Creamy Roasted Pumpkin Soup

So there I was, driving down the freeway on my way to the gym, scarfing a leftover baked sweet potato and blasting Stevie Nicks (not an unusual snippet of my life, BTW) when all of a sudden….

I dropped a chunk and it went flying into the dark, stinky crevices of the passenger seat. I reached over to dig for it (I mean….I wasn’t just going to let it go to waste, I’m not that kind of girl) and I guess I took my eyes off the road for a second too long. I was about 1/4″ away from smashing my car into the center divider. I had to swerve so far to the right that all my hippie beads hanging from the rearview mirror flew off and whacked me in the eye. Needless to say I pulled over, cried a few tears of shame, and gave myself a couple pats on the back to self-soothe.

How ironic. Death by sweet potato.

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Speaking of soothing, a hot bowl of this creamy, velvety, rich soup is my new favorite part about Fall. Need a quick, easy dinner recipe because you have to make time to rush to the gym and choke on a yam? Look no further, mi amigo. It’s got every component you need for a complete meal– healthy fats from the olive oil and the pumpkin seeds, slow-digesting fiber-filled carbs from the roasted pumpkin, and power-fueling protein from the beans. Not to mention all the antioxidants in the fresh herbs, and the vitamins and minerals from the nutritional yeast, ya dig?

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Creamy Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Makes ~5 servings

  • 1 fresh sugar pie pumpkin (~4 lbs)
  • 6 cloves garlic, still in peels
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional, but recommended)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • juice from 1/2 fresh lemon
  • 1 15-oz can great northern beans
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  1. First you need to roast that pumpkin up. Don’t be scurred–it’s super easy! Just pre heat yo’ oven to 425, line a baking sheet with tin foil, add some water to the baking sheet (fill to like 1/8″), and poke holes all over the pumpkin. Put that baby in and roast for about 30 minutes (checking periodically) until tender when pierced with a fork. You can wrap the garlic cloves in foil and stick them in the oven as well, so they roast along with the pumpkin. The garlic is done when the cloves are tender and creamy (~30 mins).
  2. Cut the pumpkin in half and set aside to cool. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to toast the seeds, check out a previous post of mine to learn how to perfectly roast pumpkin seeds. Worth. It. Once the pumpkin is cooled, peel off the skin and cut into large chunks.
  3. In a large pot over medium heat, heat olive oil and add onions.  Cook for 3-5 minutes, until softened.  Add all the spices, salt and pepper, and then the pumpkin flesh.  Pour in the broth and let simmer for about 15 minutes, so the flavors all get comfy with one another.
  4. Remove from heat, let cool, then stir in beans, thyme, and lemon juice. Transfer to a high-powered blender and puree in batches until creamy. If it needs more liquid, add a little water.
  5. Taste to see if it needs more salt and/or peppa. Top with roasted punkin’ seeds, if using, and some fresh thyme.

 

Caramelized Onion Sweet Potato Hash

Baked hash.

I smell an opportunity for a few herbal jokes…but, because my grandma might read this, I will abstain.

Who am I kidding? My grandma still uses a type writer. [Insert marijuana joke].

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This was my first time caramelizing onions at home in my kitchen. Rookie move, you might say. And I wouldn’t disagree–the patience it requires can be a bit of a deterrent. But, like most everything in life. Worth. the. wait.

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Just look at those juicy ribbons of ooey gooey vegetable candy. I said Goddamn, goddam…

Nestled in between flash fried purple cabbage, supple creamy onions, and chewy sweet potatoes are 4 fresh eggs that will burst with runny yolk upon one poke from your fork. So from a nutritional standpoint, you’ve got a complete meal on your plate– fiber, fats, protein, and complex carbs. And whatchu know ’bout that thyme sprinkled on top? It’s not just for decoration– studies show that the oil from this fresh zesty herb is a potent antiseptic with anti-cancer properties that can also help normalize your blood pressure. The Romans used to use it to flavor their alcoholic bevs…hmmmm, duly noted.

