Butternut Squash Dip

In honor of the big game this weekend, I thought it would be fitting to make a healthy (yet still tasty!) dip to sample.

I’ll admit, we’re a baseball household (even when the Mariners are having a dismal season; we’ll miss you this year Dave!). I haven’t watched the Super Bowl since I was a teenager, and one of the main reasons I did was because my dad would let my brother and I get any snacks that we wanted for game time – can anyone say sugar overload?

This butternut squash dip is kind of in that vein – the flavor assemblage of squash and goat chevre makes for a sweet combination, with a subtle hint of roasted garlic. I know, sounds kinda weird, but it is delish!

I found the recipe on All Recipes website – it had gotten pretty good reviews and I thought it sounded intriguing. After asking a couple co-workers if they thought it sounded good, I went for it. It was extremely easy to make – you just roast the squash (cut in half and rubbed with olive oil) and the garlic and mash all the rest of the ingredients together with a spoon after it has cooled enough to handle. You can serve the dip warm or chilled (I elected for chilled when I sampled it for customers).

I used a couple small heads of the local red winter garlic since it was available. We only have the 8oz logs of goat chevre at the Co-op, so you can either cut back on the squash (I used a 2.25# squash with 11oz of goat cheese) and get the 8oz log, or I recommend trying a couple of the 5oz packages – either the plain or the pepper flavored ones. I served it with (gluten-free) Food Should Taste Good multi-grain chips and sweet potato chips – I had never tried their sweet potato chips before and found a new favorite!

Butternut Squash Dip

Makes about 4 cups

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium butternut squash, halved and seeded (about 2 1/4#)
  • olive oil for brushing on squash
  • 1 whole head of garlic
  • 11 oz of goat cheese (chevre)
  • ~1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 c walnuts, finely chopped
  • Pinch sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ° F.
  2. Brush the cut side of the squash halves with some of the olive oil, and place them oiled side down on a baking sheet/dish.
  3. Cut the top off of the head of garlic.
  4. Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil, and place on the baking sheet/dish with the squash.
  5. Bake for 40 – 50 minutes, or until the squash can easily be pierced with a fork.
  6. Scoop the squash out of its skin when it is cool enough to handle, and place in a serving bowl.
  7. Squeeze the cloves of garlic out of their skins, and into the bowl with the squash.
  8. Mash until smooth.
  9. Stir in the goat cheese, lemon juice, and sea salt until well blended.
  10. Sprinkle walnuts over the top.
  11. Serve warm or at room temperature.

For a more mild flavor, you can substitute cream cheese for 1/2 of the goat cheese.

Butternut Squash Dip PDF

Raw Caramel Dip – Yum!

Apple season is upon us, and it sure seems like they had a good growing season. All of the new crop apples I have tried have been crisp and delicious. For this week’s recipe demo, I wanted to be sure to include them for that reason. I check Ali Segersten’s blog (of Whole Life Nutrition cookbook fame, written with her sweetie Tom Malterre, which you can find at the Co-op) www.NourishingMeals.com from time to time, and came across her post for a raw “caramel” dip recipe and it sounded so good (and easy!!) that I had to try it.

I was not disappointed. The recipe calls for fresh Medjool dates, raw cashews, and a little bit of maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt. You soak the dates and cashews (separately) for 2-3 hours and then throw everything into a blender or Vita-Mix and presto – a delicious vegan, gluten-free dip that smells like cookies and tastes like caramel!

I sampled the dip with locally grown Bellewood Acres Jonagold apples – they are slightly tart and very crisp – a perfect complement to a locally created recipe! FYI – they give farm tours at Bellewood September 1st – December 31st between 10am-6pm. I spoke with a customer who just went out there with her kids and she said that they had a lot of fun, and so did she!

photo honeycrisp apples raw caramel dip

Raw Caramel Dip © 2010 Sassy Sampler

RAW CARAMEL DIP

http://www.nourishingmeals.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 c raw cashews *
  • 1 c medjool dates, pitted (about 8-10 dates)
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 2 t vanilla
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Date soaking water as needed

* cashews are technically not raw because they are heated to remove the shell.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the cashews into a small bowl and cover with water.  Let soak at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours.
  2. Place the pitted dates into a separate small bowl and cover with water.  Let soak for 2 to 3 hours.
  3. Drain and rinse the cashews, then place them into a blender or a Vita-Mix, along with the drained dates (save the date soaking water).
  4. Add the maple syrup, vanilla, and salt.
  5. Add about 6—8 T of the date water and blend all ingredients until ultra smooth, scraping down the sides if needed.
  6. Scoop into small bowls and serve with sliced, fresh apples.

