Monthly Archives: November 2011

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

Katie:  You can never have too much pumpkin!

I was pleasantly surprised with an extremely simple black bean soup recipe recently, so when I saw this pumpkin version on Closet Cooking, I knew I had to try it!  It was a perfect blend of onion, garlic, black beans, diced tomatoes, pumpkin puree, a bit of sherry, and cumin and chili powder.  The addition of pumpkin made it slightly sweet and very rich.  It was great topped with sour cream and cilantro!

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup (slightly adapted from Closet Cooking)

yield:  4 servings

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup dry Sherry (or dry white wine)
  • cilantro (chopped, optional)
  • sour cream (optional)
  1. Heat oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add  the garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
  4. Transfer to a cooking pot and add the broth, pumpkin, black beans, tomatoes and sherry.  Simmer for 25-30 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and puree carefully until you reach the desired consistency.  Add extra liquid (water) if it gets too thick.
  6. Serve with cilantro and sour cream.  Enjoy!
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Impossible Pumpkin Pie

Katie:  I love everything pumpkin, especially pumpkin pie!  My favorite part is, of course, the pumpkin filling.  Making a pie crust can be a lot of work, so this “Impossible Pumpkin Pie” is the perfect solution!  Why impossible?  Because you just blend up all of the ingredients, pour the mixture into a pie pan, and stick it in the oven.  An hour later, a solidified, crustless, delicious pie is formed!

I’ve used this recipe before.  It’s from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen, but my pie isn’t vegan or fat-free since I used real eggs.

Impossible Pumpkin Pie (adapted slightly from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen)

  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used fat-free)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Spray a 9-inch deep dish pie pan with cooking spray.  Use a deep pan, if possible, since the pie will rise a lot while cooking.
  3. Put the first five ingredients in the blender and blend well. Add the pumpkin and puree. Add the remaining ingredients and blend on high for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape the sides a couple of times to make sure everything is thoroughly blended.  (I used a hand blender to help blend the top of the mixture.)
  4.  Pour the mixture into the pie pan and bake for about 60 minutes. The top and edges should be solidified and light brown, but the edges should not be over-done. (Since this is a custardy pie, using the standard toothpick or knife test does not work; it will remain somewhat moist in the center, but it shouldn’t be uncooked.)
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the counter.
  6. Serve chilled and store in the refrigerator.  Enjoy!

Red Kuri Soup

Matthew:  On a whim about a month ago, I bought an unfamiliar squash at a local farm.  After some research, I was able to identify it as a red kuri squash.  I wasn’t exactly sure what to use it for, but fortuitously I came upon a recipe for Beatrix’s Red Kuri Soup in the cookbook Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.  The cookbook has tons of amazing French recipes, several of which I am excited to try out.  The soup recipe was amazingly easy.  You just gut the squash and chop into pieces, leaving the skin on.  Then, you throw in a couple leeks,  simmer in milk and water, and then puree the mixture.  It turns out wonderfully smooth and is delicious with the plain yogurt, granny smith apple, and toasted walnuts toppings.  I’m glad I splurged and bought really high quality whole milk because I think you can really taste the difference.  I’ll be interested in using kuri squash for other recipes.  It has a lot more flavor than your ordinary squash and I think it could go quite well in many dishes.

Homemade Cheesy Crackers

Katie:  I haven’t posted anything in awhile, but I’ve still found some time between studying and other activities to occasionally try something new.  For my mom’s birthday, I gave her the tough choice of requesting something sweet or salty.  She chose the latter, so I decided to try making some homemade cheesy crackers.  They were much easier to make than I expected, and they turned out great!  I made them as directed, but mixed in some smoked paprika and sprinkled them with sea salt before putting them in the oven.  The pungent smell when they came out of the oven was irresistible!

Cheddar Crackers (adapted from various online sources)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika (optional)
  • 4 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 8 ounces grated cheddar cheese
  • 3-4 Tbsp. water
  1. Pulse the flour, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika in a food processor, then add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add the grated cheese a little at a time until the mixture again resembles coarse meal.
  2. Pulse in 3 to 4 tablespoons of water, one tablespoon at a time, and only enough so that the dough forms a ball and rides the blade.
  3. Remove the cracker dough, wrap it in plastic, and chill for 20 minutes or up to 24 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  5. Roll the dough out to 1/8th-inch thickness directly onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  (You can cover the dough with plastic wrap to keep it from sticking to the rolling pin.)  Using a pizza or pie cutter, cut 1 inch squares, separate them slightly, and  bake at 350° F for 15-20 minutes or until crackers are golden brown.
  6. Remove from the oven. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.  They probably won’t last that long!