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National Pumpkin Day: Let’s Celebrate with Pumpkin, Poblano, and Manchego Soup

Pumpkin, Poblano, Manchego Soup

October 26th is National Pumpkin Day so let’s live it up with this spicy and satisfying soup!

Aside from being just plain delicious, the aroma of roasting squash and then chiles will make your kitchen smell like Fall with a capital F. You can certainly use canned pumpkin here, but there’s something to be said for diy-ing it—the slightly caramelized edges, the satisfaction of scooping out the velvety goodness from the golden pumpkin shells—it’s all part of this soup’s charm. That said, we all have jobs and responsibilities and using canned pumpkin is certainly a valid life choice. I am not judging. Promise.

But after all of the roasting and/or chopping, this soup comes together fairly quickly. Ideal garnishes include fried tortilla strips and chopped cilantro (or maybe even roasted pumpkin seeds or shredded cabbage) and if you want to substitute the pumpkin, an acorn or a butternut squash will do the trick nicely while still keeping the autumn theme intact.

Pumpkin, Poblano, Manchego Soup

Pumpkin, Poblano, Manchego Soup

Pumpkin, Poblano, Manchego Soup

Pumpkin, Poblano, Manchego Soup

Pumpkin, Poblano, Manchego Soup

Pumpkin, Poblano, Manchego Soup

Pumpkin, Poblano, and Manchego Soup
About 4 main course . . . → Read More: National Pumpkin Day: Let’s Celebrate with Pumpkin, Poblano, and Manchego Soup

Fried (or not) Avocado Tacos with Creamy Poblano Ranch

Avocado Tacos with Poblano-Buttermilk Dressing

If you haven’t already tried coating avocado with breadcrumbs and then frying, what exactly have you spent your life doing?

It’s okay. You can start now. Using this preparation, the outside gets delightfully crunchy and inside, the avocado is all ripe and creamy. But, if you’d rather not fry, you can achieve pretty much the same results by baking the coated avocado wedges in the oven.

This recipe produces wonderful summer tacos–little avocado wedges on a tasty refried beans pillow. Garnished with shredded cabbage and cheese, as well as salsa, you really can’t go wrong here. Plus, if you prepare the Poblano Ranch Dressing too, you’ll make it better!

I’ve made these tacos both ways; frying in peanut oil and baking in the oven. I found that the frying leads to a bit more of a uniform and golden crispiness, but rotating the avocado wedges in the oven did a fairly good job of even browning as well.

Since avocados can be bland, the key to maximum tastiness is to season the flour well and also to hit the finished avocado wedges with a sprinkle of kosher salt.

Avocado Tacos with Poblano-Buttermilk Dressing

. . . → Read More: Fried (or not) Avocado Tacos with Creamy Poblano Ranch

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chicken Chorizo Chili

Pumpkin Chicken Chorizo Chili

Well, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Do you have an extra can of pumpkin puree? Want something delicious to do with it? Well, read on.

This is honestly one of the best things I have ever made in my slow cooker. Seriously. And of course, this is exactly the time of year that everyone has a can of pumpkin puree in their cabinet, pumpkin puree stored in the freezer, or can easily go get a can at the store. After making this, you may just start stocking up on some year-round. If you didn’t know there were no tomatoes in this chili, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell. Eight hours and the canned pumpkin and all of the other ingredients do something rather magical together. jwa doesn’t even like chili and he loves this chili.

I find the chorizo adds enough heat for me, but you may want more. If so, just serve with some hot sauce.

And like a lot of chili recipes, this one has a secret ingredient – smoked chocolate chips. In the recipe below, I just listed bittersweet chocolate chips, but if you are feeling extra ambitious or . . . → Read More: Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chicken Chorizo Chili

$50 Safeway Gift Card Giveaway + Grilled Flank Steak & Quinoa Soup with Cilantro Chimichurri

Seared Flank Steak & Quinoa Soup with Cilantro Chimichurri

Recently, I was contacted by Safeway and asked if I wanted to try some products from the new Marcela Valladolid line and enter the Safeway Real Taste of Mexico Meal Solution Challenge.* Being a huge fan of Mexican food, I decided to take them up on their offer – and also because I could give a $50 Safeway gift card away on my blog! And if you don’t live by a Safeway, don’t worry, it’s also good at a number of other stores (see below).

In starting to develop a recipe for the contest, I kind of veered away from Mexico a bit and accidentally wandered down to Argentina and Peru (let’s call it pan-South American, maybe?). But hey, that’s a useful thing about these Marcela Valladolid products – you can experiment a bit and see where your imagination and other ingredients take you!

I chose to use the Flank Steak for Arrachera, which is seasoned with a tasty mix of citrus, rosemary and thyme. And while it would have no doubt made great tacos, it also worked very well in this soup. Versatility! We also used the corn tortillas . . . → Read More: $50 Safeway Gift Card Giveaway + Grilled Flank Steak & Quinoa Soup with Cilantro Chimichurri

Xico on SE Division

Xico, SE Division, Portland, OR

Yes, as you’ll be able to tell from the photos here, we went to Xico early last month, back when there was this thing called…the sun, hanging bright in the sky. Even though it is all cold and rainy now, I suggest going to Xico and getting yourself a margarita — that will definitely lighten up the evening.

During our visit, we sat in the back patio area and enjoyed a very good meal. But really, the actual inside of the restaurant looked super cozy too. I’d imagine it will be a great place this fall and winter for a few drinks, enchiladas, quesadillas and other assorted Mexican dishes. The vibe is slightly upscale and authentic Mexican fare (sort of like Nuestra Cocina further down on Division) but Xico is a shorter walk for us in the rain, so that is a definite bonus. I liked it and would definitely go again.

They also have lunch and a lunch window. I think my new goal is to try a Sonoran hot dog (Grilled Nathan’s all beef frank, bacon, salsa verde, eye-of-goat beans, cotija, crema, pico de gallo) one day very, very soon!

Xico
3715 SE Division . . . → Read More: Xico on SE Division