Friday, November 14, 2008

Pumpkins and Pepitas

In an attempt to detox from our vacation, I made a bunch of Heidi Swanson's easy and tasty vegetarian dishes for dinner this week. You can find her recipes and to-die-for food photography at In addition to experimenting with tofu, I found this great recipe for Pumpkin Soup. It's so homey and comforting; perfect for the cold, rainy weather we had this week. Plus, you get the benefit of a creamy soup without the cream (use lite canned coconut milk).

Thai-spiced Pumpkin Soup Recipe

by Heidi Swanson

2 acorn squash, pumpkins, or other smallish winter squash
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 teaspoon (or more) red Thai curry paste
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt (or to taste)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place the oven racks in the middle.

Carefully cut each squash/pumpkin into halves (or quarters). Slather each piece of squash with butter, sprinkle generously with salt, place on a baking sheet skin sides down, and place in the oven. Roast for about an hour or until the squash is tender throughout.

When the pumpkin/squash are cool enough to handle scoop it into a large pot over medium high heat. Add the coconut milk and curry paste and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and puree with a hand blender, you should have a very thick base at this point. Now add water a cup at a time pureeing between additions until the soup is the consistency you prefer - a light vegetable stock would work here as well. Bring up to a simmer again and add the salt (and more curry paste if you like, I used just shy of 6 teaspoons but the curry paste I use is not over-the-top spicy).

Serves six.

Wait wait wait! Don't throw away those seeds -they can be made into tasty and crunchy pepitas. Rinse them under cold water and lay them out on a tea towel (or two) to dry overnight. The next day, heat up your cast iron skillet and dry-saute the seeds until they've puffed up. Then toss them with a little bit of olive oil, salt and ground red pepper if you like a little spice.

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