Pie pumpkins are here! Some beautiful, fun and classic recipes below. I think the kohlrabi will be very tender this week and perfect for the salad featured here. And by all means use the greens; chop them up and saute them or add them to a soup, etc. The very modest rice and lettuce soup is more than the sum of its parts as is the roasted cabbage dish–so very simple and so good. Happy cooking!
Roasted Cabbage Wedges
Quinoa with Beets and Cumin
Beet and Avocado Salad
Rice and Lettuce Soup
Stuffed Roasted Pumpkin
Roasted Cabbage Wedges
This is so simple and so, so good. I’ve converted many a cabbage skeptic with this preparation. You can even skip the vinaigrette and/or Parmesan and just drizzle on a little more olive oil and salt.
If you have a large head of cabbage this will probably be more than you can eat in one sitting but the roasted cabbage is so good that I would suggest roasting the whole thing and using any leftover wedges in other ways later in the week–chopped up in soup or warmed up with fried potatoes or cooked down a little more and mixed with mashed potatoes. . .
Serves 6 +/-
1 medium head regular green or savoy cabbage
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
For the vinaigrette (optional–see headnote):
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1/2 teaspoon thyme, chopped (fresh or dried)
Sea salt and black pepper
Grated Parmesan for serving (optional–see headnote)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Remove any damaged outer leaves from the head of cabbage. Using a large, sharp knife, quarter the cabbage and then cut each quarter into 2 to 3-inch wedges. Leave the core intact as it will hold the wedges together while roasting.
Arrange the cabbage wedges on a baking sheet. Drizzle the cabbages with the olive oil, and then sprinkle liberally with salt.
Roast the cabbage for 30 minutes, flipping the wedges after about 15 minutes so they brown evenly. After 30 minutes the wedges may have some blackened, crispy outer leaves. If you don’t want this, feel free to take them out a few minutes early, but note that the inside of the cabbage may be less tender than if you were to leave it in longer.
While the cabbage is roasting, make your vinaigrette (if you want to use it–see headnote) by whisking together olive oil, vinegar, thyme and mustard. Taste the vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper to taste.
When the cabbage is tender, serve the wedges, drizzled with vinaigrette, and a good grating of cheese over the top if you’d like. Preferably serve while the cabbage is still hot.
Quinoa with Beets and Cumin
–adapted from Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by Maria Speck
This quick, room temperature dish uses raw, grated beets. The original recipe also calls for sumac, the powder from a red berry found and used all over the Middle East. It has a tart flavor so I substitute a bit of lemon juice (which the author also suggests), which works well. The dish turns a beautiful pink if you’re using red beets.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds (or 1 teaspoon ground if you don’t have whole)
1 cup quinoa, well rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups water
¾ teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plain whole milk or Greek yogurt
1 garlic clove, minced and mashed (the finer it is the better it will flavor the yogurt)
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups shredded raw beets (about 2 small -medium-sized beets, rinsed and peeled)
1 to 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Serrano or Jalapeño pepper, minced (including seeds if you want it spicier) or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add the cumin seeds and cook them for just 30 seconds until fragrant and a shade darker. If you don’t have whole cumin seeds you can add the ground cumin now, when you stir in the quinoa. Cook the quinoa dry, stirring, for about 1 minute to toast it a bit and absorb the cumin. Add the water, salt and bring to a boil. Lower the temperature to keep the liquid at a simmer, cover, and cook until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
While the quinoa is cooking mix the yogurt and the garlic in a small bowl until smooth and set aside.
When the quinoa is tender add the grated beets, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and the hot pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and/or lemon juice, and top with garlicky yogurt.
Beet and Avocado Salad
I have a habit of toasting a slice of good, crusty bread and tearing it into bits and adding it warm to salads–often just for me, for lunch, but it’s such an easy trick to add a little heft to salads. It also changes the texture and temperature just enough to make it interesting. Feel free to omit the bread though; it’s not essential.
3 medium beets, roasted and peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 avocado, diced
2 slices of good, crusty bread, toasted and cut or torn into bite-sized pieces (optional- see headnote)
4 cups or more lettuce, washed, dried and torn
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro, leaves and stems and finely minced roots, if they’re attached
1 tablespoon finely diced onion
2 ounces feta or fresh goat cheese
Juice of half a lemon or about 1 ½ tablespoons red wine or sherry vinegar or more to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Toss everything but the cheese and beets together. Taste and adjust seasoning. Gently add the cheese and beets and just barely mix so the beets don’t bleed onto everything.
Rice and Lettuce Soup
–adapted slightly from an Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler
It’s hard to take a good photograph of this. It is a simple and tasty dish though.
This recipe caught my attention when I first read this book, years ago. I come back to the book periodically for general inspiration. Tamar’s writing just pulls me in and makes me want to cook and feel so creative and frugal and fun.
And I think this soup could feed six people for about $5 or less . . . if frugality is on your mind. I was skeptical about the dish but came away satisfied. You can’t skip the butter though—it’s essential.
Serves 4, generously
1 ½ onions, diced
2 tablespoons butter (do not substitute olive oil or anything else)
½ cup Arborio (or other risotto rice like Carnaroli)
1/3 cup chopped parsley
8 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth or a combination of stock/broth and water (which is what I did)
1 head romaine or similar, slightly sturdier lettuce, well washed, trimmed and cut into thin ribbons (this is important too, that the lettuce is cut fairly small)
Salt and pepper and good olive oil for drizzling
Gently cook the onions in the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add the parsley, rice and broth or stock or water and salt (amount will depend on how salty your stock/broth is, if using) and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer for about 35-40 minutes until the rice is very tender and as Tamar says, “jagged around the edges”. There’s no al dente going on here. Now, if you’re ready to eat, add the lettuce and stir it in well and take it off the heat. Taste and adjust for salt—you need salt here too. Serve in wide bowls and drizzle with olive oil and some freshly ground black pepper.