Raw Caramel Dip PDF

Tom Malterre and Ali Segersten wrote the Whole Life Nutrition cookbook.  Tom is the Co-op’s nutritionist — you can find him twice a month at the Co-op. Check the most recent Co-op newsletter for dates/times.  He will be here to answer your questions about healthy eating, nutrition, and diets.  We are lucky to have them so accessible – a customer told me today that she learned about Tom and Ali while she was living in Arizona and followed her blog, and was so excited when she moved here and found out they were local!

Alissa Segersten received her Bachelor’s of Science from Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington. She is the previous owner of a Personal Chef business in Seattle, Washington that successfully addressed the health and lifestyle needs of many families with her delicious, healthy cooking. She is currently a cooking instructor and author of the food blog http://www.nourishingmeals.com, empowering people with cooking skills and knowledge of whole foods so that they may reconnect with the pleasure in eating delicious, nourishing food.

Tom Malterre received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University and is licensed by the state of Washington as a Certified Nutritionist. Tom travels throughout the United States and Canada lecturing at conferences on topics such as Vitamin D, Gluten Intolerance, and Digestive Health. He empowers people through classes, seminars, and private counseling with his insight and depth of knowledge on the biochemical interactions within our body and their relationship to our diet .

Guacamole Picosa

Last week one of my co-workers told me about a recipe that I thought would be an interesting thing to sample – guacamole made with unripe, hard avocados.  Who would think such a thing was possible, and edible, right?  The recipe came from Ciao Thyme, and they know what they are doing, so I contacted them to see if I could give out their recipe (they obviously said yes!).

Now the first thing I should point out is that like a lot of fruit (well, technically an avocado is a large berry), they do have a different flavor and texture when they are not ripe.  I wanted to really test this recipe so I used the most rock hard avocados that we had.  My thinking was that this time of year avocados ripen a lot easier so regular guacamole is a no-brainer, but in the winter, it seems like it takes forever for them to ripen sometimes, and it would be great to be able to use them if you get impatient (or if you just wanted a new twist on an old stand-by)!

I’ll caution you that you need to be paying attention when preparing this recipe – hard avocados are just that – really hard.  Make sure you have a sharp knife that isn’t too large, and use proper knife handling skills.  Peeling and removing the seed from an unripe avocado is a little more time-consuming than ripe ones that just come apart, but it is worth it, so keep at it.  I used four small organic avocados when I prepared the recipe, but you could easily half or even double the recipe depending on your needs.

This is also a recipe that has many options to change the flavor profile, as well as the texture.  The key is getting the avocado as pulverized as possible, and then adding more ingredients from there!  Suggestions from customers and staff include:  onions, tomatillos, tomatoes, cilantro, and other hot peppers.

I used 3 small cloves of red garlic because it is so fragrant, and a jalapeno pepper (only one, I always make the recipes I demo on the mild side to appeal to the broadest range of tastes), and I think that all the options suggested would be great for future batches!  I made two batches for customers to try – one with Fresh Breeze 2% milk, and one with organic soymilk.  I was surprised that a good amount samplers preferred the soymilk version because of how the flavors blended, so if you are vegan it’s your turn to gloat – this is one of those recipes where it was the preferred choice!

I will also note that this guacamole didn’t turn brown on me, even after hours in the fridge and on ice – it stayed a beautiful, bright spring green!  Here’s a  tip though –  keep a seed or two when you are making (ripe avocado) guacamole, and then put it in the bowl of finished product – it will keep it green!  I’m not sure why or how this works…but it does!

Guacamole Picosa Photo © 2010 Sassy Sampler

Guacamole Picosa

INGREDIENTS

4 unripe small avocados

1-3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped coarsely (to taste)

1-2 small jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped (to taste)

~ 1 1/2 c dairy (milk, ½ and ½, etc.) or milk substitute (rice, soy, etc.)

Salt (to taste)

Fresh lime

Optional:

Tomatillo, chopped (to taste)

Onion, chopped fine

Tomatoes, chopped coarsely

Fresh Cilantro

Instructions

1. Cut and de-pit avocados and put them in a blender/food processor.  You can slice them a few times to make them easier to blend.

2. Add half of the milk or milk substitute.

3. Add garlic and jalapeno pepper.

4. Blend until combined and mixture starts to get smooth.  Continue adding more milk until it reaches the desired consistency.

5. Remove from blender/processor and put guacamole in a bowl.  Add salt to taste—be sure you taste the guacamole with a sample of what you will serving it with—this could dictate how much salt you actually need to add.

6. Squeeze about half the lime into bowl and add optional ingredients to taste and mix.  Add more lime juice if necessary.

7. Serve and enjoy!

Note—if it doesn’t get as smooth as you would like in the food processor, throw it in a blender and it will get smoother!