I've kind of fallen for Thai-Inspired Pumpkin Soup. I say "inspired" because I'm not really sure if they eat pumpkin soup in Thailand. It's really more a method than a recipe (honestly, most of my recipes that I make up are just what "happens.") Here's what I did this time:
1 chopped onion
Several cloves (at least three) smashed, minced garlic
a good knob of fresh ginger, minced
1 lb of roasted pumpkin flesh, give or take. I reckon this was around 2 generous cups
I sauteed this for a good bit until the onions were fairly soft, but not melted. I broke the pumpkin up with a spoon while I stirred. I then threw in 1 can of full fat coconut milk, a large clump of Mae-Ploy Red Curry paste, and some salt, hit it with the immersion blender, then put it back on the heat with two cups of chicken stock. My stock was frozen, so I brought it up to temp, letting everything meld together as the broth melted into the soup. When I got a simmer, I squeezed in 1/2 a lime, tasted it, and we called it done. These were paired with the baked version of Sunset Mag's Whole Wheat Mushroom-Cashew buns, which you can read about on Vegan Crunk's blog (they steamed theirs, but I always bake).
While on the topic of my "method" recipes, I also should describe how I make Rosemary Borlotti Beans with Polenta for Rita. The polenta process is one described by Crescent Dragonwagon in The Passionate Vegetarian, which I highly recommend to anyone working on adding Arkansan-friendly vegetarian meals into their diet. Preheat your over to 350. Slightly grease a casserole dish (spray it or whatever). I use my cazuela, and CDW recommends a skillet, I think. Any oven proof thing will work, really. I like my cazuela because it's sort of stick-resistant and has a lid, which comes in handy if your polenta is ready before the rest of the meal is. But I digress.
Put a cup (for four generous helpings) of course corn grits (not hominy, not instant) into your pan. Add three cups of your favorite stock, stir, add oil if you want, add salt if you like. Put it in the oven and leave it for 40 minutes. At 40 minutes, stir it, then let it cook for 10 more minutes. You just made polenta. You can eat it soft under beans, shrimp, marinara, or a bajillion other things. Just ask Allison about the shrimp and grits!
For the beans, take a cup (again, this is for four servings) of dried cranberry beans (AKA borlotti beans). Don't let the exotic name scare you--Kroger carries their own brand of these. If you can't find them, you could use pintos, but the texture and taste won't be the same. Either soak these overnight, or hot soak the beans by putting them in a pan of water, bringing it to a boil for a full minute. Then, turn off the heat and put a lid on it. Let it sit for an hour, then drain the beans, rinse them and the pot, put the beans back in the pot and add water to cover. Cook the beans until they are tender (probably another 45 minutes to an hour).
When you are ready to flavor the beans, mince about six cloves of garlic and heat that in olive oil in a large skillet. Add the leaves of about three good sized sprigs of Rosemary and add a some sea-salt and red pepper flakes (you know how much heat you can take). Saute a chopped onion in this mixture for a few minutes and when the onions are about as tender as you like them, add your cooked, drained beans. Heat the beans back up, checking them for flavor and seasoning as needed. You may also need to add a bit of the bean juice to the pan if it's too dry--you're looking for kind of a creamy "glaze" on the beans.
If you have bacon in the house, you might do what I did--make bacon bits from several pieces in the skillet first, then draining all of the grease (except what sticks to the pan) and then adding a bit of olive oil to it before you start working on the beans with the herbs and what not. Then, you can put the polenta down first, the beans on top, and the bacon bits on top of that.
Don't forget to add spicy mustard greens, kale, and/or turnip greens to your plate!
I'm tagging this with Arkansas Food tags for a couple of reasons. First, the polenta and bacon, as well as the pumpkin, mentioned in this post were from our BAM program. Also, we are not getting a basket for January, due to low yield this time of year. CDW used to live in Arkansas, too, and the greens are things you can get locally when in season.