Tag Archives: pumpkin

Winter Vegetable Thai Pumpkin Curry in Roasted Pumpkin Bowl

Creamy, spicy, and altogether pleasing, this winter vegetable curry will have you crawling back for more! And yes, you can eat the bowl too!

This Thai Pumpkin Curry is what I imagine Thanksgiving in Thailand would be like. Rutabagas, turnips, potatoes, brussels sprouts, carrots, and pumpkin are slow cooked in a pureed pumpkin red Thai curry sauce. A bunch of kale is added near the end for a pop of green and another layer of texture, then ladled with love into a roasted pumpkin bowl. The bowl is delicious and a tasty addition to the curry, but the curry can also be served in a bowl. The list of ingredients and vegetables is definitely not what people classically think when they see the words “Brussels sprouts” but I guarantee that after a morsel of this creamy spicy curry is tasted they will never crave sickly-sweet maple Brussels sprouts again! The roasted pumpkin bowl is highly recommended, however if your oven is like mine and you quickly run out of real estate when roasting winter squash, feel no shame in saving the fresh pumpkin and throwing a bit extra into the curry!

The curry sauce itself is composed of a homemade fiery red Thai curry paste that is a “dump and puree” procedure. Add to this fresh roasted pumpkin, and a half-and-half mixture of coconut milk and almond milk and puree some more. This sauce is very versatile, and would be at home in a spring Thai curry just as much as a winter one. Or use as a salad dressing, topping for a pasta dish (if you add some nutritional yeast you would have spicy Thai curry mac and cheese!), or leave it as is for a pureed soup. The almond milk cuts the richness of the coconut milk, making the curry sauce more flavourful and less rich. The vegetables you add are completely up to you – Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall, or whatever your freezer is bursting with! If you think it would taste good, throw it in! Once you have gathered, diced, and cut your desired veggies, they are quickly sautéed and then simmered in this curry sauce until al dente and delicious. If you are addicted to fresh greens like I am, add them in and stir until they are bright green and wilted just a bit. Sprinkle with some lime juice, cilantro, and serve with some Sriracha if you can take it! This is without a doubt my new favourite winter holiday meal. Step aside boring steamed squash and maple-syrup brussels sprouts – fiery red Thai curry is here to stay!

The full recipe is from Eric Tucker’s Millennium Cookbook (pg. 133-135), which has been prominently featured here previously. It is my go-to for something fancy or different, and always delivers fresh bold flavours and flavour combinations that I would have never dreamed up myself! So give yourself and your Brussels sprouts a treat and cook this delectable dish this year – save the maple syrup for dessert!


The Ultimate Guide to Ice Cream

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!”

Banana-Date Ice Cream with Tahini-Molasses and Pistachios Toppings previously posted here

Nothing hits the spot like ice cream. Delectable and delicious, it is a wide open canvas for your flavour imagination. I started experimenting with formulas for the best ice cream ever, and I am my own worst critic. I wrote down every trial. I used a food processor, a blender, and once a whisk. I don’t own an ice cream machine, so all my trials also included the elusive method to get silky smooth texture and not ice crystals after it froze solid. The result? This guide that will hopefully help you satisfy your every frozen treat craving. No ice cream maker required. From the quick-and-dirty single serve ice cream with one main ingredient, to a formula for sorbets and sherberts for a fresh fruity splash, and the decadent version for when you need to get chip faced. All flavour combinations have been kitchen tested by 3 separate kitchens with rave reviews. But don’t let this list be the end of your creativity! I have other ideas for flavours that haven’t been kitchen tested yet such as Oreo ice cream, S’More ice cream with a chocolate base and mix-ins of graham crackers, mini-marshmallows, and dark chocolate squares with caramel filling, or even avocado-mango-tequila for a Mexican night. I love throwing things in a food processor and creating flavour profiles. For the adults who have just had a horrible day, Kahlua, vodka + espresso, gin, or even tequila are also welcome additions to this ice cream – call it a mudslide and drink it out of the bowl. Life is always better after a mudslide!

