Posted tagged ‘cashew cream’

Catching Up, Eagle Sighting and Raw Cashew Cream

November 4, 2014

Blogging has taken a backseat these days—there have been a myriad of changes in my life and I have been busy focused on adjusting to divorce, moving, a new relationship, and a significantly greater workload.  No complaints here, though.  Life is good.  My ex and I have remained friends, my new relationship is a blessing I was not expecting, and work is physical and fun.  I am still teaching vegan cooking in a group setting on a monthly basis, as well as in private settings for individuals.  I am still running!  Definitely not the 50+ miles each week like last year, as I am doing a lot more personal training and wellness coaching for work, as well as teaching group fitness three times each week for the Recreation Department of my town.

This morning I had the opportunity for a long run.  My early client cancelled last minute and I found myself racing through Halibut Point State Park, enjoying the late fall scenery with it’s nearly-bare trees, glass-surfaced quarry and vast expanse of ocean view.  With the hours of cross-training I have been logging with work, running feels easier than ever.  This was one of those days where breath, legs and mind were all on board from the moment I stepped out the door.  I felt as though my feet barely touched the ground and I don’t think I heard a single song on my playlist after the first mile.  Running is meditation just as much as it is physical exercise, maybe even more than ever before. I did get to see an eagle perched on a treetop as I ran home. Not that I noticed it myself—a pram-pushing mama pointed it out for me. Magnificent.

IMG_2020-1

Teaching vegan cooking is a joyful experience.  The people who come to my classes are enthusiastic, open-minded, and excited to learn each month.  My amazing photographer has been recovering from a broken ankle, so I am sorry to say I have none of her beautiful pictures to share in this post.  She is coming along nicely in her healing so am hoping to she will be back soon to take photos and notes for me.  It makes me realize how fortunate I am. It’s amazing how good people are to me and how much I depend on the kindness, generosity and skills of those around me to help me get through and be successful in this life.

In the meantime, I want to share a very easy cashew cream recipe.  I posted earlier about cashew cream and the recipe called for roasting the cashews first.  That recipe is delicious!  This recipe is even creamier than the first, and without the roasted flavor, it is even more versatile.  Used in vegan chowders, cream soups and cream sauces, the rich, thick texture lends a sensual mouth-feel and no one ever misses the dairy.

Raw Cashew Cream

Ingredients:

1 c whole raw cashews

filtered water

Method:

Rinse the cashews in cold filtered water and drain.  Place the cashews in a medium sized bowl and cover with filtered water.  Soak for at least 20 minutes, but overnight is a great choice.  Without soaking, the cashew cream will not be as creamy.

Drain and rinse the cashews after they have soaked.  Place in high-powered blender and add 1 c filtered water.  Blend on low until the cashews start to move around easily.  Turn blender speed to high and blend until completely smooth.

I always double this recipe and freeze what I don’t use.  It’s great to have a stock of some basics ready to go when I find myself standing in the kitchen, pondering what to make for dinner.  Consider pasta primavera, pasta al invierno, sweet potato and corn chowder, creamy tomato soup, creamed spinach with cumin, cayenne and cubed tofu—bring it on, winter!  Hearty food awaits!  More to come…

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Sunday Night Supper

January 28, 2013

Eileen and Nathan hang out in the kitchen as my husband works his cocktail magic.  The tiny counter space is arranged with martini glasses, St. Germaine, Absolut Wild Tea vodka, an old-fashioned ice crusher, and drink condiments—fresh ginger, crystallized ginger, and fresh lime juice.  He is about to make Wildtinis, a delicious drink we had last summer at Victor’s in Provincetown.  I squeeze by him, trying to reach to stove to stir the soup.

We have our drinks and I finish cooking dinner.  Tonight we are having cream of broccoli soup to start, then tempeh sausage with black beans and coriander chutney.  I roast beets, onions, red bell peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, red potatoes and broccoli in garlic olive oil until the vegetables are tender and browned.  I steam a basket of fresh kale, and the frilly edges of the greens peek out around the steaming roasted vegetables, making a bright, earthy bed for the spicy tempeh sausage.  There is lemon-peach glazed gingerbread for dessert.

