Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Last week I decided to do something I rarely do . . . actually follow a recipe! I’m usually allergic to recipes, obsessively tweaking whatever I’m cooking up to make it a bit more my own. I suppose this comes in part from my years learning to cook while living overseas, where I always felt a bit too transient to invest in measuring utensils. Needless to say I’m not a great baker . . . but that’s another story.

Still, when I came across this recipe for Roasted Asparagus with Pistachio Puree  from Michael Natkin’s awesome veggie site, Herbivoricious, I felt inspired to follow it as closely as possible and see what would happen. I got out my measuring cups and spoons, bought the correct ingredients, and whipped up something new and delicious. I served this with fresh fruit to start, a delicious beet tartar, and a good bottle of wine (Erath Pinot Noir, one of my faves). I might have had a special occasion to put together a meal like this. ;)

I learned a few new tricks while taking the time to follow this recipe but still made it my own by discovering some awesome ways to serve the leftovers. And I have to say, as fancy as this sounds, it was a snap to make. Even though the list of ingredients and steps looks long in this post, I probably put together this entire dish in a little over half an hour, including the cooking times. It’s impressive and easy. Go for it.


Pistachios (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Roasted Asparagus with Pistachio Puree


Pistachio Puree

  • 2 cups unsalted, roasted pistachios
  • juice of one whole, medium-sized lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup water

Roasted Asparagus (I guess I did adapt this part a tiny bit. The following is my version—check here for the original.)

  • 1 bunch organic asparagus spears, the fat kind, trimmed
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • balsamic vinegar reduction
  • 1/4 cup unsalted, roasted pistachio kernels, coarsely chopped
  • fresh tarragon leaves
roasted asparagus

roasted asparagus (Photo credit: elana’s pantry)


Pistachio Puree

I bought raw, unsalted, organic pistachios, so I needed to roast them myself. In order to do this:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  2. Spread the pistachios in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Cook for about 10-12 minutes.

The nuts will be warm, chewy, and slightly brown when done. Yum.

Once the pistachios are roasted, combine them with the lemon juice, garlic, salt, cumin, smoked paprika, and half the olive oil in a vitamix. (The original recipe uses a regular blender, so don’t shy away if you haven’t yet gone pro with your blending utensils.)

With the lid on and at a medium-low speed, drizzle in the rest of the olive oil followed by the water. Blend until mostly smooth but not totally creamy—you’ll want a bit of texture here.

Once the initial ingredients are blended, you can tweak the flavor if needed. I added a bit more salt (I like salt.) and another pinch of smoked paprika, but overall, I didn’t feel the need to change much at all. Make sure to keep the puree covered, as the beautiful green will oxidize and turn brown on top, just like guacamole.

Roasted Asparagus

As soon as you take the pistachios out of the oven, turn up the heat to 400. Toss the asparagus with a bit of olive oil and salt, and roast on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes. (I served the asparagus in full spears because it looks pretty and that’s how it’s done in the original, but I found the spears a little tough to cut into. Next time, I might halve them before roasting and forget the fancy presentation.)

Once the asparagus is tender, turn on the broiler and cook until it becomes blackened in spots. This last step is important—the crispy asparagus heads and crunchy black bits add a great texture to the final dish.

To Serve

Spoon the pistachio puree onto a plate and place the asparagus on top. Sprinkle the chopped pistachios over everything, drizzle with the balsamic vinegar reduction*, and garnish with fresh tarragon leaves. Add a bit more salt to taste.

*The original recipe calls for real balsamic vinegar or a reduction, and considering the price of the real stuff at Whole Foods, I decided to try my hand at a reduction. It worked perfectly, and I’ll definitely be making more. To make your own reduction:

  1. Pour a bit of balsamic vinegar into a small pot or pan.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add sugar—I think I used equal parts organic unrefined sugar and balsamic vinegar.
  4. Reduce to medium-high heat and continuously whisk the mixture until it reduces by half or just a bit more.
  5. Drizzle away!
Roasted Asparagus with Pistachio Puree © 2013, Juniper Stokes

Roasted Asparagus with Pistachio Puree © 2013, Juniper Stokes

This recipe makes far more puree than you’ll need—after all, it’s basically a fancy nut butter. Luckily, it keeps for up to a week in the fridge and is so delicious you’ll be happy to have extra.

