I know the season’s only just started, but man. I think it’s already got me trapped in its neon, crazy-making claws. This was a particularly hairy week with some deadlines, projects on the up and up, people outright saying no to me, an ever-growing pile of Christmas garland in my living room, plus a scary wind storm/so much snow. And then, in the thick of it, the man I really truly love asked me to get up early one morning and make him a vat of kale slaw for a work function. He brought it up last week, I had forgot about it already, and was–admittedly–a huge dick about it.
He called me from work when I was in the middle of photographing a time sensitive thing (it was a stir fry sorta thing and it was fading fast). Lots of impatient “Uuuuugh” sounds and swears and sighs. I finally said: “You’re gonna have to pick up the ingredients tonight because I DON’T have time this week.” I’ve been making this kale and cabbage slaw with a creamy mustard dressing, some apples, scallions, sesame seeds, and a few other things. It’s so delicious that we’ve already ate it a bunch of times ourselves, plus we brought it to a potluck brunch a little while back too. Devoured every time. So I knew the ingredients off by heart and impatiently rattled them off. “The flat kale! Not the curly, blue-ish one.” + “The cashew butter’s going to be so expensive at that store, but ugh whatever.” and on and on.
I had made up my mind that I would just get up early the day of and make the whole thing instead of doing some prep the night before. Of course I barely slept that night and was miserable, even after two coffees. Just chopping away and not talking much. Using the mandolin slicer lightning fast to get it over with, even though it makes Mark so paranoid because I won’t use the hand guard (and, turns out he’s totally right to be paranoid). Anyway, he thanked me so many times, gave me a kiss goodbye, took the slaw to the work function, and made a point of texting me to say that everyone loved it so much. He’s a lot more patient, forgiving, and easygoing than I am. That calm energy always brings me back to the center when I’m taking things a bit seriously, being just a touch selfish or, more often, just irrationally freaking out.
I’m hoping he can help me embrace and become more of that calm life force over the next month or so. I really want a laser beam focus on good health and wellness through this holiday season. It’s so easy to slip and toss some principle aside, and then feel fed up by New Year’s eve because of all the sugar/pressure. There’s a lot of guides to help with not over-indulging in cookies and booze at parties this time of year (drink a ton of water and eat a vegetable-heavy meal at home first blah blah blah), but I want this effort to go deeper. A bit of a health and mind cleanse, but not in a creepy mind control kinda way. Just aiming for some peace, chill time and optimal health. Join me? ;)
This is another easy, weeknight main course kind of thing with hardy vegetables. Just a nicer version of an everyday supper at our house. I’m in the middle of some freelance food-related projects so there are scraps and halves of all kinds of vegetables/herbs in the fridge right now. The dinnertime move lately is a roasted vegetable + some grain + a slaw-ish-salad with seasonal accoutrements. The glazed squash is so delicious and sticky and awesome on its own though. I dress the whole thing with a fresh turmeric and clementine dressing. Nice and light, sweet, and pretty yellow. My first little crate of the citrus is deliciously sweet, so I’m hoping that’s indicative across the board.
Some other bits: I have a gluten-free and vegan chocolate chunk ginger cake on BAKED this week and a Thanksgiving-appropriate recipe for pot pie in The Washington Post too (hey ‘merica!). Also, I’m making the recipes here print-able now by linking to a Google document below the recipe title. Hope this is helpful for some of you! Big hearts this week xo
salty maple squash w/ ginger scallion rice + turmeric brussels slaw recipe
print the recipe here!
notes: It might be helpful to pre-peel the squash before you roast, just for easier eating. I didn’t really do this and the experience was a touch more rustic, if you will (and I hope you will). Also, if you can’t find fresh turmeric for the dressing, just substitute 1 tsp of turmeric powder. I use a Benriner mandolin for shredding here.
1 small butternut or acorn squash, seeded + cut into 1 1/2 inch wedges
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp tamari soy sauce
salt + pepper
turmeric brussels slaw ingredients:
2 cups brussels sprouts, trimmed
1-2 scallions, sliced reserving white parts
1-2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 tbsp cashew butter (preferably raw)
1 tsp dijon mustard
juice of 1 clementine (like 1/4 cup)
1 inch piece of fresh turmeric, peeled
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp olive oil
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled + minced
2 scallions, sliced
2 cups cooked brown rice
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds/arils
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Lay the squash pieces on the parchment, peel side down. In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, tamari, olive oil, salt + pepper. Brush this mixture on the squash (flesh parts; not the peel). Slide the tray into the oven and roast until the squash is tender, about 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice the brussels sprouts very thin into shreds. Toss them into a medium bowl with the sliced scallion, and chopped dill. In a blender, combine the cashew butter, dijon mustard, clementine juice, fresh turmeric, and olive oil. Season the mix with salt and pepper and blend on high until the mixture is totally smooth and incorporated, adding splashes of water if necessary. Pour 1/3-1/2 the dressing onto the brussels sprouts mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top and gently toss again. Set aside.
Heat the 2 tsp olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the ginger and sliced scallions and stir until ginger has softened a bit, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the cooked rice to the pan and stir to coat in the ginger scallion oil. Keep stirring and sautéing until the rice is warm, about 3 minutes. Season mix with salt and pepper.
Lay the squash slices in two shallow bowls/plates. Top the squash with the ginger scallion rice. Divide the brussels slaw among the two plates and garnish with extra turmeric dressing and pomegranate seeds. Serve warm.