Tag Archives: superfoods

Chicken Soup with Kale and Quinoa {Healthy + Easy}

16 Feb

Quinoa Kale Chicken Soup-3

All I ate yesterday was this soup, and cookies.

I mean, a lot of each of them, but very little variety throughout the day. I made both because I had cravings – and satisfy said cravings, I did. I hear this cold spell they call “winter” may be breaking soon, but until then, I am all comfort foods, all the time.

Quinoa Kale Chicken Soup

This soup is incredibly healthy and satisfying – homemade stock, organic chicken, quinoa, kale, and veggies. It also serves as a reminder that when you like all of the ingredients that go into a dish, chances are very high that you will like the end result … and return to the pot for more. Like 4 times.

Quinoa Kale Chicken Soup-2

Stay warm!

Ingredients:

– 3 carrots {wash all; leave one unpeeled and cut it into three pieces; peel two, and cut the tops and bottom off of them}
– 2 pieces of celery {wash all; cut into three pieces each}
– 1 yellow or white onion {wash it; prep it to get read to chop; cut off the top and bottom, and remove the outer peels}
– 2 bay leaves
– 1/2 t whole black peppercorns
– 1 t kosher salt
– 1 whole organic or hormone-free chicken, any size
– water {about 6-10 cups}
– 1 t dried thyme
– 3 cloves garlic, sliced
– 3/4 c uncooked quinoa, rinsed well and dried
– 1 bunch lacinato kale, washed and sliced in to thin ribbons, and then roughly chopped

How do I make it?

  • Place the unpeeled carrot, the celery, and the trimmings (the parts you cut off and wouldn’t eat) from the carrots, celery, and onion in a large soup pot. Add the bay leaves, peppercorns, and salt. Bring the pot over to the counter next to the sink.
  • Wash the chicken in the sink and remove the bag of giblets, if it’s inside the chicken. Pat dry with paper towels (just so it doesn’t drip).
  • Place the chicken on top of the vegetable trimmings. Cover with water until the chicken is submerged by an inch.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat; when it boils, reduce the heat so the liquid is just simmering – this is about medium heat for me because the pot is so full.
  • Cook for about an hour.
  • During this time, dice the onion, slice the garlic, and slice the two remaining carrots into coins less than 1/4″ thick.
  • After the hour, try to skim off any fat from the top, but don’t worry, you will have another chance to skim off fat.
  • Place a very large bowl (or another soup pot) in your sink, and place a colander inside. Have a second large bowl, and a fine mesh strainer available close by.
  • Remove the chicken from the pot with tongs, and place on a surface with a lip (like a curved plate). Let it cool for a bit.
  • Meanwhile, carefully pour the contents from the pot into the colander that is inside the bowl. Discard what lands in the colander – you only want to keep the chicken stock (and the chicken, which you have set aside).
  • Place the fine mesh strainer over the second bowl, and pour the chicken stock from the first bowl into the second.
  • Now, you could choose to cook right through to completion {if you do, skip down to the next curly brackets}. But because the quinoa and kale will soak up the stock, I would stop here to refrigerate the stock overnight, to let the fat rise to the top (then the quinoa and kale will be cooking in slightly healthier stock – I mean, not a TON healthier, but every bit counts, right?). To do so, let the stock cool enough that you can put it in a container that seals tight (like a thick plastic pitcher with a snap-on lid). Pull the chicken off the bone, and refrigerate separately. Refrigerate the carrots, onion, and garlic as well.
  • The next day, skim the fat off of the stock.
  • {If you decide to cook straight through, start again HERE:} Heat a large soup pot over medium-high. Add a bit of olive oil and cook the diced onion and carrots until they start to soften; add the garlic and thyme, and cook for a few minutes more.
  • Add the strained, skimmed stock back to the pot, and bring back to a boil.
  • Add the quinoa, and cook with the lid off for 10-12 minutes, or until the “tails” form on the quinoa.
  • Add the shredded kale, and cook for just a few minutes more. Add the chicken and heat through.

Quinoa Kale Chicken Soup-4

More info please?

This is another great lunch to bring to work – just keep a pitcher in the work fridge, and have a bowl on hand for heating.

The kale will hold up well to the boiling and being submerged in liquid for a few days.

