Monday, October 12, 2020

Robin’s Koginut Squash with RazzMatazz Grape, Purple Sweet Potato, and 'Cheese' Sauce (Almost No Added Fat)

I'm excited that this weekend is our next So Many Cooks in the Kitchen show where about a dozen of us Cooks will be presenting So Much Squash! and sharing tasty and nutritious squash recipes. The monthly whole food plant-based shows are broadcast live and then later edited and available on the Plant-Based Network.

I'm also excited that a new local regenerative farm, Union Grove Farm, contacted me and invited me to visit their operations. They are getting into high antioxidant muscadine grape production and grow a new small, seedless, thin-skinned variety, the Razzmatazz. I brought home some of their grapes and want to experiment with cooking with them.

Today, I used another locally grown item, Robin's Koginut squash, originally hybridized in collaboration with a chef. This variety has parentage of kabocha, one of my favorites, and butternut squashes (Food and Wine has a nice article about the squash). I love cooking winter squash in my Instant Pot pressure cooker; I simply rinse the squash, put 1/2 cup of water in the pressure cooker, and set the squash on a trivet so it doesn't touch the pot's sides. 8 minutes of pressure steaming should be enough but I used 10 minutes, and also cooked a purple sweet potato (also local, I believe!) along with the squash.

While the squash was cooking, I prepared a simple vegan "cheese" sauce. I blended about 1/4 cup raw cashews with about 3/4 cup water, 2T nutritional yeast, 1 T thick leftover kabocha squash and lentil soup, and 1/4 t each of onion powder and garlic powder, as well as a pinch of salt.

I served the squash with a sweet potato wedge and dollop of "cheese", and was going to pan saute some sweet onions but forgot (!). I did top with a small bunch of the Razzmatazz grapes. I served with a mixed grain and raw vegetables.

Dinner was very good! I love the sweet and dense taste of this squash; it was the first time I'd tried it but it will be a variety I seek out now. A real testament was that my daughter, who doesn't normally like squash, really enjoyed the meal.

My family loves the grapes from this farm! Today's meal really used the grapes as a hearty garnish, and I ate the grapes as a palate cleanser. I want to work on some recipes where these cute, small, but nutrition- packed grapes are integral, and hope this week to maybe make a squash dish with grapes as part of a stuffing.

By the way, I made some "ice cream" with the Razzmatazz grapes after dinner. I put grapes, a little bit of plant milk (I used unsweetened flax milk), and that's it into my blender and blended for maybe 10 seconds till the mixture "seized up" and looked like ice cream. It was tart for my wife but my daughter and I quite liked it!

Though I don't classify this as a no-added-fat meal, it "almost" is; 1/4 cup of cashews is about 12g of fat and the sauce was enough for the three of us. In the PCRM Food for Life program, we suggest that any one dish on the plate should be no more than about 3g of fat, and this is close.

Ideas for the future

I am excited about the squash show and will use that as an excuse this week to continue to probe new squash dishes. I am also excited about connecting with this farm and enjoying their grapes. I bet I'll have a nice grape-squash recipe to demonstrate this Saturday!

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