Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Vegetarian Gumbo

Watch out everyone, the Polar Vortex is coming!! At least, according to every news and weather station. In my opinion it doesn't really seem to be heading towards NC. The weather forecast just looks like the normal late fall and early winter I missing something? 

Vegetarian Gumbo |

Regardless of the Weather Man being right or wrong, cold weather is creeping in, which means I plan to make a large pot of soup, or in this case, gumbo. I threw this one together on a whim a few weeks back when we had vegetarian friends over for dinner. It then took me two more attempts to actually write the recipe down and perfect the amounts! Hate it when I do that sometimes. 

Vegetarian Gumbo | www.kettlercuisine.comVegetarian Gumbo | www.kettlercuisine.comVegetarian Gumbo |

Anyways, this is a great soup, or, gumbo for a large crowd with various dietary needs. You basically start with a vegetarian soup, then have the option to add grains and meat for those that want it. The Hubby and I personally love adding in spicy pork sausage (that we from Fickle Creek Farm - love those guys)! 

So, grab a blanket, light the fire and whip up a pot of my Vegetarian Gumbo! 

Vegetarian Gumbo |

Great with rice, grits or cornbread.

Vegetarian Gumbo

Yields: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes

2 Tablespoons all purpose flour (use gluten free if needed)

3 Tablespoons butter (only for vegetarian version)
1 large onion, finely diced
2 carrots, cut into rounds
4 cloves of garlic, finely minced

3 cups vegetable stock, separated
1 cup tomato sauce
1 green bell pepper, finely diced
2 cups button mushrooms or crimini mushrooms, quartered
2 cups fresh Romano beans or green beans, chopped
1 Tablespoon dry sage
Tablespoon dry thyme
Tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1 Tablespoon chili powder
Tablespoons soy sauce (use Tamari if gluten free)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
Parmesan rind (optional)
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 pound Sage Hot pork sausage (optional for non-vegetarian version)
Rice or grits for serving (optional)

First step, chop all the vegetables! This is definitely a recipe where you want to have your mise en place (stuff in place).

In a large soup pot, prepare the roux:

  • Vegetarian version - Heat a large soup pot over medium heat and melt the butter. Stir in the flour and continue to stir constantly for around 5 minutes until the roux is a few shades darker.
  • Non-vegetarian version - Heat a large soup pot over medium heat and cook the sausage through. Remove the sausage and set aside, reserving the rendered fat in the pot. Stir in the flour and continue to stir constantly for around 5 minutes until the roux is a few shades darker.
Add the onions, carrots and garlic along with a quarter cup of vegetable stock so the roux doesnt burn (the mixture will be thick and pasty). Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions soften and the broth has evaporated.

Stir in the tomato sauce, bell peppers, mushrooms and beans and cook, stirring, for another 5 minutes. 
Add the herbs, spices and soy sauce and mix well.

Stir in the canned beans and rest of vegetable stock and Parmesan rind and allow the gumbo to come to a boil over medium-high heat. If the gumbo is too thick, add more broth. Lower the heat to a simmer and let everything cook for another 10 minutes.

Vegetarian Gumbo |

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Maple Chili Butternut Squash & Brussels Sprouts

IT'S FALL!!! My favorite time of year!! Beautiful, earthy colors, comforting spices, blankets, sweaters, and boots! Who doesn't also love the obsession with pumpkin flavored everything. OK, well a lot of people are probably sick of it by now, but everything else about Fall is amazing.

Maple Chili Butternut Squash & Brussels Sprouts |

Butternut squash is a quintessential Fall vegetable for me. It is the closest thing to a sweet potato that the Hubby will eat, and it's truly versatile - prepared either sweet or savory. I decided to combine both flavors, and, like most recipes, add in a little green. 

Enter, Brussels sprouts, a vegetable that both the Hubby and I are fans of and have been most of our relationship. I knew the Brussels were dense enough to hold up against the squash if roasted at high temperatures. Brussels sprouts are also a flavorful vegetable that don't require a lot of spices or added flavors.

Maple Chili Butternut Squash & Brussels Sprouts |

This is an easy side dish for your Fall menus. It does require some cooking time, so be sure to allow for that. This side dish goes well with most meats or a rice pilaf. The leftovers are a perfect addition on a salad as well. Enjoy!

Maple Chili Butternut Squash & Brussels Sprouts |

Maple Chili Roasted Butternut Squash & Brussels Sprouts 

Yields: 8 servings 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: about 45 minutes

1 pound Brussels sprouts, ends cut off, halved
1 pound Butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon chili powder
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

The easiest way to peel a butternut squash is to cut off both ends and use a vegetable peeler, scraping down the sides until the thick skin is peeled off. Note, this might take a few peels in the same spot. Otherwise, you can cut both ends off the squash and then cut in half width-wise and use a sharp knife to cut the skin off. Be sure to scoop out the seeds from the middle of the squash before cutting into cubes.

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or heavy duty foil. Mix the halved Brussels sprouts and cubed butternut squash with the maple syrup, chili powder and olive oil. Lay out the mixture evenly on the baking sheet (might have to use two if the baking sheets are small) and sprinkle evenly with about a teaspoon of salt.

Roast the vegetable mixture at 350F for 25 minutes, then increase the heat to 425F and continue to roast for another 15-20 minutes (depending on oven). Once the vegetables are well browned, remove and serve with salt and pepper to taste.

Maple Chili Butternut Squash & Brussels Sprouts |

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cherry Walnut Granola

I am straight up addicted to granola! I eat it for breakfast almost every day with Greek yogurt, milk or berries. Usually a batch of granola lasts me around two weeks, but recently the Hubby has started getting into my stash, so I find myself making granola pretty much every weekend.

Cherry Walnut Granola |

Don't get me wrong, I am more than happy to do this. Plus, this is the first time I've seen the Hubby actually eat breakfast in the more than 10 years we have been together. 
I started making some of my past recipes like Crunchy Nut Granola or Pumpkin Granola (which I totally need to revisit and re-photograph)! However, he likes his granola a bit sweeter, so I took the basic principals, measurements and cooking instructions, then just changed the ingredients a bit to include more maple syrup (my favorite Fall sweetener) and dried sweet cherries.

Cherry Walnut Granola |

After making the first batch, the house smelled so good that we decided to have a late afternoon granola snack! The Hubby approves and continues to eat breakfast. YAY for jump starting your metabolism and eating healthy. Which reminds me, I need to go make more granola now...

Cherry Walnut Granola |

Cherry Walnut Granola

Yields: 6 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

4 tablespoons Grapeseed oil
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
4 cup old fashioned oats (use gluten free if needed)
1 cup raw walnuts, chopped
1 cup raw pepitas/pumpkin seeds (or sunflower seeds)
1 cup dried cherries

Preheat the oven to 325F.

Mix the Grapeseed oil, nutmeg, cinnamon, maple syrup and applesauce until well blended. Stir in the oats, walnuts and pepitas.

Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly grease with oil or butter. Spread the granola mixture on the baking sheet.

Bake at 325F for around 40 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

Let sit to room temp and stir in the cherries.

Cherry Walnut Granola |