How we actually at the dish--I just piled all the asparagus on in a big messy heap! haha

How we actually ate the dish–I just piled all the asparagus on in a big messy heap! haha

Natkin recommends serving the leftovers with other types of veggies, such as raw endive or roasted cauliflower. I used a bit of my leftovers as a dip for baby carrots, and heated the rest up in the oven to make a hot dip for rice crackers and French bread. I highly recommend heating up the leftovers. The hot dip was gooey and yummy and rich—yet totally vegan. It would make a great pesto-like sauce for pasta, as well.


Oh, and I did get a nice thank you for such an awesome dinner :)

my thank you for dinner :) ©2013, Juniper Stokes

my thank you for dinner :) ©2013, Juniper Stokes

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This creation combines one of my favorite foods–potatoes!–with one of my favorite flavor combos–tarragon and nutmeg. I came up with this recipe during a serious craving for comfort food, hence the potatoes (who doesn’t love hot, salty carbs?). Still, I like to at least pretend to be healthy . . . so, I used multi-colored French fingerlings for extra antioxidants and left the skin on for a vitamin boost. I combined the potatoes with all natural ingredients, and viola! A healthy (-ish), gourmet comfort food is born.


  • 2 cups fingerling potatoes
  • 2 Tbs butter (or olive oil)*
  • 2 Tbs half & half (or non-dairy substitute, such as hemp milk)*
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan (or 2 Tbs nutritional yeast)*
  • 1 1/2  tsp dried tarragon
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • splash olive oil

*Vegan/healthier options


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly toss the fingerling potatoes with olive oil and bake for about 30 minutes, or until you can easily pierce them with a fork. (Alternately, steam or boil the potatoes until tender–the important thing here is just making sure that they’re cooked and soft).

Next, remove the potatoes from the oven and reduce heat to 375 degrees. Mash the potatoes and stir in the remaining ingredients (leave out the nutritional yeast at this stage if you’re making the vegan version–it’s best served uncooked, stirred in right before serving).

Return the potato mixture to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the mixture is cooked through. You may want to top everything with a bit of extra parmesan at this stage ;)

Remove from the oven and serve!

twice-baked fingerling potatoes © 2013 Juniper Stokes

twice-baked fingerling potatoes © 2013 Juniper Stokes



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It may technically be spring now, but it still feels like winter here in Colorado (well, actually Colorado weather is weird, in the 70s one day and snowing the next . . . but that’s another story). Winter always makes me crave potatoes and other earthy veggies, so I’ve been taking advantage of the last of the season by indulging in some roasted root goodness.

Recently, I had a bit of fun getting creative with the colors of my root veggies, combining chioggia (or candy cane) beets, jewel yams, and purple potatoes for a stunning roast.

Rainbow Root Roast © 2013, Stokes

Rainbow Root Roast © 2013, Stokes

I tossed the veggies with typical roasting ingredients (olive oil, garlic, onion slices, dried herbs) and was left with a beautiful, delicious, and surprisingly healthy dinner–beets, yams, and purple potatoes all have higher nutritional contents than regular old white potatoes.

So go ahead, join me in upgrading your veggie roasts during the last of our cold weather!

Rainbow Root Roast


  • 1 large chioggia beet, chopped
  • 1 medium jewel yam, chopped
  • 2 medium purple potatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 white onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • olive oil, to coat
  • 1/2 tsp each dried thyme, rosemary, basil*
  • pinch cayenne (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

*There are no rules with spices and herbs–get creative!


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Chop the vegetables, coarsely slice the onion, and mince the garlic. Toss everything together with the olive oil and spices. Roast for about 45 minutes, turning the vegetables a few times to prevent sticking and maintain even cooking. When the root veggies are soft and slightly browned, remove from the oven and serve. Top with parmesan and a squirt of lemon juice for a bit of an extra treat.

That’s it! A recipe that is both easy to make and impressive to serve.


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Well, this is a bit late . . .  but what are you going to do?

