Grilled Garlic Shrimp, Israeli Couscous with Roasted Butternut Squash and Preserved Lemon, Sauteed Spinach

by Jennifer

I absolutely love this Israeli couscous recipe, and it gave me an opportunity to use my preserved Meyer lemons!  The dinner serves 4 adults, but the couscous really serves 6, so there’s some for lunch the next day.

Grilled Garlic Shrimp

  • 1 lb. shrimp, preferably wild-caught, cleaned and deveined
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Marinate the shrimp in the garlic and oil for 15 – 45 minutes.  Prepare grill.  Season with salt and pepper.

Thread on skewers and grill, turning once,

until just cooked through, 5 – 7 minutes.

Israeli Couscous with Roasted Butternut Squash and Preserved Lemon – adapted from Gourmet magazine

  • 1 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1/4” dice
  • 3 TBS extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 3/4 cup Israeli couscous (I used whole wheat)
  • 1 3” long cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted (see below)
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup diced preserved lemon rind
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

On a heavy rimmed baking sheet, toss together the diced butternut squash and 1 TBS oil, season with salt, and roast in the upper third of the oven for 15 minutes.

Transfer squash to a serving bowl.

In a 350 degree oven or toaster oven, toast the pine nuts until golden and fragrant, about 5 – 8 minutes.

Heat 1 TBS oil in a heavy 10” skillet and cook the onion over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to turn golden.

Transfer to the bowl with the squash.  Add the pine nuts, raisins, lemon rind, and ground cinnamon.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the couscous, with the cinnamon stick, for 10 minutes, then drain.  Discard cinnamon stick and

add couscous, along with the parsley and the last TBS of oil, to the vegetables and toss to combine well.

Sauteed Spinach 

  • 1 lb. baby spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic, slivered
  • 2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat;

add garlic and when it’s fragrant,

add the spinach in batches, tossing with tongs.

When all the spinach is in and has wilted, season with salt and pepper.

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Lentils with Butternut Squash and Walnuts, Green Salad with Lemon Dressing

by Jennifer

The lentil recipe, from Gourmet magazine, is intended to be a side dish, but doubled makes a delicious main dish:  sweet and savory, creamy and crunchy.  My stepmother taught me this dressing for greens, and it’s tart and wonderful.  Serve with crusty bread, or with challah, as I did.

Serves 4.

Lentils with Butternut Squash and Walnuts – adapted from Gourmet magazine

I prefer French green lentils over regular lentils because they keep their shape and texture better.

Serves 4.

  • 1 medium butternut squash, about 2 pounds, peeled, chopped into 1/2” pieces
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tsp curry powder
  • 1 cup halved or chopped walnuts
  • 2/3 cup French green lentils, rinsed
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a large roasting pan combine the squash, shallots, olive oil, curry powder, and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Bake for 15 minutes.

Add walnuts, stir, and bake for another 10 minutes.

Stir in cilantro and lime juice.

Meanwhile, bring 4 cups of water to a boil.  Boil lentils over medium-high heat for 20 minutes;  drain.

Add to squash mixture, tossing gently to combine.

Green Salad with Lemon Dressing

Serves 4.

  • 5 – 7 oz. salad greens
  • 1/2 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 TBS white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together garlic through pepper.

Toss with salad greens just prior to serving.

Farro Minestrone with Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash and Chestnuts; Sage Foccacia

By Jennifer

This is an adaptation of a Cooking Light recipe;  among other things, the original recipe called for pancetta and I pretty much stopped eating meat and poultry 4 years ago, and discovered around the same time that you could substitute a parmesan rind for pancetta or bacon in soup recipes, to sort of replicate that smoky, rich flavor.  And after cooking, the hot, gooey rind is not only edible, but delicious!  The original recipe also called for 1 cup of chopped butternut squash, and I couldn’t figure out what I would do with the remaining squash, so I’ve doubled it;  freeze half for another meal.

Serves 4 adults (without doubling, or with freezing half for later).

