As winter begins it’s three month offensive on our collective attitudes and – potentially – our waistlines, it can be hard to resist temptation. However, just because the temperatures outside may cause many of us to yearn for comfort food does not mean we have to sacrifice a healthy diet.
Founded in 1981, the Berkshire Food Co-op in Great Barrington, MA, has held strong to its commitment to provide the community with a place to shop, gather, eat and learn by offering good food and sustainable products. The result has produced a veritable cornucopia of community engagement with food in the Berkshires and the introduction of versatile chef artisans skilled in the heart of delicious healthy food. Fresh foods assistant manager Billy Boudreau has been working at the Berkshire Food Co-op since July after arriving from Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA, where he was the culinary theater chef. Boudreau has focused his work at the Co-op on developing future favorites and expanding the community reach of recipes throughout the area. Here are two that infuse the idea of winter comfort food and healthy eating, with a few inspiring twists.
Butternut Squash Soup
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut in half
2 cups apple cider
2 cups vegetable stock
2 cinnamon sticks
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large white onion, cut into 1 inch pieces
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
3 tbsp safflower oil
Salt and black pepper
Roasted pumpkin seeds
Preheat the oven to 325°F. On a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, roast the butternut squash halves for one hour or until completely soft.
Meanwhile, in a pot, begin sauteing onions, carrots, Granny Smith apples, and cinnamon sticks with oil.
When tender, add apple cider and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Add fully cooked butternut squash, simmer for 30 minutes or until all vegetables are completely cooked through. Remove your cinnamon sticks.
Puree with a blender. Add water as necessary. Season with salt and pepper to desired taste. Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds.
Roasted Vegetable Salad
1 cup carrots
½ cup Delicata squash
½ cup fresh figs
¼ cup garlic, raw, peeled
½ tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 ½ tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the upper and lower third racks.
In a large bowl, combine carrots, squash, figs, pear, garlic, and thyme. Add olive oil and season with coarse salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
Remove hot baking sheets from the oven and divide vegetable mixture evenly between them, spreading in an even layer. Return baking sheets to the oven and roast, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and tender, about 35 minutes, rotating baking sheets from top to bottom halfway through baking.
Remove baking sheets from the oven and drizzle with vinegar, shake to combine. Transfer to a serving platter, drizzle with olive oil, and garnish with thyme leaves. Season with sea salt and serve.
To learn more, visit www.berkshire.coop or call (413) 528-9697.