janet @ the taste space

Posts Tagged ‘pumpkin’

Creamy Bean Mole with Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale

In Mains (Vegetarian) on November 6, 2010 at 6:54 AM


I love to know how people choose their recipes. Especially food bloggers who tend to try a variety of food.

I scooped up a few butternut squashes when they were on sale, and they are great because they don’t take up coveted refrigerator space. I can plot and determine a strategy to use them in my cooking. What will I make first? Ina Garten’s Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with a Warm Cider Vinaigrette? Smitten Kitchen’s Squash and Chickpea Moroccan Stew or her Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese? The New Spanish Table‘s Lentil and Pumpkin Stew with Roasted Garlic? Joanne’s Tofu, Tempeh and Squash Peanut Butter Mole? Ottolenghi‘s Roasted Butternut Squash with Burnt Eggplant and Pomegranate Molasses? Fat Free Vegan’s Lemony Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash? 101 Cookbook’s Borlotti Bean Mole with Roasted Winter Squash? There are so many options to mull over as squash season starts up again.

So how did I narrow my choices? I didn’t have all the ingredients for any of the recipes, so I kept my eyes out for the missing links. While I was walking around the St Lawrence Market, I stumbled upon fresh cranberry beans (borlotti beans). I had bought some dried Romano beans earlier to make the dish, but when I spotted the fresh beans, I couldn’t resist! The Borlotti Bean Mole was the chosen one. How could I not have chosen it initially? It has lots of great ingredients – caramelized onions, roasted butternut squash, ground almonds, some kale is thrown in for greenery and it is smothered in a spicy chocolate mole sauce. Now, all I had to do was also find some kale. 🙂

My favourite part of St Lawrence Market is the Saturday morning farmer’s market in the North building. For early risers like me, it is great because it is probably one of the only places to buy groceries at 6am in the morning! 🙂 I spotted a bunch of kale for $2. Let me not fool you, this bunch was HUGE. It could not fit into my bicycle pannier, it was that big. It did not even fit in my refrigerator. I had to store it outside on my balcony! And when I measured out 3 oz of kale for this recipe, I needed one leaf. Just one leaf!

I have never had a Mexican mole before. For the other newbies out there, it is pronounced mo-lay, not mole like the skin lesion. I was corrected, thanks Rob! My Mexican modesty was revealed! 😉

While I generally am a bit apprehensive with traditionally spicy dishes, I really enjoyed this. I modified Heidi’s recipe (who in turn adapted it from Wild Garlic, Gooseberries and Me) to increase the beans and squash, and I used Aleppo chili flakes instead of the jalapeno peppers. The chocolate softens the spicy kick. I otherwise kept things the same and really enjoyed it. It takes a while to make, at least an hour prep, with a further 2 hours of slow cooking, but you have a wonderfully fragrant meal. I think you could skip the 2 hour cooking time, if you really need to. It would still taste great. Everything was basically cooked before it went in and when I snuck in a lick before I popped it into the oven, it was very tasty. It was also slightly colourful at this point. Two hours later, the flavours were more robust, deeper, darker and savoury but it was still great beforehand. The cranberry beans are creamy, the squash is sweet, the kale has a slight bite to it and it is smothered in a spicy chocolate sauce. Who says you can only have chocolate as a sweet treat? It is wonderful savoury as well. 🙂 Enjoy!

This is my submission to this week’s BSI featuring chilies and to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Lisa’s Kitchen.

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Pumpkin Custard with Cookie Crumb Crust

In Desserts on December 18, 2009 at 2:52 PM

Now that snow has finally arrived (and then promptly disappeared), it officially feels like winter. I still can’t believe I was still able to bike around Toronto (safely, sans snow, sans grizzly subzero wind) into the first week of December! Now I am on a quest to find a sustainable activity for the winter… preferably of the indoor variety.

I made this pumpkin custard for dessert for Thanksgiving, and it was great.  A nice mix of pumpkin with traditional flavours like cinnamon, ginger and cloves. It was very rich with the cream. After a filling meal, we found the ramekin portions to be a bit too big. Very delicious, but better in small quantities. My suggestion would be to use smaller ramekins, which would yield more portions (halving the recipe might be better then).

The recipe was adapted from Rustic Fruit Desserts, by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson.  I bought the book after making the most delicious cake, ever (Stone Fruit Tea Cake on gourmet.com), and will likely post that recipe eventually as well. In the meantime, this custard is a good start.

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Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Coffeecake

In Breakfasts, Desserts on December 13, 2009 at 8:55 AM

Can a coffeecake be served as part of breakfast or brunch? Sure! I love how, in theory, most of my dishes for breakfast or brunch also double as desserts. What a sweet breakfast! 😀 In actuality, I usually have a pretty standard breakfast of Bob’s Red Mill Old Country Style Muesli with maybe a fruit thrown in on the side, and the baked goods get added to my lunch as dessert.

I liked the following pumpkin coffeecake from A Harvest of Pumpkins and Squash by Lou Seibert Pappas. It wasn’t in-your-face pumpkin flavour, more mellow with a hint of spice, but there was an interesting texture with the cornmeal and nicely moist. The walnut topping added a nice crunch. I doubled the amount of fresh cranberries (to 2 cups) which was good, if not bursting with cranberry. Only 1 cup would have been piddly.  I don’t think I have professed my love of fresh cranberries, yet… but I will.. with one of my many cranberry recipes in the draft folder. 🙂

Enjoy!

