Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Silky Pumpkin Soup

I ended up with an aging population of pie pumpkins in my possession a few weeks ago, from a farmer who was about to jet and didn't want his stock to go to waste. We're talking 60 pounds worth. The wrinkles were already forming, so I decided to roast now and freeze later.

And thus my "add pumpkin to everything" adventures began. So far I have made Crustless Pumpkin Pie, Indian Pumpkin and Split Pea Curry, Pumpkin Risotto and Spiced Pumpkin Donuts. Today we are going down the sweet-meets-savory route with a Silky Pumpkin Soup, perfect for this winter wonderland kind of day. Slightly reminiscent of pumpkin pie, while keeping it dinner table appropriate.

If you are curious about how to roast and freeze your own pie pumpkins, it's quite simple. Split pumpkins in half, remove seeds, rub with oil and roast at 375 degrees, cut side down on a baking sheet, for 30-45 minutes, until very soft. Let cool, remove flesh from the shells with a large spoon, measure and place in freezer bags, labeled with the amount inside. I did mostly 4-8 cups increments. Stack the freezer bags flat and let them freeze that way, for organizational convenience. 

Silky Pumpkin Soup
Serves 4-6


1 tbs. coconut oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
3 cups of roasted pumpkin
1 cup coconut milk
1.5 cups water or vegetable broth
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1-3 tbs. of maple syrup, to taste
1 tsp. salt
black pepper or chili flakes to taste
Optional garnish: a sprinkle of garam masala


Heat coconut oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and ginger and continue to sauté for one more minute. Stir in pumpkin, coconut milk and water/broth, as well as cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Add maple syrup and salt and puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Taste, and add additional syrup and/or salt to taste, as well as black pepper or chili flakes. The amount of syrup needed will depend on the natural sweetness of the pumpkins you used.

Garnish with a sprinkle of garam masala, a warming Indian spice blend, if desired.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Banana Flax Muffins

I have a policy where if I make a recipe on the regular, I make sure to add my personal touch and get it to the blog. This is a great example of that in action. It helps me collect my favorites, and easily share them with others. 

These days I sometimes have a two-year old baker's helper, so I try to stick to vegan batters, since almost as much goes in to her mouth as in to the pan. So I swapped the eggs out for soaked flax seed, and added some grain diversity to make sure we're benefitting from all the various grains have to offer. Feel free to try out quinoa, buckwheat or amaranth flour in place of the millet flour if you're feeling adventurous, they all lend a unique flavor and nutritional profile. 

If you can’t find millet flour, you can use an extra ½ cup of oat flour instead. If you’d rather use whole wheat, you can replace both the oat and millet flour with 2 cups whole wheat flour. 

Final note, we love making these as mini muffins, which seem like the perfect snack size. They freeze really, if 36 seems like an intimidating number.

Banana Flax Muffins
Makes 16 full-size muffins or 36 mini muffins


3 tbs. of ground flax combined with 3 tbs. of warm water
¼ cup maple syrup
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2/3 cup applesauce
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbs. vanilla
1 1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup millet flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Oil muffin tins with a paper towel and dash of oil

Combine the flax and water mixture and set aside until thickened.  In a medium bowl, mash the bananas, add applesauce, oil, and vanilla.  In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix well. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until combined.

Scoop batter into your muffin tins, about 2/3 full.  Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes for full size muffins or 12 minutes for minis.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Teriyaki Tempeh Meatballs

You may remember a Tempeh Meatball recipe I posted last year, which often graces our table with Italian style meals. Think Spaghetti Squash Lasagna, or Summer Pesto Pasta. This dish borrows the base from those meatballs, and brings it East with a homemade Teriyaki Sauce. I like to serve it with a quick stir-fry of broccoli and bell peppers.

If you are unfamiliar with tempeh, this is a great intro recipe. Tempeh is a fermented soybean cake, which renders the soy easy to digest and assimilate. Rich in protein as well fiber- it is the kind of dish that sticks with you. I love to have my fridge stocked with meatballs for both snacks and a quick meal.

