Cooking

Roasted Chicken leg marinated in soy and burnt caramel marinade with dusting of spring onion slices on a sheet pan

The Impossible Dish

Roasted Chicken leg marinated in soy and burnt caramel marinade with dusting of spring onion slices on a sheet pan

There are few things I knew about myself. One of those things was that I don’t like sweetness in my savory dishes. In the last few years, I have sensed an evolution in the way I eat. I understand that sugar can be more than just sweetness. Sugar can be used to create a different flavor. Sugar is the secret ingredient that creates the joy in this soy burnt caramel chicken.

Bitterness is the opposite of sweetness. It is the sensation that many seem to want to avoid. The truth is bitterness as a part of the flavor palette serves a function. I explore that function in this marinade for chicken. The first time I made the soy burnt caramel chicken, I was skeptical but I had to keep going. This recipe is one that required me to have faith in my imagination.

I kept going and this many years later, I keep going with it. It is something that I created and love. By burning the sugar in this marinade, I get to explore another side of the sweetness. Burnt sugar is not a one note flavor. It has layers that can range from smoky to almost pungent. These layers become even more extraordinary when paired with the magic of soy sauce.

Soy Burnt Caramel chicken served with noodles

It is only right that I admit that this recipe is one that would give a bit of anxiety. How do you know when the sugar is ready? How do you not burn down the house? What tips do I have to make this process doable? Trust yourself and be patient. The initial step of burning is the one that is most anxiety inducing. Once you get through that phase, there is a ton of flavor banked already that makes this a walk in the park. Are you ready to make soy burnt caramel chicken?

Soy Burnt Caramel Chicken

A delicious umami experience enabled by the richness of burnt sugar with soy sauce. The marinade makes the chicken juicy and well season from the inside out.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Author: Sinmi

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Flakes
  • 1 Tbsp GInger Grated
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 2 pounds Chicken leg

Instructions

  • Pour the sugar into a dry light-colored saucepan. Start heating the sugar at medium. As the sugar begins to liquify, swirl the pan slightly to get an even melt. Let the sugar sit on the heat for about 10-15 minutes until it is a dark brown color. Turn heat to low.
  • Once sugar is dark in color, add in the soy sauce and 2 cups of water into the saucepan carefully. Start to stir mixture to encourage the seized up sugar to melt. 
  • Once sugar is dissolved into the liquid, turn of the heat. Smash the garlic and add it to saucepan with the ginger as well as the salt and chili flakes. Let the mixture cool down completely
  • Pour the soy burnt caramel marinade over the chicken.  Seal the chicken and set in a refrigerator for at least 2-4 hours. I have let the chicken marinade overnight without issues. 
  • Preheat oven to 425F. Take the chicken legs out of the liquid and pat dry before setting on a baking tray. Roast in the often for 20-25 minutes.
A white bowl filled with tomato chicken soup with kale. the soup is topped with a soft boiled egg.

My First Winter Soup

A white bowl filled with tomato chicken soup with kale. the soup is topped with a soft boiled egg.

When I first moved to the US, this soup was one of the first things I associated with winter. My stepmother would make a huge pot of tomato chicken soup during the winters in California and it was always the best thing. Especially the next day, when all the flavors would have co-mingled properly. This is my version of that soup, a tomato chicken soup with barley.

One of the things I find interesting about this soup is that the tomato, red pepper and onions are blended in Nigerian style. I never asked my stepmother is this was how the recipe was originally made or this was influenced by marrying into the Nigerian culture. She also tends to make her version of the soup with potatoes. Oh! Those cubes of potatoes would have soaked up so much flavor the next day.

A white bowl filled with tomato chicken soup with barley and kale. the soup is topped with a soft boiled egg.

I started making my version of this tomato chicken soup with barley when I lived in Manchester England. It was my first time experiencing a snowy winter. I am not sure how I found barley but this soup is one of the only places I eat barley. I like barley. It is soft on the outside with a bit of a bite in the middle. That’s how I cook my barley.

The thing I like about making this tomato chicken soup with barley is that I can make the barley ahead. In fact, I recommend cooking the barley separately from the broth of the soup. Barley has a lot of starch that would thicken up the soup if cooked in the broth. I prefer to add in my cooked grains of barley into the soup at the last stage.