This year, the Chinese New Year fell on February 10th, 2013, bringing us into the year of the water snake. Being a sucker for holidays, even ones outside of my own cultural traditions, I had a personal celebration. I decided to honor water snake by making a small painting, and I cooked up a bit of Buddha’s delight, a traditional vegetarian dish typically served during the Chinese New Year.

For my water snake illustration, I did an ink-blob sketch in my art journal. First, I dropped a bit of Dr. Ph. Martin’s liquid watercolor onto one side of the page. Next, I folded the page in half and pressed evenly in order to create somewhat symmetrical ink blobs. Then, I took out a black ink pen and let intuition guide me as a doodled a water snake.

Water Snake © 2013, Juniper Stokes

Water Snake © 2013, Juniper Stokes

I never really know what I’m going to end up with ink blobs and doodles, but I find the process so meditative, and I was happy to have a theme to inspire me.

For the Buddha’s Delight, I used a traditional recipe for inspiration but changed it up a bit to use what I had on hand and add a little health boost. First, I fried up some firm tofu in coconut oil and turmeric and set it aside. Then, I stir fried mixed veggies in coconut oil with garlic and ginger. For my veggies, I used shredded carrot, chopped celery, broccoli, rehydrated black forest mushrooms, mung beans, purple cabbage, and leeks. Yum. I used a wok on high heat to cook the veggies quickly and leave them a bit of crispness. While the veggies were cooking, I sprinkled on a bit of rice wine vinegar, tamari, white wine, sugar, and toasted sesame seeds. To serve, I topped everything with bit more tamari and toasted sesame oil. Toasted sesame oil isn’t a traditional addition to this dish, but I love its flavor and tend to add it to everything. The dish tastes perfectly good without it, too.

Buddha's Delight © 2013, Juniper Stokes

Buddha’s Delight © 2013, Juniper Stokes

For more detailed instructions, check out the following recipes:

Happy New Year!

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This winter has me turning to root veggies for my seasonal nourishment, and I usually have a wide selection of root vegetables on hand–potatoes, yams, carrots, beets, turnips, onions–anything that can be pulled from the ground. But the other day, in the mood to cook, I opened my refrigerator to find only bag of organic carrots and a gigantic daikon radish*. Luckily, limitations often lead to great creativity. I decided to challenge myself and see how many ways I could prepare a carrot-daikon combo, and I came up with three new and delicious recipes. All three recipes are seasonal, easy, and healthy, so enjoy!

English: Picture of a pile of Daikon (giant wh...

Daikon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

*Though daikon is a type of radish, which I usually associate more with summer, they can actually be planted in fall for a winter harvest and prepared in ways similar to most root vegetables. Plus, they are super healthy, with high levels of vitamin C and B complex and the potential to act as a digestive aid.

Each of the following recipes is for a single serving–make sure to at least double each recipe if you’re cooking for more than yourself!

Recipe #1: Shredded Carrot and Daikon Salad 

This raw recipe is a great way to prepare daikon with all of its digestive benefits in tact. The salad keeps well for a few days, and letting it sit at least overnight allows the flavors to merge.


  • 1/3 large daikon
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbs shiso ume furikake
  • juice from one ginger medallion
  • splash lemon juice
  • big pinch of sugar
  • salt to taste


First, prepare the daikon and carrot by shredding them into strips. I used a vegetable peeler with a wavy blade. This type of peeler is commonly used in Southeast Asian food preparation. It’s not only great for quickly shredding veggies into strips, but it will give sliced veggies a decorative edge.

wavey edge veggie peeler

wavey edge veggie peeler

Next, sprinkle the carrot and daikon with shiso ume furikake, a pinch of salt, and a big pinch of sugar. Furikake is a Japanese seasoning meant to be added to rice, though I find all sorts of fun uses for it. The shiso ume furikake I used in this recipe contains a bit of salt and sugar, along with purple shiso, or perilla leaf, and dried ume, or pickled plum. It’s sweet, sour, salty, and delicious.

