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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OCTOBER 2022 CHALLENGE: THE THREE SISTERS

The indigenous peoples of the Americas refer to something they call the “three sisters”: corn, beans, and squash. The corn grows tall and strong, the beans climb up the corn, and the squash shelter the ground at the bottom with their big leaves. There are many beautiful dishes that use all three, and if you think a little broadly you can probably invent some new formulations.

Any type of corn: cornmeal, popcorn, sweet corn, tamales, arepas….

Any type of beans: black, pinto, lentils, borlotti, soybeans….

Any type of squash, from zucchini/courgettes to pumpkin to kabocha.

The challenge is wide open, but you get extra credit for a story about how and why you came up with this, from “this is a spin on a classic from X country” to “this is something my grandmother used to make every Saturday” to “I decided to create something completely new, fusing several different things.” All ingredients other than corn, beans, and squash are allowed, without restriction.

One final note:

Now that the new server seems to be filtering spam reasonably effectively, please encourage others to join in the competition. Let’s get some new people involved!

The rules:
  • The challenge begins on the 1st of every month. The last entry must be made by the last day of the month.
  • You may post multiple entries.
  • All entries must be cooked during the month of the challenge.
  • If you use a documented recipe, please cite your source.
  • Entries should include the name of your dish and a picture of the final product. Sharing personal recipes and pictures of the process are not mandatory but extremely helpful.
  • The winner is chosen by the person who posted the challenge, and is announced after the last day of submissions. The decision is final and falls entirely at the discretion of the challenger.
  • Submitting an entry makes you eligible to win. If you do not wish to be considered for the win you may still participate in the challenge, but make your wishes known to the challenger.
  • The winner's bounty includes praise, virtual high-fives, and the responsibility of posting the next month's challenge. That entails choosing a theme, posting a Challenge thread that includes the guidelines, checking in on the submissions regularly during the month, and promptly choosing a winner at the end of the challenge.
 

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Wow, good choice for the fall harvest season. Of course I am not growing any of the three, so it will all be storebought. Time to think up some dishes. And congratulations on the win!

mjb.
 

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I'm already thinking of a couple of dishes, each with a true story behind them. This should be fun My only issue is that My grandkids don't like squash, or most beans. I have dietary restrictions that severely limit my intake of winter squashes, and many types of beans. i think I can get around that by using wax, or green beans, chick peas, or kidney beans, which are allowed.

Seeeeya: RJF
 

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This will require a bit of thought.
Squash is going to be the most tricky one.
Anyway, I'll be at the shops tomorrow, so hopefully I can find something squashy
 

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Right: I found a pumpkin :)
So now I got about 3 kg or so that I need to freeze or do something with as sound as I cut it open. Can I freeze it raw? Or better to blanch?
As for beans: Chris, you mentioned lentils in your sum up. But do green beans count? And peas (like chickpeas, after all, chana dal (split chickpeas) is often mentioned in the same breath as lentils ;)
 

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Food Ingredient Recipe Cuisine Dish


cornbread made using mashed pumpkin seasoned with freshly ground Ceylon cinnamon and allspice, Greek Yogurt, eggs, acorn flour, and cornmeal

arugula tossed with a maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil vinaigrette, then sprinkled with sauteed corn, toasted pumpkinseeds, and white beans

chicken breast grilled and basted with a maple syrup, smoked paprika, cracked black pepper, and rosemary glaze

sauce made from corn seasoned with garam masala and freshly grated turmeric, then sauteed before blending into a puree using with two stocks, a reduced corn cob stock and a chicken stock
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
As for beans: Chris, you mentioned lentils in your sum up. But do green beans count? And peas (like chickpeas, after all, chana dal (split chickpeas) is often mentioned in the same breath as lentils ;)
Yup, all beans are good here: peas, chickpeas, chana dal, soybeans, you name it. Have fun with your pumpkin!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@cheflayne Very nice! How did it taste?

The acorn flour is very on-brand, as it were. I've never used it -- what does it taste like?

I'm wondering whether the green tinge of the sauce was the photo or something else: it looks herbal, or like maybe there's pumpkinseed oil in it.
 

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If I were to use one word to describe it it would be "harmonious". All the ingredients played well with each other and melded to tie the dish together. It turned out exactly the way I anticipated, when I was composing the dish and creating the recipes in my head. I have to admit, it made me feel good that my memory palate was pretty much spot on, which helped me to align and integrate flavor profiles.

Acorns have a nutty and maple aspect to their flavor profile, that is until the tannins come roaring through like a runaway freight train and obliterate everything in their path, which explains the prolonged leeching phase with multiple changes of water that is part of the process of turning them into flour. The finished flour has a earthy, chestnut quality and flavor profile.

The sauce was absolutely yellow due to yellow corn and freshly grated turmeric, so it must be the photo. No herb nor pumpkinseed oil were used; just corn, garam masala, turmeric, corn cob stock, chicken stock, and butter was used for the saute.
 

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Food Tableware Ingredient Corn kernels White rice


I separately cooked brown rice, fonio, and ito-konnyaku. Mixed the three together and topped it with sauteed corn, butternut squash, kousa squash, white beans, sweet potato, Brussles sprouts, crimini mushrooms, and arugula that were tossed in a smoky harissa sauce. Finished off with strips of omelet eggs and fresh arugula.
 

