Veggies for brunch

What do you do when the organic farm has sent more squash and beets and potatoes than you know what to do with in the same week when your Book Club is meeting at your house?  You serve veggies for brunch.

The Book Club rotates our meeting place among the participants.  Most of the time we have some kind of an egg casserole, a fruit salad and a dessert.  About half of the group is gluten free – for a variety of reasons.  In other words we usually have a pretty healthy brunch.

I did deviled eggs, twice baked butternut squash, twice roasted beets, fajita potatoes, and Cajun sweet potatoes.  For dessert I had dates and Chocolate Quinoa Cake.

Butternut squash is a hard squash that is difficult to peel.  Long ago I learned to bake butternut squash before peeling it.  If I put it whole on a cookie sheet and bake it at 350 degrees until it is just barely soft (like a baked potato) it is really easy to peel.  Then I can season it or use it in a recipe.

But DD took butternut squash to the next level.  After the baked squash was peeled and the seeds scooped out, she sliced it and put it back on a cookie sheet sprayed with olive oil cooking spray.  She sprinkled it generously with cinnamon and sprayed it with more olive oil.  Then she baked it again until the top was a little bit brown and crispy.  Oh my, to me, this was delicious.

I bake beets the same way I bake butternut squash.  After they cool, the skins just slip off when I hold them under running water.  I usually reheat them in a sauce pan with ghee and ginger.  But one day I wondered what twice baked beets would taste like.  I tried them with cinnamon and they were delicious.

Preparing the red potatoes and sweet potatoes the day of the Book Club was easy.  I just cut them in cubes, seasoning the red potatoes with fajita seasoning and the sweet potatoes with Cajun seasoning.  I baked them just like oven fries.

The ladies loved the vegetables!  I think everyone tasted a little of each one.  It was very different from the typical brunch.

I owe someone an apology for borrowing their Quinoa Chocolate Cake recipe.  I usually copy the source when I get a recipe off the internet, but not this time.  I found it on a gluten free or paleo website a while back, but had never tried it.  It’s risky to serve a new recipe for company, but the ingredients sounded really good.  When I had the batter ready, I pulled out enough for one muffin.  When it was done, I cut the muffin in half and gave one part to my Honorable Husband.  I said, “Ok, I need you to be brutally honest.  Am I going to be embarrassed if I serve this to my friends?”  He smiled.  He said he liked it.  I asked again, “So if there are leftovers, you will enjoy them?”  He said with conviction, “Oh yes!”

The Book Club agreed – it was a very good, moist chocolate cake.  Here is the recipe, again with apologies to whoever originally developed it.

2 cups quinoa, cooked
1/3 cup almond milk
4 eggs
1/2 cup ghee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar or sugar substitute
1/2 cup cacao powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9-inch cake pan.
Melt the ghee.
Put the quinoa, milk, eggs, melted ghee, and vanilla into a food processor.  Pulse to combine and then process until smooth.
Transfer the mix to a bowl and add the sugar, cacao powder, baking powder, soda, and salt to the bowl.  Stir briskly to combine well.

Bake for about 40-42 minutes or until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean.

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