Farro Minestrone with Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash and Chestnuts

  • 2 cups uncooked farro (also called spelt;  if you can’t find it, use barley)
  • 2 TBS. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 2/3 cup chopped celery
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 quarts low-sodium vegetable broth (8 cups)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup white wine
  • parmesan rind
  • 1 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 3/4 lb. brussels sprouts, quartered
  • 2 cups bottled chestnuts, halved
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving time

Place spelt in a medium pot and cover with water by a couple inches;  bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for 20 minutes, then drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large stock-pot over medium-high heat;  add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and beginning to brown, about 8 minutes.

Add the broth, water, and wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to get up any browned bits.

Add parmesan rind, squash, sprouts, chestnuts and black pepper and bring to a boil;  lower the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.  Add the spelt and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.  Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Sage Focaccia

I had some leftover sage and  decided to double this recipe, freezing the second bread for another meal.  If you do not have a pizza peel and baking stone, try using two baking sheets, one in the oven, and another, upside down, to slide in the dough.

  • 2 tsp. yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 5 TBS olive oil, divided
  • 12 fresh sage leaves, chopped

Combine the yeast and water in a large bowl;  let sit until foamy.

Add the flour, salt, and 4 TBS olive oil.

If kneading by hand, transfer from the bowl onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.  If using a standing mixer, change to the dough hook and knead on the lowest setting for 10 minutes.

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth;

let rise until doubled, about 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

Turn out dough on a floured surface and gently knead in the sage leaves.

Roll out dough to a 12” circle;  place on a floured-dusted pizza peel and cover again with the towel and let rise, about 45 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat a baking stone in your oven, at 400, for a good 30 minutes.

Brush the dough with the remaining 1 TBS olive oil and use your finger-tips to make indentations all over the dough.

Slide the dough onto the baking stone and bake for 20 minutes, until golden.  Use the peel to slide the bread out and cool.

Note:  If serving this for dinner, you may want to go ahead and make two;  my husband ate almost all of one focaccia as an afternoon snack!

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Browned Butter and Sage Sauce; Broccoli with Pine Nuts, Parmesan, Lemon and Garlic

By Jennifer

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Browned Butter and Sage Sauce; Broccoli with Pine Nuts, Parmesan, Lemon and Garlic

This was delicious, but definitely a weekend meal;  making the ravioli wasn’t difficult but it took a little time.  You can make them the day before, if you’d like, and keep them in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap.  You can also make your own squash puree, which I had done a few weeks back and froze;  simply peel, chop and steam a butternut squash, and puree it in a food processor when it’s cool.

This dinner serves 4 adults, or 2 adults and 3 young children with leftovers for lunch.

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Browned Butter and Sage Sauce

  • 1 can butternut squash puree (about 2 cups)
  • 3 TBS Panko or dried breadcrumbs
  • 3 TBS freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I prefer Parmigiano-Reggiano, as does my 6 year old daughter, who kept sneaking chunks to snack on)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp minced fresh sage
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 12-oz. package square wonton wrappers
  • Cornstarch
  • 6 TBS unsalted butter
  • 3 tsp minced fresh sage
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Draining squash

Drain the squash puree in a paper towel-lined fine-meshed sieve for 5 – 10 minutes;  scrape into a bowl.

Combining ravioli filling

Add the Panko, cheese, salt, sage, pepper and nutmeg and mix to combine.

1/2 tsp filling on a won ton wrapper

Dust a baking sheet with cornstarch.  Working with a couple wonton wrappers at a time, spoon a 1/2 teaspoon of the squash mixture into the middle of each wrapper.

A finished ravioli

Dip your fingers in water and brush the edges of each wrapper;  take one corner and fold the wrapper in half, to form a triangle, pressing down on the edges.

More finished ravioli on cornstarch-dusted sheet

Place finished raviolis on the baking sheet;  cover a filled sheet with a damp kitchen towel until ready to cook.

Bring a pot of salted water to boil;

Melting butter

while you’re waiting, melt the butter in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat, swirling, until it’s browned, about 1 – 2 minutes after it completely melts.

