Posts tagged ‘winter’

Warming winter squash

pan squash
My favorite squashes are Kabocha, a Japanese squash (with a thin skin that I can easily cut thru and leave on) and Butternut squash (if it’s the pre-peeled/pre-cut packaged kind). And my favorite way to cook squash is to roast them in the oven till they get crisp and caramelized.

Cumin Roasted Squash with Orange and Thyme

  • 1/2 Kabocha squash or 1.5lb of Butternut squash
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp of coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 tsp of whole cumin seeds or ½ tsp of ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coarse fresh ground pepper
  • 1 orange, juiced and zest
  • 1 tbsp of fresh thyme or 1 1/2 tsp of dried thyme

Preheat oven to 425°.
Cut squash into one and a half inch pieces.
Pour oil into a large cast iron pan or roasting pan.
Add in squash and mix in pan till they are coated in oil.
Then sprinkle on salt and spices, mix thoroughly.
Place in oven for about 20-25mins, turn them every 10min with tongs or flip them with spatula.
Zest the orange, and then juice it.
Mix zest and thyme in the orange juice.
Put the hot squash and juice into serving bowl, stir to incorporate.

    You can skip the orange juice as a dressing altogether. The roasted squash on its own is already perfect, a sweet interior with a savory crisp exterior.

    orange squash

     lina-sm.gif L


    February 12, 2008 at 10:26 am 5 comments

    Tea in my cookie

    (clockwise from the top; vanilla bean, ginger, black tea, cardamom, and black peppercorn)

    During the month of December with freezing temps and holiday cheer, I had a great excuse to bake batches and batches of cookies. I tend to make cookies on the spur of the moment and with whatever I have lying around. My pantry always has almond and hazelnut flour on hand (great deals on packs 4 from Bob’s Red Mill on And due to certain events, I now have dozens of vanilla beans (I’m not complaining). I’m usually drinking green tea all day (everyday); but I do keep some black tea around. And my spice rack is always well stocked. All these factors combined made Vanilla Chai Cookies. I also made an almond sugar cookie, but the chai was the clear favorite during Christmas. The smell of warm vanilla and spices is still comforting for these mid winter days.

    The idea of putting tea leaves into the cookies came from my favorite tea house, but that’s a whole other story for another time.


    Vanilla Chai Cookies


    • a 2 inch piece of fresh ginger
    • 1 whole vanilla bean /or 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
    • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp of fresh coarse ground black pepper
    • 1/4 tsp of ground cloves
    • 3 cardamom pods /or 1/2 tsp of ground cardamom
    • 2 tsp of good quality whole black tea leaves


    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 cup of organic shortening(but u can use 1 stick of butter)
    • 1 tsp of baking powder
    • 1 1/2 cup of hazelnut(or almond) flour /or 1 1/4 cup of raw hazelnuts(or raw almonds) ground finely in food processor*
    • 2 cup regular white flour
    • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar(light or dark)
    • 1 to 4 tbsp of water(to bind)

    In the food processor, throw in all the spices (and tea) + sugar, pulse then blend till the vanilla and ginger r incorporated.
    Next add in all the butter, blend till it’s all incorporated.
    Add the hazelnut flour and blend.
    Add in the egg and blend.
    Add in all the flour and pulse, adding some of the water, the dough should ball up.
    Get out some plastic wrap and split the dough into 2 pieces.
    Form it into 2 logs, wrap and twist up the ends. Maybe doubling the plastic wrap in case it doesn’t cover the ends. Each log should be roughly about 2 x 1.5 x 10inches.
    Put it in the freezer for 15-20mins. When it comes out it should be firm enough to slice up into quarter inch pieces. If it’s too hard, leave it out for a few minutes. You can use one log and save the other in the freezer for quite a while.
    Preheat oven to 350; place cookies on parchment lined cookie sheet. They might expand up to 50%, so space them out accordingly. Baking time should be about 10-13mins, keep an eye and nose on it; the smell is a good indicator for doneness. If the dough was warmed by the time it goes into the oven, it could be done under 10min. If it’s a wider log or thicker slices it might take up to 15mins or more.

    * If you just don’t have or want nuts in it, use an additional 1 1/4 cup of regular flour + 1 tbsp of shortening/butter + 1/2 tsp of baking powder.

    To make them more festive I dipped them in white chocolate and sprinkled with pink sugar.

    dipped lina-sm.gif -L

    January 17, 2008 at 8:09 pm Leave a comment

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