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New Year’s Resolutions

14 Jan

We are two weeks in to 2014, and I thought I would check in on how everyone is doing with their New Year’s Resolutions. How goes it?

I try more and more to not have to find a reason to make positive changes, but there is something about a crisp new page on the calendar that is conducive to new behaviors, attitudes, and … food! New ideas in the kitchen, new recipes, new ingredients, you name it: 2014 seems like a great opportunity.

I have a few food-related New Year’s Resolutions for myself and want to share them with you here, and then I will check those boxes, so to speak, in future posts. I even made a “New Year’s Resolution” tag, if you would like to follow along that way. We are more likely to stick to our goals when we share them with others, right? Well here we go!

  1. Take healthy lunches and snacks to work: It’s often a struggle for me, time-wise, to plan meals for the week, get to the grocery store, cook, pack lunches the night before, and remember to bring it the next day. I would love to get this down to a system! It seems like casseroles and other one-pot comfort foods might be a good option (one container – easy to transport; and filling – our work cafeteria closes at 2pm so healthy afternoon snacks can be challenging). For snacks, healthy, filling, and easy to transport are also key. On busy days, I maaaay be guilty of trolling the halls for unattended candy jars (sigh), and I would love to curb that habit.
  2. Eat filling and healthy breakfasts: Too often I find myself needing to hunker down and work hard between 10:30 and 11:30 on weekdays … not because of any particular deadline or project at work, but because 10:30 is about when my coffee buzz has waned, and 11:30 is when it’s socially acceptable to eat lunch. When I have a full breakfast, I can power through; when I skip breakfast, I feel it. I generally don’t have a ton of time to prepare breakfast in the morning, but oatmeal is one option; I would also like to get into a routine of make-ahead breakfast sandwiches and breakfast burritos, and other similar dishes that I can grab on the go or heat quickly right when I get to work.
  3. Eat less meat: I love meat. I do. But I would like to exercise more moderation. I can’t promise that I will have “Meatless Mondays,” but I don’t think that one or two days per week is unreasonable.
  4. Get to know a few herbs and spices better: How many spices are in your spice rack? I counted once, when a friend of mine was writing an article for a magazine on a related topic, and it was more than 60 – I have to guess I am over 70 or 75 now. Some I crank through, like oregano, cumin, and red pepper flakes … others, like garam masala, tarragon, and even paprika I would like to find a few solid recipes for. And as fresh herbs become more bountiful in the warmer months, I am looking forward to picking up something pretty at the farmer’s market and exploring! Which herbs do you wish you knew more about or used more?
  5. Make my father proud: My dad wishes I had a Jewish food blog. I don’t. That niche is not really sustainable for me, but I like the idea of trying to make one traditional recipe per month. It will be worth it even if only to hear my dad do his impersonation of what he thinks it sounds like when I write blog posts. So cute.

If you have ideas for anything in this post, please leave them in the comments!

How to: Make Kale Chips

30 Dec

How to Make Kale ChipsGuess what. You have ONE day until New Year’s resolutions begin. One more day to live it up before it’s back to salads and the overcrowded January gym for you. I hope you enjoy it!

I will start the January detox one day early for you, with Kale Chips. If you have not yet tried Kale Chips, SPOILER ALERT: they are not chips. They are kale. Kale that has been baked until crisp.

How to Make Kale Chips-12

Kale Chips are a super-healthy, super-crunchy dish that you can make with two ingredients: a bunch of kale and a bit of extra virgin olive oil. I recommend a pinch of salt as well, but that is up to you. And they are super-easy to make.

Step 1: Select the kale. I use lacinato kale for every kale recipe I have made. I prefer its texture to that of curly kale. If you “don’t like kale” but have only tried curly kale, why don’t you give lacinato (aka dinosaur aka tuscan) kale a try. It looks like a darker, thicker romaine lettuce (but you buy it in a bunch rather than in a head). If you don’t know if your local grocery store carries it, just call first. It is always at my local Whole Foods, farmer’s markets, and a few other stores I frequent – but it’s not everywhere all the time.

