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Perfect Pumpkin Bars with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting | Relishing ItI’ll admit it, one of the main reasons I’m writing this post is so next year, when I’m craving a perfect pumpkin bar, I’ll know exactly where to look.  But that doesn’t mean they’re not for you, too.  They make an excellent dessert alternative for Thanksgiving.  I like pumpkin bars that are thick– I have no time for those weak, thin and flimsy ones. I suppose one could even say that this is more a pumpkin cake, but the fact that I swoop into the pan and eat this treat with my hands, makes me comfortable with the bar title.

Perfect Pumpkin Bars with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting | Relishing It

Perfect Pumpkin Bars with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting | Relishing ItOne of things that makes these bars stand out is the use of virgin coconut oil.  I try to swap out vegetable or canola oil whenever I can.  I find the smell and taste of those to be somewhat off-putting.  And aside from the better flavor, coconut oil is much healthier.  Both the coconut oil and the pumpkin make these bars stay moist for days and days.  The maple cream cheese frosting is the perfect way to top them.

Perfect Pumpkin Bars with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting | Relishing It

Perfect Pumpkin Bars with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting | Relishing It

These bars would be fantastic on your Thanksgiving table for those guests who aren’t into pie so much.  They can be left in a regular cake pan, or to fancy things up a bit, put them on a festive platter.  Using parchment paper in the pan makes them really easy to lift out.  However you decide to serve them, I know your friends and family are going to love them.  Enjoy!

Perfect Pumpkin Bars with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting | Relishing It

The Recipe: Perfect Pumpkin Bars with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

(makes a 9 x 13 pan)

2 cups (9 ounces) all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup coconut oil, melted, then cooled a bit

4 eggs, room temperature

1 15- ounce can plain pumpkin purée

1 teaspoon vanilla

For the Frosting:

3 cups confectioners sugar (about 12 ounces), sifted

8 ounce package of cream cheese (full fat)

1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons real maple syrup

toasted walnuts, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line 9 x 13 cake pan with parchment paper (let enough hang over the edges to be able to grasp and lift the cake out with) and coat with non-stick cooking spray (if wanting to remove from pan in one large piece) or just grease pan with coconut oil, butter, or spray.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger.  Set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer (or using a regular bowl and wooden spoon) fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the coconut oil and sugars together until blended well.  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until somewhat creamy, 3 minutes or so.  Then add the pumpkin puree and blend until uniform.

Sprinkle the dry ingredients on top of the wet and use a spatula to fold everything until moistened, (this will prevent a big cloud of flour from landing on your countertop), then using the paddle attachment again mix until just combined.  Do not over mix.  Bake for 35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

While the cake is cooling, make the frosting.  Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer (or a hand mixer, or wooden spoon) mix all of the ingredients together, except the confectioners sugar, until smooth and creamy. Then add the sifted confectioners sugar and mix until smooth.

Remove cake from pan once it has cooled, if desired.  Or frost it in the pan. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts, if you like.  Keeps well for days covered at room temperature.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

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Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing | Relishing It

With Thanksgiving just a week away, I imagine you’re knee-deep in recipe ideas.  Well here’s one more.  No, it’s not a dish or dessert for the big meal, but rather something quick and delectable to pull together when your overnight guests wake in the morning.  Something that will make them feel warm and cozy and loved.  These pumpkin scones are fantastic, and you’d do well to remember that I’m very fussy about my scones. Too hard– forget it. Too dry– kick them to the curb. But those ones that are just right– firm on the outside and flakey on the inside– well, I could devour a whole pan. These fit into that just right, or rather “perfect” category.

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing | Relishing It

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing | Relishing It

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing | Relishing It

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing | Relishing It

So, through the years of playing around with different scone recipes, I’ve learned that one thing is the key.  And I’ve shared this before, but it’s so important that I’ll emphasize it again.  Use grated frozen butter.  Always use grated frozen butter.  In fact– use grated frozen butter for most baked goods– pie crusts and biscuits included.  Keeping the dough completely cold is the key to it’s flakiness.   It’s so simple to grab a stick of butter from the freezer on a whim and whip these up. Aside from the convenience, grated butter means that you don’t have to work as hard to incorporate it into the flour.  It’s already in tiny pea-sized pieces.  I’ve found that using my hands works best. Toss it around a bit and then mix in the wet ingredients with a fork or spatula. The less you work with scone dough, the better they’ll turn out.