Ume Shiso Furikake

Ume Shiso Furikake

After sprinkling the furikake, salt, and sugar over the daikon and carrot, add the ginger juice and a bit of the ginger gratings. I used a Japanese-style ginger grater, which is very effective for squeezing out ginger juice. This process also creates fresh ginger gratings, and it’s nice to add a bit of these, as well. If you don’t have an actual ginger grater, try using a garlic press to expel the juice.

Japanese-style ginger grater

Japanese-style ginger grater

Once you’ve added the ginger, toss everything together with the olive oil and lemon juice. Let everything sit for at least an hour so that the flavors can meld.

Carrot Daikon Salad © 2013, Juniper Stokes

Shredded Carrot and Daikon Salad © 2013, Juniper Stokes

Recipe #2: Roasted Daikon with Carrot and Onion

No root-veggie trio would complete without a roasted dish. This simple recipe allows the daikon and carrot flavors to take the spotlight, with just a hint of onion for a flavor boost.


  • 1/3 large daikon
  • 1/2 medium carrot
  • 1/2″ slice of white onion
  • olive oil, to coat
  • salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Peel and slice the daikon and carrot. Take a half inch slice from the center of a large white onion and separate the rounds. Toss the vegetables together with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread everything evenly on a baking dish or pan. Bake for 45 minutes, flipping once to prevent sticking.

Roasted daikon and carrot © 2013, Juniper Stokes

Roasted daikon and carrot © 2013, Juniper Stokes

Recipe #3: Super Healthy Simmered Daikon

I love this dish. I don’t think I’ve ever been served this dish precisely, but it is definitely inspired by my time eating gorgeous veggie food in Japan. The warmth and rich sesame flavor give it the satisfaction of a comfort food, though just about all the ingredients are super-food healthy.


  • 1/3 large daikon, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medallion grated ginger w/juice
  • 1 Tbs Eden Organic Seaweed Gomasio
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • a splash maple syrup
  • 1 Tbs red miso
  • 1/2 cup water
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

First, bring 1/2 cup water to boil. Add the daikon and carrot, along with the gomasio, and reduce to a simmer. Gomasio, also spelled gomashio, is Japanese sesame-salt seasoning. I like the health bump dried seaweed gives to this Eden Organic blend, which includes dulce, nori, and kombu.

Eden Organic Gomasio with Seaweed

Eden Organic Gomasio with Seaweed

Continue to simmer the above ingredients for about 20 minutes. Once the daikon and carrot are cooked, stir in about 1 Tbs red miso (more to taste), and simmer for another 5 minutes. If you’d like a bit of heat, this is the time to throw in the red pepper flakes. Finally, remove from heat and stir in the ginger, maple syrup, and sesame oil. Serve immediately.

Simmered daikon and carrot © 2012, Juniper Stokes

Simmered daikon and carrot © 2013, Juniper Stokes

I loved all three of these dishes. I wonder what I’ll come up with next time my fridge is nearly empty . . . !

Best daikon photos ever:

WordPress blogs:

A couple of random recipes:

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Yum. I made this dish for the first time few nights ago, and I am so happy with how well it turned out. Crunchy green beans and walnuts, combined with pungent blue cheese and red onion, make a wonderfully rich and savory salad. I served this as a side to a great (and garlicky) pot of healthy winter vegetable soup. The meal was a resounding success. Again, yum.

Green Bean and New Potato Salad


  • 1 pound green beans, chopped into 2″ pieces
  • 2-6 golden and purple new potatoes*
  • about 1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts (or roasted, if you prefer), roughly chopped
  • about 5 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

*For this version, I just threw in two little potatoes for fun and a bit of color. Next time, I would use about six–they were good! On the other hand, I think you could easily leave them out and make a strictly green bean salad that is equally delicious.