How to Make Kale Chips-5Step 2: Wash the kale. I have been washing my leafy greens in a large baking dish recently – they fit perfectly, and I just fill the dish with water and shake/scrub the greens in the water, drain, and repeat a few times. How to Make Kale ChipsOf course, you can also tear them first and use a colander (I just find the leaves are just a bit long to fit in the colander whole).

How to Make Kale Chips-2Step 3: Tear the kale into chip-sized pieces. The chips get VERY crisp and flaky, so I prefer to make them bite-sized so there aren’t kale shards all over the floor and couch. I recommend somewhere between the size of a peanut and a saltine {Note: saltine and peanut shown only for scale and size purposes!} It takes a little longer to make them small, but I think they crisp up better that way, and it’s worth it. Keep in mind that the chips will shrink when they bake. The smaller they are, the more they will shrink, because they will curl more. Oh, and don’t use any tough stems, just the leafy parts.

Satine comparison - Kale chips

Peanut comparison - Kale chips

Step 4: DRY the kale. Use as many paper towels if you need to, but the kale needs to be as dry as you can get it before you add the oil in the next step.

Step 5: Place the kale in a bowl and drizzle 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil (per bunch of kale) over the torn leaves. Use your hands to massage it in and cover all of the pieces.

Step 6: Spread the kale on a baking sheet in a single layer, and sprinkle VERY lightly with salt, if using.

How to Make Kale Chips-4Step 7: Bake for 15 minutes at 350. I have read some recipes that say you have to use very low heat, in the 200’s; others say very high heat, in the 400’s! So I go in between, at 350, and if they are not crispy at 15 minutes, I stay close by the oven and give them a few more minutes to do their thing. I find about 15 minutes works, and I also don’t need to flip them.

When the Kale Chips are done, they should flake to the touch and crumble if pinched. Kale Chips will keep up to a week in an airtight container – that is, if they aren’t eaten before then. You can just keep the container on the kitchen counter, but I accidentally refrigerated a batch once, and they held up fine!

How to Make Kale Chips-11

Easy Raw Kale Salad with Garlicky Dressing

24 Nov

Easy Kale Salad with Lemon-Garlic Dressing

Work last week was one of those where meetings, projects, and emails were unrelenting – and then I had work-related social events after work every night, to boot. While looking back, such a week can be satisfying because of what was accomplished, what was not satisfying was the food I ate. Rushed mornings getting out the door, “working lunches,” and bar food for dinner is not my preference; but unfortunately, it is sometimes a reality.

But it is a new week! So I am starting it off with a clean slate: a simple kale salad, with an easy fresh dressing. I know some people are skeptical of eating raw kale; they think kale is so tough that it needs to be braised or sauteed to break it down. But give this salad a try. Massaging in the lemon juice and oil will wilt the kale just enough to take the edge off.

I sometimes struggle to think of toppings for salads, but this one requires no such contemplation. I first made this recipe for Cooking Club (Hostess: MD; Theme: Meatless Monday; Date: 09.30.12) and it has become one of my staples. The recipe calls for freshly-made breadcrumbs to be sprinkled for crunch – I love this concept. The crunch is evenly distributed, and the carbs are kept to a minimum. When I do not have fresh breadcrumbs, small homemade croutons from a hearty whole grain wheat loaf fit the bill. {I think that store-bought breadcrumbs would be too fine to add the crunch – if you can’t do homemade, I recommend the croutons.}

Easy Kale Salad

Ingredients:
– 1 bunch lacinato kale, sliced into very thin strips {I can’t vouch for any other variety of kale in this recipe – but lacinato is awesome!}
– juice from 1 lemon
– 2-3 T extra virgin olive oil
– 2 cloves garlic, smashed
– hot red pepper flakes, to taste
– 1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
– fresh croutons or bread crumbs

How do I make it?

  • Place the sliced kale in a large bowl and set aside.
  • Place the smashed garlic in a medium bowl. Add the lemon juice, a few tablespoons of olive oil, and pinch of red pepper flakes, and whisk. Add salt and pepper if you would like, but try it on its own first – you can always add salt and pepper later.
  • Pour the dressing over the kale and toss well. Massage the dressing into the kale – squeeze the kale and make sure the dressing is evenly distributed.
  • Add half of the cheese and toss again.
  • Let the kale sit for a few minutes. Add the bread crumbs or croutons, toss again, and top with remaining cheese.

