“Orange” – Baked Orange Vegetables

Spring is here and it is time to use up the last of my home-grown organic butternut squash.  Carrots and sweet potatoes round out the lineup of the three orange vegetables.

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Vegetables placed on a single layer for roasting

The vegetables were tested three different ways – open roasting, inside a foil packet and cooked in parchment paper (also known in French and as en papillote or al cartoccio in Italian).

All were cooked in a convection oven.  The difference between a convection oven and a conventional oven is the addition of a fan.  With the fan operating, the cooking time and/or temperature can be lowered.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound each: butternut squash, carrots and sweet potatoes peeled and cut in 1 inch pieces
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup pecan pieces
  • 1 -2 Tablespoons of liquid consisting of a combination of any of these:  water, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, orange juice, orange juice concentrate, maple syrup
  • 1 large pinch salt or to taste
  • 1 pinch freshly ground pepper

IMG_1787Method:

  • Prepare the vegetable and placed in a bowl and add other ingredients and mix (or do all this directly on the cooking surface of choice to reduce dishwashing).
  • This dish can be open roasted or put in foil or parchment paper packet (easiest cut in a moon or  heart shape with the paper folds starting at the fat top of the heart and close to the vegetables).

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Place vegetables in a single layer on the chosen food holder. In a pre-heated oven, cook for 50-60 min on 350F in a conventional oven or at 300F in a convection oven.

For a dryer texture, open roast on a sheet pan.  For a more “steamy” mouthfeel, cook  in a foil or parchment paper packet. The veggies should be fork tender at the end of cooking time.

Savory Pumpkin Soup

This recipe is for savory soup and not the typically pumpkin pie spiced soup. My friend Susan served this at a camping weekend on a cold fall afternoon under the brilliantly colored leaves on a New England Columbus Day Weekend.  Over the years, the pantry version was developed with pantry substitutions given in parenthesis.  This recipe is easily halved or made into a vegetarian version.  The recipe is well suited to a thermal cooker as only one pan is used.  Please treat this as a basic recipe and be creative by adding your own favorite spices – curry, cardamom, etc.  Substitute butternut squash or sweet potatoes.  All versions are very good!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into thin strips (or 3 slices bacon) or leave out
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/8 inch dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (28 ounce) plain pumpkin (fresh pumpkin not advised)
  • 1 quart vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper (or black pepper if you don’t mind the specks)
  • ½ cup cream (at least 10% fat) or (½ cup skim milk w 1T butter) or (½ cup condensed milk) or (½ cup almond milk)
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, Asiago, Romano, or smoked cheese (or ¼ cup Kraft parmesan cheese – green cylinder)
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley (2 teaspoon dried parsley)

Heat oil in deep skillet over medium high heat.  Add the prosciutto and saute’ until crisp and frizzled. Remove with slotted spoon and reserve.

Reduce heat to medium, add onion, sauté’ until tender (do not brown).  Add garlic, cook for a few seconds.  Stir in pumpkin, broth, nutmeg, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil.  Transfer to a 5 to 6 quart slow cooker, cover and cook for 3-4 hours on high, or 6-8 hours on low.

Stir in the cream and Parmesan, heat through about 5 minutes.   Stir in parsley and serve.