First Course

Roasted Kabocha Squash


Makes 4-6 first course servings or side dishes . 

Among the winter squashes, Kabocha has become one of my favorites to begin a meal or as a side dish. The skin is edible and the texture is rich in flavor. It is full of vitamins such as Iron, Vitamin C and Carotene.


  • 1 small Kabocha squash, about 1 ½ pounds

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon for greasing the foil

  • 1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar

  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Rinse the squash and pat dry. Place in the microwave for about 4 minutes (this softens the skin  making it easier to slice). Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds and fibrous strings. Cut into 1 inch wedges.   

  2. Preheat the oven to 400F.

  3. Line a large baking sheet with foil and brush the foil with 1 tablespoon olive oil.  

  4. In a small dish combine the olive oil, soy sauce, sesame oil and cinnamon.   

  5. Spread the wedges on the baking sheet.

  6. Brush with the mixture. 

  7. Bake for 20 minutes. The squash should be tender.


Edamame, Black Rice, Tofu and Corn Salad

Makes 4- 6 servings as a first course, or side dish.

Makes 4 servings as a luncheon dish.

Chinese Black rice, also known as Emperor’s rice is gluten free, wheat free, and chewy with a nutty flavor which pairs very well with tofu, edamame, corn, raisins and a delicious honey–lime dressing. It is a vegetarian delight without too much fuss and is quite versatile. 


  • ½ cup black rice( See Note)
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted margarine
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 7 ounces extra firm tofu
  • 1 cup shelled edamame, thawed, pat dried
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed, pat dried
  • ¼ cup currants, or raisins
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice, approx
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Bring rice, water, margarine and salt to a boil in a small saucepan with a cover. Lower the heat and simmer covered for about 30 minutes. The water should be absorbed and the grains soft (if the rice is not soft and the water is absorbed, add a tablespoon or two of hot water).
  2. Cool and transfer to a bowl.


  1. Dry the tofu thoroughly, cut into small cubes and place in a bowl. Season well with salt and pepper. Add to the rice along with the edamame, corn, currants or raisins.
  2. In a small dish combine the olive oil, honey and lime juice. Toss with the rice and season to taste. Before serving adjust the seasoning once again.


I suggest that you do not cook the rice in an enameled lined saucepan-such as Creuset.  The enamel becomes discolored from the rice.