  1. Thinly slice the potatoes. Add them to the bottom of a steamer with already boiling water.
  2. After about 8 minutes, add the green beans. Continue to boil for another 6 minutes or so. Let cool.
  3. While the beans and potatoes are steaming, prepare the onions, walnuts, and parsley. Thinly slice the onion and coarsely chop the walnuts and parsley, mixing all together in a salad bowl.
  4. Once the beans have cooled a bit, add them to the bowl. Drizzle olive oil to coat, with balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, to taste. Toss all ingredients together to mix.
  5. Serve immediately, or chill for a bit to let flavors meld.
© 2012, Juniper Stokes

© 2012, Juniper Stokes

The Soup

When I prepared the soup to go with this meal, I really just threw whatever vegetables I had on hand in a bit pot with a lot of garlic and herbs. I didn’t take any pictures or write anything down because I wasn’t expecting an amazing soup–just a good healthy soup to fulfill my winter-weather cravings. But of course the soup ended up being ridiculously amazing, and my cousin’s wife (who was present at the meal) has been asking me for the recipe. So, for her and anyone else who wants to stick to our overall meal plan, here is my best guess for how to recreate my stellar soup.


  • 1 butternut squash, chopped
  • 1 turnip, chopped
  • 1/2 white/golden onion, chopped
  • 4 new potatoes, quartered
  • 6 baby bella mushrooms, quartered
  • 1//4 cup green beans, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen kale
  • 1 head garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 quart broth/water*
  • splash white wine
  • grated parmesan to top

*I only had about half a box of veggie bouillon on hand, so I added that and used water to cover the rest of the vegetables. I honestly think water works just as well as bouillon in any well-seasoned soup.

Again, I just threw whatever I had in a big pot and hoped for the best. The soup was great, but next time I might decide to leave out the mushrooms. Or to add tomato. Feel free to play with whatever you have on hand. The key ingredient in this soup is actually the fresh parsley–it made a huge difference in the flavor. And of course the wine. As my regular readers will know, I add wine to everything I cook. I guess it’s my good luck charm.


First, prepare the squash by roasting it at 450 degrees for about 40 minutes. At this point, the squash should be easy to remove from its skin, but not yet cooked all the way through. (Remember to save the seeds! Perfectly Cooked Pumpkin Seeds)

Next, set the potatoes to boil. Like squash, potatoes take quite awhile to cook through, so these extra steps make a difference in how quickly the soup is ready.  Allow the potatoes to boil until they are just over halfway cooked (about 12 minutes) and remove from heat.

While the squash and potatoes are cooking, begin to prepare the rest of the vegetables. Once everything is chopped and ready to go, add the onion, garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, and olive oil to the bottom of a big pot. Sauté these ingredients together over medium heat until the onion begins to turn clear.

Next, add the mushrooms, turnip, beans, and potatoes, and continue to sauté for another 8 minutes or so.

By this time, the squash should be done roasting. Turn the heat to low and let the veggies continue to cook gently while you prepare the squash. Once the squash is ready, turn the heat back up to medium, add the squash, and continue to cook everything together for another 5 minutes.

At this point, all the veggies should be just about cooked through and steeped in herby goodness, so add the broth and water. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce heat, and stir in the kale. Continue to simmer for another 12 minutes.

Next, stir in the fresh parsley, and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes or so.

The last step is to turn off the heat and stir in a splash of wine. Top with salt, pepper, and parmesan to taste.

The bright orange squash and dark green kale make this quite a pretty soup, and with all the garlic and vitamin-packed vegetables, it’s incredible healthy and perfect for warming up during winter. I’ll definitely add a picture next time I make this!

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Well, it’s the day after Thanksgiving and I am happily stuffed after revisiting some of yesterday’s leftovers for breakfast this morning. I’m at home visiting my parents in Washington State, and I’m happy to say that our Thanksgiving meal was seasonal, local (with pumpkin, squash, carrots, and herbs from our garden), and totally vegetarian!

My family has been pescatarian for years, and I don’t even remember the last time we attempted to have a turkey for Thanksgiving. Though stuffing a turkey for this holiday has become an American tradition, our family has found alternative, more sustainable, turkey-friendly, and equally enjoyable ways to celebrate. We still stick to the classics for our sides–cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and veggie gravy, brussel sprouts or green beans, corn, sweet yams–these are all very easy to make vegetarian. But for the main event, rather than stuffing a turkey, we stuff a pumpkin from our garden. Some years, we use a regular bread crumb stuffing, while other years, we switch to wild rice for a local twist. Either version gives us the satisfaction of the Thanksgiving stuffing tradition, without the added cruelty. And let’s be honest, the more well-known veggie alternative, Tofurkey, is not that satisfying or healthy.