If you like this, you may also like:

Warm Kale, Sweet Potato, & Quinoa Salad  Southwest Quinoa Bowl

Serve with:

Roasted Chicken with Lemon-5Chicken Burgers 4

Pumpkin – Gruyere Focaccia {Repost – Pictures Added}

12 Oct

 

I am often asked, “What is your favorite thing to make?” I hem and haw and say I can’t pick just one thing … but this Pumpkin – Gruyere Focaccia recipe may be it. I originally posted the recipe, without pictures, in March, but now that we are in full-pumpkin-season-swing, I made a batch this week and wanted to post the pictures. I thought I would also repost the original entry from March here, in case you missed it then or just were not in pumpkin mode. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Gruyere Focaccia-1

This recipe is a Cooking Club Classic (Hostess: TK; Theme: Pumpkin; Date: 10.15.06). I look forward to each fall, when I buy a sugar pumpkin or two, and prepare pumpkin puree to have on hand and bake a few dishes. Although the recipe is titled “focaccia,” it is not at all like a traditional focaccia with herbs and tomatoes and fingerprint indentations. I would describe it more as a sweet bread, and the gruyère adds a savory tang. This bread gets rave reviews and friends often ask me for my secret.

It is so satisfying to make bread from scratch – give it a try!

Pumpkin Gruyere Focaccia-3

Ingredients:

– 3/4 c warm water (100° to 110° – I measure temp with a standard meat thermometer)
– 1/3 c brown sugar (measure when packed)
– 1 package dry yeast (about 2 + 1/4 tsp)
– 3 + 1/2 c flour, divided
– 3 T butter, melted
– 1 c pumpkin puree*
– 1 t salt
– 1/4 t ground nutmeg
– 3/4 c grated gruyère cheese (or more)
– cooking spray
– 1 t cornmeal

How do I make it?

  • Combine water, brown sugar, and yeast in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add 1 cup flour and the melted butter to yeast mixture; stir just until combined. Cover and let rise in a warm place**, free from drafts, for 30 minutes.
  • Add pumpkin, salt, and nutmeg to flour mixture; stir until well combined. Add 2 1/4 cups flour and half of cheese; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes), or mix in stand mixer with dough hook for a few minutes; add enough of remaining 1/4 cup flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking (dough will feel just a little tacky).
  • Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, and spray the top of the dough as well. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Divide dough in half; shape each half into an 8-inch circle. You can also make smaller loaves, or dinner roll size portions. Place dough circles on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Sprinkle remaining cheese evenly over dough circles and press lightly to adhere. Lightly coat dough circles with cooking spray; cover and let rise 20 minutes (dough will not double in size). Don’t put it back in the oven for this last 20 minutes.
  • While the dough is resting, preheat oven to 400°.
  • Uncover dough; bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until loaves are browned on the bottom and cheese melts (loosely place foil over the loaves to prevent overbrowning, if necessary). Cool on a wire rack.

* To make my own pumpkin puree, I cut a sugar pumpkin (the small ones) into chunks. I remove the seeds, and place it flesh-side up on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 8-10 minutes. The skin will remove easily, and the flesh will puree nicely in a food processor (I add a little water while pureeing if it seems too thick). {Also see this recent post on How to Make Pumpkin Puree}

** To create this magical place to let the bread rise, I set a rack on the lowest track in the oven – which is OFF. I set a glass baking dish on the rack, and pour a kettle full of boiling water into the dish. It is pretty fool-proof: the steam helps the dough rise and I do not worry about drafts.

Original link: http://www.cookinglight.com/food/top-rated-recipes/best-pumpkin-recipes-00400000058808/page6.html

Quinoa Breakfast Cakes

8 Oct

Quinoa Breakfast Cakes-3

When I open my refrigerator on a lazy weekend morning (or any morning during this federal government shutdown!) and see healthy ingredients left over from the week’s meals, I pat myself on the back and pretend I planned the whole thing. Then I usually scramble up whatever is there, with a few eggs. Pretty good, but I wouldn’t mind a little sparkle now and then.

This recipe for Quinoa Breakfast Cakes gives those healthy ingredients some purpose. Try it first with the ingredients and ratios as set forth here, and then try to mix it up just a bit, substituting a different herb for the basil, sweet potato for the white potato, or Gruyere for the Parmigiano Reggiano.

