Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pumpkin Mousse Parfaits

Why is it good this time of the year to have roasted pumpkin or squash ready to go in the fridge at a moment’s notice?   Because it can be used in so many tasty ways.  It can be added to a smoothie, it can be used to make a quick blended soup, it can be warmed up as a side dish and it can even be used to make dessert. 

A few days ago, I was about to try this easy and great sounding cookie recipe and instead, I used similar ingredients to make a pumpkin mousse parfait.  What was so wonderful about this recipe besides the flavor?  It took minutes to make–because I had roasted butternut squash in the fridge, and because it didn’t require cream to be whipped.

If you love the flavor of pumpkin pie, then you’ll love this easy, creamy, decadent, pumpkin mousse.  It’s actually a squash mousse, but that doesn’t sound so good : )  And besides, this can easily be made with fresh or canned pumpkin and I will try it some day.   I will also make the original cookie recipe, because if I like the taste of this mousse, I’m sure I’ll like the taste of the cookies.

Warning…I wrote about the fact that nut butters, like almond butter are calorie dense and should be eaten in moderation.  This recipe uses an all-natural nut butter as well, so this mousse would compare to a traditional whole-cream-based mousse with regard to calories.  It’s meant to be eaten slowly and deliberately so that you can enjoy every bite. 

Pumpkin Mousse

1 c roasted squash or pumpkin
½ c all natural nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew, etc.)
¼ c  plus 2 T maple syrup
2 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg, cardamom
½ t ginger
¼ t cloves
1 t sea salt
plain Greek yogurt

Add the first eight ingredients (minus the 2T maple syrup) to a food processor and process until smooth and well blended.   Mix the remaining maple syrup, or enough to taste, into the yogurt to cut the tangy-ness. 

Into serving glasses or bowls, add a layer of mousse then a layer of yogurt then a second layer of mousse.  Top the desert with a dollop of yogurt.  Add raisins or chocolate nibs or shavings if desired.   Serve immediately.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rutabaga, Cabbage, and Leek Soup

This was a simple soup I made the other day that was inspired by a recipe that a friend made the last time I visited.  Hers was also a combination of cruciferous and root vegetables–made with only a few ingredients.  You would never know by the taste though and I wanted to achieve a similar intensity of flavor.   I think it came pretty close.  I like to use nutmeg a lot this time of year, too, so I also added it for a different flavor.

Rutabaga, Cabbage, and Leek Soup

Grapeseed oil
1 large leek, washed, dried, and sliced cross-wise into thin slices
½ medium head savoy cabbage, chopped into small pieces
½ large rutabaga, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 t nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Wash and dry the leek then remove the bottom and slice crosswise into thin slices.  Heat a Dutch oven to medium then add one tablespoon oil and the leeks.  Saute until then get tender and start to caramelize.   Deglaze the pan with 2 tablespoons of water.

While the leek is cooking, heat a medium saucepan to medium and add 1 teaspoon oil.  Saute the cabbage until it’s wilted and tender.  Add the leaks and rutabaga chunks to the pan and add enough boiling water to bring it about 1 inch from the top of the vegetables.

Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the rutabagas are soft.    Add 1 t nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.

Working in small batches, blend the soup in a blender or use an immersion blender.  Return it to the pot and check the seasonings.   Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with additional nutmeg if desired. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Apple Zucchini Muffins

What to do when you’ve got a giant zucchini in the fridge?  Well, two of my favorite things to make with zucchini are quick bread and quiche.  Both require the zucchini to be shredded, which is a great workout for the arms–but it goes surprisingly quickly.  In fact, I still have some shredded zucchini leftover from the recipe below, which may indeed be added to a quiche tomorrow. 

This recipe combines both zucchini and apples, since they are in season, with gluten-free flours.  I like to play around with different combinations of gluten-free flours to taste the differences.  I’ve also added lemon rind and plain yogurt, but you could probably substitute apple sauce for the dairy.   In addition, I left these on the less-than-sweet side.  I would rather have the option of spreading on some pumpkin butter, or preserves, or eat them plain with the slight sweetness of the apples. 

Apple Zucchini Muffins

1 c buckwheat flour
1 c gluten-free flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
1.5 t baking soda
¼ t xanthan gum
½ t salt
1 t cinnamon
½ t nutmeg
1/3 c sugar (I used organic, raw sugar)
¼ c grapeseed oil
1 egg and one egg white
1 t vanilla
¼ cup plain yogurt
1 T grated lemon rind
2 c grated, drained zucchini
1 apple, peeled and chopped
½ c chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, or almonds)

In a medium bowl, combine the first six dry ingredients and mix well with a wire whisk. 

In a second large bowl, combine the sugar and oil and mix well.  Add in the egg and egg white and whisk until the eggs are well beaten and combined. 

Mix in the vanilla, yogurt, and lemon rind, then the zucchini and apples. 

Fold in the dry ingredients until just mixed in, then gently fold in the nuts.

Spoon the mixture by ¼-cup fulls into greased muffin tins.  Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, or until the muffins spring back to the touch. 

Let cool for a few minutes, then use a knife to loosen around the edges of each muffin and remove it from the pan.  Place on a wire rack and let cool completely (or dig in while they’re warm!).  Store in an airtight container.