Pumpkin Goodness: Recipes That Go Beyond Pie

 

 

Fall is in the air and there is no better place to experience it, than here in Toronto.There are various shades of tinted amber, brilliant yellow and bright orange everywhere. I sit by my window and look out with a heart filled with gratitude as I admire nature’s canvas, painted ahead of me. The air is crisp and the falling leaves now bid adieu to summer.

 

And needless to say the colours resonate with “Pumpkin flavoured everything” I had stocked up on a few lovely field pumpkins that I came across at the fresh markets in our neighbourhood,with mental notes of umpteen recipes that leapt to my mind.

With Thanksgiving and Halloween around this time of the year, there seem to have Pumpkins galore everywhere. I have some wonderful memories of visiting pumpkin patches in New jersey and Toronto too, when my son was younger. The ones that I picked up recently were small in size and a bright orange in colour and the Pie Pumpkin variety. I quite enjoy cooking and baking with Pumpkin. This gourd takes a centre stage all through fall and into early winters and quite easily named as Autumn’s golden goodness.

My usual repertoire would consist of  stews, soups, pumpkin roasted in salads, cakes and some dips as I experimented last week. Infact I was just discussing a post festivity detox with a friends when I tested out a few of these recipes. Here is a roundup of some terrific ways of cooking Pumpkin and the best part is that these work well with both sweet and savoury. There really is no need to just stop at Pumpkin pie when you can go ahead and make up some of these delicious treats with Pumpkins!

1.Pumpkin Hummus:

Ingredients:

  • 1 small Field Pumpkin (cubed and roasted)
  • 2 tablespoon Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Chick pea Hummus (You may follow my recipe: wp.me/p2eASG-l0)
  • 1 pod garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh root turmeric or dry turmeric powder
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • Pinch of Sumac
  • 1 tablespoon feta cheese (crumbled)
  • Handful of walnuts (roasted)

Directions:

  1. Roast the cubed pumpkin in a pie dish along with a tablespoon of olive oil at about 180C for about 25 minutes.
  2. Cool it and lightly mash the roasted pumpkin.
  3. Add the hummus, balance olive oil, minced garlic and root turmeric and mix well.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Garnish with Sumac, crumbled feta and roasted walnut.

 

2. Roasted Pumpkin Soup: (Serves 4 portions)

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1  medium pumpkin
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cubed
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 50 grams cooked white cannellini beans
  • 2 cups (500ml) chicken stock, heated)
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1/2 tablespoon crushed black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Place all vegetables, garlic and onion in a medium baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, and roast till tender, about 30-40 minutes.
  2. In batches, blend roasted vegetables, chicken stock and pepper. Add some more stock as needed to reach desired consistency.
  3. Stir all batches of blended soup together in a bowl and serve immediately topped with a tablespoon of sour cream and freshly chopped parsley.

3. Pumpkin Spiced Cake:

Ingredients:

1 1/2  cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup Almond flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg powder
3 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4th Cup pumpkin puree

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 175 C.
2.Grease a 9×13 non-stick baking pan or a 8 inch round baking tin.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: 2 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp cinnamon.
4.In a second medium bowl, whisk together wet ingredients: 3 large eggs, 1 cup oil and the pumpkin puree till all the ingredients are well combined.
5.Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Transfer to prepared baking dish and bake for 35-40 min or until the centre comes out clean.
6.Let cake cool completely and dust some icing sugar and serve with some whipped cream.
Are you fond of baking and cooking with Pumpkins? Do share some of your favourite ways in the comments below. You know I would love to hear back from you.
Happy Baking!

Muhammara: Roasted Red Bell Peppers & Walnut Dip

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Smoky flavours of roasted Red bell peppers combined with a hint of Garlic,a burst of Lemon juice and Olive oil mingle together to make up this delightful Middle Eastern Meze. If your taste buds are sharp enough you will detect the coarse texture that is brought about by the addition of breadcrumbs and coarsely ground walnuts to this dip.Tracing its origins to Syria,this is now a popular accompaniment with most Levantine cuisine.

I’ve been shying away from making up this favourite dip of mine due to the lack of being able to source Pomegranate Molasses which I feel is an essential ingredient.I do believe the brilliant red tones and the tartness in a Muhamarra are certainly lent by the molasses.I’ve been impatient to make this and went along by substituting with some honey. Continue reading

Tangy Onion Chutney & A Lazy Sunday Morning

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Yes and that’s how most Sunday afternoon’s land up being at our home.Lazy and with no  great plans for at least the earlier half of the day.Most often I declare that the Kitchen’s Closed .I  say this with every reason as,between getting a lot of meals together,cooking for my classes and all the recipe development and experiments that go on  through the week,I’m ready to have someone else do the cooking for me.