We eat leisurely in the dining room, candles lit, and catch up on a month’s worth of time.  We talk about their upcoming wedding, Nathan’s band‘s CD release party at Oberon in Cambridge, Eileen’s circus tours.  They ask about our lives—the kids, our jobs, and soon the space between us magically melts together in a lovely spell that only good company, food and drink can work.  In the end, the soup was the favorite and I promised the recipe.  It takes about 15 minutes to make this from start to finish, even if you have to make the cashew cream fresh.  I try to keep some cashew cream in the freezer—it makes any soup or chowder extra rich and yummy.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Ingredients:

1 large onion, peeled and chopped coarsely

2 whole cloves garlic, peeled

2 large crowns broccoli, washed and chopped coarsely, stems included

6 c vegetable stock or vegetable broth

2/3 c cashew cream

1/3 c nutritional yeast

generous pinch freshly grated nutmeg

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

minced scallions, green ends only, for garnish if desired

Method:

In a soup pot, combine the onion, garlic, broccoli and vegetable stock or broth.  On stove top, bring pot to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low and partially cover.  Boil soup for 10 minutes.  Turn off heat/remove pan from heat.  Using an immersion blender, puree soup until there are no chunks left.  (To puree without an immersion blender:  allow soup to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer in small batches either to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth, then return soup to pot.)

Return pot to stove and turn heat to medium-low.  Stir in cashew cream, nutritional yeast, nutmeg, and black pepper until well combined.  Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes more, or until very hot.  Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with minced scallions.  Serve with warm, crusty bread as a starter, or add a hearty green salad for a meal.

Shhhh…Secret Vegan Cooking Class

January 22, 2013

I am preparing for my fourth vegan cooking talk and demonstration.  The secret is that it is not technically a vegan cooking class—I have been invited by the Essex County Garden Club to talk about how to use winter vegetables.

The back story: Last spring I joined a CSA.  I bought one share for our family and had the pleasure of visiting Alprilla Farm each Wednesday afternoon to choose whatever I desired.  Each week I brought home a giant bag packed to the brim with the most beautiful organically grown vegetables.  The selection was vast—eight or nine types of greens and heirloom tomatoes, several types of beets, onions, carrots, peppers, kale and squashes.  Cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, beans, soy beans, and much, much more.  Whenever I arrived, I met someone new and fun to talk with about how to prepare and eat the bounty offered.  I met a woman named Nina who seemed to be on my schedule and she would follow me around, asking what to do with celeriac, or how I managed to get my kids to eat kale.

It turns out that she is the event planner for the Essex County Garden Club.  One afternoon, she asked if I would be interested in sharing my knowledge about vegetables—why they are good to eat and how to prepare some of the more daunting ones—and I knew it would be a wonderful opportunity to teach how to cook vegetables.  It would also be a chance to share vegan cooking with a lot of people— a chance to be on the offense about being vegan!  I knew I would be be able to show the beauty in the way I choose to eat without having to do anything other than be myself.

So I’m in my kitchen.  I want to show off, thus I have been prepping all day.  I clean, peel and dice beets, carrots, red potatoes and sweet potatoes.  I wash kale and tear the leaves from the stems.  I spiral slice beets and carrots.  I make ginger nama shoyu dressing for steamed vegetables.  I scurry out to my garden and cut fresh rosemary and sage.  The show-stopper will definitely be the beet and carrot “noodles” turned from the spiral slicer because I also make my delicious vegan Alfredo sauce with mushrooms.

I make raw ginger cookies for dessert sampling, too, taking the time to press out the dough and cut hearts with a cookie cutter, because it’s close to Valentine’s Day and I love to share these amazingly simple and flavorful treats.  (And because Nina, who came to one of my vegan cooking classes here in my kitchen and tried one before, asked so nicely.)

Raw Ginger Cookies

Raw Ginger Cookies

The plan is to roast some vegetables in garlic olive oil, steam some and serve with quinoa and ginger nama shoyu dressing, and boil the noodles and serve with the Alfredo sauce.  Then cookies.  I know everyone will ask for the sauce recipe, so here it is.

Prep for Essex County Garden Club
Vegan Alfredo Sauce with Mushrooms top center and middle row second bowl in

Vegan Alfredo Sauce with Mushrooms

Ingredients:

1/2 c cashew cream*

3 T olive oil or flavored olive oi, divided (I like to use mushroom sage oil for this recipe, but plain is fine)

1  12 oz pkg sliced mushrooms

1 large sweet onion, diced

1/8 t crushed red pepper flakes

generous pinch freshly grated nutmeg

1 c peas, fresh or frozen

2 c vegetable stock or vegetable broth

1/3 c nutritional yeast

1/4 c minced fresh sage leaves

1/4 c orange juice concentrate

3 c raw baby spinach

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Heat 2 T oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms, turn heat to high, and cook, tossing every few minutes, until mushrooms begin to brown and they release their liquid.

