Roasted Beet and Pumpkin Soup


by

Nothing says “autumn” like pumpkin soup.  I’ve made plenty of butternut squash and pumpkin soups before and always enjoyed them.  Last week at the farmer’s market, however, I picked up a bunch of beets, and thinking that roasted beets had a similarly sweet flavor after roasting, I thought maybe they would go well combined with pumpkin in a soup.

According to the internet, I’m not the first one who’s thought of this.

So here is my roasted beet and pumpkin soup recipe.  It was hearty, sweet, and delicious, not to mention incredibly healthy!

IMG 3510 300x225   Roasted Beet and Pumpkin Soup

Roasted Beet and Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Scrub beets and trim leaves off (save the tops, you can eat them!).
Slice beets in half or quarter them.

IMG 3515 1 300x225   Roasted Beet and Pumpkin Soup

Beets before roasting

Place in foil and drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
Wrap in foil and roast in the oven for ~30 minutes or until soft when pierced with a fork.
Remove from the oven and peel the remaining skin off each beet.

IMG 3490 300x225   Roasted Beet and Pumpkin Soup

Roasted Beets

Roast pumpkin (similarly) or place in a pressure cooker and cook for ~5-10 mins once pressure is reached.  You will need to scrub the pumpkin and cut it open to scoop out the seeds first.

IMG 34481 300x225   Roasted Beet and Pumpkin Soup

Scooping seeds out of the pumpkin

Discard the pulp but save the seeds.
Rinse seeds and place on a baking sheet in the oven or toaster oven for a couple of minutes (sprinkle with salt).

IMG 34541 300x225   Roasted Beet and Pumpkin Soup

Roasted pumpkin seeds with salt

Pumpkin seeds are delicious as a snack or garnish on salads or soups! Don’t waste them!

IMG 3449 300x225   Roasted Beet and Pumpkin Soup

Cooking the pumpkin in a pressure cooker

In a large or medium pot, saute diced leek, diced ginger (about 1″ section) and several cloves of garlic in olive oil until tender.

Once pumpkin is roasted or pressure cooked, remove the skin and put the pumpkin pulp in a medium or large pot with the beets.

IMG 3498 300x225   Roasted Beet and Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin puree and roasted beets with ginger, leek and garlic

IMG 3499 300x225   Roasted Beet and Pumpkin Soup

Blending the pumpkin and beets

Add 1 cups of water and 1 cup almond milk to thin, and blend with a blender or (more conveniently) an immersion blender.

Continue to cook over medium, adding cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, ground fennel, salt and pepper to taste.

Thin to the desired consistency with almond milk or water.

IMG 3509 300x225   Roasted Beet and Pumpkin Soup

Roasted Beet and pumpkin soup

Garnish with pumpkin seeds and enjoy!

October 4, 2011
Food, Recipe

 
 

Ginger-Pickled Cucumbers


by

With too many cucumbers to keep up with from the garden, I made batches of ginger-pickled cucumbers!

IMG 3202 300x225   Ginger Pickled Cucumbers

ginger-pickled cucumbers!

This is an excellent snack to keep on hand in the fridge or at work.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 Cucumbers
  • 1/4 cup Rice Vinegar
  • Splash of filtered water
  • 1/2 – 1  tsp sugar
  • 1″ piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • Salt, Pepper

You can either peel the cucumbers or leave the skins on.  I like to peel them in stripes because I think I’m fancy.

Combined the sliced cucumbers and all other ingredients in a shallow dish.

You only need splash of water, but you can adjust the vinegar/water/sugar ratio to taste.

Shake the container to coat cucumbers in the mixture and allow to sit at least a few hours in the refrigerator.  The longer these sit the softer and more pickled-tasting they get.  The ginger flavor is so good!!

August 12, 2011
Food, Recipe

 
 

Fresh Garden Salsa: Tomatillo, Tomatoes, and Peppers


by

In my garden, the tomatoes just started coming in like crazy! 
I don’t eat tomatoes on everything, so I needed to come up with a way to use the ripe ones so they wouldn’t go to waste.

IMG 2733 300x225   Fresh Garden Salsa: Tomatillo, Tomatoes, and Peppers

cherry tomatoes

IMG 2734 300x133   Fresh Garden Salsa: Tomatillo, Tomatoes, and Peppers

More garden tomatoes

It just so happened that this weekend at the Catonsville Farmer’s Market, my favorite vendor, the White Rose Farm folks, had a huge bag of mixed peppers (purple bell, cowhorn, jalapeno, mild/spicy varieties, etc) at a ridiculously good price.  I’m growing jalapenos, chilli peppers, and bell peppers, but I don’t have that many of any of those yet.
They also had tomatillos for sale, which I got to taste for the first time thanks to the friendly man at the farm stand.  They are really good raw! Crunchy and buttery!

This was also the first time I’ve purchased garlic from the farmer’s market.  At $1 a bunch, it’s not the most economical, but wow was it good! Crisp, so fresh, flavorful, and much more potent.  I only used 2 cloves where I might normally use 4 or more!

With all this in tow, and a bunch of cilantro, I set to work.

IMG 2857 300x225   Fresh Garden Salsa: Tomatillo, Tomatoes, and Peppers

Blended peppers, cilantro and garlic , frozen for future use

Many of the peppers wouldn’t have lasted a full week in the fridge before going off, so I decided to food process all of them at once.   It’s a pain in the moment, but I am so excited for all the leftover pepper/garlic/cilantro mixture I have frozen and waiting for my next culinary usage of them.  At the very least, I can keep this frozen until I get my next batch of ripe tomatoes for more salsa :).

