Re: Dairy-Free Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

soup in bowl

Just in time for the fall season, this dairy-free roasted butternut squash soup is one of the most comforting and flavourful soups I’ve had recently. I’ve been testing and developing a few dairy-free and gluten-free recipes since my last food post. Some still need a little tweaking, but this soup was so simple and goof-proof that I just had to share it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash
  • Neutral oil (I used grapeseed but you can use whatever you have in stock)
  • 1 can regular coconut milk (I use Arroy-D brand, but use whatever you prefer)
  • Fresh tarragon bunch
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1-inch ginger
  • 3 allspice whole
  • 1-2 dried bay leaf
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1-2 tbsp fish sauce 
  • ½ lime juice
  • Salt & pepper

Special equipment:

  • Twine
  • Cheesecloth
  • Ladle 
  • Heatproof blender 

Roasted butternut squash

Procedure:

  1. Cut butternut squash into 4 pieces and clean out the seeds
  2. Preheat the oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit 
  3. Put butternut squash pieces in a lined baking tray
  4. Slather neutral oil on each piece then season with salt and pepper
  5. Roast for 25 min or until the flesh of the squash is soft throughout but not totally mushy
  6. Set aside to cool 

Soup

Procedure:

  1. Use the cheesecloth and twine to create a bouquet made of tarragon, whole garlic cloves, ginger, dried bay leaf, and whole allspice
  2. In a cold saucepan, combine 1 full can of coconut milk, 1 cup chicken broth and 1-2 tbsp fish sauce
  3. Add the bouquet to the coconut milk mixture 
  4. Let the coconut milk simmer for 30-40 min. Taste the coconut milk mixture for tarragon, garlic and ginger notes. The longer the bouquet steeps in the mixture, the stronger the tarragon taste. 
  5. Once you’re satisfied with the flavour intensity of the coconut mixture, turn off the stove and remove the bouquet but leaving ginger and garlic bits that may have drifted out of the cheesecloth.
  6. In a heatproof blender, put half of the roasted butternut squash and lime juice then ladle in some of the coconut mixture.
  7. Pour out the first batch of the soup into a container then add the remaining butternut squash and coconut mixture to the blender.
  8. Combine both batches in the pitcher then blend to your desired consistency. (I blended mine until it was smooth, with no lumps).
  9. Taste the soup mixture for salt, i.e. does the mixture need more salt? Adjust the seasoning to your preference. 

This soup was super cozy to eat and it stores nicely in the fridge. If you have some chili oil, I recommend garnishing with it to add some heat and another layer of flavour. The best part about this soup is that you can easily switch up the bouquet to whatever spice and herb combo and create a brand new soup! I actually originally planned on using fresh lemon grass but couldn’t find it in the store. Nonetheless, this is what makes cooking fun, at least for me!

Always,

K

Re: Chocolate chip walnut cookies

This cookie has dark chocolate, white chocolate chips and walnuts

There’s nothing like the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies out of the oven. Two words come to mind – home and smile. And isn’t that what warm chocolate chip cookies are? I don’t know anyone who frowns upon receiving cookies. It’s a cozy sweet hug and smile adorned with ooey gooey melted chocolates and crunchy walnuts wrapped in a comforting cookie package. Before you get yourself some warm milk, below is my tried and tested chocolate chip walnut cookie recipe. If you want to go nut free, skip the walnuts and substitute another kind of chocolate or dried fruit. 

Ingredients:

½ cup unsalted room temperature butter

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup white granulated sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ cup all purpose flour (sifted)

¼ tsp ground coffee 

Pinch of salt

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp baking powder

½ cup bar 70% dark chocolate shards (around 1 bar) 

½ cup chopped walnuts 

Dash of ground cinnamon

Procedure:

  1. Chop dark chocolate and walnuts to pea size pieces then set aside in a bowl
  2. In a large bowl cream unsalted room temperature butter with brown sugar and white sugar
  3. Once the sugars are incorporated in the butter (the butter tends to turn lighter in colour), add the egg and vanilla extract to the mixture
  4. Sift together all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt 
  5. Add cinnamon and ground coffee to the flour mixture then stir with a fork to ensure even distribution 
  6. Combine the flour mixture in the butter mixture
  7. Add chopped walnuts and chocolates in the bowl
  8. Form cookies using an ice cream scoop or a regular spoon
  9. After forming the cookies, place in the fridge until the oven is preheated to 375 degree fahrenheit 
  10. Take out the cookies and bake for 14 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are golden brown

**This recipe makes 12 cookies.** You can use white chocolate or milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate. This cookie dough also freezes well if you’d like to save some for a rainy day. 

