Posts in Nourish
Autumn Spiced Butternut Squash Soup

It’s no secret that when the New England air gets the slightest chill, people change gears (to put it lightly). As soon as the thermostat dips below 50-degrees, it’s nothing but pumpkin spiced lattes, apple cider donuts, and sweater weather. For me, the trademark of early fall is when the Le Creuset comes out of hiding and moves to it’s seasonal home on my stove. From that point until mid-May there is almost always something bubbling in that sturdy blue pot, filling our little cape with the warmth and the smells that make a home.

Now, when it comes to local food, nothing screams “autumnal” like the orange bounty of October: squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots. Beyond their beautiful hue, they are rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene, and potassium. Add warm spices to the mix, and a dollop of yogurt for a nice cool contrast, and you have a perfectly balanced, nutrient rich soup to warm your belly and welcome the soft chill of fall. Sophisticated yet rustic, this soup is loved equally by friends at a dinner party as is by my two-year-old daughter after a long day at daycare.


2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 shallots, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
2 sprigs rosemary
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground clove
1 bay leaf
4 peppercorns
1/4 cup parsley, chopped finely
salt & pepper to taste
plain yogurt

1. In a dutch oven over medium heat, warm oil until it shimmers. Then add squash, potato, carrots, and shallots.

2. Sauté until the shallot is transparent and potato begins to soften. Add spices and continue to stir until fragrant.

3. Stir in vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Once the soup is boiling, put a lid on the soup and simmer over medium-low heat.

4. When the potatoes split easily when poked with a knife, remove the pot from the heat and use an immersion blender to purée the soup.

5. Return to heat and simmer on low until ready to serve.

I like to serve this soup in a warmed bowl with a dollop of plain yogurt, a sprinkling of fresh parsley, and a lightly toasted piece of sourdough. To make it more hearty (and non-vegetarian), this soup is possibly even more delicious when topped with crumbled sage sausage.

NourishJennifer PratComment
Watermelon & Gin Granita

Last week we saw temperatures in the upper 90s with 80% humidity (and no rain!). This week I've noticed the cicadas are out already, which is hands-down the earliest I've heard them in years. All signs point to a hot, hot summer, so we're looking for ways to stay cool. The kiddie-pool is full and our drinks are on ice.

When Bernie brought home a watermelon, my first thought was to use it in some kind of gin drink. We have basil, rosemary, and mint in abundance, and gin is our go-to as soon as the weather gets warm. But even a watermelon cocktail didn't seem cool enough to help us beat that heat. So, why not an adult frozen dessert? Something brisk and light (even more so than a gin and tonic!) to sub in for our usual aperitif? I can say with 100% certainty: Nothing brings the temperature down like this deliciously refreshing watermelon and gin granita.

Watermelon & Gin Granita

1/4 Small Seedless Watermelon, Chunked
1 cup Water
1/3 cup Sugar
2 tbsp Lime Juice
1 bunch Fresh Basil or Mint
3/4 cup Gin

1. In a small sauce pan, combine water, sugar, lime juice, and basil and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer just long enough to dissolve the sugar. Strain and set aside to cool.

2. In a food processor or blender, puree the watermelon chunks. Once liquified, add the sugar-water and gin. Pulse to blend.

3. Pour the mixture into a small casserole dish or shallow Tupperware. Freeze for 1 hour.

4. Using a fork, mix every 30 minutes until the granita takes on a slushy consistency.

5. Serve in small bowls with a sprig of mint or basil to garnish.

Turkey Chili with Sweet Potatoes

As soon as the weather cools off and we can tolerate having the stove or oven on inside, I make at least one one-pot meal a week. Big recipes that can sit simmering on the stove feed us throughout the week and completely slay the What am I doing for dinner? dilemma.

These meals (and I have a lot of them) are especially great on, say, rainy Mondays when you have a ton of work to do and you're home with the kiddo.

Remember that Punjabi Aloo Matar? 

This weekend I made a big pot of chili on Sunday night that has already saved me once today. I love this chili recipe. The ingredients are simple, the flavors are complex, and it only takes 20 minutes to throw together - 15 minutes if you're stronger than the leaky mess I become when faced with chopping onions. I leave out the beans to accommodate sensitive bellies, and add sweet potatoes to pack in the nutrients.