Here’s the general recipe for a delicious, fresh, garden salsa made from tomatillo, peppers, and tomatoes:

Ingredients:

  • 1 part tomatillos
  • 1 part diced tomatoes
  • 1 part mixed peppers (bell, cowhorn, jalapeno, mild/spicy varieties, etc..)
  • garlic (2 cloves of farmer’s market garlic goes a long way!)

    IMG 2854 300x225   Fresh Garden Salsa: Tomatillo, Tomatoes, and Peppers

    Mixed peppers, Tomatillos, Tomatoes, and Garlic

  • leek (1/4 cup chopped or to taste, or onion if you prefer, but leek is milder, and I didn’t use much)
  • cilantro (handful–to taste!)
IMG 2860 300x225   Fresh Garden Salsa: Tomatillo, Tomatoes, and Peppers

Cilantro

Directions:

Add garlic, leek, cilantro, peppers and tomatillos to the food processor and blend into very small pieces (but not entirely pureed).

IMG 2853 283x300   Fresh Garden Salsa: Tomatillo, Tomatoes, and Peppers

peppers in the food processor

IMG 2856 300x225   Fresh Garden Salsa: Tomatillo, Tomatoes, and Peppers

Food processing ingredients

Dice tomatoes and combine in a bowl with salt and pepper to taste.  Adjust amount of jalapenos and hot peppers for spiciness.

YUM!

IMG 2865 300x225   Fresh Garden Salsa: Tomatillo, Tomatoes, and Peppers

Fresh Garden Salsa with Tomatillos, Tomatoes, and mixed Peppers


After devouring our first batch with chips, we added more on top of some homemade shrimp burritos! YUM!!
This salsa had just the right amount of spiciness (adjust pepper ratio to taste)!

IMG 2871 300x225   Fresh Garden Salsa: Tomatillo, Tomatoes, and Peppers

Garden Salsa on a shrimp burrito

August 6, 2011
Food, Recipe

 
 

Banana “Nice” Cream: dairy-free frozen treat


by

I discovered a recipe for Banana “nice” cream last summer via the Whole Foods email list.

An earlier post describes tips for making chocolate-cherry “nice” cream, but this post will give a better breakdown of our version of this basic version of this dish.

Instead of throwing out your over-ripe (or nearly over-ripe) bananas, peel them and toss them in the freezer.  With a little almond milk (or soy) and peanut butter (or almond butter) and a blender, you can have an ice-cream like dessert that is dairy-free, lower in sugar and much lower in fat content than regular ice cream.  You can modify this recipe by adding different flavors or ingredients.  I would like to make it with cardamom and/or tea–a chai version maybe!

This is a quick, easy, and delicious dessert for the summer!

IMG 2466 300x225   Banana Nice Cream: dairy free frozen treat

Banana "nice" cream -- frozen dairy-free treat made with bananas, peanut butter, and almond milk

Unsweetened almond milk is delicious in this context and doesn’t have as strong / over powering of a flavor as soy milk, in my opinion.

Ingredients

  • 2 bananas, sliced and frozen
  • 1/2-1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp – 1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
  • dash of vanilla extract

    IMG 2463 300x225   Banana Nice Cream: dairy free frozen treat

    Almond milk, frozen bananas, peanut butter, vanilla extract

Directions

  • Add all ingredients to the blender or food processor

    IMG 2464 300x225   Banana Nice Cream: dairy free frozen treat

    Blending the Banana "nice" cream

  • Purée just until bananas are blended, but not so much that everything melts and turns runny
  • Pour into two bowls and serve.

    IMG 2465 300x225   Banana Nice Cream: dairy free frozen treat

    Banana "nice" cream

August 5, 2011
Food, Recipe

 
 

Healthy White Sauce Alternative (White Beans and Cauliflower)


I have made some soup dishes with White beans and vegetables. I found them both on this site.

1. Carrot Ginger White Bean Soup (delicious!)

2. Broccoli and White Bean Soup (With Homemade 12 Bean Burgers and Better Black Bean & Mushroom Burgers is thebomb.com)

What if I tried to make a white soup just like the recipes above, using cauliflower and white beans? After finding some good music, QueenEarth performs ”Super Model” @ Across Words 2011, here is what I tried:

 

 

IMG 21731 300x219   Healthy White Sauce Alternative (White Beans and Cauliflower)
White beans, cooked, drained, and rinsed.

 

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • I bag of white cannellini beans (cooked and boiled)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 leek, diced
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups chicken stock (substitute with vegetable stock)
  • 2 cups water
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • oregano
  • basil
  • crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup almond milk

Directions

  1. Steam cauliflower  florets and stems until tender. Let cool slightly.
  2. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Saute leek and garlic until translucent, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add cauliflower, beans, and liquid
  4. Puree cauliflower in batches in a blender until smooth. IMG 21841 300x225   Healthy White Sauce Alternative (White Beans and Cauliflower)
  5. After the food processor, I put my mixture back into a large soup pot.
  6. Add salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and herbs and season to taste.
  7. Add almond milk
  8. Simmer 15 minutes and serve.  I have a theory that I can “mute” this sauce by taking out the herbs. In large batches, I can easily store my white sauce, and use it as a substitute. I could do a curry variety, stick with the Italian version, or use it as a gravy. I’ll be posting my concoctions, but here is what I’m imagining:

Seafood Alfredo?
Warm Caesar Dressing Over Leafy Greens?
Replacing Cheese in Lasagna (A friend at the farmer’s mentioned that he adds white beans to his lasagna to get more protein)?
Instead of mayonnaise in cold summer salad?
As a sauce over homemade Egg Foo Young instead of gravy?

IMG 21721 231x300   Healthy White Sauce Alternative (White Beans and Cauliflower)

Cauliflower

I don’t know what will happen, but the feel free to try and add your thoughts and creations!

 

 

 

June 14, 2011
Food, Recipe