Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
From the Kitchen: Esalen Curried Heirloom Squash Soup
Category:
Food

Esalen’s Farm & Garden was recently blessed with abundance. After a previous harvest of nearly all things kale, this time it’s like something out of a Roald Dahl book — but rather than one giant peach, we have over 1,000 pounds of squash! It fell on Chef Abi to cultivate a variety of delicious dishes — including a nourishing curried soup to warm bodies and spirits.

“Creating high-quality quantities has been a major growth for me as a chef [at Esalen] — ensuring 600 meals a day are out every day,” Chef Abi says. “We are the life force of Esalen. All our meals are produced from whole foods. We are continuously working on elevating the dining experience here.” 

Chef Abi, as Esalen’s executive chef pulls from her past experiences as culinary journeywoman, leading in kitchens around the world and using her talents across extreme environments, from disaster relief with World Central Kitchen to private cheffing aboard yachts throughout the Caribbean. A trained EMT who studied ancient Indian holistic medicine while attending the California College of Ayurveda, she shares, “Squash is an antioxidant containing the carotenoid zeaxanthin, which helps protect your eyes from macular degeneration. It supports heart health and plays a role in immune function.”

Squash also happens to be the oldest cultivated food in North America. It was the first of the “inseparable three sisters” — followed by beans and corn — the crops planted together by Indigenous communities for a sustainable system that provides long-term soil fertility. 

French writer Victor Hugo famously wrote: “There are no weeds, and no worthless men. There are only bad farmers.” American botanist Peter Del Tredici agreed: "I consider weed to be a politically incorrect term. There's no biological definition of the term weed. It's really a value judgment." After all, one man’s weeds are another man’s salad.

That’s good news for the plentiful harvest of tulsi growing in the garden. Also known as Holy Basil, this wondrous, purifying weed is an Ayurvedic sacred plant. Besides being antibacterial and antiseptic, tulsi supports respiratory health to fight colds, flus, and allergies. Warming in nature, tulsi opens the heart and mind, invites clarity, and increases devotion. As the birthplace of human potential, we can confidently say we are weed-free. Our talented farmers and supporting humans are working toward elevating Esalen’s Farm & Garden to include a biodynamic certification.

With six varieties of squash in full bloom — including butternut, yellow crookneck, acorn, zucchini, and Chef's favorite, pattypan — Chef Abi chose heirloom for this recipe because of its sweet, nutty flavor and bright orange color. Fun Foodie Fact: This dish will be part of a pop-up collaboration  with Big Sur Food and Wine on November 3. 


Esalen Curried Heirloom Squash Soup Recipe

Makes 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs heirloom squash
  • 5 tbsp coconut milk
  • 5 tbsp curry powder
  • 3 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 2 whole juniper berries per half squash
  • 1 bay leaves per half squash
  • 2 tbls fennel seeds
  • Palm full of salt & pepper 
  • For Mirepoix: 1 pound of diced rainbow carrots, 1 pound diced celery, 1 pound diced yellow onion
  • 18 oz coconut milk
  • 18 oz of vegetable stock
  • Fresh Tulsi leaves 
  • Toasted squash seeds

 Instructions

  1. Cut squash in half lengthwise, sprinkle each piece with yellow curry powder, fresh grated ginger, juniper berries, bay leaves, fennel seeds, and salt & pepper. Lay squash face down on whole tulsi leaf branches on a sheet pan and roast in the oven at 450 degrees for 1 hour.
  2. While the squash is roasting, dice your mirepoix of rainbow carrots, celery, and yellow onion in equal parts and keep them separate. Using a large heavy bottom stock pot, add 1 tbsp of coconut oil on high heat. Add the onions, saute until soft. Then add carrots and celery, allowing them to stick and char slightly to the bottom of the pot. 
  3. When the squash skin is brown on top and soft to touch with a fork, scoop out the center containing the seeds, put aside to toast for garnish. 
  4. Continue to remove the flesh out of the skin, scoop out with a large spoon. Be careful! The squash will be hot right out of the oven! Add the squash to the mirepoix in the stock pot, add coconut milk and vegetable stock. Blend well with an emulsion blender. Add salt to taste.
  5. To toast the squash seeds, remove from the stringy bits and lay flat on a sheet tray. Sprinkle with curry powder and toast in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Seeds vary in size, so make sure to check them often to ensure they don't burn. Serve as a garnish with fresh loosely chopped tulsi leaves.

“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 
–Aaron

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
–Karen
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
–Charles
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”
–Steve

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“
–Rainer

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”
–Suzanne

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“
–Peter

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”
–Lori

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
–Steven
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.


Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?



About

Esalen Team

From the Kitchen: Esalen Curried Heirloom Squash Soup

About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Category:
Food

Esalen’s Farm & Garden was recently blessed with abundance. After a previous harvest of nearly all things kale, this time it’s like something out of a Roald Dahl book — but rather than one giant peach, we have over 1,000 pounds of squash! It fell on Chef Abi to cultivate a variety of delicious dishes — including a nourishing curried soup to warm bodies and spirits.

