Autumn Boating and Fall Food
Fall’s focus is on hearty and comforting foods as we spend cooler days on the water. An exciting part of this time of year is the fabulous recipes prepared using squash, apples, and dark leafy greens from the farmers market! Did you ever notice how the beautiful hues present in autumnal produce resemble the striking colors of the leaves as they change? It’s such a lovely time of year to be boating with friends and family while enjoying the comfort of autumn-inspired meals.
Butternut squash is my favorite fall squash. It’s so tasty when steamed and blended into a smooth but hearty soup. Butternut Squash Soup with Quick Cashew “Cream” is a simple-to-prepare potage that’s rich in taste and creamy in texture without dairy. A quick cashew “cream” adds a touch of elegance, and the coconut milk beverage adds richness and depth to this impressive soup. For traveling, pack the soup and cream separately in large thermoses (hot for the soup, and cold for the cream), then when you are ready for your meal aboard, simply serve the soup in a deep cup with a dollop of the cream on top.
Kale is my preferred cold weather green. My Kale, Lime and Almond salad travels well and is a real crowd-pleaser. A lively punch of freshly squeezed lime juice adds freshness to this unique salad, and the jewel-toned combination is sure to please when you’re looking to serve up your daily greens with a piquant flair.
For dessert, tasty truffles are the perfect finger food. They pack beautifully, making them a healthy traveling dessert that also satisfies your sweet tooth. Bonus: dainty Maple-Raisin-Date Truffles are impressive to serve for a dinner party, too!
Enjoy the colors and hearty tastes of fall with this delightful on-the-go menu!
Makes 4 to 6 servings
5½ cups cubed butternut squash (about 1 medium squash, peeled, seeded and cut in 1½-inch pieces)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2⁄3 cup raw cashews
2½ cups filtered or spring water, plus more as needed
½ cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage or nondairy milk of your choice
4 to 6 basil leaves, for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
Put the cubed squash, olive oil, and Italian seasoning in a large bowl and toss gently until thoroughly coated. Arrange the squash in a single layer on the prepared sheet. Bake for 50 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the squash is soft and slightly golden. Put the pan on a wire rack and sprinkle with the sea salt. Let the squash cool for 25 to 30 minutes (see note).
Meanwhile, put the cashews and ½ cup water in a blender and process until smooth and creamy. Transfer the cashew cream to a small bowl, leaving about two heaping tablespoons in the blender container. Add the cooled squash, coconut milk, and two cups water to the cream in the container and process until smooth, adding more water as needed, about ¼ cup at a time, to achieve the desired consistency.
Pour the soup into a medium-sized saucepan, cover, and cook over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring often, until heated through. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls. Using a small spoon, swirl about one tablespoon of the cream into the top of each serving, in a pretty pattern. Garnish with a basil leaf (optional). Serve piping hot (see notes).
NOTES: You may roast the squash up to 24 hours ahead of time. After cooling, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until use. This soup may be made up to 24 hours ahead of time. If making in advance, let the soup cool after blending, pour the cooled soup into an airtight container and refrigerate. To reheat the soup, pour it into a pot. If the soup seems too thick, add a little more water to achieve the desired consistency. Cook for about 15 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring often, until heated through. The cashew cream may be made up to 24 hours ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until use.
Makes 2 to 4 servings
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1⁄8 teaspoon sea salt
Several grinds of fresh black pepper
5 cups packed and thinly sliced kale, thick stems removed
1⁄3 cup roasted or raw almonds
¼ cup raisins
Put all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk briskly to combine. Place salad ingredients in a large bowl, pour on the dressing, and toss until coated well. To soften the kale leaves, use clean hands to “massage” the dressing into the kale for about 30 seconds. Let stand five minutes and serve. This salad can be made ahead of time and refrigerated up to four hours before serving.
Makes 10 to 12 truffles
9 large Medjool dates, pitted
1⁄3 cup raisins
¼ cup raw unsweetened, shredded, dried coconut
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Line a small baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
Put the dates, raisins, coconut, and maple syrup in a high-performance blending appliance and process to the consistency of soft dough. Transfer the date mixture to a medium-sized bowl.
Using a cookie scoop, spoon out a heaping tablespoon of the date mixture, and roll it into a ball. Continue in this manner to form 10 to 12 truffle balls.
Put the cocoa powder in a small bowl. Roll the truffles in the cocoa powder until coated and place on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate one hour. Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, truffles will keep up to three days.
Laura Theodore is a Taste Award-winning, public television personality, vegan chef, radio host, cookbook author and recording artist. She is the on-camera host of the highly successful Jazzy Vegetarian vegan cooking series on public television. Season five of the series presently airs on WLIW-21 Sundays at 2:30 pm. www.jazzyvegetarian.com
By Laura Theodore