Thai Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Hi Guys!

How is everyone’s week going?! Honestly, this week is going much too slowly for me. I’m waiting on some news/call back so I’ve been pretty anxious and restless! I’m currently in the awkward stage of – do I need a drink, or should I go for a run to let out my anxiety. Since I chose to be responsible today I went with neither and decided to right this blog ha!

I’m just popping in today has I have plenty of work to finish up, but this recipe was so easy and delish that I wanted to spread some mid week cheer. SPEAKING of easy…..did you guys watch the bachelor this week? I had to PVR it, so I just watched it. You guys, here is what I know – I used to feel sorry Nick, really I did. However if you honestly choose women like Corrine, I no longer feel sorry as you clearly make poor choices. Mind you, sometimes I wish I could have a nanny at 29 – so I guess, good for her???

Someone remind me why I watch this show?

Bah, back to food! Ok so as per one of my more recent posts, Meatball Masala, you guys know I have a thing for combining flavours and cultural dishes! I find it such an incredible way to bring so much flavour to a simple dish. Anytime I go out to a restaurant, I usually look for unique flavours first or flavours/combinations I haven’t tried. Those are usually the items that excite me the most, and then figuring out how to recreate them at home. That’s when I get all chef crazy, I’ve been told I tend to over analyze menus and get too vocal about them, so I’ve learned to keep it to myself now.

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Now, I wouldn’t say I don’t eat pasta because I’m Italian and hell, if I want pasta I will eat it. However, 90% of the time I want vegetables to be the star of my plate. So I swapped out the grain in today’s recipe and went for spaghetti squash!

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A reason I like to reach for squash is because of it’s blood sugar regulating properties. Now, it’s important to note that blood sugar regulation is closely tied to our overall supply of B-complex vitamins, and that squash provides five B-complex vitamins! Those vitamins are B1, B3, B6, pantothenic acid, and folate. The unique mix of carotenoid, vitamin C and manganese makes them a super vegetable in my books, being anti- inflammatory, yet another factor that tends to have a nagging effects on blood sugar regulation. I believe by pulling in vegetables like this, we are increasing our intake of superfoods without needing fancy powders all the time. It’s about the quality and method of preparation!

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So today’s crazy simple recipe will give you a superfood boost while being epically delicious!

THAI PESTO SPAGHETTI SQUASH
Yields 4 servings
{Paleo, Vegan}

INGREDIENTS
1 spaghetti Squash
For the Pesto
1 fresh Thai chili, rough chopped
¾ cup (9g) loosely packed mint leaves
½ cup(6g) loosely packed basil leaves
1 cup loosely (12g) packed cilantro
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/3 cup hemp seeds
¼ cup nutritional yeast
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ – 1/3 cup olive oil
Topping
Addition sliced fresh chili
Micro Sprouts

METHOD

  1. For the Squash: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a sheet plan with parchment.
  2. Slice the squash down the center vertically and scoop out the seeds – do NOT through the seeds away. See the notes below for baking!
  3. Place both halves of the squash flesh side down on the parchment paper and roast for 25 – 30 minutes. You want it to just be fork tender so it has some texture and it’s not mushy.
  4. For the Pesto: While your squash is cooking, you can make your pesto. In a food processor, combine all the ingredients except the oil. Process on high speeds and then start to stream in the oil. This should yield a thick pesto. Set aside, until ready to assemble.
  5. Once the squash is done, carefully using a fork, pull away the insides, creating the thin squash noodles. You don’t want to let the squash cool too much, because the warm noodles will allow the pesto to really melt in and coat them nicely.
  6. Place your noodles in a bowl and add the batch of pesto, carefully fold the ingredients together until it’s all combined.
  7. Serve, topped with fresh chili and micro sprouts!

    NOTES:

  • If you don’t like heat, remove the seeds from the chili
  • For the squash seeds (pumpkin seeds), rinse them thoroughly, leaving all the stringy bits behind. Dry with a paper towel and toss in a little olive oil and salt. Roast for 6-8 minutes at 400, shaking the pan every few minutes to get even colour! Voila! So easy.

