I don’t know about you but I am just thrilled that September is over and we have moved past the chagim and into a new month. Beyond the happiness I feel for the chaos of the holidays being behind us, like many others I am so happy that it is officially fall and that everywhere I look there are pumpkins! While the temperatures where I live in Boston have remained in the 70’s it is still fall and therefore time for soup.
A few years ago, my husband and I went to New Orleans to visit friends. The wife, who is a fantastic cook, is always trying new recipes and she made us a delicious pumpkin soup. It was a fall version of minestrone soup with totally different flavors than I had tasted before. I happily received the recipe from her, and have been experimenting with her version ever since. Anything with pumpkin is a must try and anything that is easily brought as lunch the next day is also a winner, and I promise, this make a great lunch!
For this recipe, I toast the pumpkin seeds with salt and cayenne pepper to top the soup. It adds extra crunch and flavor.
1 19 oz can of chickpeas
4 carrots, cut into 2-3 large chunks
4 medium potatoes, quartered
2 large onion, quartered
salt and pepper
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp (less or more to taste) cayenne pepper
7 oz pumpkin, cut into 6-8 large chunks (peeled and seeds discarded)
4 zucchini, cut into 3-4 large chunks
half a green cabbage, quartered
4-5 stalks celery cut coarsely
7 cups of water
I cup prepared Israeli (pearl) couscous
1 bay leaf
Bring salted water to a boil.
Add the carrots, potatoes and onion, season with salt, pepper, paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and bay leaf. Cook 45 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Add the remaining vegetables and cook for 10 minutes.
Add chickpeas and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste if necessary and remove the bay leaf.
Prepare the couscous according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Place a heap of couscous in a deep dish. Arrange the vegetables on top and ladle the soup around and over the couscous.
I have a love-hate relationship with the High Holidays (who doesn’t!?). It always seems to coincide with a busy time of work and I never have enough time to cook all the recipes I want to try. This year is the first time my husband and I will be celebrating the holidays at home (as opposed to going to family or friends). We are hosting lots of meals, which means I am forced to/have the opportunity to explore new recipes and adapt some of my favorites.
The one thing I make year after year without fail is my mom’s honey cake. It is moist, sweet and the perfect addition to any Rosh Hashanah meal. It is the first thing I eat after the Yom Kippur fast with a big glass of orange juice. When I think of the holiday season I can smell the honey cake and see my mom’s kitchen counter covered with honey cakes and challah.
This year, I wanted to change up the cake by utilizing the same concept and making it a little more interesting. Here is the recipe for a Honey Pomegranate Cake with a pomegranate glaze on top. You can make the cake ahead of time and freeze it for later, however you should not glaze it until you the day you are serving.
For the cake:
1 cup sugar
1 cup oil
1 ½ cups honey
3 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup cold brewed pomegranate tea (brewed for 30 min)
For the glaze:
½ cup pomegranate juice
¼ cup sugar
juice of ½ lemon
4 Tbsp powdered sugar
In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and slowly add to liquid ingredients. Pour into 10” ungreased angel food cake pan (tube pan), not a Bundt pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake for an additional 45 minutes.
When the cake is done invert and allow to cool completely before removing.
For the glaze, combine pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice in a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil then let simmer uncovered for 15 minutes stirring frequently. It will become a syrup and reduce to about half. Remove from heat, let cool slightly and whisk in powdered sugar until smooth.
Stir in pomegranate seeds and pour over the cake.
When the summer months arrive there is nothing more that I love than baking with fresh berries. There is a constant debate in my house of berry pie vs. berry crumble. See I love berry crumbles – the lightness of the berries with the crunchy sweet toppings while my husband tends to prefer the classic berry pie.
I finally decided I had to merge the two if I was going to be happy and keep my husband happy at the same. The result was nothing short of amazing. I mean, what is not to love about pie crust on the bottom filled with fresh berries, and topped with melt-in-your-mouth crumble? When served at a dairy meal or a late night snack, top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
This recipe makes two pies – and trust me, it is so good you will want to bring one to work, share with friends, or keep it for yourself. This pie also freezes well, so you can put one away for a rainy day.
I know it seems like a lot of steps, but they are all simple and do not take very long. Reuse the bowls along the way for fewer dishes to be washed at the end.
For the Crust:
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup cold water
1 1/2 tsp vinegar
For the Filling:
4 cups mixed berries
2 cups peeled apples cut into small pieces or peaches
zest of one lemon
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
For the Crumble Topping:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter or margarine, at room temperature
For the pie crust mix the flour, sugar, and salt together in a bowl. Cut in the shortening. In a second bowl, mix together the water, vinegar and egg. Mix wet ingredients into flour mixture. Divide into two equal pieces. Roll out pie crust in (two) pie tins.
For the filling, mix all together in a bowl split between two pies crusts.
For the crumble topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oats, and butter in a bowl.
Combine until the mixture resembles large crumbles. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit, covering the fruit completely.
Bake pies for 50 minutes at 350 degrees.