Heat the remaining T oil in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook about 7 minutes, or until onion is soft and beginning to brown.

Add the cooked onion to the mushrooms.  Add nutmeg and crushed red pepper flakes, stir, and cook for another minute.  Add the vegetable broth or stock and bring to a boil.  Stir in the peas.  Cook for 2 minutes.

Stir in the cashew cream and the nutritional yeast.  Reduce heat to low and cook for about 5 minutes more.  Add the sage and the orange juice concentrate.  Stir well to incorporate.  Remove pan from heat and fold in the baby spinach.  Grind a generous amount of black pepper into the sauce, taste, and add a little salt to taste.

*another way to make cashew cream:  soak 1 c raw cashews in cold filtered water for at least an hour but overnight is fine, too.  Drain, rinse, and drain again.  Pour soaked cashews into a blender and add 1 c filtered water.  Blend until smooth.  Use for this recipe.  Freeze any leftovers for next time.  Keeps at least 3 months in freezer.

All packed up and ready to go.  No room left in the fridge!  Notice that somehow my kombucha scoby jar is front and center on the top shelf.

All packed up and ready to go. No room left in the fridge! Notice that somehow my kombucha scoby jar is front and center on the top shelf.

Vegan Cooking Demo #3

January 14, 2013

At dinner one night with a group of friends, one of them thought it would be a good idea if I started teaching them how to cook vegan.  The women who are in this little group with me are thoughtful about what they bring when we eat together, but I always bring both an entree and a dessert so I know for sure I will not go hungry, in case someone forgets that chicken broth is not vegan, or that eggs are not okay if they are in a cake.  Sometimes they just don’t know how to make a cake without any animal products.  “What should I use instead of eggs?  Ground flax seed?  How would that work?”  or “What would I put in the salad if you don’t eat goat cheese?”  (The answer to that one is easy—leave out the cheese, or at least offer it on the side.)

I thought it was a good idea, but I am a bit shy about standing in front of a group and talking about, well, anything, really.  I am comfortable in small, informal settings with people I know.  Stage fright hits when I am standing in front of a roomful of people and expected to perform in any way, even just cooking.  My friend Michaela, the one who is a superb baker and who has the most imploring big brown eyes asked again and again until I finally conceded.  Vegan cooking lessons for everyone.  In my kitchen.  Second Sunday of each month at 2 pm.

I thought it would be good to start with desserts, an area that seems the most challenging for bakers who want to try making vegan sweets.  I double and triple checked my recipes, trying things out ahead of time, and my family benefited from multiple batches of cookies and muffins.  I scrutinized recipes I make regularly, making sure the measurements were exact.  I prepared a sheet of vegan baking substitutions and handouts of all the recipes.

I was shaking as I began the first session, but after a few minutes, I forgot I was being watched and just started chatting away as I measured, mixed, and baked.   I planned to pull off three different recipes—giant, crunchy, chocolate chip cookies, molasses ginger cookies, and the famous Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffin recipe.  I printed the blueberry muffin recipe right off of the internet, using it like a worksheet so everyone who came could see how easy it is to figure out the substitutions.  1/4 c silken tofu for each egg.  Soy or almond milk in place of dairy milk.  Vegan margarine in place of butter.  Organic sugar.  I made the muffins with the changes, and no one could believe how delicious they were—just as good, if not better than the original recipe.

It went well.  Really, really well.   “Is it okay if I invite a friend next time?”  “Can I bring my niece?”  “Could you please email me a link to your blog?  To that website?”  “What was the name of that book you read?”  My cell phone began ringing—strangers calling.  “I heard you are giving vegan cooking lessons.  Do you have room for one more person?”  “How much does it cost?”

The answer was, of course, yes!  And it’s free.

The second lesson focused on entrees, and I demonstrated how to make homemade seitan, a chewy and delicious main course.  I also showed how to make cashew cream, and from that, made a vegan Alfredo sauce with mushrooms, peas, and kale, served over spaghetti squash.  We ate dinner together at the end of that demo, and I happened to have enough raw ginger cookies to pass around for dessert.  “Raw cookies?  How do you do that?”  “These are the best cookies I have ever eaten!  Could you share the recipe?”  It was a small group, easy to please, full of excitement for learning vegan cooking.  Then another round of phone calls and suddenly a bunch of people, some of whom I have never met, are sitting in my kitchen, raptly watching me chop, stir, process and talk about why I am a vegan.  And a vegan cook.

