Archive for January, 2009

Leslie Cerier speaks up for eating local
January 6, 2009

Hi all,

Hope you are well. Here are some delicious recipes highlighting local, seasonal ingredients that are from my latest cookbook, Going Wild in the Kitchen. Please enjoy!

Also, I have some very exciting cooking classes coming up this February. Please go to and click on cooking classes to see and register for my latest: Creative cooking with Sea Vegetables and Savory Baked Main Courses.

And I will be giving some free talks about eating local and eating well, AKA Nutrition Makeovers, Reducing Your Carbon Footprint and Eating really well from the local harvest! Come join me! For more info: cooking class link

Butternut Squash with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Sage

This dish is one of my Thanksgiving staples. It is also delightful served as a pâté on crackers or thinly sliced toasted baguettes. and if you are like me, and have dried your own summer fresh plum and cherry tomatoes… MMMMM!


Yield: 8 to 12 servings

1 cup water
1 1/2 cups sun-dried tomatoes

1 1/2 cups sunflower seeds
4 1/2 pounds (about 9 1/2 cups) butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
7 cloves garlic, thickly sliced
4 cups coarsely chopped red onions
3 cups coarsely chopped white button mushrooms
4 tablespoons coarsely chopped sage, or 4 teaspoons dried
1 tablespoon chopped oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste


1. Bring the water to boil in a small pan, and add the sun-dried tomatoes. Turn off the heat, and let sit 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes have softened. Drain and set aside.

2. While the tomatoes soak, place the sunflower seeds in a medium-sized unoiled skillet over medium-low heat. Stirring occasionally, dry-roast the seeds for 5 minutes,, or until they begin to pop and have a nutty aroma. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

3. Place the squash on a steamer basket set over boiling water. Cover and steam 15 minutes, or until fork tender.

4. While squash cooks, heat the oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onions, and sauté 5 minutes, or until the onions begin to soften. Add the mushrooms, and continue to cook another 5 minutes, or until they begin to soften.

5. Place the sunflower seeds in a food processor and grind. Add half the sun-dried tomatoes, half the squash, half the sautéed vegetables, and half the sage, oregano, and salt. Purée until smooth; then transfer to a large mixing bowl. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Adjust the seasonings, if desired.

6. Transfer the purée to a serving bowl, and enjoy.


Orange-Scented Yams with Chestnuts

Presoaking the dried chestnuts results in a delicious smoky flavored stock in which to bake these orange-scented yams. Dried chestnuts are available in most Asian markets, specialty shops, and natural foods stores.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


1/3 cup dried chestnuts

2/3 cup water

6 cups yams, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped oyster or white button mushrooms

1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped onions

3 tablespoons dried orange peel

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon dried cardamom


1. Place the chestnuts and water in a small bowl, and let sit several hours or overnight until the chestnuts have softened.

2. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

3. Transfer the chestnuts and soaking water to a large mixing bowl along with the remaining ingredients. Mix well.

4. Place the ingredients in a covered baking dish and bake 45 minutes, or until the yams are tender. Adjust the seasonings, if desired.

5. Serve immediately.


Bon Appetite!


and hope to see you in February for Hands-on Organic Vegetarian Cooking Classes… click back to the cooking class link on for early bird discounts and registration