Winter Ratatouille With Wheat Berries

Bowl of pearled wheat with tomato sauce and winter vegetables.

Calling this a ratatouille might be a stretch, we know. And even though Wikipedia’s definition is forgivingly vague (“Recipes and cooking times differ widely, but common ingredients include tomato, garlic, onion, zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper and some combination of leafy green herbs”), I feel like maybe we should have just called it a winter stew?

Anyway, here it is – and it’s rather divine. Not particularly French, perhaps, but divine nonetheless. Soft cubes of butternut squash in a creamy tomato sauce, boosted with kidney beans, kale and warming spices. Served over a bed of chewy wheat berries, it’s one of those comforting dishes that this time of year asks for time upon time. We like to make a big batch on a Sunday evening and then rest assured that we have at least a few dinners prepared for the week right there. And as with most stews, this one only gets better after a day or two, when the flavors have really blended and the creaminess somehow multiplied.

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Butternut Squash Fritters

För recept på svenska, klicka här: Pumpabiffar med svartkål

More fritters to the people! It wonʼt make sense to explain once again how much we like fritters, making big batches of them and then having tons in the freezer… but there you go, we just did. Few things are as satisfying as filling up the reserves and then knowing that you have nutritious food easily accessible whenever time has run away (yet again). And here, youʼre sure in for a big batch if you decide to follow the recipe. It made sense to not cut in half or adjust any amounts since it now relies on one (1) whole butternut squash, but if youʼd rather use half and then save the leftovers for something else, feel free (maybe youʼre in the mood for the Quick Butternut Squash Soup, Butternut Squash Enchiladas or Butternut Squash with Curried Chickpeas).

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Quick Butternut Squash Soup with Carrots, Apple and Crispy Chickpeas

För recept på svenska, klicka här: Krämig butternutsoppa med krispiga kikärtor

Winter squashes are incredible. They really are. From a storing perspective, they beat all other vegetables. As opposed to being picky about exact degrees and humidity levels, winter squashes can be stored at room temperature without complaining. And they won’t start to look sad and soggy come late winter – oh no, they’ll happily be stored for another 3 months, and another 3 after that. We’ve so far grown our own delicata and acorn squashes, and these are two of our absolute favorites. But the loyal butternut is of course not to be looked down upon – we just haven’t tried growing our yet, much due to the (wonderful) fact that we can buy Swedish-grown at the store for fairly cheap. Until we have unlimited growing space, we then choose to grow other things in our garden. When there’s a good deal on butternut squash, we buy half a cart full and then store them in our little guest house/storage space for the winter. Then it almost feels as if we grew them ourselves, as that’s where we store a bunch of our own produce too 🙂

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Pizza with Butternut Squash, Red Onion and Dino Kale

För recept på svenska, klicka här: Pizza med butternutpumpa, rödlök och svartkål

I (Sophia) sometimes joke and say that my time in NYC taught me a lot about many things, but I learned the most about pizza. And while that might not be 100% true, my pizza horizon was indeed widened big time. Red sauce, white sauce. Elaborate toppings and fancy names. Thin crust, thick crust, medium crust. Expensive. Cheap. Good. Really good. Quite bad. We definitely didn’t have pizza nearly as often as the regular New Yorker, but often enough for me to have collected a bunch of treasured memories.

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Bean Dip 3 Ways

För recept på svenska, scrolla nedåt eller klicka här: 3 varianter på bönröra

Bean dips. Bean spreads. Hummuses. Staples of our fridge. Easiest things to make and best hanger-rescues there are. I could just keep going: they are cheap, packed with nutrients, easy to adapt based on season. Yesterday, we finished an entire tub as a mid-morning snack (actually, it was the butternut squash version you’ll see below that we dug into – it might very well be our favorite bean spread ever). Best afternoon-pick-me-up is a slice of bread, a thick layer of bean spread and a crispy vegetable on top. If we’re feeling fancy, we’ll go all in with a sprinkle of sesame seeds as well. Ah, the small things in life. Throw in some spring sun, which would mean snacking takes place while sitting on our deck, and we couldn’t ask for more! Appreciating those glorious moments in the day-to-day is key to contentment, we think. Taking the time to stop for a second, take in your surroundings, look up from the screens, notice the weather and the seasonal changes… to us, those are all crucial aspects of a life in harmony. And apparently, bean spreads can be a great help along the way!