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing | Relishing It

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing | Relishing It

Keep in mind that all of the flour does not need to be fully incorporated– it’s ok if your dough has a bit of flour on the top– in fact it’ll be easier this way. This dough is more wet than my usual scone recipe because of the pumpkin.  So be sure to sprinkle a bit of flour on your hands before you pat it out into a circle and cut it into wedges. Because it’s a wetter dough, freezing them on the pan for 15 minutes before they bake is also important to help them keep their shape.  These scones have all the autumnal spices you’d expect and taste amazing with a hot cup of coffee.  I love the addition of maple and nutmeg into the icing.  It adds character.  I hope these scones find their way onto your kitchen table one of these cold, snowy mornings.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing | Relishing It

The Recipe: Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing

(makes 6-8)

For the Scones:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (11 1/4 ounces)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup plain canned pumpkin (Farmers Market Organic Pumpkin is my favorite brand)

1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt

3 eggs, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 tablespoons frozen unsalted butter, coarsely grated

turbinado or demerara sugar for sprinkling

For the Icing:

1 cup confectioners sugar

2 tablespoons real maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

about 5 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

pinch of salt (this is important– it will enhance the flavor of the icing, so don’t be stingy)

roasted salted hazelnuts, for topping (almonds, pistachios, or walnuts would work, too)

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon.

In a medium-sized bowl mix together the brown sugar, pumpkin, yogurt, 2 eggs, and vanilla.

In a small bowl, use a fork to mix 1 egg with 1 teaspoon of water, the the egg wash.

Coarsely grate the butter using the largest holes on a box grater.  Work quickly, so the ingredients stay cold.  Mix the butter into the flour mixture using your fingertips.  You want the butter to be coated with the flour.  Work quickly.  Then, using a fork or spatula, mix the wet ingredients into the butter/flour mixture. Do not over-mix.  It’s ok to see specks of flour that haven’t been fully incorporated.  Sprinkle countertop with flour, as well as your hands. The dough will be sticky. Place dough on the counter and pat into a 6-inch round circle. Use a bench knife or a chef’s knife to cut into 6-8 wedges.  Place the wedges on the lined baking sheet and put into the freezer for 15 minutes.

Remove from freezer and apply egg wash with a pastry brush.  Then sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until they feel set in the middle and they have developed a beautiful deep golden color. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

To make the Icing: Whisk all of the ingredients together until creamy.  Add more cream, if need be.  Dollop the icing onto the scones and smooth out.  Top with salted roasted hazelnuts, or your nut of choice.  Store leftovers in an airtight container, but they are best if eaten the first day.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

Quinoa Bake with Broccoli and Chickpeas | Relishing It

When I’m developing a new recipe for a meal there are two criteria that generally need to be met.  First, the recipe has to be mostly healthy.  Since I’m the main person that pumps food into my family, I need it to be loaded with nutrients.  Second– and this is the tricky one– I need it to be a meal that my family actually likes and will eat.  Finding this balance is often a challenge, but today’s recipe was spot-on.

Quinoa Bake with Broccoli and Chickpeas | Relishing It

Quinoa Bake with Broccoli and Chickpeas | Relishing It

Luckily for me, my family actually likes broccoli.  Seriously.  So, if I toss that into a dish I’m already one step to the good.  Here, I also relied on chickpeas for the protein and the texture.  And quinoa is one of my favorite things to build a meal around.  It cooks quickly, has a nice nutty flavor, and happens to be loaded with protein, as well.  Though it looks like a grain, quinoa is actually a seed–so it is gluten-free.

Quinoa Bake with Broccoli and Chickpeas | Relishing It

This isn’t a heavy bake loaded with cream or lots of cheese.  It’s simple and clean, if you will.  Aside from the main components of the dish, the subtle flavors of garlic and lemon really come through and work so well together.  I like to use my homemade chicken broth here because I always have it on hand and I love its flavor.  However, if you are vegetarian, feel free to use vegetable broth.  Finishing it with parmesan cheese that has become golden and chopped almonds for the texture is perfect.

Quinoa Bake with Broccoli and Chickpeas | Relishing It

One of the best parts about this dish just how easy it is to prepare.  From start to finish, your family will be eating dinner in about 30 minutes.  That’s not bad, especially considering most of that time it is in the oven. And you can feel good about the fact that every bite is healthy for them.  Hope you enjoy!