A note about the secret ingredient: Bananas. Frozen bananas have magical properties. When placed in a food processor, it turns into the consistency of Dairy Queen soft serve, and doesn’t really taste like bananas. Just by adding ½ tbsp. of cocoa powder, you can barely tell that you are downing a bowl of fruit it tastes so much like real chocolate ice cream. Which means of course that you can have two bowls!

A note about kitchen appliances: I have tried to make ice cream in a blender, and was unsuccessful every time. I needed too much liquid for the blender to actually blend for it to be classified as ice cream. But I hear amazing things about a VitaMix, so if you have one of those I’m not stopping you from trying! And if all you have is a blender consider the following dessert smoothies.

Perfect Ice Cream: The Formula

Bases:
Single Soft Serve: One-Ingredient Magic
1 medium banana, frozen and sliced (½-¾ cup sliced)

Sorbets and Sherberts
1 cup sugar
2 cups fresh fruit, sliced
2½ cups water or non-dairy milk (flavour dependant)

The Decadent
2 large bananas, frozen and sliced (2 cups sliced)
½ cup soy yoghurt
¼ – ½ cup non-diary milk

Flavours:
Some suggested flavour combinations/stir ins:

– Vanilla: 1 tsp. vanilla

– Citrus additions:
o For the liquid, use juice such as orange, grapefruit, or cranberry
o 1 tsp. orange, lime, and/or lemon juice
o Grated orange, lime, and/or lemon rind

– Date Flavour:
o 8 dates, pitted and chopped
o 1 tsp. vanilla
o ⅛ tsp. ground cinnamon
o 1 tbsp. honey, agave, or brown rice syrup (optional)

– Chocolate (and Nut Butter):
o 2 tbsp. cocoa powder (or carob powder)
o 1 tbsp. nut butter: peanut, almond, cashew, sunflower seed, etc.
o 1 tsp. vanilla

– Fruit Explosion:
o 1 cup frozen fruit

– Pumpkin Pie:
o ½ cup pureed pumpkin
o ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
o ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
o ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
o Dash of ground ginger, ground cloved

– Suggested Sorbet Combinations:
o Tropical fruit and coconut milk
o Fresh citrus fruit and combination of same fruit juice, lemon, and lime juice
o Fresh berries and choice of liquid

– Suggested non-dairy milk and yoghurt: soy, almond, coconut, hemp. Rice milk may work but may be too thin.

Stir-Ins and Toppings:
Add any of the following as the mood fits:
– Frozen fruit: wild berries, chopped mango, apples, dates
– Nuts: pistachios, peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans
– Bonus items: chocolate chips, brownie/cookie dough pieces, dusting of cocoa/carob powder, sprinkles
– Toppings:
o 1:1 ratio tahini:molasses
o 2 tbsp. chocolate chips melted, with ½ tbsp. nut butter stirred in

Directions:
1) In food processor, puree all Base ingredients until smooth.
2) Add desired Flavour ingredients. Pulse to combine.
3) For Single serve add Stir-ins and Toppings. Enjoy!

4) For Sorbets and Decadent, pour into glass bowl and freeze until begins to harden, ~4h.
5) Pour mixture back into food processor. Process until smooth.
6) Add Stir-ins. Transfer to final freezer container.
7) To serve, add Toppings. Enjoy!

I hope you find this guide helpful. Any suggestions are always welcome!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Single Serve
3 ingredients + one food processor = Nirvana!

