Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Slendiferic Holiday Sides - Fast and Easy (gluten free, macrobiotic, vegan, vegetarian, darn tasty)

Wait - you don't want to spend a gazillion of hours in the kitchen for the holidays?  You don't have to.  These simple, elegant sides can be done a day or two ahead and are so fast and easy that it might be the easiest feat ever.

Brussel Sprout & Chestnuts

Presoak 6 - 8 hours desired amount of Dried organic chestnuts.  (Dried are sweeter and can easily be mail ordered.)  For two people use 1/2C. Chestnuts soaked in 1 1/2 C. water and about six or seven brussel sprouts.

Wash the brussel sprouts.  Chop them in half.  Place a two inch strip of kombu in the bottom of a sauce pan.  Add the chestnuts with their soaking water. (be sure you have removed any of the dark red outer shell pieces that may cling to your chestnuts and discard)  Bring to a boil and then turn the heat to low to simmer for 20-30 minutes.   Add a little more water if needed.  Add the brussel sprouts and simmer until liquid is almost gone.  10-15 minutes.  Sprinkle with sea salt and simmer just a couple of minutes more.  Serve warm.

Velvety Butternut Squash Soup
Pick the darkest looking squash you can find so that when you cut into it the color is deep orange.  That is when they are the sweetest.

1 large red onion, sliced
1 medium  to large butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks with seeds removed
1 Tablespoon dried basil (optional)
1-3 Tablespoons olive oil
White miso paste
Good water
Nutmeg (optional)

In a good sized pot, sauté the onion for several minutes in the olive oil and add the basil.
Add the squash and enough water to cover the vegetables with approximately 1 tsp. Sea salt.  Simmer for 15 minutes.  Process in a food processor or blender into a smooth creamy soup.
Adjust the salt/miso to taste and garnish with nutmeg.

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