–adapted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
As every recipe of theirs is, this is fresh and inspired. I’ve simplified it a bit–as I usually do with their recipes–since the ingredient lists tend to be long.
2 medium kohlrabi, peeled and cut into 2/3-inch dice (about 4 cups diced)
1 tablespoon mint leaves, torn
½ cup of parsley or cilantro leaves
1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 small garlic clove, finely grated or mashed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or more to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ teaspoon sumac, for serving (optional)
Place the diced kohlrabi in a salad bowl.
In a small bowl whisk the dressing ingredients together well, except the herbs. Add the dressing to the kohlrabi and stir to combine well. Toss gently with herbs and sprinkle with sumac, if using, and serve.
Stuffed and Roasted Pumpkin
–adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Around my French Table
This is the most delicious, beautiful fall dish. It’s perfect for a regular old dinner (though it does take almost 2 hours to bake so maybe a weekend dinner) or a Thanksgiving treat. But it’s so easy and so adaptable that you should add it to your regular repertoire and leftovers are fantastic, sliced in wedges and panfried! It’s wonderful with cooked rice instead of bread, additions of cooked chard, cooked sausage . . .
1 pie pumpkin, about 4 lbs (just adjust the amount of filling if your pumpkin is smaller)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 lb (or slightly more) stale bread, sliced and cut into ½-inch chunks
1/3 lb cheese, such as sharp cheddar, Gruyère, Emmenthal or a combination, cut into ½ chunks or grated
2-4 garlic cloves (to taste), finely chopped
2-4 slices bacon, diced and cooked until just crisp
¼ cup chives or sliced scallions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
½ cup of cream or half and half
½ cup milk
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350F.
You can using a baking sheet, a pie pan (as seen above), or a dutch oven with a diameter that’s just a tiny bit larger than your pumpkin. If you bake the pumpkin in a casserole, it will keep its shape, but might stick to the casserole, so you’ll have to serve it from the pot which is fine too.
Using a sturdy knife, cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin. Cut a big enough cap that it’s easy to hollow out the inside. Scrape out the seeds and strings from the cap and the inside of the pumpkin. Rub the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper and put it on the baking sheet, pie pan or in a pot.
In a large bowl toss the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, and herbs together. Season with pepper and salt and pack the filling into the cavity. The pumpkin should be well filled—you might have a little too much filling, or you might need to add to it. Stir the cream, milk and nutmeg with a bit of salt and pepper and pour it into the filled pumpkin. You want the liquid to come about half-way up the cavity. It’s hard to go wrong though. Better a little wetter than too dry.
Put the cap in place and bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours—check after 90 minutes—or until everything inside the pumpkin is bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is easily pierced with the tip of a knife. Remove the cap for the last 20 minutes or so of baking to brown the top and let any extra liquid evaporate. Transfer carefully to a serving platter if you baked it on a sheet. Serve, scooping out plenty of pumpkin with each serving or serve it in slices.
Making your own pumpkin puree is delicious. Pumpkin flesh can be a bit stringy so if you don’t have a food processor (in which to make the filling) you might want to mash the cooked pumpkin through a sieve for a nice smooth texture.
This is fairly classic pumpkin pie recipe, with the exception of the sour cream and optional rum.
I swear by the Chez Pim pie crust technique and recipe (nothing but butter, flour and water). Give it a try if you’d like or use your favorite recipe/technique.
Unlike many others I do not blind bake my crust for pumpkin pie. Instead I bake it on a pizza stone in a very hot oven (for the first 15 minutes) and then reduce the temperature. This way my crust doesn’t burn and get brittle (which I find if I blind bake and then add the custard which needs a good 45 minutes to bake itself) and the bottom crust does just fine. You always get a little sogginess with a wet custard like this but I think it’s just perfect.
1 9-inch single crust Pie shell, chilled (not partially baked using ½ of above recipe or your favorite pie dough)
1 ¾ cups pumpkin puree (from 1 small-medium pumpkin)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 cup whole milk or cream
1/3 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Lightly sweetened lightly whipped cream, for topping
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Cut the pumpkin in half and remove all seeds and strings. Keep seeds and clean and roast for a snack if you’d like. Put the pumpkin/squash cut side down on a baking sheet and bake until very tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Remove from oven, let cool and scoop out the flesh and mash or push through a strainer if stringy and you don’t have a food processor (see headnote).
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F. If you have a pizza stone, put it on the rack you’re going to use and then preheat. Setting the pie pan directly on the pizza stone helps the crust bake nicely and not get soggy, especially since we’re not pre-baking the crust.
Roll out your pie dough and place it in a pan, making sure to gently press the dough fully into the pan. Trim the overhanging dough with a sharp knife all around leaving at least a 1-inch overhang. Flour your fingers and crimp the dough by pushing your right pointer finger into a “v” shape created with the thumb and pointer of your left hand, holding the edge of dough. Repeat around the whole pie, re-flouring your fingers as needed, to make a pretty, crimped rim. Chill pie shell in the fridge while you make the filling.
Put all of the filling ingredients in a food processor and process for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice and pour the filling into the chilled pie shell. Alternatively whisk all the ingredients well in a bowl.
Bake for 15 minutes at 450, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and continue to bake for 35 to 45 minutes longer or until a knife inserted close to the center comes out clean. (If you don’t want to create a slash in your masterpiece, tap the pan gently—if the custard just jiggles a little bit in the very center, it’s done.) Transfer the pie to a rack and cool to room temperature.
Serve the pie with lightly sweetened whipped cream