[grooveshark width=”250″ height=”40″ id=”30568784″ style=”metal”]
Musical pairing – The Name Game by Shirley Ellis
We met in a somewhat unorthodox way. Cheryl was a panelist at a conference and I happen to sit in on her session about writing; funny, smart and articulate, I was an instant fan. Later in the day, we found ourselves sitting together at a table listening to a different group of panelists . . . actually, we were trying to listen to what was being said . . . but apparently, the two attendees also sitting at our table felt the conversation they were having was more important.
I was annoyed. Cheryl was annoyed. The constant conversation was incredibly distracting and I kept glancing back at them hoping they’d get the hint. They didn’t. Cheryl glanced too. Still nothing. Finally, Cheryl politely suggested that they might have their conversation out in the hall. It worked; talking stopped. As I said, I’m a fan.
When I learned Cheryl was writing a book I did a back-flip . . . and then I did a cartwheel . . . and then I did a somersault . . . in my head. And when Ripe was available for pre-order, I pre-ordered. When the book arrived, I did a back-flip . . . a cartwheel . . . and a somersault . . . in my head. But I did actually take an Instagram photo.
The book is gorgeous – really, really gorgeous. Filled with simple, luscious and vibrant vegetarian recipes, Ripe is as much fun to read as it is to cook from. Cheryl’s wit and personality shine – as do the fruits or vegetables used in each recipe. Ripe is beautifully arranged by color which means that you’ll find rhubarb, tomatoes, pomegranates and cherries in the ‘red’ section; peas, kiwi, avocado and beans are in the ‘green’ section and so on. And the photography by the incredibly talented Paulette Phlipot is nothing less than stunning – page after page of beautiful fruits and vegetables make you want to head to your favorite market and pick up whatever is fresh that day, come home and make a recipe from Ripe – not even kidding.
The Professor and I have had fun making several of the recipes and every single one has been a keeper; in fact, Ripe has remained open on my kitchen counter since the day it arrived – pinky swear. Broccoli soup with Cheddar Croutons, Rhubarb Cherry Mini Crisps, Polenta-Stuffed Chard with Bubbly Parmesan and Tarragon-Lime Green Tea (who knew tarragon was the perfect paring for iced tea?). This Red Curry Glazed Butternut Squash with Coconut Rice was the first recipe we made from the book – when I snapped a quick photo and posted to Instagram, people were asking for the recipe immediately – so, so good!
Ridiculously easy, there’s no need to even peel the squash – simply wash the outside skin, trim off the stem, cut in half, scoop out the seeds, cut each half into halves again (you’ll end up with 4 quarters), olive oil, salt, pepper and roast for a total of 30 minutes, brush with a blended Thai Curry paste and broil – that’s it. ‘Not too spicy, not too sweet, juuust right,’ says Red Riding Hood (I’m aware I’ve mixed up my Aesop’s Fables . . . but I’m a redhead . . . so creative liberty and all that jazz). Adding the garnishes really puts this one over the top – we’ve made this dish three times now and have loved it every time. In fact, I’m adding it to my Thanksgiving table this year – acorn squash, sweet potatoes or even carrots all have similar flavor components and will work well with these spices.
I purchased a second copy of Ripe to giveaway to one of our Smith Bites readers – just leave me a comment below and you’ll automatically be entered; ‘like’ Smith Bites on facebook for an extra entry. A winner will be randomly chosen next Thursday, May 24 at noon EDT and notified via email; you have 3 days to respond or another will chosen. And please be sure you leave your contact information on the form – just don’t leave it in your actual comment for privacy reasons.
RED CURRY GLAZED BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH COCONUT RICE
Ripe, Cheryl Sternman Rule
Recipe adapted from RIPE © 2012 by Cheryl Sternman Rule, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Book Group.
Serves 4 as a side
- 2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
- 11 teaspoon honey
- 1 cup plus 1 teaspoon light coconut milk, divided
- 1 butternut squash (2 pounds), unpeeled, stem sliced off
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1-1/2 cups brown rice (white works too)
- Pinch sugar
- About 15 fresh cilantro leaves (left whole; if you’re not a cilantro fan, either omit or sub flat-leaf parsley for color)
- Toasted cashews, unsweetened toasted coconut and/or toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place rack in upper third of oven
- In a small bowl, whisk the red curry paste, honey and 1 teaspoon of the coconut milk until smooth
- Halve the squash lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and strings and halve lengthwise again to form four long quarters. Set face up on a rimmed baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, rubbing to coat. Knock the pieces on their sides
- Roast for 20 minutes or until the undersides are nicely browned; flip onto other side and roast another 10 minutes
- Use a rice cooker (follow manufacturer’s directions) to make rice OR in a medium saucepan, combine the rice, the remaining 1 cup of coconut milk, 1 cup water, sugar and ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer gently until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove from heat; keeping covered.
- When squash is finished cooking, remove from oven and turn on broiler; brush squash thickly with the red curry mixture. Broil face up until paste bubbles and darkens, watching carefully – about 2 minutes or so.
- Serve squash and rice in shallow bowls, sprinkling with cilantro and any choice (or all!) of the above garnishes – fab!