Tomato Chicken Soup With Barley

A lovely soup filled with vegetables and barley. The tomato chicken soup is easy and quick since the broth does the work of bringing in the flavor.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Soup
Keyword: barley, chicken soup, kale, tomato chicken soup, tomato soup
Author: Sinmi

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 can tomato puree
  • 1 Red Pepper
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 bunch Lacinato Kale chopped
  • 1 cup barley cooked
  • 1/2 cup Mirepoix
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable oil

Instructions

  • Blend the tomato puree, red pepper, chili flakes, onion, and garlic together in food processor until smooth.
  • In a large pot, add in the vegetable oil. Heat the oil for a minute or two before adding in the mirepoix. Season with some salt and then cook the mirepoix for about 4-5minutes until soft and translucent.
  • Add in the tomato mix into the pot along with the chicken broth. Bring up to boil, then reduce heat and allow it to simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • Add in the kale and allow that to cook and reduce into the soup for about 5 minutes before adding in the cooked barley. Check that the salt is balanced and adjust is necessary
  • Let the soup simmer for a couple minutes before serving.

Notes

I use a homemade chicken broth when I make this soup. This why I don’t need to worry about seasoning the soup because all the flavor is in the broth. I have a recipe here for how I make chicken broth at home.
Butternut squash soup with black beans in a white bowl

A Soup to Remember

Butternut squash soup with black beans in a white bowl

The first time I had a variation of the Butternut Squash soup with black beans, it was such an unexpected treat. It happened a couple of years ago at the Boston Public Market.

The Boston Public Market is one of my favorite places to wonder in the winter. I love looking at the stalls of the local producers and buying donuts. Every once in a while, I stop there to get a meal. Usually, I either get a pastrami sandwich or I go get food from Bon Me.

On the day I tried the butternut squash soup, I got accosted on my way to Bon Me by an affable guy. He was offering me soup for free. He told me, “if you don’t like the soup, you don’t have to pay for it.” Unlike my normal self, I didn’t brush him off. I figured I had nothing to lose. Plus, I loved his approach. So I tried the soup and I paid for it. It was amazing. His was a vegetarian version that was tangy and spicy with loads of vegetables and beans with sweet potato. I love it and I ate every bit of it.

Butternut squash soup with black beans in a white bowl

My version of the soup tries to capture some of the magic of that moment in a simpler version. The butternut squash soup with black beans starts with a mirepoix. Mirepoix is are so commonly sold in grocery store prepped vegetable sections. Buying the vegetable pre-chopped makes life easier but I usually make my own mirepoix at home because I don’t like carrots. Also, I use leeks instead of onions.

The broth is definitely my homemade chicken broth that I have tailored to my specific taste. One special thing that I do with my soup is make cut my butternut squash into tiny cubes. Bigger cubes would work in the soup, they would just need to be cooked longer.

The magic spice in this bowl of goodness is the cumin. The cumin brings everything together¬†and especially after the final squeeze of lime. Don’t skip out on the cumin or the lime. It makes such a huge difference to the way the taste plays out.

If there is one thing I am loving this winter, it is finding easy ways to eat my vegetables on the regular without it feeling like a chore. This butternut squash soup with black beans is such a joyous experience that I can’t help repeating it.

Butternut Squash Soup with Black Beans

The butternut squash soup with black beans takes me back to a beautiful moment of discovering new food profiles unexpectedly. It is such a joyful recipe because of its robust flavor with cumin and lime playing with the sweetness of the butternut squash.
Cook Time20 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Butternut Squash
  • 1 Can Black Beans rinsed
  • 1 Cup Mirepoix
  • 4 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 Lime
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable oil

Instructions

  • This the perfect recipe to use the pre-cut butternut squash that is sold in the stores. It cuts down on prep time. Cut the butternut squash into chunks if you are prepping it yourself. I prefer smaller pieces to cut down on cooking time.
  • Smash the garlic cloves. Add the oil into a medium saucepan. After heating for a minute, add the mirepoix and smashed garlic cloves. Sprinkle a pinch of salt. Stir frequently and allow the vegetables to sweat for few minutes until translucent.
  • Once mirepoix looks soft, add in the butternut squash chunks and the cumin.  Stir frequently for about four minutes, then add in the chicken broth. Bring it up to a simmer.
  • Add in the black bean. Taste the soup to check that salt is at an optimal level. Let it all cook together until the butternut squash chunks are tender. 
  • Serve soup in a bowl with a wedge of lime. Squeeze lime juice over the soup before eating.
Rice and Kale Chicken Soup with Pesto topped with avocado slices in a white plate

The Leftover Soup

Rice and Kale Chicken Soup with Pesto topped with avocado slices in a white plate

This is the easiest kind of soup. Everything is already prepped and cooking really is about warming up together. This Rice and Kale Chicken Soup with Pesto is one more tool in my fight against food waste.

