Saturday , 26 May 2018

Kyra’s Kitchen: My Favorite Things – Part 2… Food Group A

By Kyra Effren, TSB Food Writer

Last week – My Favorite Gadgets.

This week, I will expose to you the first half of My Favorite Foods!

If I was marooned on a desert island and only one vegetable was available, my choice, without a doubt would be Butternut Squash.  It can be used in soup, casseroles, pancakes, pie, quiche and bread and can be substituted for most pumpkin dishes.  It can be sweetened or made savory – and it is easy to cook!

AND it does not need refrigeration – and keeps indefinitely.  What more could one ask?

One of my favorite recipes is:

3 tablespoons oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped, or 2 shallots peeled and chopped
1 medium to large butternut squash
6 cups well flavored chicken stock

Brown the onions or shallots in the oil.
Microwave the whole butternut for seven minutes to soften [makes cutting easier].
Peel the butternut and remove the seeds.  Add the flesh to the sautéing onions and continue to sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the stock and simmer gently for 15 – 20 minutes or until the butternut is soft.
Cool – then blend.
May be frozen.
To serve: Reheat and serve with a swirl of cream or sour cream or Greek Yogurt.


Here at last is a worthy substitute for sour cream – if you are trying to cut down on fat.

Like the butternut it is ubiquitous – from enriching sauces to serving as a dessert topping to substituting for part mayonnaise in dressing.  And it makes a delicious ice cream, which does not require an ice cream machine!

1 can condensed milk [you can use fat free] 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup whipped cream or whipped topping
To flavor you can choose:
4 oz melted dark chocolate or
3 tablespoons strong coffee or
½ cup Fruit puree – such as passion fruit, strawberries, raspberries

Combine the condensed milk, Greek yogurt and vanilla extract.  
Stir in your flavoring of choice.
Chill until the mixture is just starting to freeze – then fold in the cream or whipped topping.
Return to the freezer.
Serve with a smile on your face and DO NOT SHARE THE RECIPE!


PASSION FRUIT  [it is called Granadilla in other parts of the world.] The fresh fruit – usually found in ethnic markets – is horrendously expensive but passion fruit puree, unsweetened, can be found in Mexican markets in the freezer section.  It can be folded into the ice cream [above] or made into a passion fruit curd [butter] or used to flavor any dessert where you would use lemon. Try substituting the puree for lemon in lemon bars.  Yum!


People who do not like fish often like salmon.  I LOVE salmon.

Fresh salmon can be sautéed – poached – baked – grilled. 
Cooked salmon can be turned into Salmon cakes or Salmon burgers.
Cold cooked salmon can be tossed in salad – served with pasta

Here is a simple recipe using salmon with a few of my favorite things:

(Suggestion:  Invest in the BEST salmon you can find!)

2 lbs fresh salmon, boned
Salt and pepper, butter or oil

½ cup Greek yogurt
About 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup mango chutney

Preheat oven to 350.
Season the salmon with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little oil or melted butter.
Wrap in foil and bake for 20-30 minutes.

Remove from oven and open foil.
Transfer salmon to a serving dish and pour the juices from the foil into a bowl.
Stir in the Greek yogurt and chutney. 
Add lemon juice to taste.
Serve warm or cold.


And speaking of CHUTNEY… another favorite thing:

It is to Indians, South Africans and Brits what barbecue sauce is to Texans – soul food!!
Major Grey’s Mango chutney is available at most supermarkets.
Besides using it in the salmon recipe, try adding it to mayonnaise for your vegetable salad or spreading on chicken before baking… or folding into your tuna salad… or on your burger.

Chutney is one of the things the Brits brought back after attaching India to the British Empire – for which we are most grateful!

Next week more of my favorites:  Honey, lemon, chocolate, tea, ground almonds

About the Author
McKinney resident Kyra Effren is a contributing writer for’s “Food” section.  She is a retired food stylist and contributing writer for the “Food” section of Dallas Morning News. In 1975, Effren opened Cours de Cuisine Cooking School in Dallas and in 1978, she was awarded The Commanderie des Cordon Bleu in France for her contributions to French cooking.   She has edited multiple cookbooks and served as recipe tester for a number of cookbooks including both of the Mansion on Turtle Creek cookbooks by Dean Fearing and baking books by Nick Malgieri.

Kyra welcomes any and all reader comments and suggestions.  What would you like to have for dinner?

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