June 19, 2013
Written by Robin Glowa
Friday, 09 November 2012 09:13
Linus’s devotion to worshipping the Great Pumpkin has always been particularly inspiring to me. Though he was more interested in the arrival of a candy-bearing Great Pumpkin, I like to worship pumpkins for their fabulous flavor and abundant health benefits.
Pumpkins are available from local farms throughout October and November, giving cooks ample opportunity to incorporate the brilliant orange flesh into a myriad of delicious dishes. Ranging in size from petite, creamy white, ornamental specimens to gargantuan orange globes, pumpkins are a rich source of vitamin C and potassium, which may be effective in lowering the risk of heart disease, as well as normalizing blood pressure.
That gorgeous orange flesh is the result of plenty of beta carotene, an antioxidant that changes into Vitamin A in the body and may be effective in boosting the immune system as well as helping to repair free radical damage to cells.
Pumpkin adds a luxurious, smooth, silky texture and unique flavor to risotto, soups, muffins, cakes, breads, stews and pasta. Pumpkin seeds, (or pepitas) are also wonderfully healthy and a captivatingly crunchy snack.
If you’ve saved the seeds from jack o’ lantern carving (and you washed them well and dried them), you can roast them with a bit of garlic powder, cayenne, and sea salt, or go sweet with a bit of cinnamon and brown sugar. In either case you’ll enjoy a treat that is a substantial source of zinc,magnesium, phosphorous, copper, iron, manganese and omega-3 fatty acids, which may help relieve symptoms of high cholesterol, depression, high blood pressure and arthritis.
Serve this soothing and sumptuous soup all during November (perfect for Thanksgiving!) and savor the delightful effects of preparing a delicious life.
2 pound fresh pumpkin (cut in half, peeled, seeds and strings removed)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted organic butter
1 large sweet onion, finely minced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
5 cups organic chicken or vegetable stock
1 large Idaho potato, peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon grated orange or lemon zest
1/2 cup half and half
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup roasted pepitas
Cut pumpkin flesh into cubes to equal 5-6 cups. Melt olive oil and butter in a pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Sautee until onion is translucent. Add broth, pumpkin and potato. Turn heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Then lower heat, cover pan and let simmer until contents are very tender, about 30 minutes.
In batches, puree vegetables with the liquid in a food processor or blender until very smooth.
Place puree back in pot. Add zest, cayenne pepper, then half and half. Warm over low heat. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish with roasted pepitas.
2 cups clean pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
In a bowl, mix pumpkin seeds with oil and salt. Spread seeds out on a baking sheet: roast in a 350-degree oven for about 12-15 minutes until crisp. Remove from oven, add a bit more salt if desired.
Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP is certified in holistic health counseling by the institute for Integrative Nutrition and Columbia University Teacher’s College.
Robin specializes in teaching healthy cooking classes for students of all ages, emphasizing the use of natural, local ingredients and easy to use recipes.
For more information, go to ww.theconsciouscook.net.
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