Because of the diverse nature of the many different restaurants and chefs Brian Henry has worked under he is highly proficient at a wide range of cuisines.

Brian’s cooking is seasonal, inventive and smart, but in no way unapproachable or fussy. When he is coaxed out of the kitchen and starts talking about food, his passion and knowledge are instantly recognizable.

"Chef Brian Henry cooked a series of delicious appetizers for us as we sat around a table in the kitchen". Thanks

Tony Aspler, Wine writer

“Chef Brian Henry puts one hundred percent of his energy into going all the way.”

Birgit Moenke, Editor Stir Media Read More Reviews

Gastronomically yours,

How to Stuff your Turban

The first time I saw a turban squash was over 25 years ago on the cover of an old Harrowsmith Magazine. I was immediately taken by its unique shape which loosely resembled an Oriental turban after which it is named. Its exterior colour and texture reminded me of those old Italian wine bottles that we used to use as candle holders covered in overlapping blobs of white, green, orange and red wax. Their peculiar appearance sees them used more commonly for decorative purposes than culinary.

 

When I was finally able to track one down and cut it open to see what it looked like inside, it revealed a bright yellow flesh with a slightly nutty aroma. It cooked like other vegetables and responded well to being roasted, steamed or boiled. It wasn’t until much later that I learned that the turban squash like all squash are classified as fruits and are members of the pumpkin family which are actually berries. Like most fruits in this category we can trace their origins to Central America where we see them used in many traditional recipes. In North America we tend to consume only the squash fruits but every part of the squash plant can be eaten, including the leaves and their tendrils.

 

When selecting turban squash keep in mind that the smaller squash are much sweeter than the larger ones, on the down side of this the smaller squash have a mealy textured flesh. I recommend using  medium sized turbans in the kitchen. A medium sized turban squash will weigh in around three pounds and have a diameter of about 8-10 inches. The large knob that protrudes from the squash is the flower end, making the opposite end the stem end.

 

Many local grocery stores are carrying a wide variety of squash at this time of year. Forage your way to through the produce section and find a turban squash to use in this week’s recipe as the hard shell of the turban makes it the perfect soup terrine.

Chorizo Stuffed Turban

 

Ingredients:

1 medium sized turban squash

Canola oil as needed

2 tbsp. butter

1 cup Spanish onion, diced

½ cup celery, diced

½ cup carrot, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 lb. chorizo sausage

1/4 cup soft breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 375°F with only a single rack on the middle shelf of your oven so that the turban will have adequate clearance.

Make sure that the turban is flat and level on its stem end, as this will be the bottom of your soup bowl. Take a thin slice or two off of the bottom if necessary to level it out. Next cut off the bulbous flower end, as you would when making a jack-o-lantern, as this piece can be used as a lid for your terrine.

Scoop out all of the seeds and pulp from the inside of the turban, discarding the pulp but reserving the seeds as they can be roasted and eaten too.

With a paper towel lightly coat all cut and exposed squash flesh surfaces to protect it while roasting in the oven.

Place the squash, cut sides down, on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about an hour or until the flesh is tender.

While the turban is roasting in the oven, combine the carrots onion and celery and butter in a medium sized sauté pan and cook until the onions begin to brown. Add the garlic and chorizo sausage and continue cooking for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Set mixture aside to cool.

Once the squash is cooked, scoop out its tender pulp. In a large bowl combine the squash with the sausage mixture. Next stir in the brown sugar and bread crumbs.

Return stuffed squash to the oven and bake for 30 minutes at 300°F. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

 

Here are some great links from this months ACF’s Newsletter on squash

Article – Comprehensive article about winter squash including nutrition information, types and varieties, buying and storing tips, culinary uses, as well as fun facts. Download
Kid-Friendly Flyer – Summary of winter squash benefits and uses in an easy-to-read format for children. Download
Hands-On Chef Activities – Fun and engaging activities for chefs to present in the classroom or after-school programs. Download
 Classroom Activities – Share the classroom toolkit with teachers to integrate winter squash into the lesson plan that teaches to the common core standards.

Recipes – Tasty and nutritious recipes with winter squash. Download
Fitness – Encourage a healthy lifestyle by including these exciting games into your program.Download
pumpkins

New book you might want to check out!

New book you might want to check out! Especially if you enjoyed Wheat Belly

Gourdalicious!

Gourds are one of the earliest plants to be domesticated by humans and were spread throughout the world by migrating peoples.  Gourds were cultivated for use as a kitchen tool; primarily as a vessel for carrying liquids. Gourds were often used in surgical procedures during Neolithic times to replace sections of people’s skulls. The shapely pieces would be wrapped in gold leaf and then inserted under the skin.

 These unique varieties of the pumpkin family are fruits. I’ve often been curious as to why we find gourds stored with other edible produce items because Gourds for the most part are inedible and the dust produced from some varieties of dried gourds can cause severe respiratory distress for crafts people who sculpt these colorful fruits into bowls, bottles and musical instruments.

  Only a few varieties of gourds are harvested for consumption. One of the most commonly eaten gourds is the Cucuzzi also known as an Italian Edible Gourd. Most Asian markets and some specialty food shops will carry the Serpente Di Sicila, Luffa, bitter melon and the Thai Bottle varieties.

 With the autumnal weather here gourds both the ornamental and edible varieties are a plenty at the areas farmer’s markets and grocers. Try some of the edible varieties in the following recipe.

Stir fried Bitter Melon

Ingredients:

One pound of bitter melon

1 tablespoon minced garlic

One-quarter teaspoon chili pepper flakes

Three tablespoons peanut oil

Three tablespoons soy sauce

Two tablespoon Chinese rice wine

One teaspoon sugar

Sesame oil to taste

Method:

Cut the bitter melon, in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and cut diagonally into thin slices. Place the bitter melon slices into a colander and set in the sink. Sprinkle the bitter melon slices with salt and let them drain for about 15 minutes. Then rinse the melon briefly with water and let drip dry. Using a mortar and pestle, mash the chili pepper flakes with the minced garlic into a smooth paste.
Pre-heat a wok or large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the peanut oil. Add the chilli garlic paste to the hot oil and stir-fry briefly and releases the aromatic properties. Your nose will tell you when this happens. Add the bitter melon and continue to stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Add the rice wine soy sauce and the sugar. Cook until the bitter melon starts to brown and begins to soften. Add the desired amount of sesame oil and serve immediately over basmati rice. Serves four.

 

The following are some more great Links from the ACF

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