If you make a whole batch on the weekend, they will last for a few days into the week – just reheat them in a pan or in the microwave, and enjoy the cakes on their own – definitely a healthy breakfast in their own right – or with some scrambled eggs and salsa. Before your coffee is done brewing, you are on your way to THIS:

Quinoa Breakfast Cakes-6

Pretty good-lookin’ weekday breakfast, right?

p.s. I won’t tell a soul if you also eat these for lunch or dinner. Or snack.

Ingredients:
– 1 medium sweet onion, diced
– 2 c minced portobello or cremini mushrooms
– 1 c baby spinach, chopped
– 2 c cooked quinoa
– 1.5 baking potatoes, skins removed, chopped, boiled, and mashed (or use 3/4 c leftover mashed potatoes)
– 1 egg, lightly beaten
– 1/4 c Parmigiano Reggiano
– 10 leaves basil, chopped
– 1/4 t red pepper flakes
– 1/4 t freshly ground black pepper

How do I make it?

  • Heat a medium or large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is warm, add extra virgin olive oil. When the oil is heated, add the onion and saute they start to brown and are softened.
  • Add the mushrooms and spinach, and cook 2-3 minutes more, until the mushrooms are tender and the spinach is bright.
  • Transfer the onions, mushrooms, and spinach to a large bowl, add the remaining ingredients, and stir to evenly distribute.
  • Form into patties (this recipe will make about 12, give or take). Make sure the patties aren’t too thick, or else the egg won’t cook through (1/2″ – 3/4″ thick should be great).
  • Wipe out the skillet, and re-heat over medium-high heat. When warm, spray with olive oil and place 4 patties in the pan. After about 5 minutes, check the bottom of one of the patties. If it is browning, flip it, and repeat with the others in the pan. Lower the heat to medium and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Continue with this process until you have cooked the entire batch.

Quinoa Breakfast Cakes-4

Original recipe: Adapted from December 2012 Women’s Health Magazine, “Eat Smart: Quinoa Meatballs”

If you like this, you may also like:

Quinoa Casserole 1  Food_023_

Broccoli Chicken Quinoa Casserole

6 Oct

Image

Are you a cheesy casserole person? Would you be if the calories, fat, and sodium usually associated with said cheesy casseroles were not an issue?

Count me in on the latter scenario.

Usually when a recipe involves little more than combining a few ingredients and then baking, I would rather just eat all of the ingredients separately – who needs to dirty another dish? But here, the synergy works, and it is worth the extra step on a cold autumn night. Casseroles like this are also great to bring to work for lunch. I mean, if you are not a furloughed federal employee this week.

Image

Ingredients:
– 2 c cooked quinoa
– 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ cubes
– 1 pound broccoli {crown chopped in to florets; stem peeled with a vegetable peeler and sliced in to small discs}
– 1 1/2 c low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese {p.s. I don’t like cottage cheese on its own, but it was great in this dish – if you want to switch it up, try ricotta cheese instead}
– 3/4 c grated cheddar cheese
– 1/4 c panko breadcrumbs
– 2 T grated Parmesan
– 1 t extra virgin olive oil

How do I make it?

  • Preheat the oven to 375.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add a small amount of extra virgin olive oil. When the oil is hot, it thins out – swirl it around the pan to coat the bottom, and add the cubed chicken in one layer in the skillet, making sure to not crowd the pan, so the chicken can brown {you want to avoid adding too much chicken, which would cause the chicken to steam instead of brown – it will still be cooked if it doesn’t brown – it just tastes better when it is a little crispy on the outside!}.
  • Saute until the chicken is browned on the bottom, about 3-4 minutes. Flip the chicken cubes and repeat on the other side of the chicken, another 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and repeat as necessary with the rest of the chicken – you probably will not have to add more oil though.
  • With all of the chicken removed from the pan, add the chopped broccoli and cook until the broccoli is lightly softened and bright green, about 2 minutes. Add just a little water (1-2 t) if there is not enough liquid left over from the chicken. DO NOT over-cook, because the broccoli will cook again when you bake the casserole, and you don’t want it to get mushy!
  • While you are working on the chicken and broccoli, in a small bowl, combine the panko, grated Parmesan, and one teaspoon of olive oil, and stir until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  • Remove from heat, and in a large bowl, combine the chicken, broccoli, cooked quinoa, cottage cheese, and 1/2 c grated cheddar. Stir until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Season with freshly-ground pepper.
  • Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish and press it down, and spread the remaining grated cheddar over the top. Top with the panko mixture.
  • Bake until breadcrumbs are lightly browned and cheese is melted through, about 15 minutes.

