Superfoods by Organicat

We've all heard about so-called "Superfoods" and how good they are for us...but if the idea of one more broiled salmon and steamed broccoli dinner drives you batty, come see what I'm cookin'!

Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

I'm a Foodie, Nutrition/Wellness Consultant and Personal Trainer. Eat well and love it.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

It's Pumpkin Time!!!

The leaves are changing, the candy's been handed out and the aroma of slightly singed pumpkins lingers over the neighborhood. Not to pooh-pooh the creepily haunting faces carved into the squash on every doorstep, but there are much more beneficial things that can be done with the seasonal gourd!

The vibrant, orange flesh of the pumpkin is packed with beta-carotene, vitamin C, potassium and is very low in calories! In fact, one cup of pumpkin puree contains only 80 calories! Pumpkins are 90 percent water and the seeds have been recommended for reducing prostate cancer risk! This is one satisfying health food!

Now, I'm no superwoman. I have never cooked anything from a Halloween-style pumpkin...big, round and tough to slice through...However, I love to crack open a can of organically grown pumpkin (available during the season from Trader Joe's) and start playing!

The first pumpkin dish I create every year is a smooth soup. This soup appears in my kitchen many times throughout the season in many different incarnations.

First, I like to make something filling to reduce my risk of catching the cold or virus of the moment. That means lots of garlic and ginger! This year, I started by cutting some corn off the cob, chopping some fresh sage, rosemary and thyme (sorry parsely), finely diceing some aromatics (onions, (lots of) garlic, ginger, and shallots), then pulling out my big soup pot. Over medium heat, I sauteed the aromatics in a tiny bit of olive oil. Once they began to toast, I plopped a can of pumkin in the pot. I then followed with the light vegetable stock I keep around for this sort of occasion, adding enough to cover the contents of the pot. Once the pumpkin became smooth, I turned the fire down low and moved to another pan. Over medium-high heat, I toasted the kernels of corn until they began to char slightly. At this point, I lowered the heat to medium-low and added half of each of my fresh herbs (and a little more garlic!), allowing them to release their fragrance.

Returning to the soup pot, and seeing the thick orange deliciousness before me, I added the corn and herb mixture and enough stock to achieve my prefered consistency. I let this return to a low boil before serving myself one of my favorite dinners.

The versatility of this soup is astounding. I've done versions where the "stock" is nothing more than the soaking water from some dried porcini mushrooms! YUM! I've also added the meaty fungi in their fresh state for a very sensually textured brew. Try using your favorite milk to create a creamy consistency.

Speaking of milk: my roommate and I have a new favorite morning smoothie! Open a can of this great puree, blend it with traditional pumpkin pie spices and enough soymilk to make it drinkable. I occasionally like to add a banana for's like pie in a glass...for breakfast!

This is an ingredient that can go in infinite directions. Don't be afraid to try it! It's not only versatile, it's also highly forgiving!


Blogger OrganiCat said...

Okay, I tried it. Call me "Superwoman" if you will, but I must say it was a small victory. I used a whole pumpkin for dinner as an addition to my roasted veggies. After harvesting, roasting and snacking on the seeds; I cut the gourd into chunks, and drizzled my vinegrette over the flesh. Then, after roasting it for 20 minutes at 350 degrees, I used a melon-baller to get bite-sized pieces from the rind. I tossed these mostly-cooked bits in with my other marinated veggies, and proceeded to roast the lot of them for another 30 minutes. Yum!

12:02 PM  

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