Tangy Pumpkin Soup

This zippy, velvety and comforting pumpkin soup, adapted from Everyday Thai Cooking (Tuttle Publishing) exemplifies Katie Chin’s easy approach to Thai cuisine. It uses ingredients that you can find in many supermarkets, and if you can’t find ’em, Katie has suggestions for simple substitutions. “Thais often use pumpkins to make desserts or delicious savory soups like this one,” Katie says. “The heat from the spices is a great contrast to the sweet pumpkin in this seasonal soup. You may substitute the pumpkin with any kind of winter squash.” I found it works just as beautifully with butternut squash. Check out Katie’s blog, The Sweet and Sour Chronicles.

tangy-pumpkin-soup-everyday-thai-cooking2 tablespoons coconut oil, Canola or other high-heat cooking oil
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 fresh hot red or green chiles, preferably Thai chiles, thinly sliced (seeded, if you prefer less heat)
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 cups peeled and diced pumpkin
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup regular or light coconut milk
2 stalks lemongrass, cut into 2-inch pieces and bruised (you can substitute grated zest of 1 lemon or lime)
1 teaspoon palm or brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Fresh Thai or Italian basil leaves, for garnish

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir-fry shallot, coriander, cumin, turmeric, chiles and garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add pumpkin, stock, coconut milk, lemongrass, sugar and salt, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil. Cook until the pumpkin softens, about 8-10 minutes. Quickly stir in fish sauce and lime juice.

Transfer a blender, or using an immersion blender, blend the soup to a smooth or slightly chunky consistency, as desired. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with basil leaves. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6


Pick a Pack of 7 Pumpkin Recipes

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I’ve been doing a little housekeeping on the site lately and I couldn’t help spotting a trend: We’re WILD about pumpkin recipes. We absolutely adore this fall gourd (yes, it’s a fruit, too) in all kinds of dishes, from savory curries and soups to quick breads and cakes. (Hint: Our Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal with Toasted Pecans may be our all-time favorite!)

It’s no surprise, really. The pumpkin is a national treasure, one of the first things Colonists encountered when they arrived in North America. According to legend, an early Thanksgiving feast was even delayed because molasses wasn’t ready yet to make pumpkin pie.

Beyond Pumpkin: 6 more types of squash to try>

We’re big fans of using fresh pumpkins. For these recipes, use the little “sugar” or “pie” pumpkins you can find at farmers’ markets and even many supermarkets this time of year. This smaller variety has more tender flesh than the big ole gnarly pumpkins you’d use to carve a jack o’lantern. Stock up on them while you can because they have staying power–fresh pumpkins will last at room temperature for up to a month and in the fridge for up to three months.

And when you can’t get your hands on fresh pumpkin, canned pumpkin puree is a great alternative. Just be sure to double-check the label and make sure it’s 100% pumpkin. And try it one of our pumpkin recipes above.


Pumpkin-Oat Bread with Golden Raisins and Walnuts

This quick bread uses several of the nourishing nonperishables–canned pumpkin, oats, walnuts and whole-grain flour–that Ruthi Solari of SuperFood Drive encourages people to donate to food banks. Enjoy this anytime of day–for breakfast, an afternoon snack or even dessert. It’s also nice baked as muffins or into little 5 x 2-1/2-inch loaves to give as gifts. (Use the leftover pumpkin to make a batch of our Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal with Toasted Pecans.)

pumpkin-oat-bread3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup rolled (a k a old-fashioned) oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup golden raisins
Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.

Combine sugars, pumpkin puree, oil, maple syrup and eggs in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk until thoroughly combined. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring with a spoon just until combined (don’t overmix or your bread will turn out tough). Gently fold in nuts and raisins. Scrape batter into a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove loaf from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.

Serves 12

Mini Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

I’m bringing cupcakes to Noemi’s school for her birthday, only I was asked to 1) make them mini and 2) make them healthy enough to sub for an afternoon snack. But, dang it, I still wanted it to say “celebration!” My mind went to an oatmeal pumpkin cupcake-cum-muffin and, since I didn’t have time to figure it out, I set about Googling. And I found this on Une-Deux Senses.

mini pumpkin muffinsLet me count the ways I love this muffin:

1) It uses only whole wheat flour and oatmeal. I can’t tell you how hard it is to find a baked recipe that a) uses only whole wheat flour and b) doesn’t feel like a brick.

2) It uses pumpkin puree (which I looovve) in the cake, streusel topping and glaze.

3) It has a streusel topping and glaze — at first I was skeptical about the streusel, but in the end it added a nice textural counterpoint … without nuts.

4) These (I made them as mini muffins–it yielded 72) actually turned out moist and lovely, which is an anomaly for me and any baked good.

5) The glaze makes it special enough for Noe’s birthday treat!

Our Casual Spanish Dinner Menu

NOURISH Evolution community member Karen dipped into our archives to make this cozy braised chicken dish, using local chicken and tomatoes she’d canned at the end of the summer. We think you’ll love it, too, especially paired with a simple salad and side. It’s delicious for a casual dinner with friends, and any leftovers will provide tasty a tasty lunch or supper later in the week.