Image

Original link: Adapted from http://thescrumptiouspumpkin.com/2013/03/28/easy-quinoa-cheddar-bake-with-chicken-and-broccoli/

If you like this, you may also like:

Quinoa Breakfast Cakes-3Marinara Quinoa with Chicken-1Quinoa Casserole 1Food_013_

 

Marinara Quinoa with Chicken

2 Oct

Marinara Quinoa with Chicken-1

When I first learned that quinoa can be cooked directly into a chili or stew {like with this recipe}, I was hooked. Sure, it is not difficult to make a pot of quinoa on its own, but one less step, and one less pot? Yes, please.

This Marinara Quinoa with Chicken is such a satisfying dish after a long day; it is also an easy weeknight recipe that you can vary to your tastes. But my tastes are pretty pure in the marinara realm, i.e. any method to eat marinara sauce works for me, so I have kept this recipe pretty straightforward.

I try to keep these ingredients on hand so I can assemble this dish quickly for a craving. If I don’t have fresh chicken, I move a package of chicken from the freezer to the fridge the night before or on my way out to work. If you don’t keep these ingredients in your pantry and haven’t planned your grocery list (or forgot it – isn’t that the worst?) and find yourself in a grocery store scanning your memory for easy dishes to throw together, this one works well. You would probably just need to pick up some quinoa, chicken, and a few cans of tomato products.

Ingredients:
– 1 medium sweet onion, diced
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 3 oz tomato paste (1/2 of a small can)
– 1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
– 1 14.5 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
– 1 t dried oregano
– 1 t dried basil
– 1/2 t dried parsley
– 1/8 t red pepper flakes
– water – fill one of the 14.5 oz cans
– 1/2 c uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
– 2 cooked chicken breasts (I have been using poached, but you can also cube it and saute, or roast), sliced thinly or cubed

How do I make it?

  • Heat a medium-sized dutch oven over medium-high heat. When warm, add extra virgin olive oil.
  • When the oil is heated, add the onion and cook until it softens and starts to brown.
  • Add the garlic and stir. Cook just until it starts to brown.
  • Add the tomato paste, and stir. Cook for one minute.
  • Add the two cans of tomato. When you add the whole tomatoes, gently crush them with your hand before they go in the pot {be careful, they squirt!} and continue to break them up with a wooden spoon as you are cooking. Bring to a boil.
  • Add the dried herbs and stir.
  • Add a can of water, and stir. Make sure to dissolve the tomato paste.
  • Add the quinoa, and bring back to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low, and cook uncovered until the quinoa is done {the little tails come out – see photo above!}
  • Stir in the chicken and sprinkle with some Parmesan-regianno.

Original recipe: This recipe is loosely based on Protein Bar’s “Healthy Parm” Quinoa Bowl.

If you like this, you may also like:

Meat SauceBroccoli Chicken Quinoa Casserole-7Chicken Stroganoff

How to: Make Pumpkin Puree

29 Sep

Pumpkin Puree-8

The changing of the seasons from Summer to Fall is more than breathing the crispness in the air, pulling out sweaters and boots from the back of the closet, and paging through pictures of friends’ kids on Facebook dressed like small animals. Although I do love all of those things!

I also love the first sugar pumpkin of the season. Slicing off the top, chopping it in to pieces, roasting the seeds, and pureeing the flesh and baking away. Pumpkin recipes abound in this season, and I try to keep a bowl of pumpkin puree in the fridge so I am always ready to try something new or make a trusted favorite.

Here is how to do it in under 15 minutes! Start with a sugar pumpkin. Sugar pumpkins are also called pie pumpkins, and they are much more manageable than the jack-o-lantern sized. A regular knife will make short work of a sugar pumpkin – they are about 6-9″ in diameter.