The flavor base of the soup, the chicken broth does most of the hard work. By making building in the flavor of the herbs in the broth already, I can concentrate on just adding in my ingredients into the broth.

One of the things I like about this soup is that it solves the problem of leftover food. When I make this recipe at home, I am usually using bits of chicken leftover from a rotisserie chicken. The rice also tends to be leftover rice.

Rice and Kale Chicken Soup with Pesto topped with avocado slices in a white plate

Really there is no recipe for this soup. I start the rice and kale chicken soup by sauteeing some kale in some oil. Any greens would work if you are not a fan of kale, Once the kale or greens are wilted, I add in the chicken broth. Bring that to a simmer, then add in the chicken bits and rice. I let it simmer for another couple of minutes, I taste it to check if it needs anything. Most times, I have to add a pinch of salt because I don’t make my broth with salt.

The rice and kale chicken soup goes in a bowl to be topped with some pesto. I also like avocado on this soup for some creaminess. A squeeze of lemon also works wonder by elevating the broth.

Baked potato on white plate served with tomato eggplant sauce

From the Yoruba Kitchen…

Tomato Eggplant Sauce in a black cast iron pan.

As a child, living in Lagos Nigeria, I was more familiar with garden eggs than I was eggplant. Sometimes, tomato sauces were made with the garden eggs. I never liked the tomato garden egg sauce. Something about the text just put me off. Many years later in adulthood, this same sauce is the inspiration behind this tomato eggplant sauce.

As with many vegetables that I eat, my relationship with eggplant was frosty to begin. I am not sure when I became a fan of eggplant but here we are. Suddenly, grilled eggplants have become a signature item of my kitchen. The other way I love my eggplant is in this versatile Tomato Eggplant Sauce.

This sauce is perhaps the most Nigerian recipe I have shared so far. It features the classic trifecta of a Yoruba woman’s kitchen; onion, tomato and red pepper. I should add that Yoruba people love spicy food so there is fourth item, habanero, that is used in the traditional blend. Every Yoruba woman, and many Nigerian women, have their preferred ratio for these vegetables. Some like a sweeter mix and others prefer a spicier or more pungent mix. Sometimes, the tomato pepper mix also changes with the dish being prepared.

Baked potato topped with tomato eggplant sauce, basil, and cheese on a white plate

Growing up, the tomato pepper mix I have used in this Tomato Eggplant sauce was always available in the freezer. On Sundays, a fresh tomato pepper blend would be made, boiled down to get rid of the moisture and then stored in the freezer. This blend was then used during the week to make stews, egg sauces, beans, and other items. It was the backbone of many meals.

I don’t eat as much tomatoes as I did when I lived in Lagos. This is mostly because I find the quality of tomatoes disheartening. Too watery in most cases, not enough sweetness and definitely missing a lot of the tartness that balances a good tomato. In the winter, I often choose processed and packaged tomatoes over fresh ones because the quality is better and more consistent. Also, I like that I can get fire-roasted tomatoes when I make things like Jollof Rice or even this Tomato Eggplant sauce.

spooning out slices of cooked onions from tomato eggplant sauce in a black cast iron pan

One of the things I have grown to love about this Tomato Eggplant sauce is its versatility. For this post, I have served it with baked potatoes. The slightly spicy edge of the sauce is perfect for a hot potato with cheese. Plus, I really can’t resist the sweet tendrils of caramelized onion covered in tomatoes with pillowy potato morsels.

The tomato eggplant sauce would also make a good dressing for pasta or even a base for shakshuka. There are many possibilities for the sauce; you need to be a bit adventurous.

