Friday, December 2

Tastes of the Season – camino real foods

Hey y’all. I am terribly sorry for my flakiness! It has been quite an adventurous month. I hope this finds you well and that you are enjoying the crisp fall weather. I know that when it starts to get cold, I like to start using the oven for a couple reasons…1. because I am broke and this acts as a heater and 2. when I cook amazing things, it makes my place smell inviting and festive! So, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite fall recipes.

This time of year, you can find some amazing colors and textures in your fruits and veggie isle. Winter squash, beets, pears, persimmons, and crisp apples can add rich, seasonal flare to your foods this time of year.

Here are some of my faves which I hope you will enjoy!

Quick and Easy Butternut Squash Soup

1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into cubes

1 onion, chopped

8 cups rice milk

1 tbsp ginger powder

1 tbsp nutmeg

Sea salt and pepper

1 tbsp butter (I use Earth Balance vegan butter, but use your version of butter)

Place butter in stock pot and heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add squash and coat with butter. Pour in rice milk. Add ginger, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Cook on low for roughly 40 min. When squash is soft, remove with slotted spoon and puree in blender, returning to pot when done. Keep warm on stove and serve.

Winter Root Veggie Chips

1 medium parsnip

1 medium sweet potato

1-2 beets

Coconut or sesame oil


Sea salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut each veggie into 1/4 in thick slices (like chips). Try to make the same size because the smaller ones cook faster and may burn. Place on cookie sheet but do not over lap. Sprinkle with oil, dill, salt and pepper. Cook for roughly 35-40 min depending on how crispy you like them. Remove from over and place ‘chips’ on plate with paper towel to remove excess oil. Let cool a bit and enjoy. Can store in container and reheat in oven to revive crispiness or eat as is.

Baked Sweet Potato and Rutabaga Mash

1 lb sweet potatoes, cut into slices 1 in thick

1/2 lb rutabaga, peeled and cut into slices 1 inch thick

1/4 cup veggie broth

1 tsp minced fresh thyme

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp heavy cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In baking dish, combine sweet potatoes, rutabaga and veggie broth. Sprinkle with thyme, 1/2 tsp sea salt and 1/2 tsp pepper and turn to mix well. Cover tightly with foil and bake until veggies are very tender (about 1 hr or more). Remove contents to large bowl and add butter. Using potato masher or electric mixer, mash or beat until fluffy (can add cream if desired, but if you want to keep it healthy, I would recommend omitting), Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Indian Spiced Beets

6 medium red beets, stems trimmed to 1/2 inch

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp ground cloves

2 tsp sesame oil

Sea salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In small bowl, combine cumin, coriander, turmeric, cloves, salt and pepper. Mix well. Arrange beets in a shallow baking dish just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Rub with sesame oil, then with spice mixture, coating evenly. Roast, turning occasionally, until beets are easily pierced with a sharp knife (about 90 min). Let cool slightly, then cut stems off and peel. Cut lengthwise into wedges and serve warm or at room temp.

Pear, Cranberry & Walnut Yumminess

4 Bosc pears, cored and cut lengthwise into 6 or 8 slices

1 cup fresh cranberries

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

2/3 cup raw sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup cold butter (4 oz), or again, I use the vegan version, use whatever your preference (I try to avoid dairy)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375. Put pears and cranberries in medium sized baking dish about 2 inches deep and toss to mix. Combine flour, sugar and salt in bowl and whisk to mix well. Using 2 knives cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in walnuts. Sprinkle topping over fruit. Bake until topping is golden brown, fruit is tender and juices are bubbling, 45-50 min. Serve hot, warm or at room temp directly from baking dish.

And now a word about persimmons. For those of you who have not yet tried this lovely fruit, I urge you to give it a go. First off, they are beautiful and so vibrant! They make me so happy! So, a little persimmon lesson:

Persimmons contain a significant amount of fiber, vitamins A and C. They can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar!  There are 2 types of persimmons: Hachiya and Fuyu. Hachiyas are what make up 90% of what you see on the market. They look kind of like a bell pepper, sort of heart shaped. Caution, DO NOT EAT THESE FIRM. They will suck all of the moisture from your mouth and you will be scarred for life and never trust me or eat persimmons again! These have to be eaten really ripe and almost mushy for you to enjoy their flavor. Fuyus look more like a little squashed tomato and these can be eaten while firm. They taste kind of like a cross between a carrot and and apple. So delicious! You can add persimmon slices to salads, puree them to make sauces (again, if using Hachiyas, make sure they are mushy!). You can puree them also to make cookies, blend them into smoothies or just enjoy them raw. They are my favorite fall/winter fruit as of late and I encourage you to grab a hold of one today and see what you think! Come on! Be adventurous!

Thanks so much for reading and for your continuted support. I wish you all health and happiness and a great start to your holiday season! Now get to your kitchen and fire up that oven! Hurry up! It’s getting cold outside!