Caramelized Onion Sweet Potato Hash

Serves 4

  • 3 T + 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced thinly
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 head purple cabbage, chopped/shredded
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 8-10 sprigs fresh thyme, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. First things first, Preheat your oven to 450 so it’s all ready to go before you begin anything else!  Then caramelize those onions into ooey gooey vegetable candy. Heat up medium sized heavy bottom skillet over medium high, pour just enough olive oil to coat the bottom (~2 T).  Add the onions in and give ’em a shake of salt and pepper.  Turn heat down to medium low and cook the onions down….like…cook the shit out of them.  Caramelizing onions is a true labor of love, you cannot rush it. You’ll need to heat these babies for at least 45 minutes, mine took about an hour. You want them super soft and gooey with a lovely dark brown color. Stir frequently to ensure even browning and keep an eye on ’em.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium high and saute the cabbage until it starts to become tender (~6-8 mins).  Give it a shake of salt and pepper, then remove from heat and set aside.
  3.  In a large bowl, combine potatoes, 1 T olive oil, paprika, garlic, and some salt and pepper on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 450 for 35-45 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Set aside.
  4. When the potatoes and onions are done doin’ their thang, turn down the oven to 425. In a cast iron skillet or oven-proof skillet, layer the potatoes and onion on the bottom, then add the cabbage. Make a few holes in the veggies using a spoon and carefully drop the eggs in. It’s okay if they’re on top, too.  Either way is A-okay. Bake about 10 minutes, until the whites of the eggs set and look opaque.  You can test it by poking the yolk with a fork.  If it’s still soft and gooey and the whites are set, it’s chow time. If you prefer less runny yolk porn, then allow the mixture to bake a bit longer until the yolks are harder when you stab them via fork.
  5. Take out of oven, sprinkle with fresh minced thyme and go to breakfast town.

Kimchi & Shiitake Mushroom Quiche

My brother came to visit me this past weekend and it was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. On Friday night we went bowling. In my last attempt at this sport, I bowled an 8.

Not an 80. Or even 28. Straight up eight. Jeff Lebowski would have me thrown out of the alley before I could even buy him a White Russion. But this time, I bowled a 12. PROGRESS. I felt so proud of myself for crawling into the double digits…I mean like, might as well quit my job, buy an ugly jersey, and join a league.  Who can tell at this point.

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We also went rock climbing at an indoor gym. I learned how to properly belay and tie a figure eight knot with a follow through. HINT: If you picture a frosty pint of IPA at the top of the wall, you will scale that son of a bitch lickety-split.

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Sour and spunky seeks sensible and warm. Attractive, 1.5″ tall, 4 lbs give or take, constantly baked and a little rough around the edges. *Must love cheese*

Is there such a thing as a bad day when you have a slice of warm quiche first thing out of bed?The ultimate brunch classic gets a helluva makeover–savory shiitake mushrooms, crisp scallions, and spicy/sour/salty and crunchy kimchi. With a chewy baked crust, gooey melted Gruyère, and fresh cilantro, you don’t want to miss this eggy breakfast dish.

What is kimchi, you ask? It’s kindaaaaa like the Korean version of sauerkraut.  It’s (usually) cabbage that is brined and fermented with a variety of seasonings.  If you’ve never tried it, I encourage you to go out on a limb and go buy a jar…when I put it in the quiche, even my grandma was down wit it. The fermentation process involves lactic acid bacteria and research shows that just like yogurt, kimchi is considered a probiotic food that has potent anticancer, immunity boosting, cholesterol reducing, and healthy digestive system promoting properties. Dish yourself up some yum.

Kimchi & Shitake Mushroom Quiche

For zee crust:

  • 1 cup brown rice, cooked
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced
  • 1/4 cup Gruyère cheese, grated
  • 1 egg
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and press into pie tin or quiche dish and bake for around 6-9 minutes at 450 degrees until just starting to brown and crisp.
  2. While the crust is pre-bakin, make up the filling.  You can also throw the garlic in the oven with the crust to roast it…simply wrap a few cloves in tin foil and put in the oven next to the crust.  In about 25-30 minutes, remove from oven, let cool slightly, then mince. Cloves will be tender and squishy when done!

For zee filling:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup Gruyère, cheese, grated
  • 1 cup kimchi, drained and chopped *some kimchi is made with fish/shrimp so if you’re totally veg, check the labels*
  • 1/2 serrano pepper, seeds intact 😉
  • 2 stalks scallions
  • 4 cloves roasted garlic (see instructions above)
  • 1/4 cup baby spinach, chopped
  • 1/3 cup shitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened plant-based milk
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  1. Lower oven temperature to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl (including roasted garlic) until thoroughly combined, pour over crust mixture and bake for about 35-45 minutes.  After 35 minutes, check on the quiche.  The eggs should be set and the crust around it should be slightly browned.
  3. Let cool for at least 15-20 minutes.  Sprinkle with extra cilantro and serve!

