Sunday, October 31, 2010

Spicy Pumpkin Thai Soup with Red Cabbage & Cilantro

This spicy pumpkin soup takes it heat from fresh red chili and Thai Red Curry sauce, a red chili, ginger and coconut sauce. I used fresh pumpkin and pumpkin puree with vegetable stock and light coconut milk. Added the red cabbage in after partially pureeing the soup with an immersion blender, and the cilantro right at the end. Garnish with very thinly sliced jalapeno and a pinch of cilantro and red cabbage.

Spicy Pumpkin Thai Soup with Red Cabbage & Cilantro:

1 TBS olive oil
1/2 large white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 small pumpkin, scraped, peeled, and diced
2 little potatoes, peeled and diced
16+ fl oz vegetable stock (or as needed for desired consistency)
3-4 fl. oz Thai Red Curry Sauce (I used Trader Joe's - vegetarian, but not vegan)
1/4 cup light coconut milk
1/4 cup white wine
salt as desired
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup red cabbage, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
jalapeno, thinly sliced to garnish

Heat the oil in a thick bottomed saucepan and sauted the diced onion and pressed garlic for 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, cover and cook 2 minutes. Add the diced pumpkin, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and add the pumpkin puree, Thai Red Curry sauce and coconut milk. Adjust salt as desired. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the wine (optional, but I felt it needed acidity) and cook until the potatoes are tender. Remove from the heat and puree with an immersion blender (I left mine chunky). Return to the heat and add the red cabbage. Cook for 3 minutes and remove from heat (cabbage will still be crunchy!). Add the cilantro and stir well. Adjust salt.

Serve garnished with thinly sliced jalapeno! Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pumpkin Bruschetta with Caramelized Shallots, Apricots, Goat Cheese & Cashews

So I have to admit, making a tasty and original dish with pumpkin is a challenge. It really needs to be imparted with flavor and beautifully complimented to make a great dish.

This very tasty Pumpkin Bruschetta with Caramelized Shallots, Apricots, Goat Cheese and Cashews takes its inspiration from an amazing dish prepared by T. for a Mom & Kids Swim party this summer. My daughter (1o) decided to be a vegetarian about a year ago and has inspired a number of her friends to adopt a vegetarian diet. T., a very cool mom who used this as an opportunity to expand her culinary expertise, made an phenomenal dish of goat cheese with caramelized onions, sweet peppers, and cashews that I found completely irresistible. This pumpkin bruschetta was inspired by that dish.

I caramelized shallots with a combo of olive oil and butter. Added some white wine as they began to brown and let them do their thing. At the end of cooking, added a few drops of balsamic.

I peeled and finely diced sweet pumpkin and sauteed it with olive oil and pressed garlic and cooked until tender. Added a generous pinch of sea salt to finish it off.

I toasted some olive whole wheat bread. Combined the sauteed pumpkin, caramelized shallots, chopped apricots, crumbled goat cheese and a drop of olive oil. Topped the toasted bread with the mixture and added a drop of balsamic vinegar at the end (post photo).

This is my favorite pumpkin recipe to date. I'm planning a pumpkin quesadilla for tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pea Bean Bruschetta Calda on Olive Bread

Italian pea beans cooked with tomatoes, garlic, kalamata olives and capers over toasted olive sourdough bread. I mixed up the dish a bit with chopped cilantro, probably my favorite herb, but use Italian parsley or basil if you prefer.

Being a Brit, I like to think of this as Fancy Beans on Toast!

This is a variant on an earlier post Cannellini Beans in Tomato Olive Caper Sauce. I just can't get enough of this tasty low-fat combo.

Of course, feel free to drizzle olive oil as a finishing touch if you like! I heated the beans (thus the "calda"), but it works cold too.