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Super Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Cranberries, Walnuts and Orange Zest

In Desserts on December 6, 2009 at 9:04 PM

As I wrap up the last week of my culinary arts I course at George Brown College, it is nice to think of what I have learned. I am definitely more nimble with my chopping skills, which was helped by my new Santoku knife. Obviously the right knife for the proper job makes it a lot easier. Anyways, I digress… I had never even heard of mirepoix, or ever made an herb sachet or knew how to “properly” peel ginger (or that it could be frozen, too!). I learned not to be scared of the burnt brown stuff that accumulates at the bottom of the pan, because after you deglaze it, that is where all the flavour comes from. But those are just technicalities, as what I took away most from the courses was the confidence to be creative in the kitchen. At least a bit more than before…  We actually didn’t do much baking, other than a quiche, but cooking is a more creative art. Baking (pastry specifically) is a bit more regimented but I tried my hand at being a bit more creative with these cookies, with a little help from my mom as she nudged me in the right direction.

We took the recipe for super soft pumpkin and chocolate chip cookies from Deelish Dish (who adapted them from Joy the Baker). We wanted something a bit healthier, not that we don’t love chocolate chips, but we subbed in dried cranberries for the chocolate, reduced the sugar and oil, and added in walnuts for crunch. The orange zest was added when we saw my lonely orange on my counter slowly weeping.  The flavours worked incredibly well together and wasn’t too sweet. The spices married well within the big, soft, moist cookies. They were more of a cross between a cake and cookie, but within a smaller, portable packet. I only got 16 cookies when I used the 1/4 cup scoop and made huge cookies.

I am submitting this to Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Laurie from Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska (round-up here) and to this month’s Cook-Eat-Delicious- Desserts for pumpkin.

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Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

In Breakfasts, Desserts on November 28, 2009 at 9:33 PM

Once I opened the can of pumpkin puree, I started to look for other ways of using pumpkin. I love the combination of cinnamon and pumpkin, so this was a natural muffin to make. I got a few cookbooks on squash from the public library and was drawn to this recipe. I found it in Pumpkin and Squash: Recipes from Canada’s Best Chefs by Elaine Elliot and Virginia Lee. The recipe was submitted by the now-closed Jakobstettel Inn in St. Jacob’s, Ontario (which still looks like a gorgeous place for a rural retreat and close to the wonderful St Jacob’s market), who promised moist, delicious muffins. The recipe was modified to include less sugar and less oil, and it was spot-on: a flavourful, unassuming moist muffin.  I had to beg my mom not to eat too many before I could take a quick photo one morning. I actually have to give credit to my mom, who made the muffins for me as a surprise after a long day at work.

Lots of spices work well with squash (nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cloves) and I still have a few more recipes to share with the remainder of my pumpkin puree. In the meantime, go here to enter to win a slew of wonderful spices. Another giveaway can be found here. Read the rest of this entry »

Pan-Fried Pumpkin Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sage

In Mains (Vegetarian) on November 27, 2009 at 6:25 PM

This weekend, we had our first Taste Space potluck where we each made a dish to share and learn more about/from each other. I am excited about how this blog will bring us together as new and old friends, with lots of yummy food!

My contribution was this lovely pan-fried pumpkin gnocchi with brown butter sage, from the Steamy Kitchen.  I have made her pan-fried lemon ricotta gnocchi which were simply heaven on my tongue (moist, melt in your melt soft, with a hint of lemon within a pillow-soft cheese base), so I knew they were coming from a great source and would be easy to make.  Personally, I prefer the lemon ricotta gnocchi, but the pumpkin was a nice change.  It has a heavy cheese taste as there is lots of ricotta and parmesan cheese within the gnocchi. In retrospect, this probably wasn’t the best dish for a potluck, as the gnocchi toughened up a bit while they were being kept warm in the oven as we took the photos (yes, I did sneak a few to make sure they were cooked all the way through).

Not only was this the first time I cooked with pumpkin, it was also the first time I cooked with sage, so I am submitting this to Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Lynne (wrap-up posted here). Don’t worry, I have plenty more pumpkin recipes to come and I still have to investigate other uses for sage in the meantime.

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A remedy against the cold: Pumpkin curry

In Mains (Vegetarian) on October 15, 2009 at 4:24 PM

Last year, when I was reviewing restaurants for Voir in Ottawa/Gatineau I went to Coconut Lagoon, a good South Indian restaurant on Saint-Laurent Boulevard in Ottawa. I had a pumpkin curry there that I really enjoyed and it has stayed in my mind. Recently, the idea of doing it sprang up again when I spotted a lonely butternut squash in my kitchen. A few nights ago, I tried out a recipe which I borrowed from someone else’s blog, Vividha Ruchulu. I don’t know anything about her, but the recipe worked and I thoroughly enjoyed that curry! I ate it with store bough chapatis which fried up with a bit of butter to make them even better (right Pomelo? ;-)). Anyway, I am no expert in Indian cooking, but the sauce turned out really rich and creamy in this recipe and there is only a few teaspoons of oil…not bad! I think processing the onions to almost a pulp really gave some yummy body to this sauce, but have to explore more recipes to ascertain this claim. You can find the recipe on Ms. Ruchulu’s blog (link above). Below is my finished product, sans chapatis. This is the last serving and I hope it doesn’t look to baleful in that bowl…however, the little amount left is a testimony to its deliciousness!

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