I love this time of year. I guess I’m more of a -between seasons- kind of gal. I love the cool air of the mornings that gives way to those bright blue skies and sunny September days. We are gathering fresh apples, pears and the rest of what our gardens have to offer. September seems to bring a sense of nurture and comfort. Canning fruits and vegetables, simmering stovetop soups, warming by the fire, breathing in that sweet crisp air as we prepare for the dormancy of winter.
I think that’s why I love this time of year. It’s the anticipation, or the getting ready, for a long winter’s nap.
I love a good nap.
Last year at this time, I came home to find two ugly pumpkins on my porch. Not really ugly, but something was definitely wrong with them. They were the darkest green, almost black and a little rough in texture. I immediately called my friend, who is famous for anonymously leaving little treasures at my door without explanation. She hadn’t left them, nor did she recognize what they were by the picture I’d sent. Not having the wear-with-all to investigate further, I ended up using them for decoration.
Now I could kick myself. Kabocha squash. They seem to be all the rage and I’m seeing them everywhere I go. Kabocha is a Japanese variety of winter squash. If butternut squash and sweet potato had a baby, it would be Kabocha. And in my humble and ignorant opinion, I believe this is the superior winter squash, with their rich flavor and sweetness and moist, fluffy (not watery like acorn squash) texture.
I hope my anonymous donor will be so generous again this year.
So, in my latest Kabocha obsession, I've set out to eat them every which way. I love a good squash or pumpkin soup. Then again, I tend to love the idea of it, but the dairy-free squash soups I prepare never seem to quite measure up to what I had in mind. Until now.
Here is a heart healthy oil-free version of a recipe from Dolly and Oatmeal and is perfect for substituting any winter squash as long as you’re compensating for size and adjusting the ingredients from there. Also, for practical purposes, you can substitute 1 sweet onion for leeks, fennel seeds or celery for the fennel and ground ginger for fresh.
Shopping and Storing Tips: The Kabocha rind should be firm and have a dull sheen with no soft spots. The light-colored bumps on the dark green rind are normal. Kabocha squash is usually available late summer to early fall and can be stored like other winter squashed in a cool, dry place for up to a month.
1 kabocha squash (substitute butternut or acorn)
1 large leek, sliced or 1 sweet onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small fennel bulb, cored and sliced or 1/2 tsp fennel seeds or 3 stalks celery, diced
¾ inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped or 1/8-1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp oregano, dry or 2 tsp fresh
1 bay leaf
5 cups vegetable broth, low sodium or water
½ tsp salt
Black pepper, ground
1 cup Spicy Coconut Cream recipe (see recipe below)
1 ½ tsp fresh lemon juice
Agave nectar or maple syrup, to taste, optional
Spicy Coconut Cream Recipe:
1 can light coconut milk
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
To make Spicy Coconut Cream: Whisk coconut milk, lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper. Set aside.
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Jeanmare and Cristy are creators and contributors of the Living Simply Nourished Blog. Grab a cup of tea (or coffee!), find a cozy spot, scroll around, read some stories, find some inspiration, and enjoy!
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