with Robyn, you don’t want to skip these. 

I have been using this silicone muffin tin lately for mini frittatas, and these worked great in there as well. 

Any nut butter will work as a substitute here, just don’t use one that is super runny, or these won’t stay together. 

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Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: In the headnote we suggest adding these to your one hour of prep time. They will last a week in the fridge, or a few days at room temperature.


Ingredients

1/2 cup smooth, salted, natural nut butter
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. honey or brown rice syrup
2 Tbsp. coconut oil, warmed to a liquid
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup crisp rice cereal (a cocoa version would be great too!)
1/2 cup well chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, cashews)
Scant cup of chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375’.

Grease a 12 cup muffin tin. Yes, you need to rub each and every little cup with plenty of oil so the granola mixture doesn’t stick - but also, it creates beautiful brown crispy edges to your granola cups so it’s worth it.

In a large, large bowl, mix together the nut butter, honey, coconut oil, vanilla and salt to combine. Add the oats, rice cereal, nuts and chocolate chips and stir everything together to combine. 

The mixture should stick together when you squeeze it - so kinda form a little ball with your hands here by pressing the mixture together and see if it sticks, if it falls apart easily, add a little more nut butter until your mixture sticks together. 

Making sure your hands are coated in coconut oil, press the granola mixture into each of the cups, filling about 3/4’s of each cup, pressing down and filling each cup.

*Make sure you really press hard when filling each cup or else the mixture will not stick together after it’s baked.*

Press each top of the granola cup down with a well-oiled hand (we want some of the oil to stay on top to brown them a bit) and sprinkle with a few more mini chocolate chips if you’d like. 

Bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes, until edges are toasted. Cool completely before transferring them to a storage container. They will keep covered in the fridge for a week if they last that long. 

Nutrition Information

per granola cup

  • calories
    259
  • fat i
    13 g
  • carbs i
    34 g
  • protein
    5 g