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Winter Squash vs. Pumpkin – Part 2
Posted By Maria Reina On October 31, 2012 @ 12:51 pm In Columns,Seasonal Chef | 1 Comment
Cue the Charlie Brown music, and let’s talk about pumpkins. Unlike Linus’ ongoing vigil in the pumpkin patch waiting on the Great Pumpkin, we do in fact have this glorious fruit (yes, it is botanically a fruit) appear every year in the Fall. Pumpkins are loaded with all kinds of nutrients: they have high levels of Vitamin A, Folate and Fiber, low in calories and zero fat or cholesterol. Another one of our favorite “super foods!”
Jaspee Vendee (right) from Gaia’s Breath Farm
Pumpkins come in many shapes and sizes and are used in a variety of ways: baked, roasted and pureed. I considered doing a fun dessert, but that just seemed a little too easy. So putting my thinking cap on this week I came up with two different soups and a stew to share with you. This week was special not only because I was on a creative streak with my pumpkin recipes, but because Larry and I were having dinner with my fellow Small Bites blogger JL Fields, and her husband Dave.
Our rainy (but fun!) Throwdown Competition at the John Jay Farm Market, August 2012
JL and I were thrown together quite by chance and all thanks to Liz Johnson. We met this summer in a whirlwind Throwdown Competition  that basically came out of an email exchange about recipes. She and Dave are on their “Farewell to NY Tour” at the moment, getting ready to move to Colorado in a few short weeks. While we’ve just become new friends it was an honor for me to have her dine with us recently.
I don’t profess to know all that it takes to be vegan, that is her bailiwick, but she has educated me on many things vegan , and I am so very grateful. Food is one of the few things in humanity that crosses all cultures, preferences and classes. We all need to eat to survive. Since I entered the world of food as a career I have such a different appreciation of ingredients and preparation.
Cinderella Pumpkin from Gaia’s Breath Farm
That said, I was on a recipe-creating streak this week and I came up with three interesting ways to use two different types of pumpkins. Both that I used came directly from Gaia’s Breath Farm , through my CSA Basket . However, you can easily use the store bought variety, and even substitute with butternut squash. The only thing I would suggest is using a smaller sized pumpkin. They are sweeter and less fibrous. The gigantic ones are really only good for carving, in my opinion. The flavor level is very low. The other suggestion would be to not use the canned variety in these recipes either.
More after the jump
So let’s get to it! In both soup variations I start off the same way: sautéing the onions with olive oil.
Then adding the spices, liquid and pumpkin.
Cinderella Pumpkin and Apple Soup
Thai Coconut and Jaspee Vendee Soup
In the two recipes I suggest pureeing all for one of them, and partially for the other. It’s completely up to what you like. The one that I pureed partially will give you a thinner soup base with the pretty pumpkin cubes visible.
My other recipe was created for our dinner with JL and Dave. First off, yes, it’s made with meat, but that was the plan. She made a very tasty chili using lentils, kale and squash and here is the recipe .
Mine is inspired from Williams Sonoma, of all places! I am always trolling around that web site looking at gadgets and cookware. I came across a recipe  on their web site and decided to play with it a bit changing up a few things that I had in my pantry.
Stews are just about the best thing to make in the Fall and Winter months. Not only are they a One-Pot meal, which is big plus, but they are dishes that you can cook on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon while you are doing other things around the house. From a big pot you can have dinner for a couple of nights during the week easily and you can change it up by serving them plain, over rice, noodles or polenta.
  
Then the liquids and pumpkin go back in, bring to a boil and head to the oven.
Pork, Pumpkin and Apple Stew
After several hours of cooking out came my delicious stew and garnished with fresh parsley.
I hope these recipes will inspire you to head to the pumpkin patch at your local farmers market, or produce aisle. I would also like to take a moment to wish those hit by Hurricane Sandy a speedy recovery and all a Happy Halloween. Keep an eye out for the Great Pumpkin tonight!
Makes 1 quart
Makes about 2 quarts
Seasonal Chef blogger Maria Reina  comes to the world of food as a third career, spending a great portion of her adult life in the field of Human Resources. With her private company Bella Cucina Maria she is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Westchester. She’s an avid food television watcher and cookbook collector, always looking for a new take on a traditional dish. In her free time she loves hanging out at local farmers, chatting it up with the farmers and doing cooking demos with their seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog , which is loaded with easy recipes, you can follow her on Facebook , Twitter  and Pinterest .
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 Image: http://d2h73ajo3mnaz8.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/ts081112throw15.jpg
 Throwdown Competition: http://food.lohudblogs.com/2012/08/08/small-bites-throwdown-two-bloggers-compete-with-vegetarian-recipes-which-will-go-home-the-winner/
 vegan: http://jlgoesvegan.com
 Image: http://d2h73ajo3mnaz8.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/IMG_4759.jpg
 Gaia’s Breath Farm: http://www.gaiasbreathfarm.com
 CSA Basket: http://bellacucinamaria.blogspot.com/2012/07/what-is-csa.html
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 here is the recipe: http://jlgoesvegan.com/kale-lentil-squash-chili-homemade-vegetable-stock/
 recipe: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/pork-and-pumpkin-stew.html
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 Maria Reina: http://www.bellacucinamaria.com/
 blog: http://www.bellacucinamaria.blogspot.com/
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