Roasted Peach Salad with Mango Mint Vinaigrette

As a youngin’ my mother feared for my lack of domesticity.

I was assigned to do the family’s laundry and I felt like a pair of red shorts could chill with all the whites in the washer and they could work out their differences. When everyone had to suffer through bright pink underwear for the next few months, I began to think about color sorting.

I failed miserable at sewing. Think of the shower scene in Carrie when I accidentally stitched the tip of left pinky onto a pleated skirt.

My first attempt at baking involved a sleepover with my best friend and we were craving some chocolatey brownies in the wee hours of the night. Instead of 1 cup of sugar, we tossed in 1 cup of baking soda…At 2 o’clock in the morning we were bombarded with the loudest BOOM you could imagine as the oven door burst open and thick gooey brownie batter exploded into every crevice of the kitchen.  Shockingly, Mom was less than pleased.

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Even after years of working in restaurants, studying nutritional science, and my love for all things kitchen related, mom still says “I never imagined you would be the cook in the family.” When I served her this salad on a hot July afternoon, I was hoping to make up for my less-than-desirable homemaker attributes.

“Hey ma, look what I can do.”

Roasting these sweet summer peaches with a little honey and fresh lemon juice takes their flavor and sends it through the roof. Grilling the peaches would also be PFT (pretty f*%#ing tasty). Crunchy cold mixed greens, toasted walnuts, and a creamy rich poppy seed vinaigrette made with juicy mango makes for the perfect summer lunch time noms. The mint in the dressing is imperative– it adds a seriously refreshing zing.

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The health benefits of mangos are almost infinite…their high levels of vitamin C and fiber may help bring cholesterol levels down.  They’re also high in antioxidants that may protect against a variety of cancers, and despite being decadently sweet, won’t take your blood sugar levels on a roller coaster ride.  Nature’s perfect snack (aside from tacos).

Just kidding.

Sort of.

I paired this with a thick pink fillet of wild salmon and it was stupid good.  For all those who raise an eyebrow at a salmon-and-fruit combination, I’ve got a whole army of satisfied tastebuds that really, really beg to differ.

Roasted Peach Salad with Mango Mint Vinaigrette

For le salad:

  • 2 cups arugula
  • 2 cups mixed spring greens
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 2 fresh peaches
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 T honey
  • non stick oil spray

For the dressin’ (makes about 3/4 cup)

  • 1/4 ripe mango
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 1/8 cup olive oil/vegetable oil
  • 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1 T minced mint
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 ground black pepper
  1. First roast up them juicy peaches!  Cut them in half, remove the pits, and drizzle with juice from 1/2 a lemon and 1 T of honey.  Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and give a light spray with oil.  You can also drizzle a little bit of oil on the sheet and swirl it around with a paper towel.  Decisions, decisions.  Bake at 425 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until tops and edges around the tops begin to darken and shrivel. Don’t let it burn, baby. Grilling these bad boys instead would be amazing, too!
  2. Toast the walnuts (whole- do not chop up) by spreading them out evenly in a single layer on a tin foil covered baking sheet and baking for 5-10 minutes at 325 degrees or until they begin to become a darker brown color and give off a sweet, toasty aroma.  Do not burn! Like, don’t even turn around to pick your nose because I swear in one second they could go from perfectly golden to black and burnt as all hell.
  3. While the oven is gettin some lovin, make the dressing for the salad. In a food processor or high-speed blender, combine all ingredients except for the poppy seeds and whirl away until a smooth creamy consistency develops.  If for some reason it’s too thick, add a little water or more lemon juice (if you have more lemon).  If it’s too thin, add some more mango in.  If you don’t know the best (and prettiest) way to cut a mango, Check out this vid.  I have no idea who this dude is but skip to 30 seconds and he will show you the light.
  4. When the dressing is pureed up, stir in the poppy seeds.
  5. Arrange salad greens in a bowl, sprinkle with walnuts, add in roasted peaches, and drizzle with dressing.