Friday, October 22, 2010

Pumpkin Soup, Curried Pepitas Crackle & Hazlenut Cream. Spinach Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

Even though I love cooking with seasonal foods and fall has some great ones...pumpkin isn't high on my list of most desired produce. I like pumpkin in savory aspects much more than I do in sweet treats. In fact, it will be a cold day in hell when you see me post a recipe for pumpkin scones, or muffins, or bread, or anything of the like. I might, just MIGHT post a pie or a mousse but that is yet to be decided. With that said, if you love pumpkin, cherish these posts because they will be few and far between! Luckily, I do in fact love pumpkin soup, especially when combined with one of my favorite ingredients, peanut butter!! The combination of peanut and squash is common in African cultures and traditional recipes and when I discovered this, I was intrigued and delighted at the outcome.

Creamy pumpkin soup scented with spicy cayenne and crunchy peanut butter. Sweet and salty pumpkin seeds baked into large bites of praline and hazelnut cream drizzled for garnish. Spinach salad makes a great accompaniment with sliced almonds, dried cherries and homemade raspberry vinaigrette.

Pumpkin Soup

4 tbl extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 white onion, small dice
4 cups small diced pumpkin cubes from 1 large pumpkin
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp minced ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
pinch of cayenne
2 cups no-chicken vegetable broth
2 tbl apple juice
3 tbl maple syrup
1/3 cup crunchy unsweetened natural peanut butter

Preheat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil. Toss 2 cups of diced pumpkin with 2 tbl of oil and 1/2 tsp dried thyme and roast for 15 minutes.
In a large stock pot, heat remaining 2 tbl of oil and saute the onion over medium high heat until soft and slightly browned, 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2 cups of pumpkin and stir to combine. Saute for 12 minutes until pumpkin starts to soften. Add the ginger, garlic, salt and cayenne.
Add the roasted pumpkin and continue to saute until all of the pumpkin is cooked through. Add the vegetable broth, making sure to scrape bits of the bottom of the pan. Add the apple juice and bring to a low simmer. Cook for 10 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree, or transfer mixture to a blender and puree until smooth.
Return the soup to the pot and add the maple syrup and peanut butter. Stir to combine until the peanut butter has melted fully into the soup. Season with salt if needed.

Hazelnut Cream

1/2 cup soy creamer
1/4 cup raw hazelnuts

In a small saute pan, toast the hazelnuts for 4 minutes. Rub warm hazelnuts between two oven mitts to remove the skins and chop roughly.
In a small pot, bring the creamer just to a boil and add the warm hazelnuts. Remove from heat, cover with seran wrap and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain and garnish cream over soup.

Curried Pepitas Crackle

(this spice blend makes a lot! save it and add it to other nuts for snacking)
2 1/2 tsp curry powder
3 tbl garam masala
1 1/2 tbl salt
12 ounces organic brown sugar
1 cup pepitas
1/4 cup earth balance butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Combine the spices. Toss pepitas in melted butter then in 3 tbl of spice mix. Bake for 5 minutes, until the nuts are toasted and the spice-butter mix has melted. Let cool in one large chunk then break into smaller chunks.

Spinach Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

Baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup raw almond slices
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbl raspberry preserves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt

In a blender combine the mustard with raspberry preserves. Drizzle in the oil in a slow steady stream until a thick, creamy dressing forms. Season with salt. Dress spinach greens and add cranberries and almonds.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.