Wild Rice Soup

Dear Reader,

I staged another upo squash battle, so stay tuned for another installment of the upo trials soon. But for now…

Here’s a first for the blog: a recipe trial based off a magnet! Specifically this one, which I bought from my home state long ago and always meant to use. With Autumn in full swing, the slight chill in the Pacific Northwest air puts me in mind of the Midwest Fall, with its brilliant, last-ditch burst of colors before the real cold sets in. With that, comes the impulse to make hot mulled cider (which I brought to spectate a Spartan Race the other weekend), and making tons of soup.

Nothing quite like a fridge magnet to remind you of your roots.

You will note there are some vague parts in this recipe, like, you can use 10 slices of bacon, OR and indeterminate amount of chicken. Continue Reading

Upo trials – Part 2!
Upo two ways, a guest post by Tricia

A guest post from my friend Tricia! Y’all get a two-fer today, enjoy!

-Y_______.

Upo, Two Ways

When I read about Yiling’s upo bounty, I was excited to take one on for myself. I love all vegetables and love to think up creative ways to cook them. Reading more about the squash, one recipe quickly came to mind. After looking further at how it was used in different recipes, I had another plan in mind – not a recipe, per se, but an approach.

Two upo’s arrived on my doorstep one evening and I was very impressed by their size and their heft.

Carrying one is akin to carrying a pumpkin, if the pumpkin was long and oblong rather than round. The rind/skin was very tough – nothing like a summer squash or cucumber. It took some muscle and a lot of patience to carve the rind off of the more tender center. Some parts of the squash were notably woodier than others with large, tough seeds. This was different from the pictures I’d seen, so decided to cut that away. I am guessing that this is because the squash were harvested late and/or had sat for a while toughening up. Regardless, even after cutting out about a third of the squash, I was left with enough for both recipes I wanted to try. Each recipe made 4 servings.

For my first attempt, I started at the butcher. B&E is my local butcher – taking over from A&J Meats, a Seattle institution. Fortunately, B&E hired the butcher who made A&J’s sausages, which were and are once again fantastic. I picked up 2 traditional bratwurst and 1 chicken garlic for a total of ~ 1 pound of meat. The butcher removed them from their casings, so it was ready for me to sauté along with a diced onion. I added to that some roasted poblano (spicy!) that I had left over from my CSA, several tablespoons of minced ginger, some rice wine, a spoonful of chili-garlic sauce, and a 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes. Then the cubed squash joined the party as I let everything cook together for an hour or so. The result was delicious – like a bolognaise but with more heft from the squash and spice from the ginger, pepper, and chili. I served this with roast spaghetti squash.

For upo #2, I followed this recipe from food52: Miso Quinoa Pilaf with Grilled Cucumber, Eggplant, and Soy Dressing:

I substituted the eggplant and cucumber with the upo and some diced radishes (also from the CSA box; wasn’t sure what else to do with them). I followed the recipe, more or less, other than cooking the quinoa in stock rather than milk and stir-frying the veg rather than grilling them. I also added the miso at the end, as it’s my understanding that you get more of miso’s health benefits if it doesn’t boil. Again, terrific results: the balsamic/soy/orange/miso combo was intensely flavorful, the radishes added crunch, and the squash rounded out a healthy vegetarian meal.

Novelty Rating: 5 of 5
It was really fun trying something totally different, especially as there is very little about this on the internet. The recipes I used also had very unusual flavor combinations, which made the meals fun to eat.
Likelihood of Repeat: 5%
While it was really fun trying something new, the squash took a lot of work to cut up and it didn’t, on its own, contribute much to the flavor of the dish. I would, however, try the recipes with other vegetables, however, like eggplant, cucumber, and summer squash.
Lesson learned: This was a good reminder that really tasty sausage can make a dish very special. I’ve already gone back to B&E to try another variety for another recipe.

 

Thank you, Yiling, for giving me a fun culinary experience!

Tricia

No Knead Artisan Bread with Dried Fruit

I wanted to give my friends a housewarming gift that would not add to the giant pile of things they just had to move into their new home, so I tried my hand at some rustic, thick crusty bread. I doubled the portions but the bread was a tiny bit wetter than I’d like so I didn’t adjust the portions below for the double portion.

WARNING: this is one of those crazy multi-day recipes. The trade-off with no knead is waiting for the air bubbles and yeast to develop. And no, this was not something I did last night, it’s from Sunday. You know, that day you have time to do crazy things like bake bread..

Originally called:
Cranberry Orange Almond Artisan Bread from Simply So Good

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries (I did a mix of dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots and golden raisins)
1/2 cup chopped almonds (I used toasted almond slices)
Zest from one orange (I used lemon rind, didn’t have an orange on hand)
1 1/2 cups water  (water does not have to be warm)

 

Mix dry ingredients, add water and mix, cover and wait for ever, then bake!

Continue Reading

Upo Trials – Part 1!
Sausage, onion & garlic fry.

Per last week’s comment: sadly, my stand-up paddle board (SUP) yoga class was cancelled, so nothing new to report on that front. Apparently everyone else is too chicken or prudent to sign up for September classes on the water, especially during a Seahawks game. Anyway..:

So K________ grew upo, also known as calabash or bottle squash for the first time this year, from some seeds his dad gave him. He was literally getting in touch with his roots (from the Philippines). These squash almost grew to be larger than the neighborhood kids who were checking on their progress every day, and definitely caused more than one random neighbor to stop by and ask who the heck kind of squash it was.

The squash really took to the Pacific Northwest climate. The majority of these dozen squash are still currently occupying 1/3 of my kitchen counterspace. All are at least the size of my calf.
The squash really took to the Pacific Northwest climate. The majority of these dozen squash are still currently occupying 1/3 of my kitchen counterspace. All are at least the size of my calf.

K_______ was kind enough to chop one up for ease of cooking, so one night when my friend J______ generously acquired some Aidell’s pineapple & bacon smoked chicken sausage, I sauteed some onions on medium, threw in the sausage, garlic and upo, and fried it all up for dinner. Continue Reading