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ROASTED SQUASH SHALLOT SOUP

Nothing says fall like beautiful squash – and much cooler temperatures too.  Work has finally slowed down….the tourists are going back home.  What a whirl wind of a summer we have had!  Still not sure where summer went and now it is already fall.

With the cooler weather,  we have been having more soups lately and this one was lovely.  Although, personally I could eat soup any day regardless of the weather.  Okay, well maybe not with 32 degree temperatures.

This soup was inspired by a recipe I found in our local newspaper.  Theirs was a root vegetable soup but having a curry squash on hand this is what I used.  Acorn or butternut squash would be delicious in this soup as well.  A good homemade chicken or vegetable stock is a must for this soup.

4  to 4 1/2 cups homemade chicken or vegetable stock

2 1/2-3 lbs. squash

4 large shallots

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 large carrot – chopped

3 large minced garlic cloves

2 medium apples

1  1/2 inch knob of finely minced fresh ginger

1 tsp. Thyme

1 Tblsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper to taste

good pinch of nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds.  Lightly drizzle with EVOO and place onto a tin foil lined baking sheet.  Peel the shallots and cut into quarters – lightly drizzle with EVOO to coat.  Season the squash and shallots with salt and pepper.

Bake for 1 hour until the shallots are lightly browned and the squash is cooked through.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Once cool add the shallots to a food processor.  Scoop out the flesh of the squash and add to the shallots.  Add 1/2 cup or so of stock then puree until smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate.

Meanwhile heat up a dutch oven with a Tblsp. of EVOO.  Add the chopped carrots, garlic, apples, ginger, thyme and saute for about 8 minutes.  Add 2 cups of stock, and the apple cider vinegar.  Bring to a light simmer, and cook until the carrots are tender.  Once cooked remove from the heat and allow to cool about 10 minutes. Add to the food processor or use a stick blender and carefully puree the carrots and apples.   Add the pureed squash, bay leaves and remaining stock to the pan – stirring to combine.  Bring back to a light simmer, check for seasonings and add a good pinch of nutmeg stirring well.   Let simmer for a 30 minutes, remove the bay leaves and serve hot with good gluten free bread or buns. (we forgot to take a picture of the soup finished…until dear husband of mine gave his bowl a good stir…please forgive the untidiness but we were starving!)

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STEWED TOMATOES

Thought I would post this early as beautiful fresh tomatoes in our neck of the woods are not too far away. With an abundance of heirloom tomatoes making stewed tomatoes is a great way to use them up.  Although for weeks on end we just eat them fresh off the vine.

We do not do much in the way of canning in this household, but we do like to freeze as much fresh produce as we can.  This will be lovely in the dead of winter for soups, stews, and pasta dishes. (I made these last year too – so yummy!)

6 cups chopped tomatoes – slice in half, then quarters, then in half (I used a mix of yellow, red, green heirloom tomatoes)

1 large onion chopped

1 celery stalk with leaves, diced

3 minced garlic cloves

1/2 cup diced green pepper

a good handful of minced fresh Italian flat leaf parsley

pinch of sugar

1 tsp. dried basil

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Wash the tomatoes and remove the outer core.  Peel the tomatoes with a soft peeler or blanch the tomatoes to remove the skin (here is a method to blanch tomatoes). Chop all of the ingredients and add to a big pot, then add seasonings.

Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  Keep on a low simmer and cook for 30 minutes.  Taste for seasonings.  Remove from the heat, and after 30 minutes transfer to 2 cup sized jars and fill to 3/4 full.  This recipe made 3 jars…so double or triple up the recipe if you have tons of tomatoes.  Refrigerate until cold, then freeze until ready to use. This was so tasty, I could eat it right out of the jar!

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JAMAICAN JERK CHICKEN A RECIPE REVIEW

I have never had Jamaican Jerk Chicken before.   My daughter recently returned from a vacation to Jamaica and she raved about the BBQ Jerk Chicken she had there.  She also went crazy over their curries.  So another recipe is in the works for down the road….I just need to find Tamarind paste….so far no luck but will keep looking.

