Sometimes you just feel like a nice, warm bowl of homemade soup but haven't at all prepared for this craving. That is exactly what happened to my daughter Lily one night last week. It was too late to go to the store so she went to the pantry instead. She found a can of pumpkin and a can of chicken stock... soup perhaps? She started to work with an onion and some spices and in a few minutes she had what she wanted, a nice, steaming hot bowl of comfort that tasted like it had been simmering all day. Best of all there's no need to pull out the food processor!
I was lucky enough to consume a bowl of this wonderful orange yumminess first hand and I couldn't wait to share this recipe with you. This soup is so simple and requires only a few 'on hand' items. Best of all you can switch it up for a bunch of different flavor profiles. Try Thai coconut milk and a squeeze of lime or heavy cream with a few tablespoons of peanut butter and a chopped bacon garnish. I garnished mine with a dollop of plain yogurt and some crumbled, fried sage leaves. Get creative and have fun. Serve next to this delicious seasonal fall salad, it's the perfect accompaniment for a light but hearty dinner by the fire. You could sub sliced Fuyu persimmons for the apple as we get closer to winter or add already cooked chicken breast for some good protein. Enjoy!
‘Instant’ Pumpkin Soup
4 T butter
1 small yellow onion, chopped finely (no blending so make it a small dice, or use onion powder if you're lazy!)
1 t each (more or less depending on taste) curry powder, cumin, cinnamon, garlic powder
1/2 tsp (more or less depending on taste) nutmeg
3 14-oz cans of pumpkin purée (I love Trader Joe's organic)
4 c chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 c. real maple syrup + 1 Tbsp organic sugar
1/2 c. heavy cream (or almond milk, coconut milk)
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t black pepper
Melt butter and sauté onion in a heavy-bottomed soup pot until lightly browned. Add spices and cook for 1 minute. Add pumpkin purée and cook 2-3 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Add maple syrup, sugar, salt and pepper. Taste for spices, salt and sugar and add more if needed (spices intensify as they sit so don't be too heavy handed right away). Stir in cream, coconut milk or almond milk, keep warm. The key to this recipe is to adjust proportions as needed according to your own preferences. If it seems like it's lacking something, it's probably either sugar or salt.
Fall Greens Salad
3 c mixed hearty salad greens
1 c arugula leaves
1/2 head radicchio (about a cup when sliced thinly)
1 lg Honeycrisp or Braeburn apple, sliced into matchsticks
toasted pepitas or walnuts
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 Tbsp honey
1/4 tsp each cinnamon, curry,
cumin, black pepper
1 T dijon mustard
1 t salt
1/2 c. oil (I often use olive
but walnut oil would be delicious)
Whisk everything but the oil together to blend then the oil slowly, in a steady stream to emulsify. Toss the greens and apple together in a salad bowl with the dressing as needed, top with the nuts and serve. Add some good crumbled blue cheese such as Pt. Reyes on top too if you like, or any other cheese for that matter! This makes more dressing than you will need so just store the unused portion in a jar on the counter and use within a week or so.
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
"Love your recipes! Pat made your avocado toast a few weeks ago, delish! I'm taking them to a party in a few weeks, although the mushroom crostata looks pretty darn good!"