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Fonio is possibly the worlds oldest cultivated grain and least known. It comes from West Africa and is a millet with small grains. Flavor wise it has a nutty taste. Texturally it is kind of a cross between couscous and quinoa. It is a nutritional powerhouse with many health benefits.

As to the finished dish, I would gladly make it and eat it again. The harissa sauce had just the right amount of spice, sweet, and smoke, but yet didn't overwhelm the ingredients. It came across almost like a tagine (there were dates in the sauce) because I sauteed all ingredients before adding the sauce, tossing and putting a lid on, turning off the heat, and let it sit for five or so minutes on the still hot cast iron burner. The lid sealed so well it took a bit of banging with a wooden pestle to dislodge it. o_O :oops: :rolleyes:
 

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Interesting @cheflayne , never heard of fonio either.
In Southern, Central and East Africa the staple is cornflour, mieliepap, sadza, nshima, posho, umgali are all different names for more or less the same thing.
Now if I would like it, I would have the corn part of this challenge sorted, but I don't.
Got the beans, got my pumpkin, need some inspiration :)
 

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OK, we got something going
Jasmine rice, 2 rice to 3 water by volume, brought to boil, stirred and wrapped in duvet in coolbox
Just keeping everyone guessing :)

I wanted something sort of SE Asian style in contrast to indigenous American.
I like playing with different styles.

I used mungbeans that I sprouted, frozen sweetcorn & pumpkin
Also
Bacon, red onion, garlic, ginger, chili, chili bean paste, makrut leaves, fish sauce, a little white vinegar & the leek of red onion

Here's my pumpkin. I gave 2/5 away, cut up a lot and put in the freezer. Hope mr google was correct when he told me you can freeze uncooked. Rest got used here, sliced thinly
Food Winter squash Ingredient Staple food Cucurbita



Food Ingredient Fruit Tableware Recipe


Corn & sprouted beans are joined by bacon and chili bean paste
Food Food storage Ingredient Recipe Food storage containers


Red onion (home grown) cut Asian style, garlic, ginger, bacon and chili (home grown again)
Food Onion Ingredient Cuisine Vegetable


And chopped up. Green stuff, lower right is makrut leaves (home grown)

Food Ingredient Wood Recipe Petal


Prep time over, cooking is fast
Heat oil, fry bacon, then onions. Followed by chili, ginger, garlic, makrut leaves & bean sauce
Now quickly fry pumpkin, needs to keep a little bite and structure. Almost straight away followed by half frozen sweet corn
Food Ingredient Recipe Cuisine Dish


I had a taste and it needed a little more savoury and acidic, so added a bit of white vinegar and fish sauce, and the sprouts

Food Ingredient Recipe Cuisine Dish


Only a minute, maybe 2, cooking time left.
Then gas off, add onion leek and serve
Food Tableware Ingredient Recipe Rice


I was scared it was going to be too sweet for my tastebuds, but it was actually quite moreish
 

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Lima beans are probably the least bean tasting bean that I can think of. I find them to be somewhat sweet and nutty (unless overcooked, then somewhat bitter like overcooked Brussels) and so used them to take the place of nuts as the thickener. The pesto tasted like...pesto. Other than the Limas, it was pretty standard pesto except I didn't want a way big basil flavor (so used basil & arugula in equal amounts) because I thought it would overpower the butternut squash.

My wife hates Lima beans, due to a traumatic childhood dinner time practice like her mother cooked them and so insisted they be eaten and because dad was a longshoreman she cooked huge portions that had to be finished. I didn't tell my wife it was a Lima bean pesto, just said pesto. My wife loves all my cooking, but she said this dinner was one of the best I have made in a long time. Who am I to argue?
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Some beautiful, creative dishes happening here. Come on, if you're new and unsure, jump in! I'm just a schlub who cooks at home, learned watching Jacques Pépin, and I've won 3 times. Then you all see how the hardcore pros do it, and everything in between.

Hoping to see a bunch of new entries in the second half of the month!
 

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I definitely don't belong in the hardcore pro group!
I'm a one pot dish sort of person, or maybe 2.
I got another one coming pretty soon, with the help of mr Google ;)
Stay tuned
 

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OK, I based my meal on this recipe Spiced corn, lentil & butternut squash chowder - BBC Good Food
At least i'm on the right continent now ;)

Not nornally a big fan of Ainsley Harriot, but this sounded like it could be good.
And it was (of course I made some adjustments, but it would have been okay as written on the site)
Food Ingredient Recipe Tableware Cuisine


Red lentils, pumpkin & frozen sweetcorn, onion, garlic, creamed coconut, thyme & mdm Jeanet. I used half of the amount of lentils, pumpkin and sweetcorn. Full amount of garlic, onion and chili

Fried onions in olive oil,, then added garlic. Then water, mdm Jeanet, lentils and pumpkin and water
Boiled for about 25 minutes. Needed to top up water.
Then added sweetcorn, creamed coconut & thyme. Boiled slowly for the coconut to dissolve.
Tasted: added salt, smoked bird's eye chili & tamarind (they're in season).

Finished with onion leek (and salt and pepper, somewhere along the line)
Food Ingredient Recipe Fluid Cookware and bakeware


Food Ingredient Recipe Cuisine Dish
 
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