Monday, June 08, 2009

Three-Generation Ramping Up: Tempeh-Shiitake-Ramp Saute with Steamed Butternut Squash

As I described last June, "I was excited today in the grocery store to see wild leeks. I'd never seen these before; also called ramps, they are apparently a rare Southern US speciality." I hadn't seen them since, but yesterday they were at Whole Foods for a dear $19.99 per pound.

I made a simple but very tasty meal out of these strong onion-garlic flavored ramps. I cut up half of a container of tempeh into small squared and started sauteeing them over medium heat. After about 3 minutes when the bottoms started lightly browning, I flipped the tempeh and added about ten medium-large shiitake mushrooms that I had cut into thirds or halves.

After another minute or two, when the shiitake was cooked down a bit, I added the half dozen or so ramps that I had purchased, cut into 1/2" lengths. When the ramps were wilted and the tempeh browned, after another 3 or 4 minutes, I turned the heat off and poured in a few teaspoons of soy sauce, stirred, and let it get absorbed into the food.

My cute little six-month-old daughter started a few weeks ago eating some solid foods, and I thought we might try butternut squash tonight. I had some frozen chunks of squash, which I added to a pan that had a little bit of water brought to a boil. I covered the pan and reduced the heat just to keep a little steam cooking the squash for about 3-5 minutes.

It turned out to be a great idea; she wasn't very hungry for solid food all day, but loved the squash. We have been mixing her food with coconut oil to get her more fat, and we did that again with the squash after compressing the soft squash cubes with a spoon. I even tried a bit and really liked it! (I have to start incorporating a little coconut oil into an occasional dish for us.) For our squash servings, I mixed in some olive oil, salt, and rosemary needles.

I also made mashed potatoes with the leftover water from the squash pan, paprika, vegan Parma! "Parmesan cheese", salt, and hemp milk. Cucumbers rounded out the meal.

I call this my three-generation meal because we miss my father-in-law who came for a few months to visit and has since returned to India. He is a fan of strong onions, and would have loved the ramps. Of course, the butternut squash was enjoyed by our daughter.


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