Why I Am Posting These Recipes

I believe that it is healthier for an individual and for the planet to reduce the consumption of animal products in the human diet. However, I love to eat all kinds of delicious food, and find it really, really difficult to go totally vegetarian. Also, my family protests if I serve too many vegetarian meals in a row. So I am committed to making an effort to move towards a vegetarian diet without wholly doing so. I will post recipes several times a week that represent my philosophy of eating well, eating healthy, eating local. Most recipes will be easy to prepare, as I have a busy life. So I expect my followers to be people who love to cook and eat well, want to try to help the planet through their eating (by eating local foods and trying to reduce the use of meat in our diets), and have many other things to do each day besides cook.

Monday, October 21, 2013

White Beans, Kale and Delicata Squash

I just started to read a new report, Trade and Environment Review 2013, published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development entitled, "Wake Up Before It's Too Late:  Make agriculture sustainable now for food security in a changing climate."  One of the things it discusses is that extreme weather events will reduce or eliminate the ability of some agricultural regions to produce food.  It also points out that raising livestock uses more planetary resources than growing plants for food. As human population increases and demands greater quantities of meat, as is the current trend, there will be less food available for the global population as a whole.  It predicts political instability and riots as a result.  Sometimes, thinking about large scale devastation and global problems seems out of our individual control.  Yet we as individuals can choose whether we will act in a way that will add to or subtract from the destructive trends of human behavior.  I might not be able to control how all the world behaves, but I can control my own behavior, and to an extent the behavior of my family members.  I hope to influence my readers, as well, who can then influence their family and friends.  We do what we can do.  By consuming plants instead of meat, we use our planetary resources more conservatively to feed ourselves.  By supporting local agriculture, we help to ensure a food supply even if a catastrophic weather event wipes out a major agricultural region that provides food on a large-scale.

This recipe accomplishes both plant consumption over animal consumption and the support of local agriculture.  It celebrates fall with complementary flavors straight from the local farm.  Earthy kale combined with creamy white beans, such as cannellini, complements the naturally mild sweet flavor of delicata squash with a faint undertone of apple.  I cooked a bunch of white beans in a slow cooker before creating this dish.  I simply rinsed a bunch of dried white beans, put them in the slow cooker with enough water to cover them about 3 or 4 inches above, an onion cut in half, some fresh parsley, sage and a carrot.  Then I cooked it on the low setting for 10 hours--all day.  I added a little salt after they had cooked for a few hours and had started to get tender.  I scooped out 2 cups to use with this recipe and then I froze the rest in a clean glass jar after draining them.

If you spend the five minutes it takes to get the beans cooking early in the morning the day you plan to make this recipe, you only need to spend about a half hour or so in the evening putting it all together for dinner.  So it kind of ends up being fast food in a slow food way!

2 cups cooked white beans
bunch of kale, chopped
2 delicata squash, cut in quarters lengthwise, then sliced into approximate 1” pieces (no need to peel this kind of squash!)
2 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
sea salt
1 tsp cumin
10 fresh sage leaves, chopped
stalk of fresh rosemary, leaves removed from stem and chopped
¼ cup apple cider
1 apple, diced

Toss delicata squash, sage, cumin, about ½ tsp sea salt, diced apple, and olive oil together on foil-lined baking sheet.  Drizzle apple cider over squash and toss again.  Roast in 400 degree oven, tossing occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until squash is tender.

Meanwhile, heat additional olive oil in a large skillet over medium low heat.  Cook garlic briefly (just for a few seconds), stirring, and then add kale.  Toss kale so that it becomes coated with olive oil.  Sprinkle 1/8 tsp. sea salt over kale and toss again so that garlic, salt and olive oil become mixed with kale.  After kale cooks for 5-10 minutes and is wilted, add beans and rosemary and stir.  Cover and continue to cook over low heat for about 10 minutes.

To serve, toss squash, kale and beans together.  Serve with a steamed grain, such as brown rice.  Serves 4.

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