Recipes

Sweet Kabocha Pumpkin Soup

My Golden Kabocha Pumpkin

About six years ago, a Shiatsu Therapist suggested I make a soup from the sweet Japanese Kabocha Pumpkin. She told me that medicinally it is very calming and soothing to the body, especially to the spleen, pancreas, and stomach.  Apparently, these organs needed calming.

She gave me the simplest recipe.  It was fantastic.  The original recipe called for the addition of Adzuki beans, but since I don’t eat beans now, (according to my blood type!) I just leave them out.

I made the soup today.  I’m in love with this soup.  It’s sweet, filling, has an incredible aroma and is so simple – my family loves it too.

In the past I played around with the ingredients thinking that more was better and would use different stocks trying to ‘add’ more goodness to the soup.  What I’ve discovered is that it’s best like this.

The Kabocha is a variety of Japanese Winter Squash.  It is naturally sweet and big on flavour.  Kabocha pumpkins are usually green – well, at least that is how I came to know them until yesterday, when I found a shipment of Golden Kabocha at my local grocer.

Here is a picture of a typical Kabocha.

Cucurbita pepo (pumpkin squash). Location: Mau...

Image via Wikipedia

INGREDIENTS: 

1 TBSP. Ghee or Olive Oil

1 Medium Kabocha (Green or Golden), cut into cubes (volume of approx. 8 Cups).

1 Medium Sweet Yellow Onion, chopped (approx. 1 Cup)

3-5 Medium Carrots, chopped (approx. 2 Cups)

4-5 Cups of Fresh Water

1/2 tsp. Kelp Granules (or 1/4 tsp. salt)

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INSTRUCTIONS: 

1. Wash & Dry Kabocha Pumpkin

Caution: the Kabocha has a very hard skin, exercise caution when cutting through.

2. Cut Kabocha in half – scoop out the seeds and strings.  Cut the pumpkin into manageable slices with the intent to cut away the hard skin.  Once the hard skin is removed, cut pieces into small cubes. 

(The soup will be pureed at the end.  If you don’t want to puree the soup you may choose to cut your pumpkin into smaller pieces and serve as is.)

3. Discard/ compost the hard skin, seeds, stem and bottom knot. (below)

4. Wash and chop medium onion.

5. Wash, peel and chop carrots.  

(keep the skins on the carrots if you prefer, just be sure to scrub them clean first).

6. Heat large soup pot on medium heat.

7. Add 1 TBSP. Ghee (or Olive Oil).

8.Add Kabocha, onions and carrots.  Stir well to coat vegetables with Ghee or oil.

9.  Allow vegetables to soften for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until some of the onions look just shy of becoming caramelized on the bottom of the pot.  In other words, until the onions start to become golden and somewhat translucent.

(after 8 – 10 minutes on medium heat).

10.  Add 4-5 Cups of Water.

 (left: 4 Cups of Water)

                 (Right: 5 Cups of Water)

I decided to put in 5 Cups of water.  I could have put in 6 but I decided to add more later if need be.  

If you put in too much water and the soup is too runny you can just reduce the soup by cooking it without a lid which will allow some of the liquid to evaporate and therefore thicken up your soup naturally.

11. Cover.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes.

12.  This is what the soup looks like after 45 minutes. (below)

13.  Puree until smooth. 

14.  Add 1/2 tsp. Kelp Granules. And Puree again.

15.  The finished product, which I ate immediately after taking this photo.

Kabocha Pumpkin Soup, garnished with fresh parsley.

ENJOY!

Mom’s Fall Plum Cake Recipe…Gluten-Free Version!

Gluten-Free version of Mom’s Fall Plum Cake Recipe.

Mom would make this plum cake every fall.  It’s up to us kids to carry on the tradition.

As it happened, it become my eldest sisters annual birthday cake, since her birthday is September 16 – Happy 50th Rosemary! (Mom’s was the 18th of September…she would have been seventy-seven years old today).

With a few twists and turns I’ve turned it into a gluten-free desert – so I can have some!  I will also post the original recipe at the bottom of this page.

Ingredients & Instructions (My version)

  • 3 Eggs – Separated

1) Place Egg Whites in a big bowl. BEAT egg whites until stiff. (I had to do this by hand because my electric mixer is out of commission…not easy.  My forearms got so pumped up – thoughts of Popeye came to mind.

