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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

Harissa-Stewed Butternut Squash

Harissa-Stewed Butternut Squash

For Christmas, I received the Toro Bravo cookbook and although there are many pages ear-marked, this is the first recipe I’ve made from it. And I have to say, although I deviated a bit from the recipe (and took some shortcuts), this was delicious!

I did add some yellow bell pepper and (full disclosure) I used a bag of cubed Trader Joe’s butternut squash (because I had some and I needed to use it). I can only imagine how awesome this would be with freshly cubed squash. If you use a big squash and you have more than 12 oz cubed, just use extra cream and harissa, or straight-up double the rest of the ingredients.

This is great on the side of some grilled fish or chicken. Or just add a huge salad and make it a vegetarian meal. Also, definitely get the book for the original recipe — it will be even better! (Spoiler: there’s butter involved).

* Ingredient note: The original recipe calls for Rose Petal Harissa, which you can find at PastaWorks if you live in Portland. I used the Harissa paste in the yellow tube. That worked great, although, it is a bit . . . → Read More: Harissa-Stewed Butternut Squash

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

Yam and Quinoa Cakes from Portland’s Sunshine Tavern

Yam and Quinoa Cakes from Portland's Sunshine Tavern

Sunshine Tavern
3111 SE Division Street
Portland Oregon 97202

Seeing that we live just a few blocks away, occasionally we will head out to Sunshine Tavern for pizza and burgers (and of course cocktails and maybe even some candied hazelnuts to start). This is just what happened last Tuesday when we ended up splitting the Garnet yam and quinoa cakes w fennel and almond as a snacky beginning to our meal. And wow – they were so good.

I’m always on the hunt for new quinoa/interesting whole grains recipes and this one definitely got my attention with the warm spices, creamy yam, and a fennel shallot salad on the side. I really wanted to try and reverse-engineer it at home but then I thought maybe I could try and get the actual recipe. It only took asking one contact and I got an email for Jenn Louis, Chef/Co-Owner of Sunshine Tavern. So I sent her a message, asked her for the recipe, and if I could post it here. She got back to me an hour or so later with the recipe. So cool!

This dish will work with either cooked, mashed garnet yam* . . . → Read More: Yam and Quinoa Cakes from Portland’s Sunshine Tavern

Roasted Red Kuri Squash Soup with Coconut + Halloween

Roasted Red Kuri Squash Soup with Coconut

This summer, we had a mystery squash growing in a garden. It was a mystery in that neither jwa nor I remembered planting any Red Kuri Squash but here it was – a beautiful red kuri growing in our garden. It was in a bed close to the compost so the theory is we either had a seed or two in the compost that ended up in the garden bed or maybe a critter buried the seed in the garden and it sprouted – either this way this fall we had a nicely-sized (about four pounds!) mystery squash to eat.

Roasted Red Kuri Squash Soup with Coconut

After much contemplation, I decided on a soup. I love coconut, curry, and pumpkin flavors so I went with a kind of a Thai/Curry/Coconut theme here. If you don’t have coconut oil, you can certainly stick to olive oil, and for the roasted chili paste, you can get a small jar of it easily enough in the grocery store (Thai Kitchen is the easily available brand), although if you live by an Asian market you can probably get better roasted chili paste. . . . → Read More: Roasted Red Kuri Squash Soup with Coconut + Halloween