Thursday, December 27, 2012

Chipotle Pumpkin Soup

Perhaps you are ready for a little post-Christmas detox.  If you are like me, you ate about 200 cookies in the past 2 days.  This soup is low in fat and high in vitamins and fiber.  Just the thing to help you recover.  

We had three pumpkins for Fall decorations this year, one for each of us.  Two sugar pumpkins and one mini gourd for our mini guy.  In years past, our pumpkins mysteriously ended up with bite marks in them from the various animals we have prowling around at night out here in the country.  I was pleasantly surprised that this year they made it through the season unscathed, and when December rolled around, I declared it time to bring in the pumpkins and roast them up.

Since my lunches are usually spent inhaling my food while trying to keep up with my little - eating/hurling hummus around the room - machine, I like to keep it simple.  A big pot of soup I can eat all week is perfect. I made a roasted butternut soup with apples and curry last week.  You might be thinking I will post that next, but that would have required me to take a picture before eating it all.  In any case, I wanted this to be a little different, and spicy chipotle was perfect.  I wish blogger would stop telling me chipotle isn't a word, because it's stressing me out that I've made some huge grammar mistake on the internet.

You can make this with canned pumpkin, but if you have a couple of sugar pumpkins lying around on your front steps (just me? oh.) it's easy to roast them up.

Roasted Pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using your biggest and sharpest knife, slice the stem off the pumpkin.
Cut it in half vertically and remove the seeds and stringy insides.  Reserve the seeds and roast them up later.
I found that using an ice cream scoop worked well to scrape down the inside of the pumpkin, but a big spoon works as well.
Rub insides with olive oil and place face down on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet.
Roast for 1 hour, or until skin is wrinkly and brown and can easily be pierced with a knife.
Allow to cool and then scoop out pumpkin flesh.
Puree in a food processor and use for whatever you like.  Can I suggest soup?

Chipotle Pumpkin Soup
from Simply Recipes

olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1-3 chipotle peppers in adobo (I like things spicy, so I used 3)
8 cups pumpkin (either roasted yourself or 3 cans)
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Add the onions and cook for a few minutes, until softened.
Add in the garlic, cumin and chipotle and cook, stirring, for one minute.
Pour in the pumpkin, broth, oregano and salt.
Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes.   
If you'd like, puree the soup using an immersion blender, regular blender or food processor.  I left mine as is and it was delicious.
Garnish with cilantro and lime juice.



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Orange Bread

Last week I bought tangerines.  I don't know why.  I think they were the first citrus I saw at the market and I got all excited because they were so cute and orange.  The problem with tangerines, though, is that they have about a million seeds in them.  I ate one, bit into a seed, and the rest sat on the counter while I ate clementines instead.  Not wanting to waste them, I decided to whip them into a little treat.  A few quick internet searches for ideas and I came up with this super quick, simple orange bread.  Or tangerine bread, as the case may be. 

Orange Bread

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 egg
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup plain yogurt (could use vanilla as well)
2-3 Tablespoons orange zest (tangerines aren't quite as zesty as oranges, so I only had about a tablespoon, more would be better though)

3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon orange juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare a loaf pan by coating with cooking spray or butter.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl, whisk together melted butter, egg, orange juice, yogurt and zest.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined.
Pour into loaf pan and bake for 40-45 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack.
For the glaze, whisk together powdered sugar and orange juice until thick but still pourable.  You might want to adjust the measurements a bit, so I recommend adding a little juice at a time.
Pour glaze over the bread.  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Streusel Topped Apple Pie

I started writing this post right after Thanksgiving.  And now we're looking at Christmas.  The shame.  Good thing apple pie is appropriate for all holidays.

I've made a lot of apple pies, but this was a bit different.   We went to Friends-giving the weekend before the holiday and regular Thanksgiving, and I brought apple pie to both.  Although pastry crust is easy to make, I didn't want to do it twice, especially since Colin thinks the food processor is an evil demon sent to our house to scare him.  I made one batch of crust and opted for a streusel topping.  It's the best of apple pie and crisp combined.  Even after enduring the torture of the food processor, poor Colin is too young for pie.  I did sneak him a little bite of ice cream, though, and he seemed to forget the offense.

Streusel Topped Apple Pie

1/2 batch pate brisee (if you aren't making two pies, you can freeze the other crust)
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt
pinch nutmeg
1 Tbsp. flour
6 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Streusel topping:
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
pinch cinnamon
pinch salt
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, flour and lemon juice.
Add the apples and toss until evenly coated.
Roll out the pastry dough and fit into a 9 inch pie plate.  Crimp the edges.
Pour the apples into the crust.
Prepare the streusel topping.
Combine the flour, sugars, cinnamon, salt and butter in a bowl.  Using your fingers (or a pastry blender) cut in the butter pieces until large clumps form.
Top apples with streusel.
Put pie on baking sheet (to catch any drips) and bake for one hour, or until apples are tender and bubbling and streusel is browned.

photo 1-1 photo 1-2