Jill Fergus

I began cooking as a child and feeding family and friends has always been my passion. My kitchen is a busy one. I love to experiment and embrace the kitchen successes along with the accidents. I love to cook and collaborate with friends. I am seasonally driven (I love the farmer's market!), avoid processed foods and focus on whole and organic (mostly plant-based, but not exclusively) choices. In my home, my family has a variety of eating preferences from plant-based, gluten free, refined sugar free to full on omnivore. My goal is to create dishes to please all, either as is or with minor adjustments to the recipe. Where did "Feed the Swimmers" come from? When my kids began swimming competitively and growing into young adults, I realized, even more, how important nutrition is to performance, growth and overall health and emotional well being. Everyone (including the coach during travel meets) would ask "what are you feeding the swimmers?" This has become my mantra whenever I'm in my kitchen cooking for family and the friends I love.

 

 

Pumpkin Crostini with Chèvre and Lentils (Crostini di Zucca)

Pumpkin Crostini with Chèvre and Lentils (Crostini di Zucca)

There are so many delicious squash and pumpkin varieties every Fall, it’s hard to choose! Two in particular I find hard to resist- kabocha and red Kuri. They both have a chestnut like texture, sweetness and they don’t require peeling. But, don’t get me wrong, I love pumpkin in all its forms. Choose your favorite and go! 

I developed this delicious crostini for this year’s #virtualpumpkinparty It’s a huge crowd pleaser and can even double as a light meal. I love the contrasting textures and flavors. If you don’t care for goat cheese, ricotta substitutes beautifully as do vegan options. And, any extra cider marinade should be saved as it is a wonderful flavor bomb, adding that perfect hit of acid (no pun!) and subtle sweetness to almost anything you choose to try it with, vegetables, grains, beans, soups... !

For more delicious pumpkin recipes, visit Sara Cornelius’ blog cakeoversteak.com where she’s gathered an amazing group of bloggers who are sharing their season’s favorites to celebrate the pumpkin! Links to all recipes may be found there and I believe there are more than 80 this year!

 

Pumpkin Crostini with Chèvre and Lentils

note: I can’t eat garlic, and cook with very little of it. The marinade can handle plenty, so if you’re a garlic lover, add as much as you like. You also do not need to remove it as it can be served with the pumpkin.

Recipe

ingredients

1 lb pumpkin/squash of choice, seeds removed  (here I used Red Kuri as it doesn’t require peeling and is really flavorful) , cut into 1/2” slices  

1/4+ cup olive oil

4 oz fresh goat cheese or ricotta, room temperature 

1/3 cup beluga or French lentils, prepared per package directions

1/2 cup cider vinegar

2 tsp sugar

1-2 cloves garlic, crushed

Freah basil for garnish

Flaky sea salt

Fresh ground pepper  

Crusty bread, sliced into portions of about 3-4 bites each  

1- Preheat heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat.  

2- Place cider vinegar, sugar, garlic and a pinch of salt in a small sauce pan and simmer until sugar has melted and liquid has reduced by almost half. Set aside to cool, remove garlic cloves and add 1 Tbs olive oil.  

3-  Add 1 Tbs of the olive oil to the pan and cook squash in batches, careful not to overcrowd as you want the edges to caramelize. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. When all are cooked, spread on a large plate or baking dish and dress with about 1/2 the cider vinegar dressing and adjust seasoning.

4- Grill or toast sliced bread, lightly brush with olive oil and toast a minute more.

5- Season cooked lentils with salt and paper and dress with olive oil and a Tbs of cider vinegar dressing.  

6- Assemble: spread goat cheese on warm crostini. Top with a Tbs of lentils and a small mound of pumpkin. Top with flaky sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste and basil. 

Enjoy! 

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Kabocha, butternut, honeynut and red Kuri are some of my favorites.  The kabocha and red Kuri do not require peeling. 

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Slices should be not more than 1/2” thick. If you go thicker, adjust cooking time.  

 

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Don’t crowd the pan if you desire caramelized edges. Overcrowding allows the veggies to steam, which prevents all that deeper flavor. 

 

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The cider marinade adds wonderful flavor. Save any extra and use it to your delight.  

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Enjoy!!! 

 

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