Smoky Tomato Eggplant Sauce

A simple and relatively quick tomato sauce that is versatile and filled with lovely vegetables. 
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Dinner, Sauce
Cuisine: African, Nigerian
Keyword: Aubergine, Eggplant, Pasta Sauce, Tomato Eggplant Sauce, Tomato Sauce
Servings: 10
Author: Sinmi

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Purple Eggplant
  • 1 can Diced Tomato
  • 1 Onion (Large)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Red Pepper (Medium)
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp Parsley
  • 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tbsp Crayfish Powder optional*
  • 1 tbsp Chili Flakes
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  • On a gas stove or in a grill, burn the skin of the whole eggplant. The eggplant should have a substantial char all around it. The process of charring the eggplant usually takes 10-15 over an open gas flame. Also, it is possible to do this can be done ahead of time.
  • Place the burnt eggplant in a bowl and cover. Trapping the heat of eggplant would steam off the skin. Let it rest for about ten minutes. Once it is cooled down, remove as much of the skin as possible. Don’t be tempted to scoop out the middle. The bits of the skin left after cleaning helps to give the sauce a smoky aroma.
  • Roughly chop off the cleaned roasted eggplant flesh. Don’t do this in a blender because you don’t want a paste. You want chunks of soft eggplant.
  • Add the tomato, 1/2 of the onions, garlic, the red pepper as well as the chili flakes into a blender. Pulse into a rough paste.
  • Slice the remaining onion.
  • Add the vegetable oil into a saucepan over medium heat. After a minute, add in the onion slices and a pinch of salt. Let the onion cook gently. 
  • Once the onion slices are wilted and almost caramelizing, add in the tomato sauce into the saucepan. 
  • Stir in the herbs, paprika and crayfish powder into the tomato sauce at this point. Let the sauce simmer for about 20 minutes, mixing occasionally. 
  • The tomato sauce is ready for the eggplant chunks when most of the moisture is cooked off. The tomato sauce should be thick before mixing in the eggplant. Make sure to mix in the eggplant chunks so that it is well distributed within the saucepan.
  • Taste the sauce to check for salt. Now is the time to adjust.
  • Let the tomato eggplant sauce simmer for about 5 minutes and then it is done.

Notes

*I debated adding this ingredient to the recipe because it is so culturally specific but I want to be able to talk about how I cook as a NIgerian woman. A good substitute for the crayfish powder would be to melt in some anchovies into the sauce. This boosts the flavor of the sauce.
Carrot Curry Soup with Biscuit and Pesto

A Soup to Soothe the Cold

Carrot Curry Soup with Biscuit and Pesto

My darling Boston has been experiencing a warmer than expected winter, so far. The lack of cold has meant that I have developed a robust appetite for soups as I usually do. This week, we had a bit of a cold snap when the temperature dropped into the teens from the mid-30s. It was a wonderful opportunity to make this carrot curry soup.

The truth is that I don’t know if I really like carrots. I am a bit of a picky eater. There are certain foods I only tolerate in specific preparations. Carrots are one of those. I can only seem to eat my carrots in soup form. Any other preparation and I am not likely going to be a fan. Although, there are a few salad options I have tried and liked.

Carrot Curry Soup with Biscuit and Pesto

I, overwhelmingly, prefer to taste the full range of flavors on my vegetables. One of the things that draws me to this Carrot Curry Soup is how insanely robust and flavorful it is. There is no hiding from the carrot in this soup. The roasting of the carrot to get that caramelization completely changes the way it presents itself in the soup. The carrot suddenly has both a sweet and salty taste on the tongue. This is one of my favorite things about this soup

As the name Carrot Curry Soup suggests, the curry paste is an important part of this production. Finding a good red curry paste makes a difference in this soup. I usually buy a popular brand that I have used and liked for years. Toasting the curry paste a bit before cooking is something I learned from reading South East Asian recipes. It gives the curry a chance to develop a heavenly fragrance while waking up dormant oils.

There is a bit of a choose your adventure to making soup. You can make it as thick or as thin as you desire. I personally prefer this carrot curry soup so thick it feels like a mousse. The feel of air on the tongue is one that makes quite a difference when eating this.

I have served this carrot curry soup with an insanely flavorful Walnut Cilantro pesto sauce that is still in testing. Hopefully, I can get that recipe out to you soon.

Please try the recipe and let me know what you think.