  • Reserve 3 Egg Yolks in a small bowl for later.
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Maple Syrup Sugar
  • 2 TBSP.Gluten-Free Baking Powder
     (I used Bakers Supply House which is Gluten, Wheat and Corn free & Aluminum free. Ingredients: Organic Rice Starch, Mono Calcium Phosphate and Bicarbonate of Soda).
2) Add Sugar and Baking Powder.  BEAT until blended, but not too much!
  • Mix together in a separate bowl:
  • 1 Cup Oil (I used unrefined Canola Oil)
  • 3 (Reserved) Egg Yolks
  • 1/4  tsp. Salt
3) Add the Oil/ yolk/ salt mixture to the Egg White Mixture (below). 
  • 2 – 1/2 Cups Flour (I used 2 Cups Brown Rice Flour + 1/4 Cup Millet Flour + 1/4 Cup Quinoa Flour).  I find Quinoa flour can be overpowering in baking (in hindsight, I should have used more sugar to balance it out).

4) Add the Flour – Stir until all the flour becomes moist.  It will turn hard and clumpy.

5) Place half of the dough in the bottom of a greased 9″ x 12″ pan.
  • 4 Cups of Cut up Italian (Prune) Plums.  Approximately 30 Plums.
6) Place the cut up Plums on top of the dough.
  • 1/8 Cup of Blond Granulated Organic Sugar (more if you like it sweeter).

7) Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the plums.
8) Plop the remaining half of the dough over the plums and spread.  “Good Luck”.                That’s what my sister said when I asked for this recipe.  I didn’t know what she              meant until I tried to make it.

  • 1/8 Cup (more if you like it sweeter) of Blond Granulated Organic Sugar
9) Sprinkle another 1/4 Cup of sugar over the top of the remaining evenly spread               (ha!) dough. (Because of the flours I used I had to mostly crumble it over the plums with my fingers).
10) Now, pop it in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 1 hour + 10 min, depending on your oven.  I find when I use these alternative flours they need to bake a little longer than conventional flours.
Allow to cool before cutting.
It’s nice served with vanilla ice cream or as a coffee cake.  It’s meant to be a bit of a dry cake with the surprise punch of the sweet plums to moisten each bite.  Well, at least that’s how we like it!
ENJOY!
I served this tonight after dinner and to my surprise both our kids gobbled it up.  I thought they would be on to the Quinoa and just pick out the plums…
 
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Now…here’s the real McCoy:

3 Eggs Separated
1 Cup White Sugar – halved
2 TBSP. Baking Powder
1) Beat egg whites until stiff.  
2) Add Sugar and Baking Powder (Beat until blended, but not too much).
1 Cup Oil
1/4 Tsp. Salt
1 TBSP. Vanilla
3) Add Yolks, Oil, Salt and Vanilla (which have been mixed together first)
2 – 1/2 Cups Flour
4) Add Flour – Stir until moist.
5) Place half the dough in the bottom of a greased 9″ x 12 ” pan.
3-4 Cups of Cut up Italian Prune Plums
6) Place cut up plums on top of the dough.
1 Tsp. Cinnamon 
1/2 Cup remainder of sugar
7) Sprinkle 1/4 of Cinnamon and sugar mixture over the plums.
8) Plop the remaining half of the dough over the plums and spread as best you can.
9) Sprinkle 1/4 Cup remaining Cinnamon and sugar mixture over the top layer of dough.
10) Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 1 hour.

Allow to cool before cutting.

Hearty Lamb Stew…Fully Loaded With Fall Goodness!

If you’re up to date with my experiments you’ll know that I’ve been following Eat Right For Your Type (I’m blood type O) as well as having cut gluten out completely – all in the name of eliminating joint pain. It is working well.

Thought I would share this fantastic recipe which I have adapted ever so slightly from Peter D’Adamo’s “Cook Right For Your Type” Cookbook.  It is good for all the blood types except for A’s. You can find the original on p.228/229, from the 1999 edition.

