Have you guys discovered Robin E.H. Ove of What about the food? She is one of my dearest friends, a true soul mate whom I met through the wonderful world of food. We had mutual friends, are two gingers (look out world), both live in the San Francisco Bay Area (albeit at far flung edges of said area), and hadn’t run into each other yet. It never fails, I have to travel thousands of miles to see my local buddies!
Like me, Robin had a long career in business, in her case working for UC Santa Cruz. As she contemplated what would come after she left the UC system, her passion for food and photography led her to create her blog, What about the food? a delightful compilation of her recipes, photographs, and remarkably insightful writings. She is a natural creative with a true gift for the written word. I dream of being able to put together a paragraph half as well as she does!
Robin is an extraordinary photographer, truly gifted. I look at the images she takes of every day items and am in awe of her skill at capturing the hidden beauty that surrounds us. She also happens to live in Santa Cruz, one of the most gorgeous spots on the planet and her shots of the ocean soothe my mind and soul.
While I am traveling to Kentucky for the IACP conference, she kindly offered to let me share this delightful concoction that she threw together one day. I am honored to introduce you to Robin and share one of her favorite recipes. Such a talented lady!!
This recipe is great for so many reasons. Mostly because it is delicious and warming on cold days, but also due to the health benefits of lentils. They are a great alternative source of protein, packed with fiber and B-vitamins. Did you know that there are a number of different colors of lentils? Each variety is a little different with variations in flavor and cooking techniques. The brown and green are commonly found in American grocery stores and hold their texture during cooking. The Le Puy lentils, also known as French green lentils, hold up well to cooking, have a slightly peppery flavor and are great for using in salads. Other colors are more tender when cooked. Be sure you are using the right type of lentil for the recipe you are making.
Without further ado, I give you my friend, Robin Ove!
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On a whim, I bought a pretty green and silver striped Kabocha squash the other day. I had no idea what it would look like inside or taste like, but those that know me know I am just that quirky and adventurous about foods. I just figure it out as I go along. How about you?
What I discovered is that this lovely orange fleshed squash is sweeter than butternut and easily substituted for that often used ingredient. So I roasted it (at about 350º for 30 to 45 minutes until soft) used about 2-1/2 cups for the recipe below and froze the remainder so it would be quick and at the ready next time inspiration hits.
This recipe is a quick meal to brighten up a cold and dreary night and can be a complete vegetarian meal for your Meatless Monday or any other day. Would be great for a potluck too. The Indian inspired spices are fragrant, the heat of the red pepper gentle enough for those with low tolerances, and the coconut, cilantro with a bit of lime bring a surprising pop of flavors. I took preparation notes from a dish created by Aarti Sequiera called Indian Summer Stew: Butternut Squash, Coconut, Lentil Stew (though she uses yellow split peas not lentils in the recipe.)
Don’t miss out on trying new and different flavors, that’s part of the fun and adventure of cooking! I encourage you to let new ingredients inspire and trigger your senses.
Kabocha Squash, Lentil and Coconut Stew
Here are the ingredients you will need. Head over to Robin’s blog for the directions on how to make the dish.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
1-1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
2-1/2 cups roasted kabocha squash, cubed
1 Roma tomato, seeded and diced
1 carrot, diced
1 granny smith apple, peeled and diced
1/2 cup dried shredded coconut (I used Bob’s Red Mill Flaked Unsweetened Coconut)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground roasted cumin
4 cups water, vegetable, or chicken stock
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon honey (optional)
1 lime, juiced
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
Robin’s Note: Adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to suit your heat tolerances and taste the stew before serving to see if it needs more salt. I thought with the Kabocha squash it was sweet enough without the honey, but it is a nice option. Do not miss out on the bit of lime juice though, great extra pop of flavor.
To learn more about Robin, follow her food adventures and discover her delicious recipes, make sure you visit her website, What about the food? and subscribe so you don’t miss any postings!
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Let’s connect! If you ever need any entertaining or cooking advice, need to alter a recipe for gluten-free, or want recipe suggestions, don’t hesitate to ask. Feel free to quote me, just give credit where credit is due, link to the recipe, and send people to my website. Unauthorized use, distribution, and/or duplication of proprietary material from The Heritage Cook without prior approval is prohibited. If you have any questions or would like permission, please contact me. The suggestions here are not intended as dietary advice or as a substitute for consulting a dietician, physician, or other medical professional. Please see the Disclaimers page for additional details. Thanks for visiting The Heritage Cook!