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These sodden, chilly, fall days—heralding the quick descent into the long, cold, dark, Chicago winter—do bring with them a silver lining or two.  Hard-shelled winter squashes, for instance!  We’ve been getting a lot of acorn squash in our weekly CSA box, so decided to make good.  Good Acorn Squash Soup, that is!

Acorn squash, while delicious and autumnal and… orange… can also be hard to work with.  Ever tried peeling the boogers?  Did you do it the right way?  It’s easier if you know the trick.  HERE’S THE TRICK!

1) Cut it in half.

2) Scoop out the seeds.

3) Cut into segments, along each groove.  (Sorry, Vinnie, wrong groove.)

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4) Peel each section.  (Like so.)

5) REJOICE!  (And review in video form!)

NOW we’re ready to go!  ONWARD!

So first, the ingredients:

1 T. olive oil

1 c. pancetta, cubed

4 lg. onions, sliced (we used red, because they came in the CSA!)

6 acorn squashes, cubed (I’ll bet butternut would be yummy, too.)

2 qts broth, your choice (We used 1 qt. chicken and 1 qt. vegetable.)

2 c. dry white wine

3 cloves garlic, minced

salt, pepper, and your favorite seasonings, to taste

There’s your ingredient list.  Now on to the cooking! 

(This, by the way, is how you’ll look after chopping all that squash:)

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So.  SO!  Over medium heat, in a large (LARGE!) pot, heat your oil and brown your pancetta until fat is rendered.  See?

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Add onions and cook until translucent.  (About 5 minutes.)

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Now, PILE ON!  That is, add squash, broth, and garlic.  Your pot will now be very full.  Let it simmer for about 45 minutes, until squash is easily smashed with a spoon.  Add wine, salt, pepper, and any other seasonings, to taste.  Cook for 5-10 more minutes.

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Enjoy!  But please, by no means, do this.  (Okay, maybe a little bit.)

By the way, this makes quite a lot of soup.  Leftovers for days and days.  One of our favorite ways to dress up the leftovers was with chorizo: simply brown chorizo and add to re-heated soup!  A little fresh sage was also delicious. 

Tell us what you think!  And in the meantime, keep warm!

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Grill night to the max: onions, peppers, leeks, carrots, sausages, chicken, and a leg of lamb.

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I was recently in the Dominican Republic.  It was wonderful.  Beautiful, warm, relaxing (aside from the hissing cab drivers), and delicious.  We had a lot of fantastic food:  stewed goat, lots of rice and beans and chicken, fresh pineapple and mangos and coconut, fried conch, and what was perhaps the most delicious, mofongo.  Mofongo is a traditional Dominican dish of twice-fried plantains mashed with garlic and meat—in this case chicharrones.  And it’s freaking fantastically delicious.  We ate it, ate it again, and couldn’t wait to get home and make it ourselves.  Without further ado:

Ingredients:

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4 green plantains, cut into 1/2 inch chunks

oil for frying (we used a combo of olive and coconut oils)

1/2 c. chicharrones, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 t. chives, minced

3 c. beef or chicken broth

Preparation:

Soak chopped plantains in cold, salted water.  

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Meanwhile, heat broth over low heat.  Heat one inch of oil for frying—I used my cast iron skillet.  Fry the plantains until golden brown and slightly crispy.  (I had to work in 2 batches.)

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Flatten fried plantains with the flat bottom of a glass before returning to the oil for about 30 seconds longer until crispy.  Meanwhile, chop chicharrones, chives, and garlic.

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After plantains are fried, flattened, and re-fried until crisp, combine with chicharrones, chives, garlic.

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At this point, using a food processor is your best bet.  Process until mashed, but not whipped.  The mixture should be moldable, but still including chunks and crispy bits.

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This is usually served in wooden pilons, but we don’t have any.  Instead, we molded it with an ice cream scoop before spooning the broth over it.

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Dare I say ours was even better than what we had in the DR?  No.  No, I dare not.  I will say, though, that I think using coconut oil makes a difference for the better.  I could eat this alllll the time.image

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All this.  

(via twohippiechic)

Source: etsy.com
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Inspire me!

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Yes, you read that right.  Because my boyfriend and I are getting ready to start the GAPS diet for a month or so, I’m trying to eat all the non-GAPS food I have on hand before the weekend.  Having an entire bunch of parsley, my mind goes automatically to chimichurri.  But I realized that I am running low on olive oil, so I switched things up a bit.  ASIAN CHIMICHURRI!

Ingredients:

1 cup parsley, packed, with stems removed

3 cloves of garlic

1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

1/4 c. sesame oil (or sesame-chili oil, or a combination thereof)

1 small knuckle of ginger, peeled (or 1/2 t. ground ginger)

Salt, Pepper, Crushed red pepper, to taste

Procedure:

Pulse parsley, garlic and olive oil in food processor.  Transfer to small bowl and stir in sesame oil and spices.  Serve at room temperature.  (I didn’t have cilantro on hand, but next time I make this, I may go half-and-half with the parsley and cilantro.)

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Wasn’t that EASY?!  I decided to use it as a dressing on an Asian-style “taco salad.”  Let us proceed…

Ingredients:

1 lb. (grassfed) ground beef

1 large clove of garlic

1/2 an onion, sliced

1 red pepper, cut into inchlong strips

1 zucchini, sliced (but really, whatever veggies you like)

1 T. korean chili paste

1/4 c. fish sauce

2 T. tamari sauce or coconut aminos

1/2 c. water, divided

2 t. ground ginger

S&P to taste

1 head of romaine, chopped

Procedure:

Brown ground beef in large skillet, adding onion and garlic when almost brown.  After onions and garlic soften, add the rest of the veggies, chili paste, and 1/4 c. water.  After water is absorbed, add spices, fish sauce, tamari and remaining water.  Allow water to evaporate.  Serve over lettuce, topped with chimichurri.

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Featuring made-to-order fruit & nut bars, grassfed jerkies, dark chocolate truffles, fruit leathers, gourmet nut brittles, and other goodies.  (As well as vintage housewares.)

Stay tuned!