There are four of us in our household, each representing a different blood type. Sigh. Challenging for me at times, being the cook, though really I’m the only one who takes it seriously. My daughter who is type A, is undoubtedly a true vegetarian- since birth I’ve watched her preferences towards food and without persuasion she avoids meat, doesn’t like it except for Turkey from time to time.  I have found it interesting to watch the kids natural evolution and relationships with food.  For me it was quite different growing up in the 70’s – I ate everything and learned to love everything I ate regardless of how it made me feel.  How it made me feel was inconsequential, for didn’t you know there were people starving in the world.  It has taken me some effort to take the time to assess how my body relates and reacts to each food.  Most of the foods on my beneficial list (according to D’Adamo) when eaten in moderation fuel my body with nutrients and sustenance to get me through the day and for my workouts.  I have found that I eat less at each meal, not by choice but rather because my body is absorbing the required nutrients which register to my brain that I’ve had enough. I am truly amazed, being someone who could eat and eat…I used to seriously wonder if I had a tape-worm!  As a result, however, I have to refuel more often throughout the day.  It’s all good as long as I’ve got leftovers and my vegetable drawer is full.

Where I live, Fall is creeping in.  The days are cooling off which is the perfect excuse to start making my favourite Fall/ Winter stew dish.  It’s very simple, though it does take some time to make, but well worth the effort.  Serve over Brown Rice, your choice of pasta or with a crusty whole grain bread. It’s one of my favourite leftovers.

LAMB STEW with Green Beans, Carrots & Kale

2lbs. Extra Lean Lamb (cut into stewing cubes, cut away any excess fat)

1/4 Cup White or Brown Rice Flour (for dredging meat)

3 TBSP. Olive Oil

1 TBSP. Ground Cumin

1 TBSP. Ground Madras Curry

1/2 TBSP. Kelp Powder

3/4 tsp. Salt (or less)

1/3 Cup Red Wine (for deglazing)

2 Cups Stock (Low Sodium Beef, or Chicken or Vegetable)

1-1/2 Cups Onion, chopped

2 Garlic Cloves, chopped or pressed

4-6 skinny Carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal

1 lb. Green Beans, cut into 2-inch lengths

1 large bunch of fresh Green Kale, steamed for 4-5 minutes, let cool, then chop into bite size pieces or to your preference.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Put 1/4 Cup White or Brown Rice Flour in a large bowl.  Add the meat cubes. Stir the meat into the four until the meat is nicely coated. (Rice Flour is a dream to work with, it sticks then any excess just falls away.)
  • Heat a large high-sided pan over medium heat.  Add Olive Oil.
  • Once Olive Oil has heated up slightly, add lamb cubes.  Heat until browned nicely.  (Depending on the size of your pan you may need to do batches).
  • Once the second batch of meat looks nearly browned add the first batch back to the pan.
  • Add the spices – Ground Cumin, Madras Curry, Kelp Powder & Salt.
  • Combine the spices with the meat.  Cook for 5 minutes on low heat.
  • Add 1/3 Cup Red Wine to deglaze.  This means to unstick any of the browned meat or flour that has become welded to your pan.  So with a wooden spoon, stir and scrape until most of the stuck stuff comes off.  Mix it nicely with the meat, this is the flavour of your stew.
  • Add 2 Cups of your choice of Stock.(preheated)
  • Add the chopped Onions and Garlic.
  • Cover the high-sided pan or pot with a lid.
  • Simmer for 1 hour.  Which means turn the heat down to low, depending on your element. Looking for very little bubbling action.
  • Check to see if the liquid is drying up. Which is unlikely, unless you have your heat too high. If so, add more stock.  I never need to add more liquid.
  • After 1 hour, add chopped Carrots.  Stir them in. Scrape the bottom of the pan at this point.  It’s ok if the stew is sticking to the bottom, scrape it off and mix it into the stew.  It adds more flavour and more thickness.
  • Cover with the lid again and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Concurrently, steam up the Kale for about 4-5 minutes.  Let it cool, then chop it up and set it aside.
  • Add Green Beans and steamed/chopped Kale, continue cooking uncovered for another 10-15 minutes.
Below is the finished product with Brown Rice.  Yum. I’m really a warm weather person but looking forward to meals like this gets me through the cold months.
Let me know if you give this recipe a try.  Enjoy!