Carrot Curry Soup

Delightful use of carrot and red curry paste to create a warming winter soup.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Main Course, Soup
Keyword: carrot, coconut, coconut milk, coconut oil, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, red curry paste, roasted carrot
Servings: 4
Author: Sinmi

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Carrot peeled and quartered
  • 4 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 3 Tbsp Red Curry Paste
  • 13.5 oz Full Fat Coconut Milk this basically one can of coconut milk
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 inches ginger chopped
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  • The first step is roasting the carrots. Put the carrots on a baking sheet, add in two tablespoons of coconut oil and some salt. Mix it so that everything is well coated. Place in an oven that has been preheated to 400F. Roast for 25 minutes or until carrots is well browned.
  • In a medium-sized pot, heat up the leftover coconut oil. Add in the chopped garlic and ginger. Sauteed at medium heat for about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the red pepper paste. Keep stirring and heating until the paste mixture is fragrant.
  • Pour the coconut milk as well as 2-3 cups of water. Stir until the paste is well dissolved into the liquid. Add in the roasted carrots. Let it boil at medium heat for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Let soup cool down a bit before attempting to blend, for safety reasons. Once it is cool enough to handle, blend soup until smooth. This can easily be done in a food processor or blender. 

Notes

*I like to blend the soup for a long time to whisk some air into it. This gives it a mousse like texture when you are eating it. 
*Also, I serve mine with a tangy walnut cilantro paste sometimes. This adds a serious depth of flavor to the bowl. The recipe for that is here.
smashed twice cooked cumin potatoes in a white plate with a white sauce and parsley

Smash it!

smashed twice cooked cumin potatoes in a white plate with a white sauce and parsley

I first made this potato recipe on Thanksgiving day. It was one of those things that I just kept playing with, in my head. Unsurprisingly it worked. This recipe for Smashed Twice Cooked Cumin Potatoes is one that would work so well in any meal prep plan.

For me, when I meal prep, I want to be able to combine my foods with different items. To prep the potatoes I used in this recipe, I boil the potatoes and smash them once they are soft. Once the potatoes cool down, I store it in the fridge. This initial cooking of the potatoes gives me a lot of flexibility when I am ready to use the potatoes. So instead of having finished dishes, I like to have cooked or prepped items that can be combined to make different dishes. This way I don’t get stuck in a rut of feeling like I am eating the same thing every day.

smashed twice cooked cumin potatoes in a white plate in a black cast iron pan

Spices can really make a huge difference in changing up the way food taste. The cumin in this smashed twice cooked potatoes does a marvelous job making this feel so different. Cumin and I have had a loving relationship. This relationship with cumin only got better once I became obsessed with chicken fat. This means, more often than not, when I use cumin in a recipe, chicken fat makes an appearance. I just found that the combination works. Individually, cumin and chicken fat work. Together, they are magic like in this Smashed Twice Cooked Cumin Potatoes.

If you can’t get chicken fat, duck fat is also a very good option for cooking this potatoes. If you don’t want fat from a bird, a butter or ghee works nicely as well. The point is that you want to use a fat that has good flavor when you are making potatoes. Don’t skimp on flavor by using neutral oil.

I served the smashed twice cooked cumin potatoes with a lemony yogurt tahini sauce. The recipe for the sauce is here.

Smashed Twice Cooked Cumin Potatoes

A meal-prep favorite of mine, these smashed twice cooked potatoes are crispy and loaded on flavor when done. Don’t believe me, try it!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: chicken fat, cumin, potato, potatoes, smashed potatoes
Servings: 4
Author: Sinmi

Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds Potatoes russett potatoes work well
  • 1 tsp Cumin seed
  • 3 tbsp Chicken fat duck fat or ghee make a great substitute
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  • Don’t peel the potatoes. Simply scrub the skin. If the potatoes are large, cut into large chunks.
  • Cook the potatoes in well-salted water until fork tender. Drain
  • Allow the potatoes to cool a bit. Once you can handle then, flatten with the side of a cup, rolling pin or your palms. If you are meal prepping, this is the best point to store the potatoes.
  • When you are ready to eat the potatoes, heat a pan big enough to hold all the potatoes. Add in 2 tbsp of chicken fat. Once that is melted, add in the cumin seeds.
  • Once the chicken fat is sizzling, add in the potatoes. Press the potatoes into the pan so that they spread out and flatten out. Then leave it alone. You want the bottom to fry and crispy up undisturbed.
  • Keep listening to the pan, as it starts to crackle regularly, you know it is time to turn. Usually takes about 7-10 minutes. It is time to flip the potatoes.
  • Try as much as possible to turn all of the potatoes. It is not going to be a neat singularly piece. It is likely going to crumble. That’s ok. 
  • Once you are happy with the new flat layout, tuck bits of the single tablespoon of fat leftover into the potatoes. You can place the bits of fat on the edge of the pan for extra crispiness.
  • Fry on the second side for about 5 minutes. Then you are ready to serve the smashed twice cooked cumin potatoes.
Turkey Kielbasa stir fry in a white bowl

