Curried Potato Pumpkin Apple Soup

Yesterday afternoon, I decided it was time to put away my Halloween decorations, which consisted of 2 candles and the last little pumpkin from one of my veggie baskets. It was a tiny pumpkin – so cute!

While pondering, “Is it too early for Christmas decorations?” I decided to make a bit of soup with this itsy bitsy, teeny weeny pumpkin. The Christmas decorations are on hold until at least next weekend when I will, no doubt, ask myself the same question once again.

Boy, oh, boy! Did I end up making a fantastic soup. The other week, my Mom was looking through the Gazoo and found some pumpkin recipes. Mom doesn’t like curry so she made a face at the pumpkin soup with curry but I was intrigued. I had a quick look at the recipe… interesting…

I regret not taking a photo of this soup in process but, alas, you all know what these things look like.

Goosekeeper’s Curried Potato Pumpkin Apple Soup

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • pumpkin, peeled, guts removed and cubed <– I’d say my tiny pumpkin yielded about 1 1/2 cup of pumpkin cubes
  • 1 small apple, peeled, cored and cubed
  • 6 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp curry powder, to taste
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne, depending on how hot you want it
  • 1/4 tsp dried ginger, though I’m sure fresh would be better but I didn’t have any
  • 3 cups homemade chicken broth
Cook up your mirepoix until the onions are translucent.
Toss in the pumpkin, potato and apple and give it a good mix. Add in the spices with a little salt and pepper to taste.
Top it off with the chicken broth, bring it to a boil then cover, turn down the heat and let simmer for 25-30 minutes until the potatoes are nice and soft.
Blend it up, either in batches in a blender or with an immersion blender, right in the pot. Incidentally, I love my immersion blender so much; best kitchen appliance, hands down.
I’m going to eat my soup with a rosemary roast chicken on root veggies tonight. Have I mentioned that I simply love autumn?
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Last Panier of 2011: Butternut Squash, Cabbage & Peppers

Every lovely Saturday blog post has to start with a delicious breakfast, right?

This morning, I chopped up some cooked ham, green-red peppers and onion for a frittata… which will also be breakfast for tomorrow and beyond, by the looks of it. With a good coffee, Montreal bagel and cream cheese with fresh chives, you cannot go wrong…


Now, my fridge still holds a few veggie basket veggies that are starting to beg to be used. I have a sweet potato, butternut squash, turnip, green peppers, onions and celery to use sooner rather than later… particularly those green/red peppers, hence this morning’s frittata.

But, let’s talk about this past week, my penultimate week of organic veggie basket cooking. It really was an excellent one too.

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto flavoured with Sage and Pork Broth

I whipped up a basic risotto recipe, any will do… I like to roughly follow Jamie Oliver’s recipe.

Before starting the risotto, I cut a small butternut squash into small cubes, sprinkled them with salt, pepper and a little olive oil and popped them in a 400* over till they were soft and a little crispy/brown.

As the butternut was cooling, I started the risotto. While adding the broth to the rice, I put in 2 sage leaves so that their flavour would infuse into the rice. Next time, I might add a third as it was still quite mild of a taste.

About that pork broth… I had made BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches a la Bofinger Alabama sauce the week before so I had a few lovely bones and a hunk of skin/fat from the pork shoulder to make a broth. I never made a broth with pork bones but it turned out really yummy and it was a nice, rich colour.

When the risotto was done, I mixed in the sweet little butternut cubes and that’s it! Yum.

A Polish Canadian Cabbage Stew

I had 3 lovely little heads of cabbage to cook and, as a good Polish Canadian, well, I wanted to make kapusta or bigos or sauerkraut or something of the sort but I didn’t want the lengthy sitting and marinating process that would take hours or a whole day. So… I improvised!

  • one onion, chopped
  • about half a ring or more of kielbasa, cut into small cubes
  • cabbage, outer leaves and core removed, sliced (I had 3 small heads which would be like one big one)
  • a couple of turnips, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • a few potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used 8 of those little guys)
  • package of sliced mushrooms
  • sprig of thyme
  • 3 cups-ish of liquid, I used what I had left of the pork broth and water
So, I cooked up the onion and kielbasa for a little bit then added everything else except the thyme and broth and stirred it up. Finally, once this was all feeling warm and cozy, I filled it up with the pork broth & water then dropped in the whole sprig of thyme. Bring this to a boil then lower the heat, cover and cook for about 25-30 minutes until the potatoes are nice and tender.

The smokey kielbasa was just perfect for this dish… probably cause I bought it in the basement of a Polish church during a fund-raising bazaar. I’m pretty certain that makes it taste better.

Tomorrow, the plan is to brine and roast a chicken on those root veggies and squash that I have left. Yup, that sounds really nice.

