11 May, 2013

Vegetarian Summer

There is no photo of the recipe I cooked in this post. I can't do it all, and besides this dish tastes a thousand fold better than I could make it look last night. Don't let my visual omission deter you.

I've been focusing on vegetables - rightly so - so should you,  and am coveting a new book from the River Cottage series.  It's been getting phenomenal reviews across the interweb.  Renowned carnivore spends his entire summer as a vegetarian. And he looks like he's a goofball while doing it.
Photo by KEO Films
Again, don't let that photo deter you from trying this high boost, flavourful vegetarian comfort food.  This recipe serves two with leftovers or four people, or one person with lots of leftovers...you get the idea.

The tangy feta offsets any bitterness of the greens, the dried fruit and nuts give a pleasing sweetness and crunch.  Then there is the pilaf.  Cooked with fennel and onion, using a good organic broth, a simple grain is made genius flavourful. The roasted squash is a beautiful color that melts in your mouth.

Acorn Squash with Quinoa Pilaf, Swiss Chard, Raisins & Feta
(this recipe is not Hugh's but inspired by another book entirely. I am placing my veg delight onto a book I haven't even cooked from yet!)

1 acorn squash
allspice, cinnamon, ground ginger
salt and pepper
olive oil

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 cups organic chicken broth
1 medium fennel, diced
1 medium onion, diced

3-4 cups chopped organic swiss chard or kale
a large handful of dried raisins or cranberries
a large handful of pepitas or sliced almonds (optional)
1 large garlic clove, minced
olive oil
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

1. Create a tasty olive oil mixture for the squash.  Combine cinnamon, allspice, and ginger with salt and pepper and the oil, brush it over the squash (after you've sliced it in half).  Place the two halves down on parchment paper (this saves clean up). Roast for 20-25 minutes in a 350 degree oven. You know it's cooked well when a bit of pressure on the hard rind gives way.

2. Cook the pilaf. Sautee the onion and fennel until translucent. Add the quinoa and broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until the water is absorbed - about 20 minutes.

3. Cook the greens.  Heat the garlic in oil for a minute or two, add the dried fuit and toss in the pan for another minute or two.  Add the greens and cook, stirring, for three minutes (longer if you have stems).

4. Assemble the dish.  Quinoa on the plate first, topped with squash (removed from rind), sprinkle the feta over the squash before placing the greens on top. Sprinkle the nuts on if using.

So, put down the chop, tenderloin and ribs, and pick up the veg! It's worth it in the end.