Monday Blues

Turkey Kielbasa stir fry in a white bowl

It is always surprising to me that I still have a sense of Monday as the beginning of the week. I have spent most of my career working an unconventional schedule. This means I work during the weekend. My days off are usually during the week. So, Monday for me is really just another day of the week. However, I still find myself in the Monday Blues needing something easy to get me going. This Turkey Kielbasa stir-fry has become the thing.

Turkey Kielbasa stir fry in a white bowl

I love sausages. Always have, always will. But my relationship with any sausage is complicated because I don’t eat pork or its derivative. Almost all sausage products are encased in a pork casing, even when the filling is not pork based. This makes it hard for me to get sausages because I find myself reading ingredients fine print. Luckily I have been able to find a few brands that use collagen casing.

The thing I like about the Turkey Kielbasa from Hillshire Farms is the seasoning. The sausage has a balanced blend of herbs and spices. I don’t have to worry about seasoning the foods I put it in. This makes it a perfect backbone for a quick meal on a lazy night.

The other thing I should tell you about this turkey kielbasa stir fry is that it is not finicky. There is no order of business other than getting the sausage into a hot pan along with the vegetables. Everything just needs to heated thoroughly because the turkey kielbasa is already cooked.

I have served this with my favorite mashed white beans again. I feel like it is time for me to write a recipe for this mashed white beans because it is so easy and goes so well with everything. Anyway, I hope this turkey kielbasa stir fry brings some joy to blow the Monday blues away.

Turkey Kielbasa stir fry in a white bowl

Turkey Kielbasa Stir-fry

A super speedy recipe for an easy Monday meal featuring turkey kielbasa and vegetables.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Keyword: turkey kielbasa, turkey kielbasa stir fry, turkey sausage, turkey stir fry
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Sinmi

Ingredients

  • 16 oz Turkey Kielbasa sliced
  • 1 Yellow Onion sliced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic Smashed and chopped
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil Use a light or neutral olive oil
  • 1 pound Baby Kale

Instructions

  • Add the olive oil into a pan to heat.
  • Once the olive oil is hot, add in the turkey kielbasa slices, onion slices, chopped garlic. Gently shake pan to get the items moving.
  • Season pan with salt, chili flakes, and paprika. 
  • Once the onion starts showing signs of caramelizing, add in the kale and continue to cook for a couple of minutes
  • Take the pan off the heat and serve stir-fry. 
Roasted Butternut Squash Medley on Grains

On Loving Butternut Squash

Roasted Butternut Squash Medley on Grains

I am trying to figure out how I got a point where I can be talking about eating a roasted butternut squash medley. It just seems so strange because a couple of years ago, I did not know what a butternut squash taste like.

Working in a grocery store helped me discover new foods after I immigrated to the US. I got an opportunity to try many different types of food. Looking back now, I realize that it was rare for me try a new vegetable. Eating new fruits is very easy. I was hesistant but I ate random slices of cheese.

Vegetables just never made it to the priority list of things I should try eating. This is sad because one of my favorite stories about learning to love new food involves eating a strip of raw red pepper. I know that good things happen when I give myself a chance to try new things. Sometimes, it is just hard to get through that initial first barrier. How do I cook it?

As I have become more intentional about eating more colors of foods and diversifying my taste experience, I have been become unabashed about asking questions. Plus, there is the magic of a smartphone and google. Yes, I am that girl in the aisle, using her phone to search recipe on how to cook or eat a fascinating item. This approach is how I suddenly found myself loving the squash family.

I can’t tell a lie. Butternut squash is one of the things that I like to have on hand at home. It is a quick meal waiting to happen. I tend to buy mine, unpeeled and unprocessed. This way I don’t have to worry about eating it immediately. Yes, it is a pain to peel on some days. However, once that’s done, I can get down to the cooking and the eating.