I know it’s a bit late for recipes, but I thought I’d at least share this year’s menu with everyone, with hopes of giving other veggies some inspiration around this time of year. And as a bonus, this menu is almost entirely gluten free.

A Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menu


  • Goat cheese torte with pesto and sun dried tomatoes


  • Simple green salad with cranberry gorgonzola dressing
  • Organic homemade cranberry sauce with ginger and hot chillies
  • Mashed potatoes with homemade veggie gravy
  • Roasted green beans with red onion
  • Caramelized mushrooms and onion in a rich butter-wine sauce
  • Sweet yams with maple syrup and spices

The Main

  • Individual acorn squash cups stuffed with wild rice and herbs


  • Pumpkin pie with bourbon whipped cream


  • Local sparking and red wine, as needed ;)

The only dish that wasn’t homemade this year was our appetizer, a goat cheese torte from Trader Joe’s. We served this with rice crackers and sparkling wine from the Mountain Dome Winery, my favorite local winery for the sparkles.

Mountain Dome sparkling wine and Trader Joe’s cheese torte © 2012, Juniper Stokes

A simple side salad with organic baby greens, tomatoes, and green onions, topped with a gorgonzola cranberry dressing from Trader Joe’s, gave the meal a bit of freshness.

simple side salad © 2012, Juniper Stokes

The green beans were supposed to be roasted in bundles with kitchen twine, though we later realized we had the wrong kind of twine and cut if off before actually roasting these beautiful bundles.

green bean bundles © 2012, Juniper Stokes

Homemade gravy with olive oil, flour, and veggie bouillon–delicious and vegan!

vegan gravy © 2012, Juniper Stokes

Dad bought organic cranberries and spiked them with ginger and Thai chili peppers from our garden–amazing. I’ll never serve canned again!

homemade cranberry sauce © 2012, Juniper Stokes

This year, we decided to use acorn squash rather than pumpkin for our main event. After a bit of an odd growing season, my parents ended up with several extra small but still delicious acorn squash from their garden, perfect for individual servings.

tiny acorn squash © 2012, Juniper Stokes

Thanks to their new green house, we were able to season the wild rice stuffing with herbs and carrots from the garden, as well.

stuffed acorn squash with wild rice © 2012, Juniper Stokes

All together, it was a wonderful, healthy, local, vegetarian feast!

Thanksgiving dinner © 2012, Juniper Stokes

I can’t believe I forgot to take a picture of the pumpkin pie (made with a garden pumpkin) with bourbon-agave whipped cream! It was delicious, and I must have been a bit too excited to eat it . . .

I hope these menu ideas help, and if anyone is in desperate need of a recipe, let me know! I’m happy to help.

Happy Thanksgiving! © 2012, Juniper Stokes

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With all the pumpkin and squash dishes I’ve been cooking lately, I’ve ended up with a lot of seeds. Pumpkin and squash seeds are not only delicious, but rich in magnesium, zinc, and protein. The secret is to prepare them to be perfectly crispy–neither too chewy nor too burnt. I’ve had plenty of seeds to experiment with this season, and I think I’ve finally figured out how to make perfectly cooked pumpkin (or squash) seeds.

Perfectly Cooked Pumpkin Seeds


  • pumpkin and/or squash seeds
  • olive oil
  • salt

I haven’t included any specific measurements for this recipe because I’ve found that I never really know how many seeds I’ll have to work with. I tend to buy a lot of small, organic squash and continually save the seeds from each one until I have enough to fill a single layer in a 9″x12″ glass baking dish or a large baking sheet. I use enough olive oil to generously coat the seeds, and I add salt to taste.


First, you’ll want to clean the seeds. Depending on the type of pumpkin or squash you use, this could be fairly easy, or could require enough effort that you might as well sit down with a bowl of seeds in front of your favorite half hour sitcom. I’ve been cooking a lot of acorn squash recently, and I’ve found that these seeds are fairly easy to squeeze away from the pulp. Maybe you’ll get lucky and the process will be easy for you, too. And if you don’t clean the seeds perfectly, don’t worry! A bit of orange goop really won’t ruin them, and I think it sometimes adds a bit of flavor.