Well this past Sunday was an exception. We were out most of the previous days at various lunches & dinners and wanted the comfort of a simple home cooked meal. We all crave that especially as it a mix of nostalgia of one’s mum’s cooking,perhaps a childhood favourite or just something easy and hearty that evokes a sentiment of feeling totally comfortable at home.

Both the dear husband and son are quite fond of a South Indian fare.Now I did have some Ragi (finger Millet) dosa batter that was made up a day earlier.Well all I really needed was a filling and a dip to go along with it.I choose to go with an absolutely  easy and tangy Onion Chutney and a quick and easy Potato as the accompaniments with the Dosa.

Oh well ,I did land up in my kitchen on a Sunday and it didn’t turn out as Lazy as I expected it to be.All the same very worth  it as our lunch turned out be a delicious and a very satisfying one.The Not so Lazy Sunday ended on a perfect note with a discovery of a new recipe for my repertoire.

Do you cook on Sunday? If yes do share your Sunday special recipes with me. I’d love to hear from you.

Till then…Happy Cooking Always.

 

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Tangy Onion Chutney:

Ingredients:

  • 3 Medium Onions (chopped or sliced)
  • 2-3 dried Red Chillies
  • 1 small piece tamarind
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon roasted Cumin powder
  • 7-8 curry leaves (lightly roasted)

For the Tempering:

  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Urad Dal
  • Dash of Amchur powder
  • 5-6 Curry leaves

Directions:

  1. Finely grind the Onions,red chilies tamarind,cumin powder and curry leaves into a fine paste.
  2. Heat some Oil and temper with mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves.
  3. Now add the ground paste and fry well for about 8-10 minutes or till the chutney does not seem raw.
  4. Add in a dash of amchur powder

Beetroot Hummus

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Hummus in Arabic literally translates to mean chickpeas. That’s exactly what this mezze is all about.A combination of crushed chickpeas, tahini (sesame paste) some lemon juice,garlic and olive oil…And Voila a delicious dip to serve with grilled meats,crisp pita or even some chopped vegetables.

How about Jazzing up your favorite Hummus recipe with the goodness of beetroot? I’ve used some beetroot puree into a batch that I made up earlier this week.

The beetroot totally livened up the hummus and gave it a wonderful texture, sweetness  and a gorgeous color of course.The base recipe for the Hummus is pretty much a standard one. It was almost all gone and I had to reserve some to take a quick picture for this blog post.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup boiled chickpeas ( or tinned)
  • 2 tablespoons Tahini
  • 1 pod garlic (crushed)
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 cup pureed beetroot ( 1 small beetroot boiled and pureed)
  • sprinkling of sumac

Directions

  1. Put the chickpeas into a food processor and blend for a minute.
  2. Now all  ingredients (except yogurt ) and blend further for 3-5 minutes till the mixture is smooth.
  3. Place in a small bowl and whisk in the yogurt.
  4. Drizzle some more Olive oil and sprinkle some sumac or zaatar powder.
  5. Garnish with some chopped parsley.

Coriander Pesto with Toasted Walnuts

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Ah Pesto! 

Move over Pine nuts and Basil as fresh coriander and toasted walnuts blend together to make this wonderful and easy Pesto.This is an absolutely delightful treat in my kitchen.Heart healthy pesto has a variety of uses. Toss it into your favorite pastas, slather some on your morning toast,drizzle some over a salad and even use it as a marinade over some chicken or fish.

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Here is just about the easiest way of making a fabulous Pesto.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh coriander leaves (stalks removed and chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 50 grams walnuts (lightly toasted)
  • 1/3 cup (35 grams) fine Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped basil (optional)
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Directions:
1.Lightly toast the walnuts on a pan.

2.Now combine the Coriander leaves Parmesan,Walnuts,Garlic and grind in a food processor.

3.Gradually keep pouring the Olive oil in a steady stream.

4.Season with salt and pepper and add in the lemon juice.

5.Transfer to an air tight container and add a little more olive oil.

6.Consume with a week. Best if refrigerated.

Some of my favorite Recipes that call for Coriander Pesto:

  • Boiled Fusilli or Penne tossed in some olive oil and minced garlic.With a couple of tablespoons of Coriander Pesto. Garnished with Parmesan shavings and pepper.
  • Roasted baby potatoes tossed with some Coriander basil, mixed with arugula leaves and with an  olive and balsamic vinegar dressing.( Served warm)
  • Ditch the usual pizza sauce and use some of this pesto as your base.
  • Use as a sandwich spread or in a Panini.
  • Marinate either Chicken of Fish with Pesto,Olive oil, salt and pepper.Perfect for grilling.