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!

Oven Grilled Chicken with Potatoes and Vegetables

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How’s the summer treating you? Kind and cool I hope….While I prefer the heat over cold wintry days any day, the summer month’s here in Mumbai have been sweltering hot.Perhaps most of you would agree that the last thing on one’s mind is cooking in the heat.

Well the dear son is here on his holidays from Montreal and  yes I’ve been pampering him with his favourite meals.He often hear’s me complain about the heat and of course the eternal debate on what to cook for dinner!  I for one have been trying to simply meal times at home. At least the dinner’s. A couple of posts ago I wrote about focussing on easy and fuss free cooking ideas.This dinner idea is just that.A oven grilled boneless chicken accompanied with the starchy goodness of some Hasselback Potatoes and a healthful serving of  pan charred Zucchini and carrots. Well balanced,nutritious and gets done in just about 30 minutes.Yes that’s my new kitchen mantra.Well for the summer’s at least.

So how’s that for an ultra quick and  family friendly recipe that’s light and refreshing and one that can just as well become a part of your weeknight repertoire? Do share some of your easy meal ideas here.I would love to hear from you. Continue reading

Zucchini Noodles: Loving My Spiralizer

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All right I may as well admit it.I’m an absolute and out right gadget freak.More specifically a Kitchen gadget freak.Travelling does that some how.An incessent and obsessive need to browse through home and kitchen stores,walk down endless aisles of supermarkets,on the look out for some kitchen gadget or house ware that would make cooking a lot more interesting.That, I do not have any more shelf space  is another story all together.Amongst the stuff that I’ve been amassing over the years are hordes of  Bakeware, Cookware,Gizmos and  various other kitchen memorabilia collected over numerous travels ,making the insides of my pantry  resemble a well stocked Kitchen-ware store.No,I’m not complaining,just overjoyed at my stash.After all having the right equipment makes all the difference.

Continue reading

Pan Seared Wasabi Fish with Pea Puree

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Here is another quick dinner idea for you. We all look for easy to put together meals where you would rather spend more time with your family than in the kitchen.

I have been cooking fish a lot more these days. This easy recipe for a pan seared fish is great dinner option when time is short and yet one would like to put a nutritious and healthy meal together. I’ve used a fillet of John Dory that I found locally here in Mumbai. However you may substitute it with any other firm white fish if you like. This pairs really well with the pureed peas and the mint Labaneh. I’ve tried to recreate a fusion of Asian flavors with a mild middle eastern twist and it was well appreciated by everyone. The refreshing Mint Labaneh balances off the creamy texture of the Pea Puree really well.

I’d like to call this my weeknight wonder as it gets done under Thirty  minutes and tastes great too.

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For The Fish:

Ingredients:

  • 4 Fish Fillets ( John Dory,Cod or Basa)
  • 2 teaspoons of Mirin (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons of Wasabi paste
  • Dash of salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger

Directions:

  1. Mix the Mirin,Wasabi paste salt and pepper and the grated ginger well.
  2. Marinate the fish fillets in the above mixture for about 20 minutes.
  3. Heat a skillet and brush with some Olive oil.
  4. Place the fish fillets on the pan.
  5. Sear on either side for about 7 minutes or until the fish seems cooked.

 

 

Pea purée

20g of Onions (Preferably White and  chopped)

1 tbsp of Olive Oil

400g  peas

200ml of milk

Salt to taste

Dash of pepper

Directions: 

  1. Saute the onions till soft and just translucent
  2.  Add the peas salt and milk and simmer for about 10 minutes
  3.  Drain off the milk  and pour the peas into a blender.
  4. Blend into a puree for 2 minutes until  smooth.
  5.  Add some milk back to make a  thickish purée.
  6. After blending, cool as quickly as possible as the colour will begin to fade fairly quickly

Mint Labaneh:

  • Take about 2 cups of Full fat yogurt and place in a thin Muslin cloth.Keep this over a large bowl over night.
  • You should have a thick creamy Labaneh the next morning.
  • Add some salt and pepper and some minced mint leaves for flavouring

Lightly Salted Kale Crisps

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Imagine eating a packet of crisps without the guilt? Now I’m not taking about potato, all though I must admit I’m quite crazy about potato chips. Of course a healthier option is always welcome with everyone on a diet of sorts. I’ve been cooking with Kale for awhile in my kitchen.Well the family has been served a Kale soup on various occasions,sautéed Kale and yes even Kale juice.The crisps is something I’d been shying away from,primarily from the fact that I just didn’t imagine they would turn out crisp enough.

This was a Friday morning experiment. I woke up this  morning with a gorgeous bunch of curly Kale staring  at me…Not soup please hollers my son ,who has been pottering around the kitchen wondering what I’m planning to rustle up for him.Why not try out some Kale crisps he says to me?

Oh well what the heck! If they turn out soggy I could always add them to a pasta of sorts. Now I had done a bit of research with quite a few recipes and came to the conclusion that once the Kale had been washed the key step was in ensuring that they were dried really well. I’ve used my salad spinner that really helped get all the water out and then went on to spread them onto a kitchen towel and gently dabbed them further.I then rubbed in some olive oil and seasoned then with some salt and pepper and layered them onto a baking sheet in a single layer.Yes just as simple as that.

They were baked in an oven at 150 C for about a total of 20 minutes.You do need to watch them towards the end to ensure they don’t burn.

The Verdict: Just fantastic and crisp as ever Kale! So here you go, all you need is some Olive oil,salt,pepper and a dash of chili  to turn these gorgeous green leaves into a delightful and healthy snack! Go ahead and make some up today!

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 bunch Curly Kale
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sea salt or any fine grain salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 150 C.
  2. Layer a baking tray with parchment paper.
  3. Wash the Kale leaves thoroughly.
  4. Remove the stem and tear them into large pieces.
  5. Put the pieces into a salad spinner to remove all the excess water.
  6. Spread the kale onto a kitchen towel and gently dab the leaves to ensure all the moisture is drained out.
  7. Add the leaves to a bowl and gently rub the olive oil into them.
  8. Now add in the salt,pepper and chili powder and mix well.
  9. Arrange the leaves in a single layer,do not over crowd the tray.One tray is good for about 1/2 a bunch of leaves so you may want to layer the other half onto a second tray.
  10. Put  both the trays into the oven for about 10 minutes.
  11. Turn the trays around after 10 minutes and bake further for about 15 minutes.
  12. Keep a watch out towards the last 5 minutes to ensure the kale leaves are crisp enough and are not burning.
  13. Remove from the oven and let the crisps cool.
  14. Best eaten fresh.