Quinoa Bake with Broccoli and Chickpeas| Relishing It

The Recipe: Quinoa Bake with Broccoli and Chickpeas

(serves 4)

olive oil

2 cups chopped broccoli

3 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 small red onion, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

13-15 ounces cooked chickpeas (about 1 1/3 cup)

1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed (any color will work)

zest of 1 large lemon

1 1/2 cups chicken broth (heated)

kosher salt and cracked pepper, to taste

handful of parmesan (about 1/2 – 3/4 cup)

handful of chopped roasted almonds, for garnish

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Heat olive oil in a cask-iron skillet, or anything similar. Sauté the onion, garlic, broccoli, and chickpeas for about 3 minutes.  Sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon of salt and some cracked pepper.  Then add the lemon zest, parsley, quinoa, and heated broth.  Make sure all of the quinoa is covered by the broth.  Cover with foil and place in the oven.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the quinoa has absorbed all of the liquid and is tender.  Remove from oven.  Place oven rack near the broiler and turn it on.  Sprinkle parmesan over the quinoa and return to oven uncovered.  Broil for just a couple of minutes until the parmesan has turned golden brown.  Keep a watchful eye, as it can burn quickly.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped almonds before serving.  Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator and reheated easily.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

 

Healthy Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup | Relishing It

It’s early November and the first winter storm of the season just rolled through Minnesota.  I generally try to have a positive tone when I share my thoughts here, but this… sucks.  No time to acclimate to lower temperatures over a few weeks, no light dusting of snow that melts away in the sun.  Nope.  Winter is here and I’m not ready for it yet.  Thankfully, we got the leaves raked (barely) and taken to the compost pile, the summer furniture is tucked away in the shed, and my small garden has been cut down.  But still, this is ridiculous.  Last winter was grueling, to say the least.  I want more crunchy leaves on the sidewalks and more bonfires with our neighbors.  I want more outdoor runs without the worry of slipping on ice. I realize that I’m going to have to wait months for these simple pleasures again.  And I will wait patiently and enjoy them all-the-more when they arrive.  There.  Now I’m feeling a little bit better.

Healthy Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup | Relishing It

Healthy Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup | Relishing It

For now, I will pour myself into doing the things that I love to keep my mind off of the frigid temperatures.  Today it’s warm soup and fresh bread.  This stuffed cabbage roll soup is a favorite in our house.  It has all the wonderful flavors and textures of stuffed cabbage rolls with less work.  It’s hearty and filling– total comfort food.  But, it’s also healthy.  Like, really healthy.  It’s loaded with whole foods–grass-fed beef, fresh cabbage, canned tomatoes, brown rice, and zingy fermented sauerkraut.  I love to eat cabbage year-round– it’s an underrated vegetable, in my opinion.  Not only is it good for you, it has a long refrigerator life.  This is much more than a soup– almost a stew.  Feel free to add more broth or tomatoes if you like it a little less thick.  I think it’s perfect as is, but especially fantastic with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt on top and a sprinkle of fresh dill or parsley.  I hope you give it a try.  Enjoy!

Healthy Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup | Relishing It

Healthy Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup | Relishing It

The Recipe: Healthy Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

(serves 4)

1 pound grass-fed ground beef

3/4 cup dry long grain brown rice

1 small white or yellow onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more if needed

cracked black pepper

1 quart chicken broth, preferably homemade

2 cups crushed canned tomatoes (or a 15 ounce can–Muir Glen Organic is great)

2 cups homemade tomato sauce (or a 15 ounce can — again, go with Muir Glen)

3 cups, thinly shredded cabbage ( I used 1 somewhat smallish one)

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup packed chopped fresh parsley

2 cups homemade sauerkraut or store-boughten, preferably fermented

sour cream or yogurt, dill or parsley for garnish

Begin by rinsing the brown rice.  Then add it along with 1 1/2 cups of cold water and a pinch of salt to a large sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the rice is tender and the water has been absorbed, about 40 minutes.  Keep a watchful eye or you may burn the rice.  You can always add more water and drain any extra, if you’re worried about that happening.

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef.  Drain the grease, if there is any and add the onion and garlic to the pan along with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and some cracked black pepper.  Cook the ground beef/onion mixture for just a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens a bit.

Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, chopped cabbage, cooked brown rice, fresh thyme, and bay leaf to the Dutch oven.  Cook for about 30-40 minutes over low-medium heat, or until the cabbage has wilted and is tender.  Add the sauerkraut and freshly chopped parsley and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the sauerkraut has warmed.  Remove bay leaf before serving.  Top with sour cream or plain yogurt and fresh dill or parsley.  Leftovers may become somewhat thick from the rice absorbing more liquid– it can be thinned out with more tomatoes or broth.

