pretending it is fall

This past week, I was doing my best to pretend that the fall season was upon us. I baked muffins, made oatmeal and nibbled on buttermilk biscuits at a leisurely pace. My biggest challenge was figuring out how to cook that butternut squash that had been sitting on the counter for over a week without melting the house and/or its contents.  I referenced my handy-dandy… not notebook, but Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and found a Thai stew with butternut squash and tofu that seemed to fit the bill.

I did not have all the ingredients that I needed on hand, so I improvised and substituted my way to the little number pictured above – not really a stew, not really a stir-fry. It was the perfect balance of savory and sweet and even my husband (which does not like to mix his savouries and sweets) gobbled the stuff up. I totally winged it, so I’ll do my best to lay out my step-by-step.

Thai “Stew” Over Brown Rice

1. Finely dice one medium onion and saute in about 1 tablespoon of peanut oil over medium-high until translucent.

2. Add minced ginger and garlic (about a tablespoon of each) and minced chiles (about one medium-sized red-hot pepper with membranes and seeds removed). Saute for another minute or so.

3. Add soy sauce (2 tablespoons) and light brown sugar (2 teaspoons or so) and cook for another minute.

4.  Add one butternut squash (diced) and saute for a few more minutes to meld flavors together a bit.

5. Add one can of unsweetened coconut milk and about a 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to simmer until butternut squash is at desired consistency. (I like mine soft, but not mushy.)

6. Fry a block of cubed tofu in a little peanut oil, add to stew and mix thoroughly.

7. Taste for salt. Add the juice of one lime.

8. Serve over brown or jasmine rice garnished with a little fresh cilantro and your favorite chile.

I’m gonna tackle the acorn squash that is sitting on the counter next. Suggestions that don’t involve the oven?

Be kind. Be patient. Eat well.

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