Sunday, November 29, 2015

Savory Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Bowl of garnished soup
With Green Onions and Yogurt

Recipe by Melinda


My friend and work colleague Melinda is a fabulous cook. Not that I’ve tasted anything that she’s prepared, but we do exchange recipes. After enjoying her amazing Moroccan Butternut Soup, I was excited to try her pumpkin soup. One key to its deliciousness is, like Zach’s Butternut Sage Soup, the squash (pumpkin) is roasted rather than boiled. Celery and onion provide classic aromatic flavors, and a touch of tomato paste zests up the soup in a unique way. Half and half adds creaminess. Finally, a touch of honey, salt, and pepper, to enhance the flavor of your particular pumpkin.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Roasted Butternut Squash with Pomegranate

Plate of Roasted Butternut Squash with Pomegranate abd Pumpkin Seeds
Bright and Beautiful, Plus Nutritious

Recipe Adapted from Vegetable Recipes I Can’t Live Without


Butternut squash is a popular autumn vegetable, yet most recipes are more or less the same. The squash roasted or steamed till soft, then combined with sweet and/or savory spices, or perhaps nuts or seeds. Or it’s made into soup. This recipe is completely unique because the butternut is cooked crisp-tender. This takes less than 10 minutes in the oven. The texture can surprise people, especially when served at room temperature. At a recent potluck, one person thought it was persimmon, and another marveled at this new use for cantaloupe. This easy side dish is an unusual addition to the Thanksgiving table. It’s colorful and gluten-, meat-, and dairy-free. Substitute another oil for walnut, and it’s also nut-free.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tomato Basil Catsup or Jam

Tomato Basil Catsup on Burger
The Ultimate Burger Condiment

Recipe Adapted from Vegetable Recipes I Can’t Live Without


At last it’s getting colder in Santa Cruz, after a couple of too-warm winters. Our garden tomato and basil crops are winding down, and there are only a few over- or under-ripe varieties left at the Farmers’ Markets. These tomatoes might not be flavorful enough for salads. But any sort of tomato, even green, can be preserved in a catsup-like jam, according to author and Moosewood restaurant chef Mollie Katzen. I tried it with both over-ripe paste tomatoes and old pithy heirlooms. I might try it again with my green tomatoes, if the frost comes before they ripen. The sweetness (or tartness) of the tomato variety will dictate the sweetness/tartness ratio of the end product. You can alter this somewhat by varying the amount of honey and cider vinegar added to the mix.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Butternut Sage Soup

Closeup of soup with hazelnuts and sage leaves
Closeup of Soup with Toppings
Recipe by Zach


Back in March, I attended a music workshop in chilly (to Californians) Whidbey Island. Not only did Ruzivo teach us 3 songs for 8-piece marimba ensembles in less than 48 hours, each band member was also responsible for feeding us a delicious meal. This warming soup hit the spot on a rainy afternoon. We pretty much insisted that Zach, who’s been playing marimba professionally since age 11, give us the recipe. He said that though the soup is supposed to be pureed, he pureed just half—creating an agreeable texture. Cooler weather, impending frost on the garden sage, and Farmers’ Market butternut inspired me to recreate this soup.