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

Bittersweet Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls | Relishing It

I’ve been on a reading tear lately, and it’s just what I needed.  Usually it feels like my mind never gets a chance to focus on one thing, or to just contemplate.  I’m constantly jumping from topic to topic, and though technology certainly contributes to this, in the end the responsbility is mine.  So I’ve slowed down a bit and decided to concentrate on a few good books.  It’s the perfect cure for all of the multi-tasking that seems to take up my day. In the past, I’ve often had a hard time jumping into another book right after reaching the end of a good one.  It was like I went through a period of mourning.  I’m done doing that.  I’m diving right back into the next one, and thankfully I’ve been getting some great recommendations with the help of friends.   But, I’d like more!  Please share with me any must-reads.

Bittersweet Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls | Relishing It

Bittersweet Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls | Relishing It

Why am I going off about books right now?  Well actually, because these amazing chocolate cinnamon rolls were the result of one of my last reads.  The book was ‘The Storyteller’ by Jodi Picoult.  It takes place partially in present day and partially during World War II.  It’s a wonderful read.  The recipe is the one the father (a baker) would lovingly make for his daughter.  After reading about the delicious description of the bittersweet chocolate and cinnamon twirled together into a soft roll, I couldn’t get them out of my mind.  Luckily for me, there was a recipe at the end of the book.  So I made them.

Bittersweet Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls | Relishing ItBittersweet Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls | Relishing ItBittersweet Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls | Relishing It

I’m so glad that I did, because my kids absolutely loved them.  And chocolate and bread are a perfect combination.  This has been a family favorite for some time.  These rolls are about to earn the same title.  These are a perfect chocolate cinnamon combination, with neither overpowering the other.  You may be tempted to chop more chocolate, but don’t.  This amount was spot on.  I can already imagine snowy winter weekend mornings with the smell of these bittersweet cinnamon rolls wafting through the air, as I sip my coffee and read another incredible book.  That is until my kids shout “Mommy!”, and need something.  Hope you enjoy the rolls!

Bittersweet Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls | Relishing ItBittersweet Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls | Relishing It

The Recipe: Bittersweet Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls

1/2 cup warm milk, (I used whole) (110°F)

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/2 cup plus a pinch, granulated sugar, divided

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 large egg yolk

2 cups all-purpose flour (9 ounces), plus extra

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter, divided, plus more for pan

1/4 pound bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 teaspoon cinnamon

coarse sugar (such as turbinado or demerara)

powdered sugar to sprinkle

Pour the milk into a small bowl and sprinkle with the yeast and a pinch of sugar. Whisk. Let stand for 5 minutes until foamy.

In a large bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 egg and 1 egg yolk.  Whisk the egg mixture and the yeast mixture together. In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a bowl and wooden spoon), combine the flour and salt. Add the egg mixture and beat on low until most of the flour is incorporated. Switch to the dough hook and knead on low adding 1 tablespoon of butter at a time until 3 tablespoons of the butter are incorporated. You will knead the dough for about 10 minutes.  You may need to stop the machine and remove the dough from around the hook to make sure everything is getting properly incorporated along the way.  The dough will be sticky.

Place the dough in a large buttered bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a dishtowel.  Set in a warm, draft-free place to rise until the dough doubles in size.  About 1 hour. The length of time will depend upon how warm your area is.

Prepare the filling by using a fork to mix the chocolate, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.  Add the remaining 3 tablespoon of butter and use the fork to combine. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Once the dough has double, roll it out into a 16 x 12 rectangle on a well-floured surface.  Sprinkle filling over the dough and roll into a log.  You may need to trim the jagged end of the log slightly. Cut the log into 9 equal pieces. Place into a 8 x 8 buttered pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again for about 20 minutes.

When the rolls have risen slightly, remove the plastic wrap and mix the remaining egg with 1 teaspoon water.  Gently apply the egg wash to the rolls using a pastry brush then sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon or more of coarse sugar.  Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the tops are a deep golden brown and the center feels set. Cool on a wire rack and serve sprinkled with powdered sugar on top.

Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

 

 

 

Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Mushrooms, and Beef with Horseradish Cream Sauce | Relishing It

Today’s recipe is a simple little dish that my my husband and I both love.  You’ll note that I didn’t say my kids love it, because…well they’re kids, and I guess they just don’t yet appreciate brussel sprouts and horseradish   I, on the other hand, love brussel sprouts and I’m always trying to put them into new dishes.  I enjoy them raw, such as in this salad that I still make often.  But I also love to roast them to add a little complexity to their flavor.  Roasted Brussel sprouts alone can be a meal or a hearty side, but adding leftover braised beef and crimini mushrooms takes them from “boring vegetable” status in my husbands eyes to “that was an amazing meal”.  Topping the entire dish with a delicious horseradish cream sauce made it perfect.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Mushrooms, and Beef with Horseradish Cream Sauce | Relishing It

Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Mushrooms, and Beef with Horseradish Cream Sauce | Relishing It

Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Mushrooms, and Beef with Horseradish Cream Sauce | Relishing ItAs a kid, my grandpa used to grow horseradish in his massive garden. He’d process it into a creamy version and my parents and grandparents would slather it on the homemade sausage. Like my kids, at the time I didn’t appreciate the horseradish… or the sausage, for that matter. The horseradish was strong– it had “bite” to it, as my grandpa would always say.  I’m sure you’ve all made a beef roast and wanted to create something new with the leftovers.  Well, this is a nice quick option.  No leftover beef on hand?  No problem– it will still be amazing without it. This meal only takes about 15-20 minutes to make and it’s so satisfying.  Top it with a drizzle of the horseradish cream sauce and a few chopped hazelnuts (trust me on this) for crunch.  It’s a perfect weeknight dinner and you can feel good about the fact that you’re eating healthy, whole foods.  Enjoy!

Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Mushrooms, and Beef with Horseradish Cream Sauce | Relishing It

Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Mushroom, and Beef with Horseradish Cream Sauce | Relishing It

The Recipe: Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Mushrooms, and Beef with Horseradish Cream Sauce

brussel sprouts, halved (or quartered if very large)

crimini mushrooms, halved

leftover braised beef, preferably grass-fed

hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

olive oil

kosher salt and cracked pepper

For the Horseradish Cream Sauce:

1/4 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons creamy, prepared horseradish

2 tablespoons whole milk (any kind will work)

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar  ( I use Bragg’s organic raw)

1 tablespoon finely minced shallot or red onion

1 tablespoon finely minced fresh chives

1 garlic clove, finely minced

kosher salt and cracked pepper

You’ll notice that I didn’t give amounts for the main ingredients.  Amounts aren’t really needed in this recipe, make as much or as little as you want.  One pound of brussel sprouts will generally feed about four people.  Add as much mushrooms and beef as you like.

To make the Horseradish Cream Sauce: add all of the ingredients to a medium-sized bowl and mix with a spoon.  Taste and properly season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the halved brussel sprouts with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Roast for about 10-15 minutes, flipping once.  You want a nice golden brown color to appear on the brussels. When they are nearly done and have nice color, add the mushrooms and beef to the pan and roast for a few more minutes until they are heated through and the mushrooms begin to shrink in size. Remove from pan.  Place onto a serving dish and top with the horseradish cream sauce immediately (so it can warm slightly) and hazelnuts.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

 

 

Wild Rice, Roasted Butternut Squash, and Kale with Citrus Curry Dressing | Relishing It

We have had a busy couple of weeks, in the most wonderful way.  We went on an epic vacation to Disney World with our extended family.  There were twelve of us in all– six adults and six children– and it was fantastic,  I’m more than a little sad that this long-planned trip has now come and gone.  Luckily, the transition back to our normal lives here in Minnesota was pretty easy.  We’re having a beautiful fall, with stunning colors and perfect temperatures.  October is my favorite month anyway, and this one is living up to every expectation I’ve ever had.  Both of my sweet little ones celebrate birthdays this month– which makes me love it even more.

Wild Rice, Roasted Butternut Squash, and Kale with Citrus Curry Dressing | Relishing It

As for that getting back into the swing of things, we went to a neighborhood potluck last night where our friends smoked an impressive 36 pounds of pork.  It was ridiculously delicious!  I made this autumnal dish for the get-together and received some nice comments, so I figured I’d share it with you as well.  It’s a cross between a side dish or a salad, or maybe even a main course.  Let’s just call it food, shall we?  It has a wonderful feel of fall to it and contains some of my favorite things.   I fancy rice and squash as a combination, and a few of you may remember this dish from last year? This time I went with the nutty, toothsome, wild rice.  I’ve been tossing it into soups and salads whenever I can.  I also stocked up on Winter squash at the farmers market yesterday, so I figured I’d add some in as well.