So— here I am at the beginning of my third group vegan cooking demonstration, this time teaching how to make vegan cheeses.  My friend Krissie was kind enough to bring her camera and take a few shots of the event.

I am holding up a package of agar-agar, a type of seaweed used as a thickener for many vegan cheeses.

I make three different cheeses in one hour.  The first is  smokey cashew cheese from the fabulous website:

 http://www.olivesfordinner.com

  Krissie got a great shot of the smokey cashew cheese.

The second is pine nut cheese, adapted from a recipe a friend found online while trying to impress me with her vegan cooking skills.  (Not that she needs to try—my friend Stephanie is an amazing cook and I always leave her table with a happy, full belly.)

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Beet-Ravioli-with-Pine-Nut-Goat-Cheese-Rosemary-Cream-Sauce-Aged-Balsamic-Vinegar-354390

I have made this entire recipe as it stands and was a bit disappointed, especially in the pine nut cheese.  The lemon was far too strong, so I eliminated the lemon zest, and instead of using the full amount of lemon juice, I used a little less than half the amount and used organic apple cider vinegar for the remaining volume.  I added about 2 tsp fresh rosemary to the processor along with everything else and wound up with what is perhaps the best nut-based ricotta cheese ever!  It freezes very well, so go ahead and make the full recipe, then divide into 1/2 cup containers and store in the freezer.  This is amazing in a vegan lasagna, or on a whole wheat pizza with a little vegan pesto, some tomato sauce and some caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms.

The final cheese is tofu feta.  Tofu feta is tricky.  There are a lot of recipes out there and I have tried many.  This one is truly delicious and easy.

http://www.ourveggiekitchen.com/2010/03/tofu-feta.html

My captive audience.  I’m making tofu feta in this one.  Beneath the orange pot lid is a block of tofu.  The block is wrapped in a clean dishtowel and the weight of the lid is pressing out the excess water so that the tofu will absorb more of the marinade.

I serve the tofu feta mixed with some chopped cucumbers, halved baby grape tomatoes, Kalamata olives, all dressed with a dash of hemp oil, a bit of lemon juice, a sprinkle of oregano, and some freshly ground black pepper.

For a quick and easy tasting of the pine nut cheese, I cook a box of pasta, add a couple of cups of chopped fresh broccoli, a can of drained chickpeas, and some red sauce.  I pour that into a casserole, dollop on the pine nut cheese, and heat at 350 ° for about half an hour.  There are no leftovers!

Sometime during the lesson, my friend Jane raises her hand, old-school style.  “I think you should get paid for this, Elizabeth.”

“Oh, no, I don’t want to take any money for this.  I am truly okay doing it for free.”

“No, we should at least reimburse you for all the ingredients.”

“No, it’s really fine!”

And so on, until, as I stand behind my kitchen counter, trying to talk and cook and be entertaining and all that, one after another, my audience comes behind the counter.  They tuck bills into the front pocket of my jeans.  I am uncomfortable with this, but at the same time, secretly thrilled that anyone is willing to pay me to teach how to cook vegan.  After they leave, and I clean up, I empty the contents of my pocket onto the counter.  I think— I could make a living doing this—and my gratitude is immense for the generosity and kindness of my friends and the friends they have brought to me.

Sweet Potato Chowder with Blood Orange Oil and Sage

October 3, 2011

It’s the very end of corn season (last day at our local farm stand) and sweet potatoes are just coming in.   This chowder is absolutely delicious, the blood orange oil complements the sweet potatoes, the sage lends a real fall flavor, the sweet corn is a perfect foil for the smokey chipotle pepper.  It’s easy to make, and dressy enough to serve to guests on a cool fall evening.  It only takes about half an hour to prepare, so there’s plenty of time to put together a cranberry cornbread to serve on the side.

Sweet Potato Chowder with Blood Orange Oil and Sage

Ingredients:
1 sweet onion
1 red bell pepper
1 rib celery
2 carrots
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (any grocery will have them in the ethnic food section)
3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
3 sprigs fresh thyme
20 fresh sage leaves
4 cups low sodium vegetable stock or broth
2 tbsp. orange juice concentrate
3 medium sweet potatoes
3 ears fresh corn or 3 cups frozen corn
1 cup cashew cream
3 tbsp. blood orange oil
salt and pepper
1 ripe tomato
2 scallions

Method:

Finely chop the sweet onion, red bell pepper, celery and carrots.
In a dutch oven or soup pot, heat 2 tbsp. of the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the chopped vegetables, the chipotle pepper, and the sprigs of thyme.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.  Take a wooden spoon, find the chipotle pepper in the pot, and mash it against the side of the pot to crush it.  If there are any big pieces left, remove them, mince them, and add them back in.

