Tag Archives: winter

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

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MY SEMESTER IS FINALLY OVER. Yet I don’t feel any weight has been lifted because I know I have to go back in a few weeks… sigh. I guess all I can do to comfort me is eat some wonderfully warming food (including lots of chocolate).

I know this isn’t very festive, but I’m not in the festive mood. And I had left over pumpkin puree in my freezer. And I was craving a velvety smooth soup. I contemplated having a pumpkin and ginger soup, but I feel a bit over loaded on ginger these days so I used cayenne pepper to add a hearty, spicy punch. The leftovers thickened up very nicely; I dipped crackers and veggies into it like a dip. I also had one serving of leftovers with wild rice and cilantro and pumpkin seeds – pictured at the end (it was nice having something a bit heartier in the soup to add texture, but I liked it better without the rice – maybe on top of brown rice or quinoa would be better?).

SPICY PUMPKIN SOUP: (serves 4)

  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
  • 4 small garlic cloves
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • scallions, for garnish
  • pepper, to taste

Method:

In a medium sauce pan, heat the grapeseed oil on medium heat an sautee the onions and garlic until the onions are transparent; about 3 minutes.

In a high speed blender, blend the cooked onions and garlic with the pumpkin puree, vegetable broth, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, turmeric and salt until very smooth. (I let the blender run for about 90 seconds)

Pour the puree into the medium sauce pan and warm on medium heat. It’ll only take 3-4 minutes to warm the soup up.

Garnish with chopped scallions and black pepper.

Leftovers with wild rice, cilantro and pumpkin seeds.

Leftovers with wild rice, cilantro and pumpkin seeds.

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Roasted Dilled Potatoes

Pascal...

Pascal…

Potatoes ground me. You’re probably laughing, thinking how funny it is that they ground me and they come from the ground… WELL YES. The earthy flavour and warm, creamy texture of roasted potatoes reminds me that I am a being of flesh (something I so often forget).

Essentially, this recipe is roasted potatoes with salt, pepper and dill on a bed of kale, shredded carrots and peas (obviously). I topped it all with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. It was SO simple and filling. (I had this with some extra bean salad on the side which consisted of black beans, celery, lime juice and cumin)

ROASTED DILLED POTATOES: (serves 1)

  • 1 small yukon gold potato, chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 2 large leaves of kale, ripped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill (I used frozen)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • lemon juice to taste
  • salt and pepper

Method:

Preheat oven to 425F and grease a baking pan.

In a medium bowl, coat the chopped potato with the grapeseed oil and a healthy dash of salt. Place on the prepped baking pan and pop in the oven (on the middle rack) for 25-30 minutes (or until golden and crispy on the edges). *After 15 minutes, stir the potato chunks or shake the pan to even the roasting.

Meanwhile, prep the kale, carrot and peas on a plate. When the potatoes are nice and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, place into a bowl and mix in the fresh dill. Place the potato chunks on top of the veggies. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste (I liked lots of both).

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This is clearly a super simple recipe (that maybe didn’t need any directions) but It’s also a bit of a base for any kind of roasted veggie salad. Start with a leafy base, add a few more raw veggies, top with flavourful roasted veggies.

The vegetables I adore roasting are: Mushrooms, beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, russet potatoes, broccoli and onion. (Other good ones to roast include: bell peppers, asparagus, leeks, eggplant,  pumpkin, any kind of squash, zucchini, and tomatoes)

Adding spices (like garlic, ginger, curry, cumin, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, rosemary, etc) makes the roasting that much more tasty!! 

Since it’s winter (well there’s no snow yet, but I feel it coming… eventually…), roasted veggies are nearly a daily thing. Much love.

Mama’s Borshch

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As I mentioned in the last post, the days are getting chilly. So what’s better to warm and soothe the soul than a hearty soup? In this case, I turned it into a stew by not adding much water and letting it simmer for a long time. But this meant that the veggies were crazy tender.

So. Borshch. You may be wondering “WTF IS THIS BORSCHCHSCHCSHHSCCSHHCHSCHSCH?” Good question. Essentially it’s a beet soup. You can look it up here if you’re ultra interested. This recipe is from my mama. She makes it chunky (therefore I made it chunky), but I’ve had it where the beets (and carrots and potatoes) are shredded really finely. I’ve also had it where it excludes carrots and potatoes completely… but that’s not as tasty. Also, you’ll notice that I use canned beans and canned mushrooms… that’s because that’s what my Ma uses. You could easily cook fresh mushrooms and cook your own beans (any beans work. I love the cans of mixed beans because I’m indecisive).

One more note, you’ll notice that the amounts aren’t super precise. Such is the nature of family recipes. Onto the recipe!

MAMA’S BORSHCH: (makes one HUGE pot… serves 10)

  • 1 can mixed beans
  • 1 can mushrooms
  • 4-6 beets, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-4 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2-3 medium potatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • handful green beans
  • 1 1/2 tomato liquid (Squished tomatoes, pasta sauce, V8, tomato juice, any tomato base!)
  • 4-6 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1-2 cups frozen peas
  • heaping tablespoon dill
  • white vinegar (optional)

Method:

Put everything into a HUGE pot (except the frozen peas and dill). Make sure you use enough water or vegetable broth to cover all the chopped veggies.

On medium-low heat, let simmer for about 90 minutes (or until the beets, carrots and potatoes are reeeeeal tender). The longer you let it simmer, the more stew like it will become! Add the frozen peas and dill and let simmer for another 20-ish minutes. (WOW forgive me how vague this is, it’s hard to put into words what I do by eating…)

To serve, dish out large helpings into bowl. My family likes to add 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar to our borshch to add some tartness. It is wonderful and I suggest it!

Let's get cooking!

Let’s get cooking!

Simmering away

Simmering away

This soup freezes really well. So if you’re cooking for only yourself (like me!), then cook up a big pot and freeze some servings in baggies or tupperwear. It’s wonderfully convenient!