After spending a weekend in perfect 65 degree weather,
running a perfect race (finishing time of 1:54:53!!!!),
eating perfect food (beignets beignets (and more) beignets!!!),
all with the perfect companion to do it all with...
...returning home to gale force winds, hail, 40-feels-like-20-degree-weather...and the undeniable truth that,. ugh YES I still have to wear my ugly pink running hat if I'd like to keep my earlobes....
...was a little bit of a letdown. Not gonna lie.
Not to mention how monochromatic this city is.
After being awash in NOLA's technicolor dreams, where every house is a different color - pink, seagreen with purple trim, orange, rose - and there is art on every street, going back to everything in grayscale is a bit hard on the eyes. (And.The.Soul.)
So I made the greenest of green sauces and put it on the orange-est of orange veggies. And, with some Louis Armstrong on in the background and the heat on medium-high...I could almost pretend I was back in Louisiana, strolling around the French Quarter, just taking it all in.
This spice-roasted squash with walnut-green harissa is my contribution to California Walnuts's very first virtual dinner party!! Walnuts are super great for heart health as they contain a ton of omega-3's as well as polyunsaturated fatty acids...and they taste fabulous too, especially when pureed with some spicy roasted jalapenos and the bright flavors of parsley and lemon, as they are in this green harissa.
This recipe, though it looks fancy, was super easy to throw together. All it required was tossing the squash in a spice blend that was comprised entirely of easy-to-find ingredients and roasting it, and tossing all the harissa ingredients in a food processor. It really couldn't be easier, or more delicious. I paired the squash with quinoa to make to it a complete meal, but this can also be served as a side dish.
And now for the GIVEAWAY!! As a party gift, Califlornia Walnuts has offered to give a copy of Aida Mollenkamp's latest cookbook to both me and one of my readers! All you have to do is check out the fun "Chef Menus at Home" walnut-infused recipes on the California Walnuts site and tell me which you would most like to make. The giveaway will run until next Wednesday!!
One year ago...Baked Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts, Figs and Blue Cheese
Three years ago...Southwestern Pizza with Poblanos and Blue Cheese
Four years ago...Curried Lentils and Caramelized Onions with Indian Cardamom Rice
Spice-Roasted Squash with Walnut-Green Harissa
Serves 4-6, adapted from Aida Mollenkamp via California Walnuts
- 2 medium kabocha squash (about 2 1/2 lb total)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp packed light brown sugar
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 medium jalapenos
- 1 1/2 cups packed baby spinach
- 3/4 cup (1 oz) packed fresh Italian parsley, leaves and stems
- 1/2 cup toasted walnut halves
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 1 1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
- salt, to taste
- Heat the oven to 475 and arrange a rack in the middle of the oven. Cut each kabocha squash into 8 lengthwise slices.
- Combine squash, olive oil, brown sugar, cumin, salt and freshly ground black pepper in a large bowl and toss to combine. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Put jalapenos on the pan as well and roast for 25-30 minutes or until squash is tender and browned and jalapenos are soft.
- When jalapenos are cool enough to touch, remove their seeds and ribs. Put jalapenos in a food processor along with the spinach, parsley, toasted walnut halves, vegetable broth, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, and 2 tbsp olive oil. Pulse until pureed, scraping down the sides as needed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a bowl and add remaining 2 tbsp olive oil to help loosen the sauce.
- I served this with a cardamom-infused quinoa. To serve, place a bed of quinoa on each place. drizzle with the harissa, top with kabocha slices, and drizzle with more harissa.