To start:

You don’t need to get too fancy. Fresh salad greens tossed with our Go-To Vinaigrette will deliver maximum flavor for little effort. Top with shaved Manchego, a Spanish sheep’s milk cheese.

Main event:

Smoked paprika and sherry vinegar (you can sub red wine vinegar in a pinch) lend Spanish flair to our easy Braised Chicken and Chickpeas  with Smoked Paprika. Even better, the whole thing comes together in less than an hour. Prep the salad and side dish while the chicken braises.

On the side:

You’ll want a loaf of crusty bread to sop up every bite of the chicken. A sidecar of Spicy Sauteed Rainbow Chard with Golden Raisins adds extra color to the plate.

For dessert:

We’re celebrating NOURISH Evolution’s first birthday this week, and you can join the fun by making our Spiced Pumpkin Harvest Bundt Cake with Pecans. Enjoy it after this supper, and nibble on it throughout the week–tuck a slice into everyone’s lunch box for a special treat! (OK, I admit, I’d probably have a slice for breakfast with a cup of coffee.)

To sip:

Pick up a bottle of Spanish red Rioja or a syrah to complement this menu’s bold flavors. Want to know your own wine personality? Take this quiz!

Spiced Pumpkin Harvest Bundt Cake with Pecans

By Linda West Eckhardt

Pumpkin makes a terrific addition to Bundt cake. It adds rich autumn flavor, plus fiber and vitamins A and C. Start with a fresh 2- to 3-pound sugar pumpkin or winter squash, cook it in the microwave until tender (about 10 minutes), then scrape out the flesh, peel and mash. Or even simpler,  use 1 (15-ounce) can of pumpkin (make sure you pick up pumpkin puree and not premade pumpkin pie filling). Buy the freshest nuts you can find; the cake will have a lovely caramel color and bright, complex flavor from the marriage of squash and spices dappled with this season’s nuts.

pumpkin bundt cakeCake:
4 large eggs
Nonstick cooking spray with flour (such as Spectrum Canola Spray with Flour)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1-1/4 cups canola oil
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups mashed pumpkin OR 1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans

2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons chopped toasted pecans

Place eggs in a bowl of hot tap water (to quickly bring them to room temperature so they beat to maximum volume). Position oven rack in the middle of  oven. Preheat  oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 10-inch Bundt or tube pan with cooking spray.

To prepare cake, sift together flour and next 6 ingredients (through ground cloves) onto a sheet of wax paper.

Place oil and eggs in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer to combine. Add granulated sugar and vanilla; beat well. With the mixer running, gradually add flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes at low speed. Beat in pumpkin, zest and 1 teaspoon juice. Fold in 3/4 cup nuts.

Scrape batter into prepared pan (pan will be very full). Bake 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Place a wire rack on top of pan; carefully turn pan and rack to gently remove cake from pan. Cool cake on wire rack.

To prepare glaze, place butter and cream cheese in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer to combine thoroughly. Add powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix thoroughly. Scrape glaze over the top of  still-warm cake and spread over the top with an offset spatula (glaze will drizzle down the sides of the cake). Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons nuts.

Serves 16

Linda West Eckhardt is a James Beard Award-winning author of more than 20 cookbooks, including Cakes from Scratch in Half the Time (Chronicle Books).

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal with Toasted Pecans

This breakfast is downright decadent–like a pumpkin pie in a bowl. Don’t let its sumptuousness rob you of pleasure though, this oatmeal is super-healthy too. It’s loaded with fiber from the pumpkin and whole grain goodness from the oats.

pumpkin-spiced-oatmeal-recipe2 cups cooked steel cut oats
1 cup canned pumpkin (half a 15-ounce can)
1/2 cup low-fat milk
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon allspice)
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and crumbled

Stir together all ingredients except nuts in a medium saucepan over medium heat until heated through.

Spoon into bowls and top with crumbled pecans.

Serves 4

Pumpkin Curry with Chicken Thighs

Any Gewurztraminer left over from Thanksgiving will go beautifully with this creamy, spicy, aromatic pumpkin curry. If you have a lime tree, crumple up a leaf and throw it into the curry as it simmers (then discard)—it will perfume the dish, much as kaffir lime leaves do. Serve over rice.

pumpkin-curry-chicken-thighs1 tablespoon Canola oil
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-3/4 cup light coconut milk
1 tablespoon yellow curry powder
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
6 cups pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1-1/2 pounds chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced lengthwise
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped

Heat vegetable oil in a wok or large, deep-sided skillet over medium-high heat and sauté onion for 10 minutes, until deep golden-brown. Add ginger and garlic, and sauté 1 minute, until fragrant.

Pour in 1/4 cup coconut milk and stir in both curries until blended. Add remaining coconut milk, chicken stock, fish sauce and sugar. Add pumpkin chunks and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium to retain a vigorous simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add chicken and pepper and bring back up to a simmer. Cook for another 10 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and pumpkin is tender.

Stir in lime juice and top with cilantro.

Serves 6