     

Banana Mango Single Serve:
1/2 cup frozen banana, sliced + 1/2 cup frozen mango, cubed + dash of vanilla


Pumpkin Kibbeh with Chard and Chickpea Filling

Kibbeh (kibbe) is another Middle East culinary offering that is infinitely adaptable, with slight regional differences abound. I have seen reference to eggplant kibbeh, walnut kibbeh, ‘plain’ kibbeh, thin kibbeh, stuffed kibbeh, kibbeh shaped like eggs, stuffed, and deep fried … really if you can dream it up it can be made! The constant seems to be a dough made of bulgur and stuffed with whatever strikes your fancy. This particular kibbeh is what I call Lebanese lasagna. It is a layered casserole with the base of a bulgur and pumpkin mixture and a stuffing of chard with chickpeas and pine nuts. I found the crust recipe on Terry Hope Romero’s blog “Viva Vegan!” way back in October when I found myself with some extra pumpkin. I changed the stuffing to be similar to that of the Fatayer Kolokithopita, because I liked it so much! The result is a mushy casserole that holds its shape with a surprise stuffing element. You get used to the pumpkin bulgur and then a burst of bright green-lemony chard hits you and keeps you on your toes! It’s a very easy recipe to throw together, and would make a great holiday side dish for something different. It is extremely filling, and goes well with some baba ganoush and fresh vegetables for a complete Lebanese dinner. If you decide to go all out, I would start with a Lebanese Lentil soup, which is a nice refreshing dish (and will be posted when I make it again with pictures!)

The complete recipe that I used is below. To make the casserole thinner, you could use two 9×13″ pans and double the stuffing amount. Another thing I may try is split the pumpkin mixture into four, double the stuffing, and make two complete layers. This would make it more like lasagna, and the tangy stuffing would be more vibrant on the palette. If someone tries this, let me know how it turns out!

Note: It took me a very long time to fund sumac, which is red in colour and brings the lemon flavour to the stuffing. If you can’t find it, lemon juice is a great substitute. Also, the pine nuts in the stuffing are a great addition, but they are not the highlight of the dish. As they are so expensive, nothing will be lost if you decide to omit them this time!

Pumpkin Kibbeh with Chard and Chickpea Filling

Filling:
1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
¾ of 1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large bunch Swiss chard or 2 bunches spinach, chopped
1 (15oz.) can chickpeas (1½ cup cooked chickpeas)
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. sumac (can substitute lemon juice)
¼ cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts

Directions:
1) Sauté onion and garlic until golden brown
2) Add chard. Cook until wilted
3) Add chickpeas, salt, and sumac. Smash chickpeas a bit with back of spoon.
4) Stir in pine nuts. Turn off heat and set aside.

Kibbeh Layer:
2 cups bulgur wheat
1-1½ lb. pumpkin or winter squash, peeled and shredded or 1 (32oz.) can pureed pumpkin
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano
1¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
1¼ tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. ground mace or nutmeg
½ tsp. ground black pepper

Directions:
1) Cook bulgur. Set aside.
2) In food processor, puree onion.
3) In large bowl mix pumpkin, onion, bulgur, olive oil, parsley, oregano, and all spices
4) Optional: For a smooth batter, process mixture in food processor until thick, even paste.
5) In greased 9×13” pan spread ½ of the dough mixture evenly
6) Spread chard-chickpea filling on top of base evenly
7) Add remaining dough, spreading evenly
8) With a sharp knife, score top with 1” diamond pattern
9) Brush surface with olive oil
10) Bake at 375dF for 35-40 min., or until golden and firm
11) Let stand for 10 min.


Thai Pumpkin Soup

Comfort in a bowl – Thai style!

I was making room in my freezer for the anticipated CSA harvest, and found a lone freezer bag of diced pumpkin shoved forgotten in the corner. Right beside it was my prepared lemongrass, and I knew exactly what I needed to cook. Thai Pumpkin Soup. No matter that it was 26 degrees outside, soup was what was calling my name!

This soup is another recipe that turned my tofu-hating family into tofu-tolerating. I brought it to a family gathering in a Crock Pot once, counting on the fact that my family of picky eaters wouldn’t touch an orange soup with green things floating and to*FAU* (insert wrinkly nose here) with a 10-foot pole, but it got slurped up well before the other offerings! No leftovers for me … This soup is warm, hearty, and will cure whatever ails you. The lemongrass and ginger are excellent for fighting the winter blahs (if it is winter outside), and the spice level can be adjusted to taste with the addition of fresh chili peppers. The pumpkin is easily substituted for acorn squash or butternut squash, or that lone bag of squash hanging out in your freezer! Like most soups, it tastes even better the next day warmed up, and freezes wonderfully. You can serve it with vermicelli or rice, but I like to eat it as is.

