Souper Seasonal! Squash Soup and Sunflower Seed Paté

Sadly the weekly Farmer’s Market season is over.  At the co-op, the beautiful broccoli and kale from Gardens of Eagan, MN have been replaced by their well-travelled west coast counterparts.  What’s a package-minimalist vegetarian local foods proponent to do?

The Wednesday Post is proud to present two super healthy, super local, super seasonal meal ideas that fit the bill and hit the spot.  I’ll gladly stake the tattered shreds of my reputation on these recipes!

It all starts with squash.

Name that Squash!

This squash has been chillin’ in the garage since about a month ago, when I bought it at the Kingfield Farmer’s Market.  Now that we’re pushing December, it’s time to unleash the sweet golden innards into a delicious soup before full-on freeze sets in.  Though I inquired at the point of purchase, I have since forgotten this beauty’s name.  After some googling my best guess is Autumn Cup.  Anyone?

The death of an iMac has left me without instant access to my arsenal of recipes, but I forge ahead courageously using just the ingredients I have on hand and my own killer culinary instincts.  Not unlike Iron Chef.

Squash Explosion

I peel the squash and dig out the seeds.  I cut it into cubes.  “How about a couple of those parsnips in the fridge?”  I ask myself.

Parsnips Relaxing on a mound of Squash Cubes

Meanwhile my sous-chef Brian dices three small but potent onions which I sauté with approx. 3 TBS canola oil in a large, deep frying pan.  When the onions begin to carmellize from inattention, I add another TBS of oil, minced garlic and vindaloo curry powder and sauté for 1-2 brief minutes. You don’t want garlic to burn.

Next I add the squash and sliced parsnips, 2 cups of water, vegetable bullion, cover and simmer.  As an afterthought I add two sliced haralson apples.  Check out some live action simmering.

As the soup simmers–get to know sunflower seeds!

You won’t be sorry.  The sunflower seed is an amazingly nutritious and reasonably priced food available in MN from local sources year round.  As I flirt with veganism, I turn more and more to seeds and nuts when I’m craving something rich and filling.  Sunflower seeds are loaded with anti-oxidants and cancer fighting selenium.  Check the specs:  http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=57

Sunflower seeds, along with other seeds and whole grains, have also been linked to improved mood because they promote serotonin production.  Discover more about good mood foods in this book: http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=chemistry+of+joy+book&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=13776874300838491872&sa=X&ei=hgzETsDsOs6LsAKV2IjCCw&ved=0CEEQ8wIwAw

But this Wednesday Post isn’t just about physical and mental health.  It’s about a tasty paté that you are going to want to eat once you find out about it.

In my fridge is a jar of raw sunflower seeds (measured 1 cup before soaking) that have been soaked in water for 8 hours then drained and sprouted overnight.  To sprout, invert the soaked seeds in a jar with a sprouting lid for as little as 2 hours.  The jar should be propped up at a slight angle so air can pass through the lid.  Supposedly sunflower seeds get bitter after more than 4 hours of sprouting but I have never detected a taste difference.  However for this recipe it is not necessary to let the sprouts grow much visibly. After sprouting, I store the jar of seeds in the fridge until I’m ready to make the pate–up to two days.  They continue to grow very slowly in the fridge.

Sunflower Seeds, after 8 hours soaking and 8 hours sprouting

I was excited to find a new type of non-plastic spouting lid at the co-op the other day.  It works with the standard ring on wide mouth mason jars.

Sprout Screen

Sprout Screen on Mason Jar

Here is the recipe!

Sunflower Seed Paté  (adapted from Nomi Shannon)

Ingredients:

1 cup sunflower seeds soaked 8 hours, sprouted 2-4 hours

Juice of one lemon

1 heaping TBS tahini

2 TBS tamari soy sauce

4 green onions

1 clove garlic

dash of cayenne pepper

Directions:

Mix ingredients in food processor.  Variations: replace the cayenne with minced jalapeno.  Add a couple TBS minced fresh parsley if you have it.  Chopped celery is good and makes it tastes like tuna salad.  I used to add a TBS of honey, but decided it didn’t need it.  Serve on bread, crackers, what have you.

Making Sunflower Seed Paté

With the paté ready, I lift the lid of the simmering pot and find the squash and parsnips to be tender.   I scoop the contents of the pot into the blender and blend it smooth in two batches.

Veggies on the verge of soup-dom

Dinner is Served!

The paté is served on a whole wheat baguette topped with apple slices and black pepper.   The soup is garnished with green onions.  I was planning to add fresh lemon juice and salt, but when I tasted it, I didn’t want to change a thing. Find the soup recipe below, and thanks for reading the Wednesday Post!

Squash and Parsnip Curry Soup

Ingredients:

3 small onions, diced

6 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 large winter squash, cut in to cubes

2 parsnips, sliced

2 haralson apples, sliced

4 TBS Canola Oil

1 TBS plus 1 tsp spicy vindaloo (or other) curry powder

2 cups of water

2 cubes of low sodium vegetable buillion (*enough for 4 cups of water, but I only added 2 cups)

Directions:

Sauté onions until softened.  If you want them to slightly carmelize, don’t stir them until they start to brown.  Add minced garlic and curry powder and sauté another 1-2 minutes.  Add all other ingredients, cover and simmer until tender (30 min ?).  Blend smooth in blender.  Garnish with green onions or fresh herbs.

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3 responses to “Souper Seasonal! Squash Soup and Sunflower Seed Paté

  1. Allison, I had no idea of your culinary expertise. (Of course I never knew what a great write you are either) Theresa loves to cook also, & is very good at using what we have on hand. I will have her read this, and perhaps give it a go. Love your blog

  2. I had no idea of your culinary prowess, (of course i never knew you could write so well either.) Theresa is a good cook, and always looking for something new to try. I am going to show her this, and perhaps she will give the squash soup a try. I will keep you posted. Love you blog, say to Charlotte & your mom. Michael

    • Michael, the Iron Chef comment was totally in jest! But I’m not afraid to wing it in the kitchen, and I was pleasantly surprised by the squash soup. I will definitely make it again. Thanks for reading!

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