While the onion mixture is cooking, peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into 1/2” dice.  Shuck the corn and cut the kernels from the cob.
Mince half of the sage leaves.

When the vegetables in the pot are soft, add the vegetable stock, the orange juice concentrate,  the minced sage leaves, and the sweet potatoes.  Turn heat to high and bring the chowder to a boil.  Turn heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender.

Stir in the corn, the cashew cream, and the blood orange oil.  Simmer for about 5-10 minutes more.  Turn off heat.  Remove the thyme sprigs.  Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

Add the remaining tbsp. of olive oil to a small skillet.  Lay the remaining whole sage leaves  in the skillet in a single layer and fry them over medium heat, watching carefully, until they change color and shrink down a bit, being careful not to let them burn.  Remove sage leaves from skillet and drain them on a paper towel.

Cut the tomato into medium dice.  Wash the scallions well and finely mince the green ends.  Combine the tomato and onion in a small bowl.  Crumble the fried sage leaves.

To serve:  ladle chowder into bowls.  Place a heaping tbsp. of tomato and scallion in the center of each bowl of chowder.  Sprinkle with the crumbled fried sage leaves.

Serve with warm corn bread.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

September 30, 2011

The sun is warm, the temperature outside today is in the mid-seventies, yet there is a change in the air.  I can smell it, sense it, feel it on my skin as I step out the door with my early morning client today to walk.  I think about all the yummy summer foods we have feasted on—sweet corn, garden tomatoes, tender Sicilian eggplants.  Crisp cucumbers, summer squash, fresh basil chopped into creamy pesto and stirred into pasta, served at room temperature on warm summer nights.  I sigh for the loss of those only for a moment, as I think ahead to thick, rich fall soups and stews.  Winter squash, cabbages and Brussels sprouts, onions, kale, chard—oh! the possibilities!  The last of the broccoli lurks among the tall flowering stalks I have let go; I remember the days of this soup.  After work and a good workout, I hit the garden, then the kitchen to dig out my old favorite recipe.  Days of cheddar and cream are over, but with a year’s worth of experience in veganizing so many favorite recipes, I whip out my chef knife and fling open the spice cupboard with confidence, measuring and counting, for you mostly, so we can share this recipe as accurately as possible.

Because there is no cheese but I want that tangy flavor, the nutritional yeast, spices, and souring agents lend a taste that is reminiscent of cheddar, but without any of the cholesterol, fat, or dairy.  Cashew cream has proven itself over and over, even better than dairy cream, to thicken sauces, soups and salad dressings.  Practice, practice, practice and now on the stove is a pot of cream of broccoli soup that will feed us all for lunch today.  Welcome, Autumn!

Ingredients:

1 large sweet onion

1 lb. broccoli

2 cloves crushed garlic

2 sprigs fresh thyme

4 cups vegetable stock (I use low sodium—we prefer to salt at the table to taste)

1/2 c cashew cream

1/2 c nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp. each dill weed, dried marjoram, dry mustard

1/4 tsp. each paprika and freshly ground black pepper

generous pinch cayenne pepper

2 tsp. each fresh lemon juice and unfiltered cider vinegar

generous pinch freshly grated nutmeg

1/2-1 tsp. salt

Garnish:

1 c fresh chopped tomatoes, 1/2 c minced scallions, green ends only, 1/2 c chopped pistachio nuts

Method:

Coarsely chop the onion and broccoli.  (Don’t get all particular about the chopping, as you will be pureeing them midway through the preparation.)

In a medium stock pot, combine the onion, broccoli, garlic, thyme sprigs, and vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

While the broccoli mixture is cooking, in a small bowl combine the nutritional yeast, the dill weed, dried marjoram, dry mustard, paprika, ground black pepper, and cayenne pepper.  Stir to combine.

When the vegetables are tender, remove the thyme sprigs from the pot and puree the soup with an immersion blender.  Alternatively, allow the soup to cool and puree in small batches in either a blender or food processor until smooth.  Return to soup pot.