This is a great recipe to get kids involved in. My daughter loves to add all of the ingredients to the food processor, and then help roll them as well.  Just expect a mess (always). She can barely wait for them to cool before she starts gobbling them down.

Teriyaki Tempeh Meatballs
Serves 2-3


½ cup water
2 tbs. tamari soy sauce
¼ tsp ginger powder
¼ tsp. garlic powder
2 tbs. honey
¼ tsp. sriracha
1 tsp. arrowroot powder
1 tbs. cold water

8 oz. tempeh
1/4 cup brown rice flour
2 tbs. neutral oil
1/4 tsp. salt

1 tbs. oil
1/2 cup chives, chopped
1 tbs. toasted sesame seeds


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To prepare teriyaki sauce, place water through sriracha in to a small pot and bring to a simmer. In a small bowl, mix cold water with arrowroot. Add to boiling sauce, continue to simmer stirring constantly, until thickened, and remove from heat.

Cube tempeh and add to the bowl of a food processor. Process until crumbled. Add 4 tablespoons of prepared teriyaki sauce, as well as flour, oil and salt. Continue to process until dough gathers in to a ball.

Roll mixture into 12-16 meatballs and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate and roll over and continue for another 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

To finish, heat last tablespoon of oil in a large skillet. Add chives and stir-fry for one minute. Add meatballs and remaining teriyaki sauce and cook until sticky and golden. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

The genius of this recipe is in the preparation of the chickpeas. Soaking and cooking the chickpeas with baking soda changes the acidity, and allows for a pillowy bean that purees away in to a silky dip or spread. It's truly magical.

I definitely did not come up with this one on my own- it is greatly inspired by Chef Solomonov of Zahav in Philly.

Don't be afraid to make this in a bigger batch- say triple, and then portion and freeze it. The originator might disagree, correctly explaining that hummus is best served fresh and never refrigerated. However, we all live in reality, where time is precious and frozen staples can be your ticket to healthy eating during the busy work week. So I give you permission.

The variations are endless here- we like to try to change it up every time we make a batch. Take out the roasted red peppers and add cilantro or basil. Or roasted garlic. Try a healthy pinch of berbere spice blend for a Ethiopian flavor. Or curry powder for an interesting kick. Keep it simple, or play with complexity, it's all good.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Inspired by Chef Solomonov's recipe Hummus Tehina

1 cup dried chickpeas
2 tsp. baking soda, divided
2 garlic cloves
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
1/2 cup tahini, best quality you can find
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 roasted red peppers, about 1 cup chopped
Garnishes: a drizzle of olive oil and sesame seeds or z'atar


Soak chickpeas along with 1 teaspoon of baking soda overnight in plenty of water in a large bowl. Drain and rinse. Place in a medium pot with the remaining teaspoon of baking soda and water to cover the chickpeas by a few inches. Bring to a boil, and turn down to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, until very very soft, about an hour. You want them softer than normal- basically until they have no bite left to them. Drain and rinse with cold water.

In a blender, combine remaining ingredients. Process until very smooth, letting the blender run for almost a minute, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add water as needed so that it is blending easily.

Place chickpeas and tahini sauce in a food processor and blend until completely smooth. This may take a few minutes. Again, add water as necessary to reach the right consistency. Taste and adjust with additional salt and pepper. Serve garnished with a drizzle of olive oil and sesame seeds (and chive blossoms if they are in season!)

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Cracklin' Cauliflower

Guys, this one is good. Like eat an entire head of cauliflower good.

The spices almost create a breading which toasts up while the inside gets tender. The key is a longer roasting time in the oven with fairly frequent stirs.

My favorite uses are with some sort of Asian noodles (think peanut ginger sauce) or next to falafel, as we will enjoying them tonight. Or as a snack to pop in your mouth every 5 minutes as you struggle to pound out a blog post with the sun shining outside.

Cracklin' Cauliflower
Serves 2-3


1 medium head of cauliflower (4 cups florets)
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. garlic granules
a few grinds of black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbs. nutritional yeast
1 tbs. coconut or grapeseed oil


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Chop cauliflower head into small florets and place in a large bowl. Toss with turmeric through nutritional yeast. Drizzle with oil and toss again to coat.

