Archive for October, 2014

October 31, 2014

Caramelized Pumpkin Soup

Caramelized Pumpkin Soup 4

I’m not usually one for molecular gastronomy – it requires too much precision and expensive equipment for me – but ever since I first tried it I’ve been a huge fan of the caramelized carrot soup put together by the mad scientists over at Modernist Cuisine.

Despite a minimal list of ingredients and uncomplicated instructions, the soup has a depth of flavor that is unparalleled by any conventional recipe. Rather than try to explain their culinary techno-magic myself, here’s the secret straight from the source:

It’s the pressure-cooking that really allows the flavors of this soup to flourish. The flavors are a combination of caramelization and the Maillard reaction (what people commonly call “browning”), which produces a rich, caramelized, nutty flavor. Pressure cookers are particularly suited for promoting the Maillard reaction because elevated temperatures encourage foods to develop their characteristic flavors…

As it so happens, this neat little science trick works on more than just carrots. Using a pressure cooker to caramelize the pumpkin as it cooks causes it to develop wonderful richness and complexity that ordinary pumpkin soups just cannot match. Even better, it’s done with just a hint of butter and no milk or cream.

Served with delightfully spiced and ever-so-sweet cider-poached pears and crunchy pumpkin seeds, this soup is the perfect decadent autumn treat!

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October 10, 2014

Butternut Squash Pizza

Butternut Squash Pizza 1

Oh hey, Autumn.

This is my favorite time of the year in Seattle. Summer is great and all – with the sun and the beach and the barbecuing – but there is truly nothing that beats a crisp fall day. There is a bite in the air, golden leaves line the sidewalks, and cozying up with a book and a fresh cup of coffee is the perfect Sunday morning activity.

Of course there’s all the wonderful winter beers, but that’s a whole other story.

Nothing could be more seasonal than this Butternut Squash Pizza. The nuttiness of the parmesan and pistachio meets the sweetness of the squash and caramelized onions to form a soul-warming union of comforting flavors. Those lovely notes are reinforced with mellow mozzarella and earthy sage to boot. On top of it all, this dish just looks autumnal with its orange and green colors and sinister caramelized onion curls.

Serve this up next to a fresh-cut jack-o’-lantern after a day of traipsing around a corn field and you will be the epitome of Fall – not to mention the envy of all your friends.

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