Thursday, September 9, 2010

Make your own pumpkin puree

I know there are some of you who would ask "What's the point of making it, if you can buy it in a can?", well if the huge loss of vitamins and minerals doesn't disturb you maybe the fact that your canned pumpkin could be over two years old may rattle you a little bit. Anyway why pay extra for something that easily makes itself while you are cooking something else? Also your whole house may get that nice pumpkin aroma, which is quite festive.

How to make Pumpkin Purée:

Cut your pumpkin in half crosswise and remove the seeds and fibrous material. A melon baller works great for that. Cover the cut side of each half with aluminum foil, and place the pumpkin halves on a baking sheet, foil side up. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for about 90 minutes, or until the flesh is fork tender. Remove from the oven and cool. When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and mash it in a food processor, or puree it in a blender with a touch of oil. Sometimes your purée maybe watery,so drain it in a cheesecloth-lined colander. Your yield should be about one cup of purée per pound of pumpkin.
And that's all there is to it.....

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What do you get, if..?

You combine this....

with this

and that?

How about a dish that is satisfying, sensual and only has three ingredients?
The only thing missing would be a clever name, but this dish is fantastic even without a catchy moniker.

Roasted Pumpkin with Fried Sage:

You will need:

1 large onion - red is nice for the color
1 pie pumpkin - peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
at least half a bunch of fresh sage leaves - plucked from stem
cooking oil

1. In a large pan or wok - sautee onions until translucent - season with salt.
2. Add pumpkin cubes and reduce heat - coat pumpkin cubes well with oil all around and stir fry for at least 15 minutes over low heat with a cover - until pumpkin cubes are soft enough to be pierced with a knife. The tenderness is up to you, but you should taste one, because undercooked squash is unpleasant.
3. In a small separate pan heat at least two tablespoons of oil until it is quite hot - not smoking - careful! - add your individual sage leaves. They should crisp as they hit the oil. If they don't the oil is not hot enough. Crisp lightly on both sides - you would like them to get a crunchy texture, but don't overdo it.
4. Serve your pumpkins on a plate and add sage leaves on the top. This goes really well with a fresh salad and maybe an oat burger on the side.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fall is here!

I saw the first pumpkins at my local market this week and I couldn't be more excited. Pumpkins means the winter squashes are here and cheap, nutritious easy-to make meals are not far behind. Even if the days are still warm, it cools down considerably at night, and a dinner with this delicious soup is a lovely way to warm up.

Pumpkin Soup


This is a bit of a misnomer since any kind of squash or root vegetable will do - butternut squash, acorn squash, hubbard, turban or all the other crazy looking squashes would make an equally tasty soup. as would carrots, turnips, parsnips or rutabaga or a mix with some assorted squash with a bit of potato or sweet potato.

You’ll need: (for about 6-8 servings)

6 cups peeled squash
 - this takes a while but it is worth it!
2 onions chopped

3 cups vegetable stock

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 tablespoon soy sauce

1/2 cup citrus juice - lemon, lime, orange, etc

zest of said citrus - please use organic - otherwise don’t use the zest - just the juice

1/2 cup sour cream - optional if you want to keep it vegan

2 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro or sage

salt and pepper

1. Add the first seven ingredients to your soup pot, season with salt and pepper and cook for 45 minutes over medium heat. You want your veggies to simmer very slightly but not to boil.

2. Let the contents cool and pierce the squash to make sure it is tender, transfer into a blender or use a soup blender stick in the pot itself if you have one and blend to creamy consistency.

3. Transfer blended soup into a pan and gently reheat. Add more stock if too thick. Taste and finish seasoning.

4. Serve in soup bowl with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of chopped parsley/scallions.