I have a soft spot in my heart for anything that has "Three Sisters" in the title. Whether it be a business, restaurant, book, or recipe, I'm going to check it out. Being the middle of three sisters, I've found that it's given me many advantages in life. While most people sign-on with the "strange/crazy middle child" notion, I believe that being the middle child has resulted in a well-rounded, well-adjusted me.
I wasn't nearly as sheltered as my older sister, and I wasn't babied like my younger sister. I didn't have to fight to earn privileges my older sister did, like reading Teen magazine and an 11 o'clock curfew. The family car was passed down to me on my 16th birthday, unlike my older sister who had to push for it at 17. I wasn't confined to the 4-hour drive limit when choosing a college like my older sister, and I wasn't left alone with my parents for three years like my younger sister was when Kris and I were away at school. Best of both worlds, in my opinion! And while I'd like to think I'm the shining star among the sisters, I honestly believe my parents did a wonderful job raising all of us.
Another Tale of Three-Sisters: A year has passed since JJ and I adopted Charlotte and Belle, which is so hard to believe! JJ was away with the soccer team, and I was browsing www.petfinder.com on a Saturday morning. We had talked about getting a pair because we were ready for 3 dogs, and paired dogs can be so hard to adopt out together. I saw their little photo and fell in love. Sure, I had promised JJ we'd get a lab mix, but come on, 9 month old wiener dogs! So I called the rescue and they told me they were having an adoption day at Petsmart later that day. As soon as I saw them, I fell in love. I filled out my application, and was accepted pending a home visit to meet Pumpkin. That's when the red light went off. See, Pumpkin likes other dogs, but she likes to play rough, and she's the alpha. So I set the visit for the next morning, and they told me as long as the home visit was okay, they'd leave the girls with us and they'd be ours. I sent JJ a photo text of the dogs, and he said we'd talk about it.
That night was a little rough, JJ wasn't sure he wanted them, but I had fallen in love. We agreed that he'd meet them at the home visit, and so would Pumpkin. If they both approved, we'd take them. So the home visit went well, they all barked at each other, sniffed, but then were indifferent. JJ said if I wanted them, we could get them, so we did! Throughout the next month or so, Pumpkin was not happy with me. She'd growl at them when they came over and licked her, and she'd bark at them when they started wrestling, but here we are, one year later. I think they've all adjusted well.
This dish is called three sisters at four corners because the three sisters of Indian crops were corn, soybeans and squash. The reason for the four-corners is because of the region where New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah meet is in the southwest and where many Native Americans lived. I absolutely loved this stew. It had a spicy, flavorful broth with a little sweetness from the squash and corn, and the savory tomatoes and edamame. I've never had edamame in soup before, but it was delicious!
Three-Sisters and Four-Corners Stew
adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health
1 tbsp. EVOO
3 c. peeled, cubed butternut squash
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and pepper
2 c. vegetable stock
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 c. chopped tomatoes (I used a 15 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes)
2 c. shelled edamame
2 c. fresh corn kernels (I used 3 ears of corn kernels)
Queso fresco, for garnish
Heat a dutch oven over medium.
Add EVOO, squash, onion and garlic, red pepper and jalapeño, season with salt and pepper.
Sauté for 10 minutes, until vegetables have softened.
Add vegetable stock, cumin, thyme, tomatoes, edamame and corn.
Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until vegetables have softened.
Taste, adjust seasonings, and serve with crumbled queso fresco.