I hope you guys love this combination as much as I did!

Have a good rest of the week, I’ll be back beginning of next week with a super easy side dish to use up those beet greens, they are NOT just for juicing you know!

~Chef Steph

 

 

 

 

{Tasty Thursday} Holiday Ebook + Perfect Winter Brussels

Ah Thursday already! I actually cant believe this week is already almost over, however it’s been a really cool week with some fun new projects starting that I’m excited to chat about here today. I obviously have a delicious recipe in this post but I wanted to share some fun things first!

Over the past month I’ve been working on the first (of many) ebooks with a fellow lady boss friend of mine, Elle Daftarian. Food That Feels Good: Holiday Edition. In this book we are sharing our favourite entertaining recipes: Apps, Drinks and even Cocktails that will spare you the holiday bloat and the waistline worries! All the recipes are gluten free, paleo and we have some vegan/raw options!screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-5-27-49-pm

Available for a limited time, click here to purchase our holiday ebook! I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you all!

LINK: https://steph-elle.squarespace.com

On another fun note: this has been my first week teaching at Aldershot High School – I’m teaching a 6 part culinary series for their Grade 12 fitness class. This week we’ve been focusing on knife skills, which has been really fun actually, the students were really into it which I loved because I could tell they were really invested in learning some new skills. I think all high schools really need to invest in a program like this, basic cooking knowledge is so crucial for teenagers to know!

 

Now for the recipe!

Brussels are a hard vegetable for some people to like, me on the other hand, I could eat them like popcorn. Sure, I mean if you just steam them – well they obviously suck. So it really comes down to how you prepare them. I fully believe you can get anyone, at any age to enjoy ANY vegetable you just need a good arsenal of recipes to jazz them up.

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These vegetables may be small in size BUT they are not small when it’s come to nutritional value. Plant phytonutrients found in Brussels sprouts enhance the activity of the body’s natural defense system to protect against disease, including cancer. Sulforaphane, is a compound the body created from the phytonutrient, glucoraphanin, found in all Brassica vegetables, and it’s known to boost the body’s detoxification enzymes which help to clear carcinogenic substances more quickly. As well Brussels have high levels of vitamin C, which supports immune function and proper collagen formation: the basis for our body’s structures – including skin, connective tissues, cartilage and tendons.

I wasn’t kidding when I said these little guys pack a punch!

I try to rotate them into my diet every two weeks or so, usually roasted or sautéed. Today’s recipe, will really jazz them up and make them an amazing side dish especially over the holiday season!

I encourage you to make these and test them on your picky eaters.

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Roasted Brussels with Balsamic and Pomegranates
Yields: 4 servings
{Paleo/Vegan}

INGREDIENTS
2lbs Brussels, cleaned and halved
3 Tbsp Olive oil
1 shallot, finely minced
3 sprigs of thyme, picked and minced
1 sprig rosemary, picked and minced
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp cracked black pepper
3 Tbsp Balsamic reduction*
½ pomegranate, seeds removed

NOTE*: you can either use store bought reduction or make your own, I’ve supplied the method below.

METHOD
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. For the reduction: If you choose to make your own reduction, place ½ cup of balsamic in a small sauce pan. Bring to a low boil and turn the heat down to a simmer, let simmer until reduced by half.
3. Then remove from the heat and set aside until needed. Any remaining can be stored in the fridge for future use.
4. In a large bowl add the halved Brussels, olive oil, shallots, thyme, rosemary, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper.
5. Toss to combine and scoop onto the prepared baking sheet, in an even layer.
6. Place in the oven and roast for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and drizzle with 3 Tbsp of balsamic reduction and place back into the oven for 5 – 7 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven and scatter with pomegranate seeds to serve and Voila!

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Pear Cranberry Crumble (Paleo)

I debated over and over again about what I wanted to my first recipe post to be, then I realized simple is truly best and posting something accessible and non daunting would be the way to go.

My love for desserts lead to me making something that would fall under the dessert and breakfast category because I chose to keep this recipe relatively low sugar.