“Creating high-quality quantities has been a major growth for me as a chef [at Esalen] — ensuring 600 meals a day are out every day,” Chef Abi says. “We are the life force of Esalen. All our meals are produced from whole foods. We are continuously working on elevating the dining experience here.” 

Chef Abi, as Esalen’s executive chef pulls from her past experiences as culinary journeywoman, leading in kitchens around the world and using her talents across extreme environments, from disaster relief with World Central Kitchen to private cheffing aboard yachts throughout the Caribbean. A trained EMT who studied ancient Indian holistic medicine while attending the California College of Ayurveda, she shares, “Squash is an antioxidant containing the carotenoid zeaxanthin, which helps protect your eyes from macular degeneration. It supports heart health and plays a role in immune function.”

Squash also happens to be the oldest cultivated food in North America. It was the first of the “inseparable three sisters” — followed by beans and corn — the crops planted together by Indigenous communities for a sustainable system that provides long-term soil fertility. 

French writer Victor Hugo famously wrote: “There are no weeds, and no worthless men. There are only bad farmers.” American botanist Peter Del Tredici agreed: "I consider weed to be a politically incorrect term. There's no biological definition of the term weed. It's really a value judgment." After all, one man’s weeds are another man’s salad.

That’s good news for the plentiful harvest of tulsi growing in the garden. Also known as Holy Basil, this wondrous, purifying weed is an Ayurvedic sacred plant. Besides being antibacterial and antiseptic, tulsi supports respiratory health to fight colds, flus, and allergies. Warming in nature, tulsi opens the heart and mind, invites clarity, and increases devotion. As the birthplace of human potential, we can confidently say we are weed-free. Our talented farmers and supporting humans are working toward elevating Esalen’s Farm & Garden to include a biodynamic certification.

With six varieties of squash in full bloom — including butternut, yellow crookneck, acorn, zucchini, and Chef's favorite, pattypan — Chef Abi chose heirloom for this recipe because of its sweet, nutty flavor and bright orange color. Fun Foodie Fact: This dish will be part of a pop-up collaboration  with Big Sur Food and Wine on November 3. 


Esalen Curried Heirloom Squash Soup Recipe

Makes 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs heirloom squash
  • 5 tbsp coconut milk
  • 5 tbsp curry powder
  • 3 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 2 whole juniper berries per half squash
  • 1 bay leaves per half squash
  • 2 tbls fennel seeds
  • Palm full of salt & pepper 
  • For Mirepoix: 1 pound of diced rainbow carrots, 1 pound diced celery, 1 pound diced yellow onion
  • 18 oz coconut milk
  • 18 oz of vegetable stock
  • Fresh Tulsi leaves 
  • Toasted squash seeds

 Instructions

  1. Cut squash in half lengthwise, sprinkle each piece with yellow curry powder, fresh grated ginger, juniper berries, bay leaves, fennel seeds, and salt & pepper. Lay squash face down on whole tulsi leaf branches on a sheet pan and roast in the oven at 450 degrees for 1 hour.
  2. While the squash is roasting, dice your mirepoix of rainbow carrots, celery, and yellow onion in equal parts and keep them separate. Using a large heavy bottom stock pot, add 1 tbsp of coconut oil on high heat. Add the onions, saute until soft. Then add carrots and celery, allowing them to stick and char slightly to the bottom of the pot. 
  3. When the squash skin is brown on top and soft to touch with a fork, scoop out the center containing the seeds, put aside to toast for garnish. 
  4. Continue to remove the flesh out of the skin, scoop out with a large spoon. Be careful! The squash will be hot right out of the oven! Add the squash to the mirepoix in the stock pot, add coconut milk and vegetable stock. Blend well with an emulsion blender. Add salt to taste.
  5. To toast the squash seeds, remove from the stringy bits and lay flat on a sheet tray. Sprinkle with curry powder and toast in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Seeds vary in size, so make sure to check them often to ensure they don't burn. Serve as a garnish with fresh loosely chopped tulsi leaves.

“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 
–Aaron

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
–Karen
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
–Charles
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”
–Steve

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“
–Rainer

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”
–Suzanne

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“
–Peter

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”
–Lori

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
–Steven
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.


Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?



About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
From the Kitchen: Esalen Curried Heirloom Squash Soup
Category:
Food

Esalen’s Farm & Garden was recently blessed with the kind of abundance that feels straight out of a Roald Dahl book! But rather than one giant peach, we have over 1,000 pounds of squash! So Chef Abi cultivated a variety of delicious dishes — including a nourishing curried soup.

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About

Esalen Team

From the Kitchen: Esalen Curried Heirloom Squash Soup

About

Esalen Team

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