Spread on to a parchment paper lined baking sheet so that each floret has some wiggle room. This will ensure a crisping effect.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, or until all florets are a golden brown and very tender.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Dabbling in Naturally Dyed Eggs

I've spied many gorgeous shots of naturally dyed Easter eggs over the past few years, and today I decided to give a go. Unfortunately, I didn't exactly plan for the project, so I had to work with the ingredients I had on hand.

Using this Martha Steward article as a jumping off point, I read through the instructions and raided my fridge and pantry. I came up with a plump red radish, a large red onion, several yellow onions, and a jar of turmeric. In an ideal world I would have had red cabbage too, but alas, no dice.

Important to note: I also lacked white eggs. I had farm fresh eggs, which meant most were varying levels of brown. I picked the lightest four and marched on.

I wanted to try both the cold dip and hot boil methods, so I hard-boiled two eggs and kept two fresh.

Here are the steps I followed:

Combine 4 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and a teaspoon of salt. Split in to two small pots.

To one pot, I added the peels of a red and yellow onion (the first few layers) as well as a chopped radish. This was my red/purple pot.

To the other pot, I added 1 1/2 tablespoons of turmeric powder. This was my yellow/gold pot.

Bring each to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes, so that liquid is now saturated with color.

Add one fresh egg to each pot, and continue to cook for 30 minutes, rotating eggs every 5 minutes or so if they are not covered by liquid (mine were not).

Turn off heat, remove eggs to two separate mugs and strain liquid over each. For some reason, I had much more yellow dye than purple, so I was only able to add a hard boiled egg to the yellow mug. Let sit for an additional hour.

Remove eggs, gently wipe with a towel, and let dry. Voila! Mine were far from perfect- particularly the hot boil ones, but that made them kind of interesting too. The speckling reminded me to the bird eggs you find in a nest.

Next year, I am going to plan ahead, start with whiter eggs, experiment with some different colors (red cabbage is suppose to turn them blue) and maybe stick with the cold dip method for more even coverage. I'd probably start with more liquid too- do a double batch, instead of being so stingy.

Overall, a fun project, if you aren't too attached to perfect results. I think it would be really interesting to do with school age kids who could hypothesize about about the colors (some are surprising) and experiment on their own.

Relax. Eat Well.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Avocado Egg Salad

To be honest, egg salad was never a food I enjoyed much, I think mostly because of it's reputation towards spoilage due to the thick mayonnaise that surrounds it. But somehow my interest was piqued when I came across the idea of replacing the mayo with mashed avocado. I love the combination of egg and avocado- a few slices almost always grace my breakfast bowls. So I gave it a go, and now I am hooked.

The egg salad stores well and is the perfect snack or light meal with a few cucumber slices or on a bed of spinach. Of course, it pairs with toasty bread beautifully as well, if you are more inclined to sandwich structures.

It took me awhile to perfect my hardboiled egg, but I think I have finally figured out the tricks. The first is to use eggs that are not fresh from the coop- ideally a week or two old. The second (and I think most important) is to use an ice bath after the eggs have cooked. I am not one for finicky cooking techniques such as ice baths, but this step is non-negotiable in this recipe. It results in shells that peel off effortlessly and makes the process a breeze.

Avocado Egg Salad
Serves 2-3

3 eggs

1 avocado
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4-1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 scallions, minced

1 cucumber


Place eggs in a small saucepan. Cover with cold water, cover and bring water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once simmering, turn off heat and let sit, covered, for 15 minutes. In the meantime, prepare a bowl of ice cold water. Drain eggs and transfer to ice bath for another 15 minutes before peeling. Chop roughly.

Mash avocado, with mustard, paprika, salt and pepper. Place in a bowl and toss with chopped eggs and minced scallions. Serve immediately or chill in refrigerator.

To serve, spread on to sliced cucumber, or if preferred, toasted bread. Sprinkle with an extra garnish of paprika.

Relax. Eat Well.