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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

The Perfect Fall Dessert: French Pear Cake

French Pear Cake

This cake is unlike any other I’ve made. Well, except for the apple cake that it’s based on.

But, here, in this rebooted version, pears replace the apples and pecans replace the walnuts. The pears are peeled and thinly sliced and then mixed into a very light batter. During a second trip into the oven, the brown sugar and pecan topping firms up and turns golden brown, with an almost custardy cake beneath. It’s really pretty amazing.

There may seem to be a number of steps, but don’t fear, it all comes together very easily and the only special gadgets you need are a cake pan and a couple of spatulas. So give this fall dessert a try!

French Pear Cake

French Pear Cake

French Pear Cake

French Pear Cake

French Pear Cake
About 8 servings; Adapted from the Apple Lady Apple Cake in the Paris Cookbook by Patricia Wells

Cake
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup 1% or 2% milk
3 large pears, cored, peeled, and sliced into thin wedges — I used 2 Anjou and 1 Starkrimson

Topping
1/3 packed . . . → Read More: The Perfect Fall Dessert: French Pear Cake

Stick a fork in a cool summer salad

Edamame, Corn, and Green Bean Salad

Ah, summer! Full of hot weather and the desire to eat cool foods for dinner.

Here’s a dish that will definitely win you over with healthy edamame, crunchy bell pepper, avocado and even roasted nuts. Okay, yeah, and some cheese. The dressing is especially flavorful–a mix of fresh ginger, soy sauce, maple syrup, olive oil, and rosemary.

This can be kept vegetarian or you can add some shredded, cooked chicken breast. Also, raw corn is so delicious in salads. Try it, you’ll thank me.

Edamame, Corn, and Green Bean Salad

Removing corn kernels from an ear of corn

Edamame, Corn, and Green Bean Salad
Adapted by a recipe for BLD’s fresh vegetable salad in the LA Times; serves 3-4
2 cups frozen, shelled edamame
1 cup (about a big handful or so) green beans, trimmed and chopped into about 2-inch pieces
1 cup raw fresh yellow corn (about two ears), husked
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1/2 cup toasted cashews or almonds *
Optional: 1 cooked chicken breast, shredded

Dressing:
1-inch piece of ginger, grated
1/4 of a small shallot (I usually peel the shallot, then slice a small piece off) – you can always add . . . → Read More: Stick a fork in a cool summer salad

Smokey Manchego Mushroom Biscuits

Smokey Manchego Mushroom Biscuits

Guess what? This blog has not been abandoned! Hooray!

So, let’s jump right into it. This post is a reverse-engineer sort of thing for the Mushroom Manchego Biscuits that I sometimes get at Albina Press (although, they are sourced from Crema). They are so addictive!

Here, I’ve also added smoked paprika to make them smokey–hence the Smokey Manchego Mushroom Biscuits. Yes, there is a lot of butter, yes, there is also cheese, and yes, they are super delicious. The recipe is also easily halved, so you could just make four instead of eight.

Let’s just get right to the recipe, shall we?

Smokey Manchego Mushroom Biscuits

Smokey Manchego Mushroom Biscuits

Smokey Manchego Mushroom Biscuits

Smokey Manchego Mushroom Biscuits

Smokey Manchego Mushroom Biscuits
Makes eight biscuits
1 tbsp olive oil
6 oz sliced shiitake mushrooms (button mushrooms will also work)
1-3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp granulated sugar
2-1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp smoked paprika (+ more for sprinkling on top)
8 tbsp very cold unsalted butter
3/4 cup very cold buttermilk
1-1/2 cups grated Manchego cheese, dived in half
optional: one chopped green onion

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F and position a rack in . . . → Read More: Smokey Manchego Mushroom Biscuits

Chana Dal Chowder with Turmeric, Ginger and Garlic

Chana Dal Chowder with turmeric, ginger, and garlic

Feeling a little meh? Forget the chicken noodle soup, this is what you want when you’re craving a big bowl of comfort!

This is a meal for chilly days or sleepy evenings when you’re not quite sure if you’re catching a cold or if you just need to recharge. It’s thick and hearty and satisfying in a way you’d expect a chowder to be but with only a small amount of cream.

Chana dal beans* are a type of split chickpea (a Dezi chickpea to be precise) that sort of resembles a yellow split pea in appearance. They are very high in fiber and typically used in traditional Indian cooking. And once you stock your kitchen with a bag or two of these small and sunny yellow legumes, you will find that you will want to use them in all kinds of things—soups, stews, even hummus.

That said, you can also use the same amount of plain ol’ brown lentils in this chowder instead. And if you want to swap the broth for diet or convenience, go ahead and use a vegetable or a chicken one.

. . . → Read More: Chana Dal Chowder with Turmeric, Ginger and Garlic