Sous Vide Sweet Asian Butternut Squash

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Sous vide cooking is a girl’s best friend. Yes, a boy’s best friend, too. You see I cooked this incredibly delicious side-dish while I was out in the garden. It’s the beauty of sous vide…I don’t have to babysit the cooking process. Set it, forget it and get outside to soak up the vitamin D. Life is good and so is this butternut squash recipe.

I know. What the heck is black garlic molasses? It’s a complex flavor explosion in your mouth is what it is. Kind of like an orchestra of nutty, roasted garlic in harmony with savory and sweet dried fruit. A product of Japan it’s made from fermenting garlic and then slow-roasting the black garlic into this black gold molasses syrup. It’s expensive, but a little goes a long way.

Whenever vacuum sealing I recommend putting all liquid ingredients in the bottom of the bag. Fold the top of the bag back so not to get it wet or sticky with ingredients which could prevent the bag from sealing properly. Add the squash. The squash becomes like an obstacle so the vacuum sealer doesn’t draw the liquid up to high and into the machine. Just watch.

Now just drop the bag in your heated water bath and go do something fun for an hour……

When ready to serve just snip open the bag, pour into a serving dish and toss with a little green onion and cilantro. Perfectly fork tender and fragrant this side dish can pair well any protein, but equally as good served over rice as a main dish for my vegetarian friends.

Sous Vide Sweet Asian Butternut Squash

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 tablespoon sweet Asian chili sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

¼ teaspoon black garlic molasses

¼ teaspoon grated ginger

1 small butternut squash, peeled, cubed (2 cups)

Garnish

1 green onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Optional: add ¼ teaspoon toasted sesame oil to bag and then finish with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds.

Heat water bath to 170F. Place chili sauce, soy sauce, molasses and ginger in bottom of cooking bag. Add squash and vacuum seal bag. Cook for 45 minutes. Pour squash and sauce into a serving bowl. Add green onion and cilantro; toss. Serves 4.

last year’s harvest

A Super Bowl of Mulligatawny Noodle Soup

Want to know what a no-brainer is? It’s me participating in the JSL Foods Fortune Noodle Blogger Recipe Challenge. Already a lover and consumer of Chef Yaki’s healthy wholesome products it just makes sense to be in the mix stirring the pot. Plus the challenge involves noodles and soup. After my husband and my children and my grandchildren…noodles and soup are next in line of things that I love.

Soup Time

Fortune Noodle products are developed with a focus on flavor, noodle texture, 4 simple ingredients and convenience. They are sure to inspire both authentic Asian and fusion recipes. Today, I am featuring a nutritious, winter-warmer-upper soup made easy with these versatile noodles.

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Indian in origin, Mulligatawny soup is a creamy chicken soup flavored with curry and apples. Traditionally it calls for rice, but I switch out the rice for wholesome udon noodles and boost the healthfulness and spice with a bit of turmeric. Husband, daughter and son-in-law approved I like to call it my Souper Bowl of soup.

This soup could not be easier to prepare. Simply chop, sauté and simmer and you will have the most delicious and healthy bowl of soup in about 20 minutes. Yes, you can use lite coconut milk, if you prefer, and yes I use leftover cooked chicken or pick the meat from a deli roasted chicken for extra easy prep.

Mulligatawny Noodle Soup

1 tablespoon butter or coconut oil

1 cup chopped onion (1 medium)

1 cup shredded carrots (2 carrots)

2 stalks celery, chopped (include the leaves)

1 (7.27 oz) package Fortune Udon Noodles Chicken

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

2-3 cups diced cooked chicken

1 crisp apple, peeled and diced

4 cups (32 oz. carton) low sodium chicken broth

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or cilantro

2 green onions, thinly sliced

In a large pot or Dutch oven melt butter or coconut oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery; stir and cook 3 to 5 minutes or until onions begin to soften. Stir in Fortune flavor packet, curry powder, turmeric and black pepper. Add chicken, apples and broth. Turn up heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Add udon noodles and coconut milk. Cook, stirring to separate noodles, for 3 to 4 minutes or until heated through. Ladle into serving bowls. Garnish each serving with a sprinkle of herbs and green onions. Serves 6

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All Fortune noodle products can be found in the produce department in the tofu section at Safeway and ShopRite grocery stores. Want a free package?

I encourage you to join the Fortune Noodle Club here www.jslfoods.com. As part of belonging, you will receive a coupon for a free package of Fortune Udon Noodles. That’s a Super Win!

Good Grief Going Old School

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Yesterday, I attended a family reunion. It was a Sicilian love fest! I felt so fortunate to grow up in a neighborhood where all my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents lived within blocks of each other. Stuck like glue everyone gathered including those who have gone before us thanks to old home movies which were shared on a big screen. 

The more remarkable story has to do with this lady who was in attendance. She is 89 years old. Her name is Miss Robbina. She is not a blood relative, but totally part of our family. Miss Robbina was my 6th grade teacher at McKinley School in Westfield, NJ. Over the years, she taught many of my cousins, siblings and nephews, as well. She raised us up. She engaged with our parents. They were a team of high expectations and a force to be reckoned with if:

  1. We were not doing our homework
  2. Misbehaving in class
  3. Not living up to our potential
  4. Late to class
  5. the list goes on…

As much as we might try to “divide and conquer” the adults they were always in control because they supported each other.  The teachers back then were extensions of our families. Bring back the good old days in our schools. 

Inspired by those I love most here is a family friendly recipe that was recently chosen as a winner in the Explore Cuisine recipe contest. With roasted cauliflower, salty capers and sweet golden raisins it’s an old school rustic recipe updated with red lentil penne.

Skillet Roasted Sicilian Cauliflower Red Lentil Penne

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 (8 oz) box Explore Cuisine Organic Red Lentil Penne

½ large head of cauliflower, sliced into 3/4-inch planks

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

¼ cup golden raisins

2 tablespoons small capers, rinsed, drained

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Cook penne according to package directions reserving ½ cup of pasta cooking liquid. Separate sliced cauliflower into small florets. Drizzle olive oil over bottom of large unheated skillet. Add cauliflower in a single layer. Sprinkle with pepper flakes. Cover skillet and cook cauliflower over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until nicely browned. Remove cover, stir cauliflower. Add golden raisins, capers, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add cooked pasta, reserved pasta water and parsley; toss well. Serve topped with pine nuts and parmesan.