Browning butter, albeit difficult to see in the cast iron skillet!

Chopping sage (chopped a little bit too much!)

Add the sage, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and keep warm on low heat until ready to use.

Cooking ravioli in batches

When the water is boiling, lower the heat to a simmer (about medium-low), and add the raviolis in batches, stirring once you’ve put some in and occasionally stirring to keep them from sticking.  Pour a little of the browned butter in a serving dish;

Remove with a slotted spoon

after about 4 minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove the raviolis and place them in the dish.  When you’ve removed them all, add more raviolis to cook in the pot, and drizzle and little butter over the ones in the dish.  Continue until all the raviolis are cooked and you’ve drizzled the last of the butter on the top.  (You can keep the dish warm in a low oven until they’re all cooked).

Drizzle with sage sauce, keep warm until they’re all finished cooking

Broccoli with Pine Nuts, Parmesan, Lemon and Garlic

  • 1 1/4 lb. broccoli, trimmed
  • 2 TBS pine nuts
  • 4 TBS freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • zest of one lemon
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pine nuts in the pan

In a small dry skillet toast the pine nuts over medium-low heat until they are golden, giving them a shake or a stir every couple minutes.  You’ll smell them when they are close to being ready.

Pine nuts toasted

Remove from heat and dump them in a serving bowl.

Garlic is fragrant

In the same small skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the garlic until fragrant and just starting to turn golden, about 1 – 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the broccoli until crisp-tender, about 3 – 4 minutes;  drain.

Draining broccoli

Toss the broccoli with the pine nuts, garlic and oil, parmesan and lemon zest;  season with pepper.

Broccoli is ready

Miso Butternut Squash Soup, Spicy Glazed Eggplant, Stir-fried Bok Choy and Cabbage, Brown Rice

By Jennifer

Miso Butternut Squash Soup, Spicy Glazed Eggplant, Stir-fried Bok Choy and Cabbage, Brown Rice

Miso-Butternut Squash Soup

Adapted from Mark Bittman, New York Times Magazine

I will confess, the first time I made this, I used fresh butternut squash;  this time, I already had steamed and pureed squash from a CSA (Community Sustained Agriculture, i.e. local farm subscription) overflow in the freezer and used that.  In this case, I sauteed the leeks alone, then added the garlic and ginger, then added the defrosted frozen squash and water.

  • 1 1/2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 1 leek, sliced length-wise, then chopped, and rinsed in a fine-mesh sieve
  • 2 TBS peanut oil or coconut oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4” piece of fresh ginger, bark removed, and chopped
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup miso

Garlic and ginger

Thank goodness for mini-food processors

Process garlic and ginger in a mini food processor.

Washing chopped leeks

Leeks in the pot, softened

Heat the peanut oil in a large pot over medium heat;  add the leeks and squash and cook for about 5 minutes.  If you already have cooked squash like I do, then don’t add it with the leeks but with the water.

Adding ginger and garlic to leeks

Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute.

Adding squash and water

Add the water (and squash if already cooked and pureed) and simmer until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes.

Miso…you can pick which kind you use

Whisking 1 cup liquid with miso

Take 1 cup of liquid out of the pot and add it to the miso in a small bowl;  whisk well.  Pour the miso mixture into the soup pot.

About to puree soup with immersion blender

Puree, either using an immersion blender, or in batches using a standing blender, pouring the puree into a clean bowl.

Entertaining tip:  This can be made earlier in the day and gently reheated when it’s time to eat.

Spicy Glazed Eggplant

Spicy Glazed Eggplant is ready to serve

Adapted from Gourmet magazine

The original recipe called for Japanese seven-spice powder (shichimi togarashi), which I could not find (although if I still lived in Chicago I could have bought some at The Spice House!), so I settled for a dash of cayenne pepper.  Either way, it was delicious, and even my husband, not a huge eggplant fan, had seconds.