Lately, I have been on a roasted butternut squash medley binge. I think the whole fixation started after I roasted the first batch with a touch of apple cider vinegar. The vinegar is magic with the sugar in the butternut squash. It just makes it so much more alive instead of just sweet. This vinegary goodness combined with the caramelized onions and the jammy pepper chunks, I could eat bowls of this roasted butternut squash medley all day. Maybe I do, already.

Close up picture of Roasted Butternut Squash Medley

Since I am always looking for more flavor, I look adding bits of topping to the roasted butternut squash medley when I serve it. A little of bit of reduced balsamic vinegar, or balsamico, adds another dimension. Adding nuts for some added crunch is also another trick I use to make this food experience one I keep reaching for regularly.

The recipe for this is quick prep-wise. Especially, if you buy the butternut squash already peeled and chopped at the store. The oven does most of the work for use. Let me know if you try out the recipe.

Roasted Butternut Squash Medley

Roasted vegetables are one of the easiest ways to eat more vegetable and a staple of a good food prep regime. This butternut squash medley features onions and pepper.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Keyword: butternut squash, roasted pepper, roasted vegetable
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Sinmi

Ingredients

  • 1 Butternut Squash peeled and cubed
  • 1 Onion (small) sliced
  • 1 Yellow Pepper cubed
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Sprigs Thyme or use 1 Tsp of dried thyme
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Chilli Flakes

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • On a baking tray, add in the butternut squash, pepper, onion, garlic, thyme, olive oil, vinegar, and salt. Toss gently to evenly distribute. 
  • Place in the oven and let it roast for about 20 minutes. Open the oven and move vegetables around in the tray. Return to oven.
  • Let it roast for an additional 5-10 minutes until it develops some color. Pull out of the oven and serve.
A bowl of broccoli apple soup

‘Tis the Season of Healthy…

A bowl of broccoli apple soup

We finally got through the holiday season! And I say ‘we’ because it seemed everywhere I looked, there was another indulgence. From the month-long cookies post on Instagram to the decadent pies, December was the month to devour. Now, ‘we’ are all here. Here in this place where it seems the pendulum swings encouraged gluttony to starvation. We are in the season of healthy, new beginning and elimination of major food categories. While I don’t subscribe to the drastic pendulum swings, I am solidly ready to be sipping this Broccoli Apple soup.

I don’t believe in diets. Been there done that. Still paying the price for years of denying myself food in the name of health. Instead, I believe in moderation. I believe in the joy of food as a part of daily living. Food is part of my self-care routine. Eating is a statement of self-love. Choosing to eat food, in its entirety and complexity, is more important to me than any superficial aesthetics or number on the scale.

One of the ways that I care for myself is to eat things that make me feel good from the inside out. This Broccoli Apple soup is one of my winter favorites. I know that it may seem like hypocrisy to be writing about self-care, body-positive and a decidedly low calorie soup in the same page. Let me challenge that thought by asking if eating well has to me either or. Is it possible to eat with moderation?

A black hand squeezing a wedge of lemon into a bowl of broccoli apple soup

This Broccoli Apple is one of my favorite things because I love the taste of hot green soup in the morning. This one just happens to be the soup I reach for in the winter. I think the combination of the heartiness of broccoli with the slight sweetness of the apple just makes me feel awake. Adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to the Broccoli Apple soup is definitely a must me.

Broccoli Apple Soup

A refreshing breakfast soup featuring two ingredients, broccoli with apple. It is a quick and easy make that stores well.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Keyword: apple, broccoli, broccoli soup, soup
Servings: 5
Author: Sinmi

Ingredients

  • 1 Pound Broccoli
  • 3 Apples I love using granny smith for it tartness. But any apple works
  • 1 Lemon
  • Sea Salt

Instructions

  • In a pot, add 4 cups of water and set it to boil.
  • While the water is boiling, deseed and chop up the apple. Also, cut the broccoli florets and stem into pieces that would fit into the pot.
  • Add the chunks of apple and broccoli into the pot of boiling water. Let it cook for about 5 minutes. Set it aside to cool.
  • Blend to the broccoli and apple to your decided consistency. I prefer mind just a bit short of smooth. Season with salt to taste.
  • When serving soup, add a wedge of lemon to be squeezed in just before consumption.