The recipe can be found here: Thai Pumpkin Soup. So clean out your freezer, embrace that lone bag of pumpkin, and delight your taste-buds in this super easy, super tasty, soul-satisfying soup!


Fatayer Kolokithopita

Lebanese spinach pies meets Greek pumpkin pies in one tasty bundle!

Fatayer Kolokithopita: Lebanese spinach pies meet Greek pumpkin phyllo triangles in one tasty package!

Inspired by the fatayer at a local Lebanese restaurant, I immediately wanted to re-create the dish at home. However, I had some ideas to tweak the inspiration to better suit my pantry. First, the fatayer in the restaurant came in these cute dough square parcels, which seemed like a LOT of work. I am an old hand at empanadas and perogies, but these parcels made me pause. I thought that this would be a good opportunity to use up that spare box of phyllo dough that was hanging out in my freezer instead. The phyllo thought made me think of Greece, which led me to spanikopita. However, I already had the spinach component covered in these fatayer, so I researched other things Greeks do with phyllo. Turns out quite a lot! One such item is kolokithopita, which is a pumpkin phyllo pie that can be either sweet (think pumpkin pie) or savoury. Looking at the ingredients from the recipes I found, I quickly discovered that the list of ingredients for the kolokithopita was almost the same as that of the fatayer. Limited by my supply of phyllo pastry, this seemed like kismet. So fusion fatayer kolokithopita was born!

I baked the triangles instead of pan-frying them which is why they appear pale in the picture. I like them better this way because when reheating you can just stick them in a frying pan that has been lightly sprayed with cooking oil and re-brown the sides. This makes the leftovers nice and crunchy, and just like if they were made fresh – in 5min or less! They are extremely tasty and addictive. Be forewarned however – due to the onion in the recipe you will be chasing away vampires for a long time after eating! Bring some mints if you’re going to eat them at work.

The original fatayer recipe is from Food.com, and I added 1c. of pumpkin puree to the mix. The original fatayer recipe can be found here if you don’t have phyllo lying around for experimentation and feel the urge to challenge your dough-parcel making abilities – I won’t stop you! Lebanese Spinach Pies. My adapted recipe is below, for those of you who have had a box of phyllo dough staring you in the face for the past six months. 🙂

Fatayer Kolokithopita

4c. fresh spinach, stems removed and chopped finely

0.5t. salt

3 large red onions, diced

0.5c. lemon juice

1 pinch fresh black pepper

1c. natural pumpkin puree

1 package phyllo dough, thawed

Directions:

To make filling:

1) In large bowl, mix spinach and salt together until spinach appears ‘bruised’ (darker in some spots). Let sit while you prepare the onions.

2) Dice the onions and add to bruised spinach.

3) Mix in lemon juice, pepper, and pumpkin puree.

To make triangles:

*Note* There are various ways to do this, and everybody has their preference. I was going to explain it, but some things are just better in pictures! Here is the most comprehensive step-by-step guide: How to make phyllo triangles. I put in ~1 tbsp. of filling for each triangle.

If that process seems daunting but you want the goodness of Fatayer Kolokithopitas, no worries!

Take one sheet of phyllo dough and lightly spritz with cooking oil (or brush with butter, if that’s how you roll). Overlay another sheet of phyllo dough on top of the first, and lightly spritz with cooking oil. Continue until you have a stack of four sheets. This is your pie ‘base’.

Place your pie base in a lightly greased 9″x13″ pan, and dump the filling on top. Smooth out the filling so it’s reasonably even.

Make another pie crust of four layers of phyllo dough, and set on top of filling. Tuck edges in however you like.

Regardless of how the filling gets into the dough, bake at 350dF for 20-25min (40-45min for casserole method), or until tops nice and brown.

Enjoy!


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