Once the seeds are about clean, preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the seeds in a baking dish or on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil and salt to coat. I generously coat the seeds to prevent burning and sticking (and because I love the taste of olive oil). I feel like it’s better to add a bit too much oil at the beginning and then use a paper towel to remove excess oil later, rather than to add too little up front and end up with dry, sticky seeds.

Next, bake the seeds for 40-45 minutes, stirring once to prevent sticking.

perfectly cooked pumpkin seeds © 2012, Juniper Stokes

Next time, I plan on making flavored seeds–curry, thyme, cardamom . . . who knows! I’d love to hear about all of your favorite versions, so please share :)


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I was doing a bit of shopping at Whole Foods the other day when I noticed that radicchio was half off the regular price. Now, I’ve never cooked with radicchio before, nor have I thought much about what it actually is . . . . It’s always just been one of those fancy ingredients casually referenced in gourmet foodie magazines that sounds somehow familiar yet also unidentifiable. But on this particular trip to the store, the bright yellow half off tag caught my attention, and though I had absolutely no idea what to do with the vegetable, I decided it would be a good time to learn.

In case you’re wondering, radicchio looks a bit like small purple cabbage:

Česky: červená čekanka

radicchio, from Wikipedia’s creative commons

I did a bit of research on different ways to cook radicchio, and I found several interesting recipes. In the end, I decided to keep the ingredients as simple as possible. After all, it was my first time actually tasting radicchio, so I really wanted to taste it! As it turns out, radicchio has a very bitter taste. While nutritional medicine and Ayurveda remind us that we need all types of flavors in our palate, I found the bitterness of this vegetable alone to be a bit much. In order to balance the bitterness, I roasted the radicchio until it was almost caramelized and topped it with a bit of lemon juice and parmesan. The result made a subtly bitter and balanced dish that works perfectly as a small side.

Roasted Radicchio


  • 1 head radicchio
  • 1 small white onion
  • juice of 1/4 large lemon
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Slice the onion and radicchio (many people also prepare the radicchio as wedges), and place them in a glass baking dish. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and toss to coat. Bake covered for about 15 minutes. Uncover, and gently stir and turn the vegetables. Cook uncovered for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir the vegetables again, top with parmesan, and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and serve.

Roasted Radicchio © 2012, Juniper Stokes


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I eat salad all summer long, and I don’t always like to give up my daily salads as summer turns to fall and fall turns to winter. But I do like to eat seasonally, and now that it’s November, what’s more seasonal than pumpkin and squash? Adding a bit of curried pumpkin and feta cheese to an otherwise basic salad makes this easy staple suddenly seasonal and gourmet . . . and surprisingly easy to prepare!

Ingredients (serves 2 as a main)

  • 1/4 acorn squash (okay, I used squash in my salad, but I’m sure any winter variety, including pumpkin, would work)
  • 1/4 c crumbled feta
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped
  • 4 radishes, sliced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 2 c lettuce, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • 2 Tbs flax oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • salt and pepper to taste


First, steam the acorn squash (or pumpkin) for about 20 min. While the squash is steaming, sprinkle a bit of curry powder on top. I won’t lie–there are probably more professional ways to create delicious curried squash. But when I cook for myself, I like quick and easy, and this method is the quickest and easiest I’ve found. Once the squash is fully steamed, use a vegetable peeler to take off the skin, and then chop the squash into bite-sized pieces.

While the squash is steaming, you can prepare the rest of the salad. Chop or slice all the veggies and put them a bowl. Then add the feta. It’s as easy as that.

Once the salad is prepared and the steamed squash is on top, you can dress the salad. Following the easy=good method, I put the dressing ingredients directly on the salad, rather than premixing them. I think curry and basil make a great combo, so I first sprinkle a bit of dried basil on top, followed a bit of salt and pepper. Next, add the flax oil. I like the nutty flavor flax adds to this dish, and flax is rich in those ever-important omega 3s. Finally, top the salad with the balsamic vinegar, toss, and enjoy.

curried pumpkin and feta salad © 2012, Juniper Stokes

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