Butternut Squash Muffins (from February 13, 2012)

(adapted from Jamie Oliver’s, Jamie at Home)  makes 12 regular muffins or about 40 mini-muffins 

You’ll need:

1 lb butternut squash, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 C coconut palm sugar
4 large eggs-free range and organic preferable
1 C spelt flour
1/2 C oat flour
1 C whole wheat pastry flour
2 t baking powder
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t freshly grated nutmeg 
Pinch of sea salt 
1 C walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
2/3 C extra virgin olive oil*

To Make: 

1. Place squash in a food processor and process until finely chopped.  Add sugar and eggs and pulse to combine.
2. In a separate bowl, add flours, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of salt.  Whisk to combine well.  Then add to food processor and pulse to process 5 times.  Scrape down sides if necessary.
3. Add olive oil in a steady stream as food processor is mixing batter.  Process just until all is evenly combined.  Try not to overprocess!  Just looking to combine everything together.
4. Fill paper cases in muffin tin with batter.  Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  (If using mini-muffin tins it’ll be more like 15-20 minutes.)  Check to see if muffins are done by piercing with a toothpick in the center of center muffin for 5 seconds.  If it comes out clean, you’re in business.  Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.
5. Enjoy!
*Coconut oil works great,too! 

Holy Butternut Squash! (from January 24, 2012)

As the chef, I’m normally in charge of our kitchen at home.  But since our little one is still quite little, my husband has taken over for a while.  (He’s an incredible cook!)  To save time we’ve been supplementing our CSA orders and trips to the market with deliveries from Fresh Direct.  (They deliver beer and wine,too which is not too shabby for the new dad!)  The only problem is that you can’t choose your produce.  So, we ordered a butternut squash and they sent us a 7 pound hunker!!!  Needless to say, I’ve had to come up with many ways to use it up.  I came up with a Winter Minestrone, Butternut Squash Risotto and Butternut Squash muffins.  While I had the time to cook and bake, I didn’t have much time to take any pics!  Next time, as I still have quite a bit of squash left!  It’s a great opportunity to tweak these recipes!   

Winter Minestrone – serves 6 
 (or great for leftovers)
You’ll need:
3T extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 medium carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 lb butternut squash, diced in 1/4″-1/2″ cubes
1t fennel seeds, crushed
1t oregano
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup cooked kidney beans
1 handful long grain brown rice
1 28 oz whole canned tomatoes, diced
6 cups water or veg stock
Sea salt
1T fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup parsley, finely cut (optional)
Fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano (optional)
To make:
1. Over medium-high, heat oil in a large soup pot and add onion and a pinch of sea salt and saute for 5 minutes.  Add carrots and celery and saute for 5 more minutes or until tender.
2. Add butternut squash and herbs and let cook together.  Add another pinch of salt and cook for about 5-7 minutes.
3. Add kidney beans and handful of rice and let cook together for another 3-5 minutes.  Add juices from tomatoes and diced tomatoes and let everything simmer for a few minutes until flavors marry each other.
4. Finally add the water (or stock, if using) and bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer.  Cook partially covered for 40minutes or until rice is tender.
5. When soup is done, add lemon juice for a quick refreshing blast.
6. Serve with parmesan and parsley as garnish.
7. Enjoy!  (Possibly with some hearty country bread!)