You've Never Tasted Vegetarian Like This Before!

Vegetable Mafe’ a Winter Stew

vegetable_mafeBest Way to Cook Squash

Butternut squash presents a particular challenge because of its oblong shape. To halve it, slice off the top and the bottom so it sits flat on a secured cutting board. Rest it on the widest end, and using a heavy knife, slice down vertically. If you face resistance, use a mallet – ideally rubber – to tap gently on the tops of both sides of the blade. Work as slowly as you need to.For more spherical squash, depending on the variety and how you’re going to cook it, you can either cut a circle around the stem, angling inward with a paring knife and scooping out the seeds, cut the top off like a lid, or cut in half along the meridian or equator. Many winter squash have very thick skins and flesh, so again, use a sharp, heavy knife and take your time to avoid accidents.

In any case, you’ll need to scoop out the seeds and guts as cleanly as you can, using the edge of a spoon. For an extra treat, rinse the seeds clean in a colander, shake them dry and discard the guts. Then spread the seeds on a sheet pan, spray or drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and roast in a 300° oven for 10-20 minutes or until golden brown. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn, and once they’ve cooled, eat them as-is or sprinkle with paprika, cumin or your favorite spices.

To peel or not to peel?

Peeling squash is, frankly, a pain, but for some preparations, it’s key. If you’re going to be roasting cubes of squash, nothing beats the caramelized flavor of browned, irregular edges. So take the time to smooth down knobs and delve into divots with a vegetable peeler or cheese slicer while the squash is still whole.

If you’re going to be working with the squash in a method that’s less texture-dependent, leave the skin on and bake the squash, halved at 300°, with the cut side down until it’s soft enough to peel off. Pouring boiling water over squash in a baking dish also aids removal.

Plenty of squash varieties have perfectly edible and delicious skins that actually add extra flavor and texture, while some are simply too thick to be pleasant. Roast it up, take a nibble, see what you think, and either scoop or savor.

Recipe

Ingredients:

1 small

onion, finely chopped

2 Tbsp

palm oil

2 cups

pumpkin, winter squash or sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped in 1-inch bits

4 med

turnips

4 med

potatoes (quartered)

2 large

carrots (cut in 1 inch bits)

½ small

cabbage, coarsely chopped (optional)

2 large

tomatoes (quartered)

1 bunch

fresh leafy greens

1 dozen

okras

2

chili peppers (or 1 tsp cayenne pepper)

2 cups

organic tomato sauce

¾ cup

organic peanut butter

2 cups

spring water

Directions:

  1. Saute onions in moderately hot oil in a large, heavy skillet or stew pot
  2. Add vegetables one at a time, saute each for 1 minute before adding  another
  3. Stir in tomato sauce along with 2 cups of spring water
  4. Reduce heat and simmer until all vegetables are tender
  5. Spoon out about half a cup of hot broth and mix it with peanut butter to make a smooth paste.  Add to pot and then add okra
  6. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Serve over rice



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