  • 1 1/4 lb. eggplant, ideally Asian, otherwise the longest/thinnest Italian eggplant you can find, trimmed, halved or quartered lengthwise depending on size, then cut diagonally into 1 1/2” pieces
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 TBS mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
  • 2 TBS low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated peeled ginger (use a box grater or Microplane)
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 3 TBS peanut oil
  • 1 TBS finely chopped chives (I use kitchen scissors)

Eggplant and salt in a colander

Toss the eggplant and kosher salt together in a large colander and let sit in your sink for 45 minutes.

Eggplant after 8 minutes of stir-frying

Rinse well in cold water, and dry very well using a clean kitchen towel.

Sauce ingredients for eggplant are ready

In a small bowl combine the mirin, soy sauce, ginger and cayenne pepper.

Eggplant after 8 minutes of stir-frying

Heat the peanut oil in a wok over medium-high heat until it shimmers.  Stir-fry the eggplant until browned, about 8 minutes.

Eggplant now glazed with sauce

Add the mirin mixture and stir-fry for another minute or so, until the eggplant is glazed and tender.

Spicy Glazed Eggplant is ready to serve

Serve hot or at room temperature, sprinkled with the chives.

Entertaining tip:  The eggplant can be prepared earlier in the day and kept in the fridge until cooking time.  If you like, you can cook the eggplant up to 2 hours prior to serving;  sprinkle on the chives just before serving.

Stir-fried Bok Choy and Cabbage

Adapted from Gourmet magazine

  • 1 lb. bok choy, trimmed, cut lengthwise in thirds, then thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 lb. Savoy or Napa cabbage, cored and very thinly sliced
  • 3 TBS. peanut oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds, toasted

Bok choy is ready

Savoy cabbage is ready

Heat a wok or 12” heavy skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water evaporates instantly.  Pour the oil down the side of the skillet and swirl it around the pan.

Garlic sizzling in the pan

Add the garlic and stir-fry for a few seconds.

Adding the bok choy and cabbage

Add the bok choy, cabbage and sea salt and stir-fry about 5 – 6 minutes, until the cabbage is crisp-tender.

Stir-Fried Bok Choy and Cabbage is ready

Serve drizzled with sesame oil and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Entertaining tip:  You can clean and chop the greens earlier in the day and store in the fridge.  About an hour before company comes, slice the garlic and keep in a small bowl, covered with plastic wrap, in the fridge.  Sesame seeds can be stored in the freezer until the next time you need them.

Company Coming! 
For appetizers, you can serve the Edamame and Spinach Nori Rolls.

Spinach nori rolls and edamame

Hot fudge sundae, anyone

Orecchiette with Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts

By Jennifer

Orecchiette with Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts

This is one of my husband’s favorite fall/winter dishes, and it’s easy to put together.  Pre-wrapped and sliced butternut squash gives me the heebie-jeebies;  it’s not that much work to peel the squash with a Y-shaped vegetable peeler, scoop out the seeds at the bottom and slice yourself.

  • 1 lb. orecchiette pasta
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, chopped into 1/2” – 1” pieces
  • 1 lb. brussels sprouts, bottom and outer leaves removed, quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 – 6 TBS olive oil, divided
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler, as much as you’d like

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and put a pot of water on to boil.

Peeled butternut squash

Cutting butternut squash

Squash ready to roast

Toss the butternut squash with 1 – 2 TBS of olive oil and spread out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet;  sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 20 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, heat 2 TBS olive oil in a heavy pan over medium-high heat.

Chopping brussels sprouts

Cooking sprouts

Cook brussels sprouts, stirring frequently, until bright green and there are a few charred spots;  after a couple minutes, add the garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.  Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente;  reserve a little cooking water and then drain.

Shaving parmigiano-reggiano

Pour pasta back into pasta pot and add the squash, sprouts and garlic, another 1 – 2 TBS of olive oil, and the cheese;  add some cooking water to moisten the pasta if it seems dry.  Stir it up well and serve, with extra cheese on top if you’d like.