Thai-Style Pumpkin Soup

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This past Summer, I was stuck on cauliflower and all the wonderful edible things that could be made from it.

Well, the  vegetable obsession saga continues. This Autumn, I am obsessed with PUMPKINS.……

Through the fall and  winter months there are a good number of vegetables and fruit that guarantee a seasonal supply of nutrition. Pumpkin is a particularly good example, capable of being stored for several months. Low in cholesterol and sodium, it is also a good source of vitamins A, B6, C and E, thiamin, niacin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese.

Just like with any type of food, people tend to fall into two camps when it comes to pumpkin flavored foods; they either love it or hate it. If you are in the ‘love it’ camp then read on. Because I think that you are going to love this Thai inspired recipe that is perfect for the transitional days of Autumn to Winter.

Enjoy!

Serves 6
Ingredients:
For the Soup:
4 pounds fresh pumpkin flesh, peeled and chopped into large chunks
1  yellow onion, chopped
Two 15-ounce cans organic coconut milk
4 cups vegetable stock
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt

For the Red Curry Paste:
2 Thai red chillies
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 lemongrass stalks, tough outer leaves removed and chopped
2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
grated zest and juice of 2 limes

1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.

To make the red curry paste, simply place all of the ingredients into a blender and process until it turns to a paste.  Remove to a non-metallic bowl, cover  with plastic wrap and set aside.

Place the chopped pumpkin flesh on a baking sheet, sprinkle on the salt and drizzle with half of the olive oil. Put in the pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes or so, until the flesh is soft when pierced with a sharp knife. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of   olive oil in a  Dutch oven or a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until it is soft and translucent. Add the pumpkin flesh and the red curry paste. Quickly stir to combine and then add the coconut milk and the vegetable stock.Bring the contents of the pan to a gentle simmer, lower the heat and cover the pan. Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove from the heat and allow it to cool for a another 10 minutes.

Put the soup into a blender, doing so in several  batches and process until smooth. Return the blended soup back to the  Dutch oven or stock pot and reheat gently, simmering, and NOT boiling.

Serve the hot soup in bowls, garnished with the chopped cilantro.

Photo Credit: Eat Drink Paleo, 2013


Miso Soup with Shrimp and Watercress

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, March 2015

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Simple but satisfying, miso soup is traditionally served with dried shiitake mushrooms, sliced green onions and tiny cubes of tofu. Here it gets a springtime makeover with shrimp and watercress. Kombu is basically an edible form of kelp or seaweed and bonito flakes  are dried fish flakes.Both of theses products are staples in Japanese cooking and are available at almost any Asian market.

Ingredients:
3-inch piece kombu
1⁄2 cup bonito flakes
2 Tablespoons light miso paste
1⁄4  pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1⁄3 cup  watercress greens
Thinly sliced scallions, both green and white parts

Directions:
In a large saucepan, combine the kombu and 3 cups  cold water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove and discard the kombu. Remove from the heat, add the bonito flakes, and stir gently once. Let stand for 5 minutes. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding the bonito flakes. Return the broth to the saucepan.

In a small bowl, combine the miso paste with 1⁄4 cup  of the warm broth. Stir until the paste is softened and very smooth. Stir into the broth and warm gently over medium heat, taking care not to boil the soup.

Add the shrimp and simmer just until bright pink, about 4 minutes. Stir in the watercress, garnish with scallions and serve immediately.

 

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Chicken and Spinach Noodle Soup with Baby Carrots

 

When your looking to make a classic dish unique, all you have to do is to change just one ingredient. In this case, Spinach Noodles  were used, which added color and flavor to the traditional chicken soup.

If you do not have the time to make your own noodles from scratch, just pick up a package of De Boles,  Ronzoni or even a store brand spinach  fettuccine at your local grocery store. They work great in a pinch.

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DeBoles Organic Spinach Fettuccine