Double Squash with Pecans and Dried Cherries
This recipe combines sweet butternut squash, pecans, and cherries with savory acorn squash, shallot, and sage. The flavors complement rather than overpower each other.
2 butternut squash,
3 pounds each, cut lengthwise and seeds removed
2 acorn squash, 1.5 pounds each, cut lengthwise and seeds removed
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup pecans, toasted (see notes below)
1 shallot, thinly sliced
10 fresh sage leaves, very thinly sliced, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
Put the butternut and acorn squash cut-side down on the lined baking sheets and bake the butternut squash for about 30 minutes and the acorn squash for about 20 minutes, just
until tender. Let cool.
When cool enough to handle, peel and cut the squash into 1-inch cubes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the cherries, pecans, shallot, and sage. Gently toss all the ingredients until well combined, taking care to keep the squash cubes whole. Serve at room temperature or thoroughly chilled.
Note: Butternut squash will generally take longer to cook than acorn squash, depending on their respective sizes. Be careful not to overcook the squash. When the squash is soft, the cubes will break apart. The flavor won’t be affected, but the look and texture of the dish will.
Toasting Nuts and Seeds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the nuts or seeds on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes.
Raw or Toasted Nuts and Seeds?
Which is better: raw or toasted nuts and seeds? This is a question that many TrueNorth
guests have asked me. My answer depends on what works best for each person.
The style of cooking advocated at TrueNorth and described in this book is designed
for optimal health. To that end, I recommend raw nuts and seeds, which have
greater nutritional value. However, this diet is also restrictive, so I look for ways to make
the food as flavorful as possible. One way to do that is to use toasted nuts and seeds, which
I prefer. My reasoning is that people may return to bad habits if they find their food
bland, and they may be more likely to stay with the program if it is more flavorful.
This is a wholesome alternative to the greasy, fried, and overly salted, potato dishes often served at breakfast time. This dish can be prepared ahead of time, so all you need to do is bake it before serving. Note: It takes about 1 hour for the baked potatoes to cool down enough to be peeled. For speed and convenience, the potatoes can be baked 1 day in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
8 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed
2 cups small cauliflower florets
2 cups quartered white mushrooms
6 Roma tomatoes, cubed
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/ 4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/ 4 teaspoon granulated onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, or 1 tablespoon dried
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, or 1 tablespoon dried
Pierce each potato a few times with a fork or paring knife. Put the potatoes directly on a rack in the center of the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until tender. The potatoes are done when a paring knife can be easily inserted in the center. Turn off the oven. Transfer the potatoes to a cooling rack.
When the potatoes are cool to the touch, peel and dice them. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the potatoes on the lined baking sheet. Scatter the cauliflower, mushrooms, tomatoes, and onion over the potatoes. Sprinkle with the granulated garlic and granulated onion. (At this point, the baking sheet can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for 8 to 12 hours.
When you are ready to bake the dish, bring the vegetables to room temperature while you preheat the oven. Remove the plastic wrap before baking.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until all the vegetables start to brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the basil and parsley. Serve hot.