Hello! For all my west coast friends and family who have visions of me shivering in a snowsuit, just want you to know that we survived the Nor’easter of October ’11. We were not snowed in and trapped at home, but the frigid cold did not bekon me outdoors, so I stayed inside and made a roasted squash salad and a zesty slow cooker vegetarian sweet potato chili.
Roasted squash salad with pomegranate vinaigrette
2 medium or 1 large delicata squash
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp finely minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS honey
1 1/2 TBS pomegranate molasses
1 1/2 TBS balsamic vinegar
1 tsp hot water
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive or canola oil
6-7 cups of washed and torn lettuce of your choice
1 1/2 cups chopped Persian or English cucumbers
2 TBS slivered almonds, toasted
2-3 TBS dried cranberries or cherries or pomegranate seeds
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash squash, cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, and slice into 1-inch half moons. Brush olive oil onto baking sheet, place squash on sheet, brush with oil, and sprinkle with dried thyme, salt, and pepper.
2. Roast the squash for 10 minutes, turn it over, and roast for another 10 minutes or until browned on both sides. Remove from oven to cool.
3. Make dressing: Put minced garlic in small bowl, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt, and mash into a paste using a pestle or the round end of a citrus reamer. Using a fork or tiny whisk, mix in honey, pomegranate molasses, balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp hot water, dijon mustard, oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
4. When you are ready to serve the salad, put a large spoonful of dressing in the bottom of the salad bowl. Cover with the lettuce, cucumbers, and squash slices, and toss to coat. Sprinkle the almonds and cranberries/cherries/pomegranate seeds on top, and serve with freshly ground pepper.
And now for the chili, which I modified slightly from the inspiring Cookie + Kate, who modified it from Real Simple. This was the gojee pick of the day this weekend, and perfect for lazy me because I had on the ingredients on hand. I added purple potatoes because I thought they would add a nice color, but they turned white!
Easy slow-cooker vegetarian sweet potato chili
1 medium onion, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
2 small purple potatoes or another sweet potato
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped, or 1 heaping TBS minced garlic
1 TBS chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or more for a spicier chili)
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
salt and black pepper
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, including the liquid
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can vegetable broth
1/2 cup finely crushed corn tortilla chips, plus more whole tortilla chips for garnish
toppings of your choice: chopped pickled jalapenos, chopped cilantro, grated cheese, chopped green olives, hot sauce, sour cream
Put all ingredients into a crockpot except crushed tortilla chips and toppings. Cook 4 hours on high heat or 8 hours on low heat. Alternatively, as Cookie and Kate describes, you can saute the vegetables in 4-6 quart dutch oven on the stove, then add beans, spices, and tomatoes and heat for 2 hours covered at medium low heat, stirring occasionally. About 20 minutes before serving, add in tortilla chips, which will break down and thicken the chili. Taste the chili and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve with toppings of your choice.