Monday, December 24, 2012

Coriander Flavored Carrot Soup

3 Cups Chopped Carrots,
1 Medium Onion or 1 Leek Chopped,
1 Medium Potato, Skinned and Chopped
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil,
2 Tablespoon Coriander Seeds,
1/3 Cup Cilantro, Chopped
Salt to Taste,
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
3.5-4 Cups Water

Grind the coriander seeds to powder. Heat oil in a pan. Add onions/leeks and saute for 2-3 minutes. Now add the potatoes and cook for another minute. Add the carrots, salt and ground coriander seeds. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add 3.5 cups of water. Cover and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Switch off the flame then add chopped cilantro.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor while still hot. Process carefully until smooth. You might have to blend the mixture in batches depending on the size of the food processor. Add more water per the consistency you desire. I like my soup to be thick, so I didn't add any more water. Add salt and pepper to taste.

If you do add more water, transfer the mixture to the cooking pan again and cook/heat for 1-2 minutes.

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Acorn Squash Stuffed with Curried Quinoa

I received two Acorn Squashes this week in my CSA bag from Tiny's Organic. I have always struggled when it comes to cooking with winter squash. I don't like the taste, and don't like the hassle of chopping/cutting it, since it has a very hard shell.  I think, my problem is solved with this recipe:). This was a big hit in the house. It looks and tastes great. My husband and I like quinoa a lot, and pairing it with squash, made it extra tasty.
Here is the recipe

1 Medium Acorn Squash, Washed and Cut in Half Lengthwise
1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil,
1 Teaspoon Salt,
1 Teaspoon Pepper,

1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Onion, Chopped,
2 Garlic Cloves, Chopped,
3/4 Cup Quinoa,
2 Teaspoon Salt, or to Taste,
2 Cups Water,
2 Teaspoon Tomato Paste, or 1/4 Cups Chopped Tomatoes,
1/4 Cups Frozen Peas,
1/4 Cups Frozen Corn,
2 Tablespoon Fresh Carrots, Chopped,
Pulp From the Squash
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder,
1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder,
1 Teaspoon Garam Masala or Curry Powder,
1 Teaspoon Cilantro, Chopped,

1 Tablespoon Pistachios, Chopped,
1 Teaspoon Cilantro, Chopped

Squash: Pre-heat oven to 400 Degrees F. Scoop out the pulp and the seeds from the squash. Separate the seeds from the pulp and save both.
Make a small cut on the back of both halves to make a stable base.
Prick some holes in the squash with the help of a fork. Brush both halves with olive oil. Sprinkle the the salt and freshly ground pepper. Transfer to a baking dish  with cut side up. Bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes or until tender but not completely cooked.

While the squash is cooking, heat the oil in a pan. Add the onion, and garlic and stir and cook for 30-40 seconds. Now add quinoa and carrots. Stir and cook for 30 more seconds. Now add the frozen vegetables and cook again for 30 more seconds. Then add the water, salt, squash pulp, cilantro and spices. Stir well. Bring the mixture to a boil. Switch the flame to low and cook covered for 15 minutes, or until just done (kind of thick/mushy consistency), but not done completely.

Take out the squash halves. Divide the quinoa mixture in two. Transfer to each squash half. Bake again for 10 minutes. This way, the quinoa and squash will finish cooking, and we will get some quinoa flavor in the squash. Take out of the oven. Garnish with cilantro and pistachios. Serve hot.

Tip/Note: You can bake/roast the squash seeds at the same time as the squash (second half), when you put the quinoa stuffed squash in the oven. Just wash and pat dry the seeds. Transfer into a baking dish. Drizzle with some oil, sprinkle some salt and mix well. Bake for 10 minutes (while the squash is baking). Turn off the oven, and leave the seeds in for another 15-20 minutes. Your crispy/crunchy seeds are ready to munch on. My squash seeds were very tender, so I did't even have to shell them before eating. I ate the seeds, shell and all. My 22 months old daughter loves it.

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