Turkey Chili with Sweet Potatoes
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 45+ minutes | Serves: 6-8

1.5 lbs Ground Turkey
2 tbsp Coconut Oil
3 Garlic, Cloves minced
1 Yellow Onion, diced
1 Jalapeño Pepper, minced
1 Green Bell Pepper, diced
4 Poblano Peppers, diced
1 large Sweet Potato, cubed
3 tbsp Chili Powder
1 tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 tbsp Light Brown Sugar
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp White Pepper
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (if you like more heat)
4 cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth

1. In a large heavy pot over medium heat, sauté garlic and onions in 1 tbsp of coconut oil until the onion begins to sweat. Add peppers and continue to stir until the peppers begin to soften (about 3 minutes). Transfer the garlic, onions, and peppers to a bowl and set aside.

2. Add the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil to the pot and brown the ground turkey.

3. Once the turkey is browned, return the vegetables to the pot and stir together. Then add the chili powder, cocoa powder, brown sugar, salt, white pepper, black pepper, crushed red pepper, cayenne, and paprika, mixing thoroughly.

4. Add the cubed sweet potatoes and broth. Place a lid on the pot and simmer on medium heat until the sweet potatoes are soft, about 15-20 minutes. Continue to simmer uncovered to evaporate excess liquid until the chili thickens like a gravy, about 30 more minutes.

5. Once it's the right consistency, you can continue to simmer the chili on low with a lid on. The longer this cooks, the better it's going to be.

Serve it up with corn bread or corn chips, your favorite cheddar, and some green onions. Add a dollop of sour cream if you're feeling wild, (or greek yogurt for the more conservative types).

Full disclosure: I had a bowl of this chili at 11 a.m. and it totally hit the spot. I am going to use daylight savings and a 5:30 a.m. wakeup as an excuse.

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Better Than Takeout: Punjabi Aloo Matar

I was sitting at my desk, editing hundreds of photos for a quick client turnaround, when I realized it was almost 2 p.m. and I was starving. This happens to me more than I care to admit. It was one-hundred-percent, brain flashing yellow lights, brink of not thinking clearly, straight up hanger coming on. The problem with pregnancy is that extreme hunger not only comes on suddenly, it is almost always accompanied by a craving that demands satisfaction - no substitutes. For me, that craving was Indian food, which presented two problems:

1. I'm trying (really trying!) to take the take-out option off the table, especially for lunch. I don't need to be ordering enough food and shelling out the cash to meet a restaurant's $20 delivery minimum.

2. Even if I caved and ordered takeout, it would take 45 minutes to get here.

After getting sad for a moment and then doing a quick mental inventory of the fridge, I realized that I at least had potatoes, frozen peas, and fresh ginger in the fridge. I google search followed by a rummage through the spice cabinet confirmed: I had what I needed to make aloo matar - a deliciously warming Punjabi dish of potato and peas cooked in a tomato-based sauce.

For a long time I thought Indian dishes MUST be tough to make, if only because the flavors are so unlike anything I grew up eating. In reality, Indian cooking is actually a lot of one-pot dishes. Plus, once you buy the basic spices (most of which are used below), you'll have them ready to go for your next Indian cooking adventure. Not only did I have all of the ingredients, but the dish took less than ten minutes to prep, and another 15-20 to cook. Served with rice, some fresh cilantro, and mango chutney, the flavor was authentic, the cost was minimal, and the gratification was off the charts. Nothing beats homemade Indian food (except leftover homemade Indian food).


Punjabi Aloo Matar

2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 red onion, minced
2 potatoes, diced
1 cup peas
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 28 oz. can peeled tomatoes
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro + 2 tbsp for garnish

1. In a medium-sized dutch oven over medium heat, heat the coconut oil and mustard seeds until the mustard seeds are toasted (keep a lid mostly on the pot so the seeds don't pop out).

2. Add the red onion, ginger and garlic. Sauté until the onion begins to soften and the garlic and ginger are fragrant.

3. Add the tomatoes to the pot, first crushing them with a fork or your hands. Cook down until the liquid is mostly evaporated, about 5-7 minutes.

4. Add the chili powder, coriander, turmeric, cumin, garam masala, peas, potatoes and water.

5. Place the lid on the dutch oven and cook for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are soft. I like to peek at 10 minutes to check the consistency. If it's too watery, cook the remaining 5-10 minutes uncovered.

Serve over rice with mango chutney. I happened to have some chutney leftover from the last time my Indian craving hit (it's a problem), but Patak's Sweet Mango Chutney is sold in most grocery and a solid go-to if you don't have takeout leftovers in the fridge.

Is leftover chutney in the fridge a thing for other people?
Does anyone else eat this much Indian food?
Tell me I'm not alone!