Always,

K

Re: Cornbread Recipe

If I had to pick my all time favourite side, it would probably be cornbread. I just love how sweet yet savoury and slightly crunchy yet moist it is! It’s a shame that cornbread is not a staple in all BBQ restaurants (at least in Canada), or restaurants in general. Needless to say, I was craving some cornbread a few weeks ago and decided to develop my own recipe. It’s been a hot minute since I last posted about a recipe, and it was so much fun cr[eating] this one! This cornbread recipe makes a sweet, moist yet fluffy treat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

Ingredients:

¾ cup yellow cornmeal

¾ cup AP flour

½ cup sugar 

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

Salt (about a pinch)

1 cup buttermilk

5 tbsp brown butter (or melted butter)

2 tbsp oil 

2 eggs 

Splash of maple syrup

Procedure:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Grease an 8×8 baking square with butter
  3. Sift AP flour, cornmeal, baking powder and baking soda in a large mixing bowl
  4. Add sugar and salt to the dry ingredients after sifting
  5. Mix well to incorporate 
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, brown butter, oil, eggs and maple syrup together well
  7. Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients and mix until incorporated, try not to over mix the batter 
  8. Pour the mixture in the baking square, spread evenly and tap the square a few times to let any bubble burst
  9. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown

Substitutions:

I don’t typically have buttermilk in my fridge so I thought it was important to test out alternatives. Around 1 cup plain yogurt (greek or regular yogurt) works well with a little (~3 tbsp) almond milk. The almond milk helps loosen the viscosity of the batter. Bake in a 400 degree fahrenheit over for 27-32 minutes or until the cornbread is cooked all the way through. Using the substitutions doesn’t change the taste, but I did find the crust was thicker and crunchier while still keeping the inside of the cornbread moist. 

Always,

K

P.S. If you’re just starting to learn how to bake, keep it up! Baking could be intimidating at first between the measurements, temperatures and reactions, but it’s also the most fun way to experiment. I made about 7-10 cookie batters before I ever made a decent one. It taught me that failing could be fun sometimes. What matters more is how you can still find a way to creatively think of remedies. 

Re: Summer Recipes with Grapefruit

IMG_8296The very first recipe I posted back in the day was a trifecta of watermelon recipes for the summer. It was a really long blog post, subdivided in 3 sections for the three recipes. I won’t be doing a blog post that long anytime soon, but I definitely wanted to share with you a recipe I’ve been thinking about making for the summer months. They are, Pink Grapefruit Lemonade and a refreshing Grapefruit Summer Salad.

Ingredients for the pink lemonade:

  • 2-3 grapefruits
  • water
  • ½ cup white sugar

IMG_8317.JPGProcedure:

  1. Depending on how big your pitcher/container is for the lemonade, the number of grapefruits will vary. I only used two since my glass pitcher is not large
  2. Squeeze 2 grapefruits in a small-medium size bowl before pouring it in the container. This will help you with catching the seeds from the grapefruit
  3. Add ½ of water and ½ white sugar in a small saucepan (medium heat)
  4. Once the sugar is fully dissolved turn off the stove and stir the liquid around
  5. Pour the water and sugar mixture (aka simple syrup) in the pitcher once it has cooled down for 2-3 minutes
  6. Using a long spoon, stir the grapefruit juice with the simple syrup
  7. Add more water and ice
  8. Enjoy!

*I froze some cut up strawberries and lined the cup with sugar for presentation

Ingredients for the summer salad:

  • 2-3 grapefruits (or more)
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1-2 oranges
  • 4 fresh mint leaves
  • fennel (bulb)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • pinch of sugar

IMG_8306_Procedure:

  1. Using a small paring knife, peel the grapefruits and oranges to prepare for segmenting
  2. When the grapefruits and oranges are peeled, carefully segmented the fruits into wedges or ‘supremes’
  3. Cut the supremes into smaller pieces then put them in a medium size bowl
  4. Roughly chop the tomatoes to the same size as the grapefruit and oranges
  5. Then cut the fennel in half; we will only be using a quarter of the bulb so cut it again to make a quarter
  6. Thinly slice the fennel, as thin as you can using a knife or a mandolin food slicer
  7. Add the fennel slices into the same bowl with the grapefruit and oranges
  8. Roughly chop fresh mint then add it on the bowl. You can use some of the fennel leaves in the salad as well
  9. Add a pinch of sugar, salt & pepper
  10. Pour in about 1-2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  11. Mix the salad together and check for seasoning
  12. Enjoy!

*You can also try adding cucumbers in this salad for crunch!

Paired with your BBQ creations, these recipes will help cool you off with the up-coming summer heat! Do you have a favourite food to eat over the summer months? Share with us by leaving a comment below! 🙂

Always,

K

P.S. Really hoping we get a proper summer in Toronto this year! Pack on the heat and sunshine! 🙂