Saturday, November 20, 2010

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

I haven't done much with pumpkin this year on my blog but I did see an article about making toasted pumpkin seeds for a snack in Parade Magazine. Since I happened to still have my Halloween pumpkin sitting on my kitchen table I thought "hmm, maybe I'll make some toasted pumpkin seeds!"  I have never tried doing this before so it would be a new and interesting idea.  I also thought it would be fun to share it with all of you.  So, I proceeded to cut the pumpkin in half and scrape out the seeds (kind of yucky) then I picked off the membranes and washed them off in the kitchen sink.  The next step is to spread the cleaned seeds into an oiled baking sheet; dry them in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Take out and toss with 2 Tbsp melted butter and seasonings (for sweet:  1-1/2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg; for savory: 1/2 teaspoon course salt, 1-1/2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, and a pinch of black pepper).  Roast at 375 degrees for 7 minutes and you're done!

These pumpkin seeds are easy to make, quick and yummy to eat.


The Creative Cook

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mediterranean Vegetable Soup

I have not been posting much lately and I am sorry.  But the good news is that I have been cooking.  I have made a few good soups recently that I want to share with you.  This one is very much a reminder of my childhood. My grandmother used to make escarole and so did my mother.  This is a very comforting soup.  I happened to have a can of white northern beans in my cupboard so that is what I used for this recipe. I think that I mixed chicken, vegetable and beef broth together but if you are cooking for a true vegetarian, then please use just vegetable broth. The soup will taste wonderful no matter which base soup broth or stock you use.

Mediterranean Vegetable Soup

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, halved lengthwise and sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken or beef broth
2 cups water
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, not drained
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1/4 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 15 oz can cannelini or white beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup pasta bows
Parmesan cheese (optional)
1 small head escarole (optional)

Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrot and celery, and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, broth, water, tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt, pepper and beans.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  If escarole is being used, wash, tear into 2 inch pieces and add to soup 15 minutes before soup is done, or at the same time as the pasta.

Add the pasta bows and cook 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the pasta and escarole is tender.

Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.


The Creative Cook