To touch on my “My love for desserts” comment; I’m not a sugar junkie, but there is something I love about watching people light up when they are served dessert. I also genuinely admire it when it’s something that’s not laden in white sugar and white flour, but used with more wholesome ingredients.

I’m not a trained pastry chef, however after culinary school I did work within some pastry kitchens and quickly fell in love with those that used the alternatives to transport a traditional dessert, or traditional ingredients into something gluten free, something paleo or something vegan. For me it really changed the way I saw desserts. I also believe that desserts shouldn’t be sugar laden, overly portioned and should really be looked at a treat and consumed in moderation, but that’s the nutritionist in me speaking.

I get it, because I’m human – sometimes you just want a damn cookie and you don’t want to care about sugar they used. Fair.

However for the other 90% of time, I think opting for the more wholesome choices will land you in a position of better balance and more will power against white sugar cravings.

In terms of winter desserts (even though it’s currently an odd 6 degrees in January), I believe it’s just as important to focus on seasonal ingredients just as you would a savoury dish. For example, if I go to a restaurant in the dead of winter and see a berry tart (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry) on their menu or lemon meringue pie – I feel like I get an eye twitch.

So for this grain free crumble I went with the humble pear, a fruit I don’t think is utilized enough. To add some contrast I added some tart cranberries (a fall/winter berry). Then to balance the flavours, I threw an apple into the mix. In this crumble, I chose not to pre cook/sauté the filling because I wanted a firmer texture as the topping is little softer then your average crumble.

As with any dish, and this is something I’ll usually do within my posts, is mention how having at least 2 of the 5 taste profiles in a recipe and some contrast in texture will allow for a more satiating meal, bite or treat. Just as there should be nutritional balance, we should also have flavour balance.

Sweet – Pear
Tart (Sour) – Cranberries
Creamy – Butter
Crunch – Pecans

Pear Cranberry Crumble
Serves 6 – 8
~Paleo~

Ingredients:
3 D’anjou , peeled, sliced into rounds – remove core
1 fuji apple, peeled, sliced into rounds – remove core
½ cup frozen cranberries – halved
1 cup (86g) not packed, blanched almond flour
¼ cup (33g) coconut flour
1/3 cup (49g) coconut sugar
1/3 cup (73g) chilled butter, cubed
¼ tsp sea salt
1/3 c (52g) pecans, roughly chopped
2 tsp cinnamon
zest of 1 orange
1 tsp grated ginger
¼ tsp ground clove
1-2 Tbsp Ice water (optional)
2 Tbsp (22g) butter, melted for filling
2 Tbsp (13g) tapioca flour, for filling
2 Tbsp (1 oz) orange juice

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×9 2”deep baking dish.
  2. Add your sliced pears and apples to a bowl of acidulated water, just squeeze ½ a lemon and add the half lemon into the bowl of water. This is to prevent from browning will you’re prepping the rest of the ingredients. Strain, when ready to use.
  3. All the almond flour, coconut flour, coconut sugar, salt, 1 tsp of cinnamon and the 1/3 cup chilled butter to the bowl of a food processor.
  4. Process on high to form a dough, if it’s too granular then add the ice water 1 Tbsp at a time until it just comes together. Remove and fold in the chopped pecans, then set aside.
  5. In a small bowl whisk the orange juice with the tapioca flour, to create a slurry and set aside.
  6. In a large bowl, toss the strained apples and pears, cranberries, orange zest, 1 tsp cinnamon, ginger, clove, melted butter and slurry.
  7. Layer the filling in the bottom of your pan and pour over any remaining juices.
  8. Crumble the topping over the entire layer fruit, then bake for 45 minutes until the crumble topping is golden.
  9. Let cool for 15-20 minutes then slice and serve.

 Notes:

  • If you’d like this sweeter, you could add 2 Tbsp of coconut sugar into the filling to make it a little richer.
  • You could top this with coconut cream or a full fat dairy cream of your choice.

I hope you enjoy, if you have some awesome crumble combinations I’d love to hear about them!

-Chef Steph