CSA post: Pumpkin Soup

In this Thanksgiving edition of  Ottawa Green  Cuisine, I’m sharing an easy Fall-themed soup for my final CSA-related post of the year.  Last week we received a sugar pumpkin (or pie pumpkin) in our last CSA share of the season, and I figured a soup would be perfect to warm our souls in this October chill. Love is the figurative feeling of pouring warm pumpkin soup over your heart. Ahhh!

To start off, poke a few holes in the poor little pumpkin with a fork, place in a glass casserole dish or pan. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for an hour or until the pumpkin is tender.

In the meantime, get your ingredients ready because there’s such an overwhelmingly long list of them. I used vegetable broth (bouillon cubes), heavy cream (called whipping cream here in Canada),  cinnamon, nutmeg, a pinch of allspice and molasses in place of maple syrup. I’ve been using molasses a lot lately in place of maple syrup. Besides saving 10-15 dollars on a can of real maple syrup, I’ve become a new fan of cooking with molasses in a lot of my autumn-themed dishes because it gives them that little extra punch it needs. I recently used it to roast sweet potatoes for a quinoa “stuffing” for Thanksgiving. When I pulled the potatoes out of the oven, it was like they were kissed with this gorgeous sweet and spicy flavour. Yay for molasses!

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The little team that could.

Heat about 2 cups of vegetable broth in a pot on low while the pumpkin finishes baking. Once the pumpkin is ready, here’s the fun and messy part: Slice the top off the pumpkin,  slice it in half and begin separating the pulp from the seeds. Put the seeds in a colander or strainer and rinse off any remaining pulp. Set the seeds aside for the moment. Scoop out the pumpkin flesh and add to the pot of broth. Using a potato masher, mash out the pumpkin and stir as the mixture heats up. While the pumpkin is heating, add the seeds in a small skillet  and toast on low for about 5 minutes until they’ll all brown, crisp and toasty.

Returning to the pumpkin mixture, add 1/3 cup of molasses and stir. Add dashes of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice then turn off the heat. Transfer the pumpkin mixture into a blender or food processor and place the blender in the fridge to allow it to cool.  In my experience, the heat will actually make the plastic crack if you blend it right away. I ended up destroying one of my blenders before I got my Ninja by doing this. To be on the safe side, let it cool for about 20 minutes.

Once it’s cooled, add 1/2 cup of the heavy cream, a.k.a. “whipping cream” to the blender. Blend until smooth.  Sprinkle a handful of pumpkin seeds to each bowl and serve. Voila!  Enjoy.

 

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Ingredients

  • 1 sugar Pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream/ Whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup Molasses, any kind
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • A dash of Cinnamon
  • A dash of Nutmeg
  • A dash of Allspice

 

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CSA Post: Roasted Patty Pan squash with Quinoa Parmesan filling

We’ve received an abundance of patty pan squash in the past couple weeks of our CSA, most notably the week of Sept.17 in which we got a massive squash almost the size of my head. With its unique look and  size, this summer squash is not the typical selection on my dinner menu at home. So I really had to be creative here and think outside the vegetable crisper: What am I going to do with this thing from outer space? After browsing Google for recipes, I stumbled across a recipe from Alton Brown for Overstuffed Patty Pan squash and immediately became inspired. Think twice baked potatoes, but with squash.

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Sept.17 bounty: The tasty flying saucer is on the far right

Expect it didn’t go quite as planned when I forgot to only slice the squash in half and bake it whole before proceeding onto the actual stuffed part.  It was me being partially lazy and absentminded when I just decided to slice the whole darn thing, bake them and whip up a quinoa-tomato based filling  with nutritional yeast, Italian breadcrumbs, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses melted on top for a nice Italian twist.

At that moment, this dish became qualified for a blog post with my official stamp on it instead of copying Alton Brown.

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My happy accidents, roasted

Like they always used to say in art class in highschool, there are no mistakes, just happy accidents!

For the first step after slicing the squash, grab a cookie sheet and line it with aluminum foil. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the squash slices on the sheet, overlap them if you need to,  and with squash this size, you’ll definitely have to. Rub the squash with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for about 20-25 minutes.

While they’re in the oven, make the filling. Cook a cup of quinoa, add it to a bowl with a can of diced tomatoes, nutritional yeast, bread crumbs, and parmesan cheese. Mix evenly.

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Once the squash is done, take those out of the oven. Use an ice cream scoop, if you have one, to scoop and spoon a serving of filling on each slice of squash. Sprinkle each slice with shredded mozzarella and extra parmesan. If your squash is gigantic like mine, you’ll have to fill two pans and save some to use for another night. Any leftover filling is great to use in quesadillas or grilled wraps.

Return the squash to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted on top.

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A quick word on nutritional yeast:  The “nooch” as us herbivores like to call them, are savoury yeast flakes with a nutty, cheesy flavour used to liven up dishes in place of, you guessed it, cheese. It’s not exclusively for vegans, the dairy-free folk.I often use it to enhance flavour in dishes or casseroles with grains or veggies but there are a plethora of different uses for it,  It’s also enhanced with B vitamins so it’s a true winner in the kitchen with health nuts. It brings dishes to life, I definitely recommend it.

Enjoy the funky squash! I know we did.

Ingredients

  1. 1 Patty pan squash
  2. Extra virgin olive oil, amount as needed for the squash
  3. 1 cup Quinoa
  4. 1 can Diced, stewed or plum tomatoes
  5. 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
  6. 1 cup Shaved Parmesan cheese or shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano, NOT the grated sawdust variety
  7. 1-2 tbsp Nutritional yeast flakes
  8. 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
  9. Oregano,to taste
  10. Basil, to taste
  11.  Sea salt, amount as needed for the squash
  12. Black pepper, amount as needed for the squash

I saw this on my Google homepage this morning as I started writing this blog. Yes, I’m spending my birthday writing. I had enough fun over the weekend in Montreal since this is the first year after two consecutive years that there hasn’t been a wedding to go to on my birthday. How nice. We’re going out to eat tonight, I’m definitely not cooking.  Thanks, Google!

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Cakes shaped like the letters of Google linking to my Google + page , just what I wanted.