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Chocolate Winter Squash Muffins

För recept på svenska, scrolla nedåt eller klicka här: Choklad- och pumpamuffins

This past summer, we made about a gazillion of these Chocolate Zucchini Muffins, using up the zucchinis that had grown waaaayyy too big for “normal” eating. We (obviously) ate a lot of muffins then, preferably when soaking up the sun somewhere, but we could also put many in the freezer for later. We literally just finished the last ones from the summer – which can serve as an indication of exactly how many we actually made – and so, it was time to make new muffins. Because really, isn’t it just unbeatable to have chocolate muffins in the freezer that you can defrost in no time and fend off any blood sugar dips with? It is to us, at least. But with no zucchinis on hand now, during the winter, what to do? Introducing: winter squash. With essentially endless storage possibilities, winter squashes can be used throughout the whole dark and cold season, all the way until the garden is back to former glory. By making a puree using butternut squash, you’ll end up with the most moist, borderline sticky, muffins ever. No dry crumbs here, be sure of it. I was, after all, raised by my mother – a fan of all things sweet and dessert-like, and with a strong preference for stickiness and gooeyness.

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Easy Squash and Nut Bread

We mentioned a month or so ago that we had been hit by a big storm, which knocked out our power for a week and left 30+ giant trees down just in and around our immediate property. Now, we’re busy cleaning up the mess Alfrida (as she was named) created, which involves a lot of schlepping, pushing, lifting, dragging, moving, hauling and chopping, as well as a decent amount of grunting – but that’s of course just for show. We had a neighbor help us sort out the situation initially, when the scene looked quite treacherous – some trees were fallen but resting on others still (sort of caught halfway), some had roots attached, holding a dangerous amount of tension. And some were simply too wide for our chainsaw to work through, so these trunks we got help sawing up into the 30 cm/1 ft pieces (or round blocks) we’ll eventually chop into firewood. Needless to say, the amount of stuff we have to take care of is… mind-blowing (at least for just two people). In order to not get overwhelmed, we’re tapping into “a little bit at a time”-mode. Yes, we’re all like “Rome wasn’t built in a day” out there, as we’re moving the blocks, one by one, and creating a giant brush pile with all the branches. By glancing at the pile of blocks we’ve currently moved into one and the same place though… we have firewood for 15 years to come.

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Loaded Veggie Tacos

För recept på svenska, scrolla nedåt eller klicka här: Gröna supertacos

When I moved to New York, I learned a whole lot about tacos right from the start. The shredded lettuce, canned corn kernels and chopped tomato add ins of my childhood were all of a sudden nowhere to be seen – instead, the most elaborate combinations were served up and a food concept I had felt sort of “meh” about for a while became a new favorite. I recall this one conversation I had with Mike early on, where I sort of “explained” to him that in Sweden, we approach tacos in a much different way. I went on and on about the standard concept of ground beef, the aforementioned vegetables, the taco sauce or salsa, sour cream and shredded cheese – only to have Mike tell me afterwards that that’s how tacos are normally eaten in America too. Little did I know, back then, that I’d only been taken to these contemporary, trendy Mexican food places, where pickled red onions, thinly sliced radishes and habanero relish had just recently risen to the sky as the “new black” of taco toppings.

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Butternut Squash with Curried Chickpeas

It happened again – the phenomenon where Mike disappears into the kitchen without really saying much, and then delicious food appears as if out of the blue. In all honesty though, this was the first time the end product was a savory dish and not something sweet (or a bread). He’s got his priorities straight, my husband!

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Black Bean, Butternut Squash and Kale Enchiladas

Ah, Mexican food. Tacos, burritos, enchiladas – flavorful fillings, soft tortilla breads, endless variations. What’s not to like? (Maybe those overly greasy concoctions, I guess). Whenever we make enchiladas at home, we ask ourselves why we don’t do it more often. It’s the perfect meal all those days when your training load is heavy and you need to seriously reload – it packs both lots of protein and carbohydrates and will send you to bed feeling comfortably filled up and ready for the next day’s session(s). With both butternut squash, black beans, kale and walnuts in the filling, each enchilada also holds plenty of vitamins and minerals, and you can choose whichever type of tortilla bread suits your fancy.

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