Mercy….was this ever good.  I found this recipe from Philly Boy Jay and mostly followed it.  If you read my blog you know I am a serious wimp when it comes to heat.  So, the only change I made was to use 2 Tblsp. chopped Anaheim Pepper (remember my other post where I did not know what to do with the rest of the Anaheim Pepper ?….well, in it went) and I also included the zest of 1 lime as well as the juice of 2 limes.  Other than that the recipe was the same.  The original recipe uses scotch bonnet peppers and no lime zest.

What we did in terms of our BBQ was:  Heat on full heat, once at temperature, oil the grills and lay the chicken down, skin side down, lid off, and sear the meat for about 8-10 minutes.  Turn over, and cook another 5 minutes.  Keep the chicken on one side of the BBQ, skin side down, and turn off the other side, then lid down keeping at a temperature of 325 degrees for 1 hour or until the chicken has reached 165 degrees, turning over 1/2 way through cooking time.

There was so much flavor to this BBQ  Jerk Chicken.  Marinating it for 24 hours (actually mine marinated for 27 hours) really infused the flavors of the marinade into the chicken. So so good!

If you have never tried Jamaican Jerk Chicken this recipe is well worth a try….trust me you will love it!  Thanks Jay your recipe is a keeper! :)

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WILD RICE PILAF

Although I do have a number of rice dishes on this blog….rice is not my favorite side dish.  Never has been. (unless it is Risotto or a lovely dessert rice pudding) However, if you make it into a pilaf, adding numerous flavorings and other ingredients, it creates a flavorful side dish indeed.

We recently discovered this [...]

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COOK BOOK REVIEW & A GIVEAWAY! WINNER ANNOUNCED

UPDATE:  ANNOUNCING THE WINNER FOR THE ITALIAN DIABETES COOK BOOK GIVE AWAY CHOSEN AT RANDOM IS:  LINDA.

Please contact me through my email with your mailing address to receive your free copy of the cook book….congratulations Linda!

I recently received The Italian Diabetes Cook Book Delicious And Healthful Dishes From Venice To Sicily and Beyond written by [...]

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QUINOA TOASTED YAM BOWL

Wow, did this dish ever exceed my expectations.  It was YUMMY.  With the Quinoa and Yams I also used cooked Mung Beans – a powerhouse of nutrition in a small bean.  This is a dish that would be great for lunch or dinner – served at room temperature.  It will get even better the next [...]

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RHUBARB GINGER STRAWBERRY FOOL

Nothing says spring like fresh, beautiful rhubarb.  (well that and fresh asparagus)  I love the gorgeous pink color….in fact when chopping the rhubarb it turned my cutting board pink!

While strawberries are not in season until June, I did use organic halved frozen strawberries in this dish.

There could also not be an easier dessert to make.  [...]

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LASAGNA: A NEW TAKE ON AN OLD TIME FAVORITE

We have had endless days of rain in our neck of the woods which always leads me to comfort food.  Lasagna being a family favorite.  There are a number of different lasagna recipes on my blog and while this is somewhat of a traditional lasagna there are a few new ingredients as well as a [...]

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CROCK POT VEGETARIAN CHILI

This was a recipe that was recently printed in our local newspaper.  I made some changes to the original – and we were delighted with the results.  Slow cooking with a crock pot has always been a little bit of a hit and miss result with me in terms of flavor.  Usually I have found [...]

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VEGETARIAN PAELLA

As mentioned in previous posts, I have been cooking Vegetarian meals about twice sometimes three times a week.  Recently, we found this at our local grocery store:

No paid advertisement here….just wanting to share something yummy – a lovely basmati rice/quiona blend vegetarian meal. Next to dried pasta, this is the only thing in my pantry [...]