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Last Panier of 2011: Delicata Squash, Ground Cherries & Jerusalem Artichokes

The last veggie basket of the year has come and gone, my friends.

So has my trip to Chicago! The restaurant reviews on that one are coming, I promise. This week, though, let’s do a 2-part series on how I’m using the last of my veggies. Part one is my cooking from last week…

Roasted Delicata Squash

There’s nothing easier. I read online that you don’t have to peel these guys; the skin is edible. Sensitive stomachs might have some issues but I loved it.

I cut the squash into slices, removing the guts and seeds but leaving skin on, brush them with olive oil and sprinkle them with a little salt and pepper. You put them on a metal baking sheet in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes, flipping them over every 7 minutes to get them nice and brown on both sides.

I’m telling you, they are sweet and amazing. I thought about roasting them with a little maple syrup but it’s so unnecessary… glad I didn’t!

Moving along, one of my friends at work developed the habit of dumping his “dirt cherries,” as he calls them, on me as he didn’t care for them. The result: 5 cups of ground cherries once husked. As much as I like eating them, I thought I should do more with this many of them. Would ground cherry pie work? The answer is yes, friends. It really works.

Not all of my cherries were ripe but once combined with some sugar, flour and butter… noone would be able to tell.

Ground Cherry Pie

  • 2 1/2 cups ground cherries
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 9-inch pie shell (I tried one shortbread and one graham… both yum!)
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour (I tried one with whole wheat flour and didn’t like it as much as plain old white stuff)
  • 3 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter
Preheat oven to 425*F.
Wash ground cherries and place in unbaked pie shell.
Mix brown sugar and 1 tbsp flour and sprinkle over ground cherries. Sprinkle water on top of that.
Mix together 3 tbsp sugar and 3 tbsp flour. Cut in butter until crumbly then sprinkle that over ground cherries.
Bake at 425*F for 15 minutes then reduce temperature to 375*F and bake for another 25 minutes.
Cool a little, not too much, then EAT IT!

What are those ugly little guys in the backgound? Why, they are Jerusalem Artichokes, of course! They’re annoying little devils to peel…

… but they make good soup! I brought some of this soup to my parents and they asked what kind of soup it was. I said, “Potato, Leek and Jerusalem Artichoke” and my mom asked, “What’s that?” My reply was, “Taste the soup. The flavour you don’t quite recognize? That’s it.”

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Potatoes and Leeks

I didn’t really respect the quantities of this recipe… I just used what I had, which was less… but I’ll include them anyhow!

  • 8 cups chicken brother (preferably homemade cause there is SO much salt in that ready-made stuff…)
  • 1 lb Jerusalem Artichokes, peeled, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 lb russet potatoes, peeled, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp dried savory <— Nah… replaced with a nice sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram <– Nope! Don’t want no dried stuff with my fresh thyme!
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream <– Omit to make it healthier! Personally, I find soups with potato are starchy enough to make a nice creamy soup without the cream.
Bring broth to boil in a pot. Throw everything else in there (except the cream, if you’re using it), bring it back to a boil then let it simmer for about 25-30 minutes. Remove from heat, blend it up with a little salt and pepper (add the cream here, if using), as needed. Delicious.

Isn’t fall cooking just wonderful? Root veggies and squash, making soups and stews and other warm dishes!

More recipes from this last basket of 2011 in Part 2, coming very soon!

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Chicago Bound

A quick post, pre-trip to Chicago to remind my readers that “I love you!”

The anticipated meals for the next few days?

Chicago hot dogs, deep dish pizza and some delicious local ingredients, preparded simply at The Publican.

And, of course, some cool bean(s)!

Have a great weekend, all!

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Autumn Veggies, Fall Colds, Go Habs!

Oh, Autumn, you bring us yummy squash, sweet potatoes and nasty head colds. Let’s talk about the former, shall we? I spent the whole day at home dealing with the latter.

My fall table was both beautiful and delicious yesterday…

The delicata squash are courtesy my veggie baskets and the pumpkin kitty candle is courtesy of Mom! And what was for supper?

I had lots of roasted butternut squash leftover from my risotto the other day so I simply heated it up and sprinkled a little goat cheese on it.

My other concoction was yet another tofu stir-fry, with onions, green peas (finishing a bag from the freezer), swiss chard and a sprinkling of garlic chives to finish it off. This time, I let my tofu sit in a mixture of sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic and my newly-purchased Sriracha hot chile sauce, which I fully intend on using on  EVERYTHING cause I got a giant bottle from Costco for $2.97. Excellent.

And that was that, delicious.

Tonight, I’m going to enjoy leftovers while watching the Habs season opener against the Leafs and, when I feel snacky at the start of the 3rd period, well, I have sweet potato chips baking in the oven. A little olive oil, fleur de sel and pepper on my mandolin-cut sweet potatoes, in the oven at 400* till they are crispy (flipping once). Better than opening a bag of chips.

