South African Grilled and Stuffed Butternut Squash

1 Butternut squash, halved and seeded
1 c. Cooked chopped spinach
2-4 Shallots, minced
8oz Feta cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
Olive Oil

Heat the grill - either light the charcoal or turn on the gas.

Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until softened. Add the spinach, feta, and garlic. Cook until heated through. Remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Scoop the spinach/feta mixture into the hollowed out halves of the butternut. Sprinkle with chopped rosemary and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap the individual halves in aluminum foil. 

Place on the grill, or better yet nestled directly in the coals. Cook for 40-45 minutes or until soft, testing for doneness with a knife.  

Cauliflower and Potato Curry

4-6 medium potatoes, cut into chunks
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
1 large can tomatoes
1 T coriander seeds
1 t cumin seeds
1 1/2 T curry powder
Salt and Pepper
Cayenne Powder
1 bunch cilantro, chopped

In a heavy skillet over high heat, toast the coriander and cumin seeds until fragrant. Remove from the heat and grind. Set aside.

In a large pan or wok, heat some oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions just begin to sweat. Add the peppers and toasted spices and cook until the peppers are just beginning to soften. Add the can of tomatoes, curry powder and potatoes. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to maintain a lively simmer. Cook until the potatoes are just tender. Add the cauliflower, season with salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Add cayenne powder to your desired spice level. Stir in the cilantro and serve over rice. 

Potato Gratin


1 cup heavy cream
1 cup Chicken Stock
4 tbsp. butter
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 bay leaf
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large russet potatoes, peeled, and thinly sliced
1 cup grated gruyère cheese


1. Preheat oven to 375°. Heat cream, stock, butter, garlic, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, some nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium nonreactive saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, layer an 8" × 12" baking dish alternately with potatoes and ¾ cup of the cheese to form about 6 layers, finishing with potatoes.

3. Carefully strain heated cream over assembled potatoes, then sprinkle potatoes with remaining ¼ cup of cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper, cover dish with aluminum foil, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and continue baking until potatoes are tender and gratin is golden and bubbling, about 15 minutes. Allow gratin to rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.


Greens aux Gratin

This is a great way to use up any greens – kale, spinach, radish or turnip greens, whatever. It’s also a way to get rid of excess cheese you may have lying around.

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

 Sautee the greens (destemmed if using kale) in oil or butter over high heat with a little chopped onion or garlic. Cook until just wilted – 2 or 3 minutes. Set aside.

 Make a roux over medium heat, using 3 T butter and 3 T flour. Wisk in 1 cup of milk and stir until thickened.

 In a shallow baking pan, layer greens, roux and any cheese – we like a mixture of Monterrey Jack and a hard, salty Italian cheese. A little blue cheese is also great in there. Some thin slices of buttered wheat bread on top will add a nice crunch.

 Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

Risotto with Tomato, Eggplant and Mint

1 eggplant
2 medium tomatoes (peeled, seeded, and finely chopped) 
5-6 basil leaves torn
4 cups veggie stock
1 cup unwashed risotto 2/3 cup Parm-Regg (I use pec. romano) 
1 small onion peeled and finely chopped
olive oil
1 T finely chopped mint 

Peel the eggplant and cut it lengthwise into 1" thick slabs. Brush the slabs lightly with olive oil and dust lightly with salt and pepper. Lay slices on broiling tray about 4" from heat source. Broil until both sides are lightly browned. Cut into 1" dice.

Heat the stock and keep it hot over very, very low heat. Put 3T olive oil into large, heavy, non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Put in the onion; stir fry for a minute. Add tomatoes and basil; stir fry for a minute. Add eggplant; stir fry for a minute. Then, add rice and stir fry for 1 minute. Pour a generous ladle of stock and turn heat to medium. Stir the risotto until the stock has been absorbed, and then add another ladle-ful. Keep stirring and adding stock until all the stock has been used up or the rice is fully cooked (minimum of 22 minutes). Add the cheese and stir until it has disappeared into the rice. Sprinkle the mint over and drizzle quality olive oil over the top. Let sit for a minute or two before serving. (Serves 3-4. Adopted from Madhur Jaffrey's "World Vegetarian" 1999).