Wild Rice, Roasted Butternut Squash , and Kale with Citrus Curry Dressing | Relishing It

Wild Rice, Roasted Butternut Squash, and Kale with Citrus Curry Dressing | Relishing It

Wild Rice, Roasted Butternut Squash, and Kale with Citrus Curry Dressing | Relishing It

Then I decided to make this delicious citrus curry dressing to pour on top of everything.  I’d been dreaming about this dressing after having recently gone out to lunch with a couple girlfriends.  This dressing was on all of our salads and it was insanely delicious.  (No worries, ladies– I think I’ve got it down.  Or something very close and fantastically delicious in it’s own right.) The dressing’s base is orange juice that has been reduced to amp up its flavor.  The curry addition makes it unique and almost addictive.  Bite after bite, you’ll keep wanting more.  I also decided to add some kale into the mix, since I had a bit left from my final CSA box.  I massaged it first with a tiny drizzle of olive oil and salt for about 3-5 minutes.  Massaging kale helps it soften a bit, and in this dish, it is worth the little extra effort.

Wild Rice, Roasted Butternut Squash, and Kale with Citrus Curry Dressing | Relishing It

Wild Rice, Roasted Butternut Squash, and Kale with Citrus Curry Dressing | Relishing It

I came across some wonderful honey goat cheese at our co-op and knew it would work perfectly in this dish.  Wow!  There is a smidge of honey in the dressing, so it tied in beautifully.  Of course regular goat cheese would work fine, too.  I topped the dish with coarsely-chopped roasted and salted hazelnuts, but walnuts or even almonds would serve the purpose, too.  Anything that provides a little crunch for texture. The dish can be served warm, but I prefer it at room temperature.  Which makes it a perfect make-ahead dish for the holidays.  Hope you are all doing well– enjoy!

Wild Rice, Roasted Butternut Squash, and Kale with Citrus Curry Dressing | Relishing It

The Recipe: Wild Rice, Roasted Butternut Squash, and Kale with Citrus Curry Dressing

1 cup uncooked wild rice

1 medium-large butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes

1 1/2- 2 cups coarsely chopped kale (any variety will work)

roasted and salted hazelnuts, for garnish (about 1/2-3/4 cup)

crumbled honey goat cheese (or regular), for garnish (about 1/2 cup)

olive oil

kosher salt and cracked pepper

For the Citrus Curry Dressing:

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, from 2 oranges  (Valencia worked great)

1 tablespoon finely minced shallot or red onion

1 garlic clove, finely minced

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

2 teaspoons sweet curry powder

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

kosher salt and cracked pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Place the diced butternut squash on a large rimmed baking sheet and coat with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast for about 20-25 minutes, or until tender.  Turn the squash once while roasting.  The amount of roasting time will depend on how big or small the squash pieces were cubed, so keep a watchful eye.  Remove from oven when tender and let cool a bit.  Squash that is really hot is fragile and will fall apart more easily.

Meanwhile, rinse the wild rice in water and place into a large saucepan with 4 cups of cold water a little salt.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  The rice should be tender after about 45 minutes.  Then drain the remaining water and fluff with a fork.  Let cool for a bit. This method uses a bit more water than usual, but helps in that you don’t have to keep such a watchful eye so it doesn’t burn.

To make the dressing, begin by placing the orange juice into a small saucepan and reduce (uncovered) over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, or until 1/3 cup orange juice remains.  Stir often. Let cool.  Then you may begin making the dressing by using one of two methods.  The first method uses an immersion blender (which I couldn’t live without).  Place all of the dressing ingredients into a tall cylinder shaped container (my blender came with one) and pulse a few times with an immersion blender until the dressing is uniform and well blended.  If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can simply use the bowl and whisk method to make the dressing (or even shake in a lidded jar).   Add all of the ingredients to the bowl, except the olive oil.  Mix together, and then slowly whisk in the olive oil.  Season with kosher salt and cracked pepper.  You may be surprised that you’ll have to add a bit of salt to bring out the flavor of the dressing.

Add the coarsely chopped kale to a medium-sized bowl and drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil and salt. Massage kale for a few minutes until it is tender and has wilted a bit.

When all of the ingredients are ready, add them to a huge serving platter or bowl.  Pour half of the dressing over everything and gently mix.  Taste.  Add more dressing if you like.  Season with salt and pepper.  Then top with crumbled goat cheese and chopped roasted hazelnuts.  I prefer this dish at room temperature.  Refrigerate leftovers.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

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