Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Simple, Quick Fall Food Ideas

In the fall, it is a good idea to incorporate as many root vegetables as possible into your diet, since they are calming and warming.   By roasting several vegetables at the same time, you end up with some foods you are forced to use over the next several days because the biggest portion of the time-cost has already been paid.
Here are a few suggestions -
·         Eggplant: 
o   The skin contains great cancer-fighting elements, so be sure to buy organic whenever possible, and keep the skin on when cooking and eating
o   After cleaning eggplant, slice in half length-wise.  Make slits in the cut surface and insert whole (or halved, depending on size) garlic cloves.  Rub a little olive oil on the surface and then sprinkle on some thyme, rosemary, salt & pepper
o   Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes
o   Uses:
§  Dip/Spread:  Puree with the roasted garlic and some tahini (or peanut or almond butter), lemon juice and salt.
§  Meat-texture:  Mince and use as a meat-substitute (great meat-like texture) in pasta sauce
§  Salads/Side-dish:  Cube and use with quinoa or other grains, to create a warm or cold salad.  Use with tomato, onions and basil as a warm or cold side dish.  Slice and layer with some fresh tomatoes and sprinkle on some parmesan cheese, then broil.  Slice and put on a sandwich.  Cube and toss into a regular salad.
§  Also pairs well with white beans, like cannellini beans.
·          Winter Squash:
o   Halve squash and remove seeds.
o   For savory-style – drizzle a little bit of olive oil on cut surface of squash.  Put a few whole garlic cloves in hollowed-out space (where the seeds were).  Sprinkle on some salt & pepper.  Can also dust with a little ground cayenne pepper.
o   For a sweeter squash – drizzle a little bit of olive oil on cut surface of squash.  Sprinkle on a little bit of salt and dust with cinnamon.
o   Bake at 375 degrees for 45 – 60 minutes, depending on size.
o   Uses:
§  Puree and serve as you would mashed potatoes (reheat on stovetop or in microwave)
§  Dice and add to quinoa along with some onion and left over drained greens.  Season with cumin, turmeric and crushed red pepper and a little bit of olive oil.  Makes a great Indian-style dish (I like to eat this wrapped in lettuce leaves).
§  Slice squash and serve as wedges, as a side dish.
§  Cube and serve in a regular salad (great with some walnuts or pecans, onion, goat cheese and beets).
·          Beets (red or golden):
o   Leaving peel on, remove greens and roast at 375 degrees for about an hour.
o   Store with peel on, in refrigerator until ready to use.
o   Uses:
§  Slice and add to salads
§  Cube and create a roasted beet salad made by also adding some onion and goat cheese.  Top with a simple dressing made from apple cider vinegar and olive oil.
§  Puree and use as you would mashed potatoes (add a little bit of sea salt and heat in microwave).
Remember, you can do this sort of thing with any vegetable you could roast (sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, rutabagas, whole onions, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, etc).  You might enjoy the different tastes/textures these offer, after eating more raw foods during the summer.  These can all be added into soups, also (and hidden in soups by pureeing).  By roasting them, you cut the cooking time considerably.  If you find you have some roasted vegetables in the fridge, and they have been there for a few days, a soup might be a good idea to use them up before they go bad.

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