While testing this week’s recipe, I had the chance to play around with new Umbra toys in my kitchen. For those of you who don’t know Umbra, they’re a Canadian company that has grown to become a reference in modern design for the home. Not unlike other well-known European companies, they hire industrial designers to create or reinvent clever accessories, but the good thing is that their creations are super affordable. I have been a fan for many years (I especially like their bathroom collection, because finding cool and beautiful accessories for that room is otherwise impossible very hard), and last week, I had the chance to test some of their newest accessories for the kitchen.
When I cook, I’m a huge fan of doing all the prep in advance. Like in cooking shows, I put every ingredient in a small bowl, ready to be used. I know, it makes for a lot of dishes to wash (just ask E, I can create a mountain of dirty dishes in a few minutes flat), but the system just works for me. This is probably why I fell love with the Bento Cup & Prep Set at first sight. A bamboo cutting board tightly covers a tray that fits five smaller containers, which cleverly double as measuring cups. The tray itself is mounted on rubber pads making the bamboo board a safe and very stable cutting surface. Of course, the fact that the whole set looks like a beautiful Japanese lacquered bento box doesn’t hurt either.
As I prepped all the ingredients for the curry, I noticed how easy it was to incorporate the Bento system in my routine. I took the smaller trays out and lined them up in front of the cutting board. As I chopped the ingredients, I simply swept each of them in their own container, knowing exactly when I had reached the quantity I needed for the recipe. Because I was prepping in advance, I then stored all the ingredients in the tray, covered it over with the board and put the whole set in the fridge while waiting for E to come home. Now where were the cameras? I was ready to film my cooking show!
I’m usually not a fan of allowing new gadgets to enter my kitchen (my drawers are already chock full of them), but when it works, I just can’t resist. I’ve been using the Bento set regularly since; my only regret is that it’s not dishwasher safe, but I assure you, the containers’ smooth surfaces makes them a pinch to wash – otherwise I would’ve given up a long time ago.
Think the Bento set would look good in your kitchen? Umbra is kindly giving one away to a lucky reader, along with three more of their popular kitchen accessories: the Cuppa measuring cup set, the Dash 4-in-1 measuring spoon and the Cylindra spice rack (all in black – a $50 value!). Get rid of those tired cutting boards and update your measuring tools, I guarantee you’ll be happy you did. Details to enter the giveaway are at the bottom of this post.
The giveaway is now over. Thanks for entering!
Full Disclosure: Umbra has sent me a set of kitchen accessories free of charge for testing, but the opinions I share in this post are 100% mine.
Now on to the recipe: It’s squash season! I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin pie (it was not a classic Thanksgiving dish in my family) nor do I like the immensely popular pumpkin spice lattes that everybody seems to be drinking this time of year. But I do love pumpkin in savory dishes and this recipe piqued my curiosity because I had never though of using it in a saucy curry before. Yet, its silky texture once pureed is a perfect match to coconut milk, and combining that duo with tender and juicy shrimp feels fun and new. The fact that you can simply use canned pumpkin puree is a nice weeknight shortcut, and cooked and cubed butternut squash makes the dish even healthier and more filling. I like to roast a whole butternut squash during the weekend (just cut into quarters, deseed, brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast on a baking tray at 400°F [200°C] for 25 minutes) and use it in different dishes throughout the week, in a salad, as a simple side dish – or in this delicious curry.
As it is often the case with curries, it tastes even better the day after, but make sure you reheat the curry very gently so the shrimp don’t end up overcooked. This curry is very saucy and once all the shrimp were eaten, we ended up enjoying the remaining sauce as a soup, adding vegetable broth to thin it a little – it was delicious!
Serves 4 (with probable sauce leftovers you can use as a soup)
3 tbsp [45 ml] olive oil
1 cup [250 ml] sliced onion
1 tbsp [15 ml] finely grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp [15 ml] minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 15 oz [~450 ml] can pumpkin puree
1 ½ cups [375 ml] vegetable broth
1 cup [250 ml] unsweetened coconut milk
2 tbsp [30 ml] curry powder (a little less if you like your curries milder)
¼ tsp [1.25 ml] cayenne pepper (optional)
1 cup [250 ml] butternut squash, roasted and diced
1 ½ lb [680 g] medium-sized shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tbsp [15 ml] fresh lime juice (about ½ lime)
½ to 1 tsp [2.5 to 5 ml] sea salt
Fresh coriander leaves
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and ginger, sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and pumpkin purée and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and darkens a little, about 8 minutes. Add vegetable broth, coconut milk, curry powder, and cayenne pepper; simmer for 20 minutes. Add butternut squash, shrimp, and lime juice. Simmer until the shrimp are just cooked and the squash is warm. Season with salt. Top with fresh coriander leaves and serve with steamed broccoli and brown rice.
Recipe Credit: Adapted from Sara Dickerman, Bon Appétit
More Comforting Fall Recipes:
- Cauliflower, Parsnip and Apple Soup
- Curried Squash Soup with Lamb Meatballs
- A Deep-Dish Apple Pie, Amsterdam Style
- Apple and Cheddar Whole Wheat Pancakes with Baked Applesauce
Win a $50 Set of Umbra Kitchen Accessories
The Umbra giveaway includes:
- One Bento Cup & Prep Set
- One Cuppa Measuring Cup Set
- One Dash 4-in-1 Measuring Spoon
- One Cylindra Spice Rack
To enter the giveaway, leave a comment telling me what’s the first thing you’d prepare with the help of your new Umbra Bento Cup & Prep Set. Get many more entries by completing all the steps! The giveaway is open to all US and Canadian residents and runs until Thursday October 10, 2013, at midnight (12 a.m. EST). Good luck!
The giveaway is now over. Thanks for entering and congrats to Stephanie for her win!
Big thanks to Umbra for providing this cool set of kitchen accessories for the giveaway.