Let the 2011-12 season begin! Go Habs!

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Saffron Butternut Risotto

After so long between posts, this is going to be short one. Sorry, loyal readers, but sometimes life is like that, you know?

Tonight’s supper was really yummy. I’m still receiving my veggie baskets and squash season is well under way! I got a beautiful butternut squash last week and was inspired by a friend and fellow blogger’s post to make butternut squash risotto.

My risotto was loosely based on Ina’s recipe but smaller and with about 75% less fat. Really. And it was still super rich and creamy. Here are my adjustments…

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash (2 pounds) –> I used about half of mine, though I roasted all of it to use deliciously all week
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade –> totally had homemade  : )
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter –> I used slightly more than 1 tablespoon. Really.
  • 2 ounces pancetta, diced –> didn’t have any… considered adding bacon but skipped it entirely
  • 1/2 cup minced shallots (2 large) –> regular onion from my basket
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (10 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine –> I had a nice Pinot Grigio
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese –> I used 1/2 a cup here and it turned out super-creamy

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cut it into 3/4-inch cubes. You should have about 6 cups. Place the squash on a sheet pan and toss it with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until very tender. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a small covered saucepan. Leave it on low heat to simmer.

In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the pancetta and shallots on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice plus the saffron, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Continue to add the stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry, then add more stock. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 30 minutes total. Off the heat, add the roasted squash cubes and Parmesan cheese. Mix well and serve.

Oh, and what is that on the side? It’s bok choy! Cooked in a little water, sesame oil and soy sauce. I really should have taken a photo of them before they were cooked cause they were just beautiful. Now they are all gone! In mah belly!

So, bok choy with risotto in unconventional, yes, but with a glass of Pinot Grigio, it was a perfect, rainy Sunday meal and there are plenty of leftovers for the week.

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Creative Problem Solving for Complex Tomato Issues

My name is Lisa and I don’t like raw tomatoes.

I get a lot of intrigued reactions from this seemingly terrible fact. I *try* to like them, I swear. I’ve been getting A LOT of them in my veggie baskets over the last few weeks and on more than one occasion, I popped a cherry tomato in my mouth to try again. While the flavour of one of those bites was pleasantly surprising at first – this batch was particularly sweet and delicious, I was told – the terrible acid and gooey seeds danced on my tongue, making me want to gag.

It’s sad, I know. I acknoledge the good they do to a sandwich, adding moisture and flavour. I long to enjoy an heirloom tomato salad or a plate of fresh tomatoes with bocconcini or simply sprinkled with salt, pepper and olive oil. Don’t get me started on the BLT problem this causes…

Alas, I need to find uses for all these tomatoes beyond offering them to friends and family.

I don’t love having to peel and seed tomatoes, which is something that needs to be done for sauces and soups, as the acidity does a number on my hands. Still, I decided I wanted to make a gazpatcho. I ended up making a summer soup that could be eaten hot or cold, though, I preferred cold. I also added some hot sauce to the soup. Colds soups are yummier with a little kick, I find. Also, I had red tomatoes and peppers not yellow which would give a very different result. I’d be eager to try this out with yellows veggies too, though.

I’ve also used some tomatoes as a base for roasting delicious things. Take a couple of chicken breast and place them on a bed of chopped tomatoes and eggplant or red peppers or both. Add a little garlic and onion, some salt and pepper, olive oil and put the chicken on top. You can dress the chicken breast with any fresh or dried herbs you want: I did one batch with dried Italian spices and another with lots of fresh thyme. Both versions were good.

Before…

After about an hour in a 350* oven, you’re done! You can eat the tomatoes with the chicken alone or with other veggies… like green beans, for exmaple, if you also have TONS of them, by chance!

You can also make it a little fancier, serving the roasted veggies and chicken on a bed of pasta with goat cheese crumbled on top, comme ça:

Another thing I’ve been doing with my tomatoes on a weekly basis is simply roasting them with a little salt, pepper, drizzle of olive oil and a clove of garlic (not cut finely, but simply cut into t a few chunks to flavour the tomatoes). Just look at the colours in this photo… makes me want to eat them just like that! Then… I remember.

Once I have roasted tomatoes, I can use them for good, not evil. Not sure how you’d use roasted tomatoes for evil but I guess that’s for another type of blog. Anyhow, I’ll eat them on good bread or crackers, kind of like a tomato tapenade, served with cheese and pâté, for example.

Or, use them in any type of sandwich, including a breakfast sandwich! This one is on sourdough bread with really good cheese. I cooked the eggs with chives then assembled and voila!

There’s not a vegetable that goes unused from my baskets… not even when your name is Lisa and when that vegetable is the tomato.

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