Stir in the cashew cream, the nutritional yeast mixture, the lemon juice, the cider vinegar, the nutmeg, and the salt.  Reheat the soup over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the soup is steaming hot and thickened a bit.

Serve in bowls, sprinkling some chopped tomato, scallion, and pistachio on top for garnish.

Can a Vegetable Really Pass for a Noodle?

October 28, 2010

The answer is yes!   Each time I pass by the pale yellow spaghetti squash in the vegetable aisle, I think about the magic that happens when that squash is cut in half, seeded, and roasted.  Wielding my Nana’s three-tined cooking fork, I scrape the flesh.   Sweet strands separate from the skin, yielding a firm, golden, noodle-like pile, ready to be dressed up and served to a crowd.  I have not cooked spaghetti squash since my pre-vegan days. Then, the sauce was all about cream, Parmesan cheese, freshly ground black pepper and crumbled bacon.  I once tried it with traditional sauce, but somehow the squash didn’t meet my expectations when ladled with tomatoes and ground beef.  The creamy sauce was definitely the favorite.

At Trader Joe’s, I eye the stack of local produce in the entrance way.  I think of cashew cream, and know exactly what to do.  I buy the squash and make a vegan Indian yellow curry with vegetables to serve over it.

Indian cooking can be mysterious— there are many complex flavors, and sometimes the list of spices can be intimidating.  I have experimented with Indian cooking for years, combining various flavors to try and duplicate the tastes I love from my favorite restaurants.  This recipe came out exactly like something I ate recently at Passage to India in Portland, ME.  The spaghetti squash turned out to be the perfect bottom layer, replacing the traditional Basmati rice usually served with curry.  My son was home for the weekend and couldn’t wait to get to the dinner table.  I think he even ended his skateboarding session early to join us.  We didn’t talk much at the table that night— dinner was too tasty to do anything but savor each bite.  My daughter insisted I write down exactly what I did before I forgot.  I did as she asked and was able to duplicate the recipe again a few days later.  We needed to finish the leftover squash and I couldn’t imagine serving it with anything else.

Yellow Curry  and Vegetables with Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash, washed, split, and seeded

For the Vegetables:

olive oil

1 sweet onion, chopped into medium dice

1 red bell pepper, washed, split, seeded and chopped into medium dice

3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and minced

2 medium potatoes, scrubbed, skins on, chopped into medium dice

4 cups finely chopped cabbage

1 cup peas, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2-3/4 cup thick cashew cream

2 cups water

For the curry:

olive oil

2 tsp. mustard seeds

2 tsp. cumin seeds

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 tbsp. Madras curry powder

1 tbsp. turmeric

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 cup raw slivered almonds

1 tsp. sea salt

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400 °.  Line a large cookie sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Place the clean squash, cut side down, on the cookie sheet and roast for about 50-60 minutes, or until the skin gives when pressed firmly with your finger.  Remove from oven, turn over the halves and allow to cool.

While squash is cooking, prepare the vegetables and curry:  For the vegetables:  In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil.  Add onions and peppers and cook over medium-high heat until onion begins to soften.  Add garlic and stir.  Add potatoes and cook for about 5 minutes, or until potato starts to soften.  Add a little water if the skillet becomes too dry.  Add the cabbage and cook about 5 minutes more.  Add peas, raisins, coconut, cashew cream and the water.  Stir well to combine and turn off heat.

For the curry:  Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tbsp. olive oil and roll the oil around the pan to coat.  Add the mustard and cumin seeds and cook until you can smell the cumin and the mustard seeds begin to pop.  Add the almonds and another tbsp. of oil.  Continue to cook until the almonds start to brown, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the Madras curry, the turmeric, the ginger and the salt.  Stir well to combine.  The pan with start to look dry when it is ready.  Stir in the cinnamon and remove from heat.  Sprinkle with the cayenne pepper.

Combine the curry with the vegetable mixture, stirring gently but thoroughly.  The mixture should be thick and creamy, the vegetables tender but not mushy.

To serve: Spoon about a cup of spaghetti squash into a shallow bowl.  Ladle the vegetable curry over the squash.  Serves 6-8 hungry people for dinner.

Some nice condiments to add to this meal are tamarind chutney, (a sweet thick sauce of tamarind and dates), coriander chutney,(a bright green, slightly spicy, tart cilantro paste), and lime pickle (a fiery-hot, salty traditional Indian pickle).  Most grocery stores carry these in the international food section.