Sugar Pumpkin-1

Slice off the top of the pumpkin using a chef’s or santuko knife, and discard the stem. Chop the rest of the pumpkin in to chunks – size is not important. I find it easiest to work with the pumpkin when the pieces are not very round – it makes it easier to slice out the pulp and seeds. I use a serrated knife for that task. {You can separate the seeds from the pulp and save the seeds to roast!}

Sugar Pumpkin Pieces-8

Sugar Pumpkin Pieces-7

Place the chunks of pumpkin on a microwave-safe plate, skin side down and flesh side up. Cover with saran wrap and microwave for 8 minutes, or until the flesh is soft. Be careful when removing the saran wrap – it will be steamy under there!

When it is cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh off of the skin into a food processor using a spoon. Add a few Tablespoons of water, and process until smooth. That’s it! It should keep in the fridge for a week or two, or in the freezer for a few months. One sugar pumpkin will make approximately 1.5 c of puree.

Pumpkin Puree-1

If you like this, you may also like:

Pumpkin Curry with Shrimp-47 Cup Food ProcessorRicotta Cheese_015_

Pumpkin Curry with Shrimp

22 Sep

Pumpkin Curry with Shrimp-3

There is an authentic Thai restaurant not too far from where I live that is one of the most unique places I have been in the city. There are not many decisions to make there: they have two seatings for dinner, and the prix fixe meal includes about eight courses (none of which you select yourself). The fancy term for this is a “chef’s tasting menu,” but at this location – it does not feel like a chef’s tasting menu, it feels like what they felt like making that day. Which, I suppose, is actually the definition of a chef’s tasting menu. The offerings at this Thai restaurant varies a bit from visit to visit, but one dish is a staple: pumpkin curry.

I never would have thought to try pumpkin curry if it had not been served to me at this restaurant. While I eat other squash that are similar to pumpkin (butternut and acorn squash are really each just an inch from pumpkin), it just would not have jumped out at me on a menu to order. I bake with pumpkin regularly, but have never made a savory dish with pumpkin puree. And curry? Not my usual ask at a restaurant. But now, I order pumpkin curry whenever I see it on a menu – which is not nearly often enough.

I have not experimented with curry more than anyone who bought a 1 oz McCormick seasoning several years ago for some recipe – I would not call myself an expert by any means. In looking for a recipe to try out, I wanted all basic ingredients, no specialty items that would require a trip to an ethnic market or a conversation with customer service at Whole Foods. I found one! While this recipe lacks the layered and complex flavors of the pumpkin curries I have ordered at restaurants, it is two of my favorite things: 1) easy, and 2) healthy. If you are not sure about curries, try starting with this one. A pound is a healthy amount of shrimp for this recipe, and you will find it filling and satisfying.

Pumpkin Curry with Shrimp-4

Ingredients:
– extra virgin olive oil
– 1 medium sweet onion, sliced thinly in to strips
– 1 T minced ginger
– 1 T minced garlic
– 1 pie pumpkin (also called “sugar pumpkin”) – puree half, and roast or microwave the other half
– 3/4 c diced tomatoes (drained if from a can)
– 1 c chicken broth
– 1 c water
– 1 c light unsweetened coconut milk
– 1 1/2 t curry powder
– 1/8 t cayenne pepper
– 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
– juice from one lime
– fried slices of shallots, and chopped cilantro, for serving

How do I make it?

  • Heat a large pan over medium heat; when warm, add some extra virgin olive oil.
  • When the oil is heated, add the onion and cook until soft (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the ginger and garlic and stir until fragrant (not long – 30-60 seconds).
  • Stir in the pumpkin puree and diced tomato; cook, stirring frequently, until pumpkin is golden brown, about 10 minutes.
  • Add broth, water, coconut milk, curry powder, and cayenne pepper; simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Add remaining pumpkin, shrimp, and lime juice. Simmer until the shrimp is pink all the way through.
  • Serve on a bed of quinoa and top with fried shallots and cilantro!

Pumkin Curry with Shrimp-1More info please?

As with other shrimp and seafood dishes, this Pumpkin Curry with Shrimp is best when fresh off the stove, but can weather a day or two as a reheated leftover.

Original link: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/pumpkin-shrimp-curry

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