Sunday, November 6, 2011

It's ALL about the pumpkin!!!

Well, I was supposed to start this off with a video of our flashing family of carved pumpkins but the format of my camera's videos doesn't seem to work here!! So, albeit bummed, I will continue with the posting (but dang it, those pumpkins were cool!!)

This time of year is one of our favorites - warm days, chilly nights, fires in the fireplace and everything popping with gorgeous colors. We live in the Blue Ridge mountains and the changing of the leave
s is, most years, spectacular. And we spend lots of time outdoors.

And there is an abundance of fall produce around here. Lots of pumpkins. So in addition to getting pumpkins to carve, I got one to cook. I decided to make one of our favorite types of food - Thai, but instead of using sweet potatoes or butternut squash, I am going to use pumpkin!! Not quite a seasonal tradition, but yummy nonetheless.

This is a Thai style soup that incorporates the pumpkin with a mild curry coconut broth. It is amazingly light, but filling and warming. So, what you will need first and foremost ....... a pumpkin.

And to go along with the pumpkin you will need the following:

1 onion, diced
1 tomato diced (this is one of the last of the year from the garden)
2-3 carrots, diced

4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tsp grated ginger
4 cups vegetable broth
1 can light coconut milk
1 can Coconut water (Goya)
1 small stalk lemon grass (we grow this since it is hard to find around here)
1 tsp cumin

2-3 tsp mild curry paste (Pataks)
1 fresh chili pepper (I used cayenne, but you can use a Serrano or jalapeno or any chili you like)
1 Tbsp olive oil

Lime juice
Salt and pepper
Cilantro for garnish

You can also add a number of things to vary this soup - beans, rice, noodles, tofu, etc. I had some leftover black beans so decide to use them too.

Preheat your oven to 375F, and then attack the pumpkin - cut in half and scrape all the insides out - save the seeds to roast and munch on later. Cut the halves into 1" slices and lay on a cookie sheet sprayed with some spray oil. Pop in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until tender.

While the pumpkin is baking, dice up the onion, garlic and carrots. Cut the lemon grass into 3" pieces and smash with the flat side of your knife. Place the veggies and olive oil in a soup pot and saute until tender. Add in the ginger (I use the prepared stuff in a tube) and cumin and cook a few minutes more. Add the broth, tomato (diced), lemongrass, curry paste, and coconut water. Let simmer slowly while the pumpkin bakes.

Once the pumpkin is done, let cool just a bit and then remove all the skin from the slices, it peels off very easily.

I had way too much pumpkin for the soup at this point - so used about 2 cups of the cooked pumpkin. Once the skin is removed, dice the slices into small cubes.

Place about half the cubed pumpkin into the soup pot. Fish around and remove the stalks of lemon grass and then blend the soup - either with an immersion blender (I love this gadget!!!) or place in a blender.

Once blended, add in the remaining pumpkin cubes, the lite coconut milk, a bit of lime juice to taste, the thinly sliced hot pepper, and any other items you like (this is where I added the black beans). Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes more, adjust salt and pepper to taste.

So here is our soup - plain for the kids and garnished with more hot peppers and chili oil for Todd, and with chili oil and cilantro for me. Open face sandwiches round out the meal.

But I still had the rest of the pumpkin staring at me unhappily....... Hmmmm......

So to keep it company I pulled out a couple of apples, some instant oatmeal packets, cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, sugar and margarine. The pumpkin I cut into cubes just as for the soup, and the apples peeled and diced. I had some Craisins as well and tossed them in.

This was then mixed with some cinnamon, a grating of nutmeg, some sugar and honey. I just did all this to taste. And when it all tasted good I poured it into a "margarined" baking dish.

The packets of instant oatmeal were mixed with some margarine to make a crumble (I ended up using 3 packets) and spread over the top.

Bake in the oven for 50 minutes to an hour until bubbly and golden brown. In the meantime, find out that the Wizard of Oz is on TV and settle in to watch.

We had to send the kids to bed before this was done - but they were promised they could have some for breakfast!!

So here it is, breakfast!!! And this was almost better than the soup.

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