alex thomopoulos


Roasted Pumpkin & Coconut Soup

Check one, two. Is this thing on? So yesterday this recipe was up along with a beautiful picture and an ode to pumpkin and all things fall. Alas being completely computer challenged somehow I managed to erase my whole dang site. How? I have no clue, I am special that way. I still ask my self how I was able to be rushed to the hospital with an injury while at GOLF CAMP, or how I was able to get electrocuted by dusty sound board in high school, or how I had my growth plate in my knee snapped in two while playing a mean game of red rover red rover in elementary school. Shit happens people…and it happens a lot to me.

What I have learned is not to let these minor hiccups in life bother me to much. Yes, last night I sat with a bottle of wine and binged watch Diners, Drive Ins and Dives until I fell asleep, but this morning I woke up with a fresh start, fresh energy and ready to fix what I had broke. Hence why I am writing this blog yet again. It was one of the blogs lost in the great “October Crash” of 2014. (That’s what I am calling it)

Anyway, I found this killer recipe on one of my favorite blogs Half Baked Harvest. WOOOF her recipes are legit and the pictures are outta control! I was inspired to make this recipe on my mom’s show Home and Family on Hallmark.

Home and Family 3025  Final Photo Assets

Go and try this recipe! I promise it will become one of your new fall favorites.

pumpkin soup

Roasted Pumpkin & Coconut Soup with Sage Pesto

(serves 4)
  • 1 large sugar pumpkin or any type of squash you have on hand, (Kombacha, Acorn, Butternut) (plus 4 small ones if you are making the pumpkin bowls)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small shallots, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup coconut milk + 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more or less to your liking)
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Sage Pesto
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup fresh sage
  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese or parmesan
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
  • reserved pumpkin seeds from above
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • salt
  1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut your pumpkin or squash in half and reserve the seeds for later.
  3. Place the pumpkin on a baking sheet and rub the pumpkin with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover with foil. Roast the pumpkin on a baking sheet for 45 minutes, or until the pumpkin is fork tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool five minutes.
  4. Grab the pumpkin and add it to a food processor (or mash extremely well) and puree with 1 cup of the chicken broth, puree until completely smooth.
  5. Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the1/4 cup of olive oil and shallots. Saute the shallots until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme and cook another 30 seconds. Add the pumpkin puree, remaining chicken, coconut milk, water, cayenne, nutmeg, maple syrup and crushed red pepper. Bring the soup to a low simmer and simmer 15-20 minutes.
  6. While the soup cooks make the pesto. Add the garlic, parsley, sage and pistachios to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped and then stream in the olive oil. Add the cheese and pulse a few more time until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. To Roast Pumpkin seeds. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until dry and toasted. Larger seeds may take longer.
  8. In a large bowl, stir together chili powder, brown sugar, and pepper. Set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pour seeds into the pan and sprinkle with spiced sugar until it starts to caramelized Remove from the heat and let cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
  9. To assemble the soup, ladle the soup into bowls (or your roasted pumpkins) and top each bowl with a dollop of pesto, a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds and if desired drizzle with coconut milk.
  10. To make the roasted pumpkin soup bowls. Remove the tops of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Rub the insides of the pumpkins with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet  at 350 and bake for 20-30 minutes or until tender.

Gluten Free Baked Chicken Tenders

I don’t care if you are 5 or 50, everyone loves a good chicken tender….unless your a vegan and in that case I am sorry for you in general, because chicken tenders are freakin’ delicious.

Traditional chicken tenders are breaded and deep fried, and obviously contain gluten. 3 strikes little guys..no bueno. This recipe is so easy to make and a much healthier way to enjoy one of the greatest culinary treats on this planet of ours.

tenders

tenders2

I first came up with this recipe when I had to make up a salad recipe that kids would want to eat. You can check out that recipe here. Word to parents out there if you want your kids to eat anything, just put chicken tenders in/on it and watch the wonderment.

Crispy, crunchy and so freeeeeeaking good. Dunked in mountains spicy ketchup, to me there is not greater treat. I am 27 and I literally eat these guys once a week….with a glass of wine of course because I am an adult.

Gluten Free Baked Chicken Tenders

(serves 4)

For the Chicken Tenders: 1 pound organic chicken tenders 2 eggs 2 tablespoons milk (dairy free substitute works great too) 2 cups unsweetened rice cereal (I used Chex) ½ teaspoon dried oregano ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon garlic powder ½ teaspoon onion powder

  1. Preheat oven to 475. In a Ziploc bag, place rice cereal, oregano, salt, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Seal the top, making sure there is no air left in the bag. Using a meat mallet or a small frying pan, gently crush the cereal until fine. This can also be done in a food processor or blender. Set aside

    In a medium bowl combine eggs and milk and whisk together. Salt and pepper the chicken tenders, then one by one dip them into egg wash and then place in bag with rice cereal. Shake to coat. Remove tender and place on a baking sheet that has been greased. Repeat process. Once all the tenders have been coated spray or lightly coat the tops of them with a little cooking oil

    Place baked tenders into oven for 8-10 minutes. The outsides should be crispy and light brown. If they aren’t cook them for another 2-4 minutes. Pull out of oven and dig in!


Monsoon Black-Eyed Pea Curry

I am a cookbook junkie. I have more cookbooks than I do shoes and I would have it no other way. The beautiful Aarti Sequiera wrote a beautiful cookbook called ‘Aarti Paarti: An American Kitchen with an Indian Soul’. This is a book filled with incredible Indian and Middle Eastern recipes that you can tell are deeply close to Aarti’s heart.

opener

Fun, light, engaging and scrumptious is how I would describe this book. It’s filled with stories that transport you to different places around the world which makes the recipes that much more special. I felt connected to this dish after I read Aarti’s description at the top of the recipe. (see below)

I chose to recreate Aarti’s Monsoon Black-Eyed Pea Curry, which is a tomato and coconut milk based curry. I added a few ingredients to the dish, like thai chili and spinach. I am a chili junkie and love some good heat, but you can omit the chili if you’d like. I also added a couple handfuls of spinach at the end because I had some extra in the fridge and thought “why not?”. I couldn’t get my hands on curry leaves, so I left them out and the flavor was still delicious. I can’t even imagine the flavor explosion that would have occurred had I put them in…a girl can dream. I am pretty sure you can order curry leaves online or at a local ethnic foods market. Curry leaves or not I cannot rave enough about this dish. It was creamy, hearty, complex in flavor and best of all it cost less than $10 to make. On top of all that goodness it’s gluten free, dairy free, nut free and vegan! I mean…come on. (if I had the fist bump emoji on my computer I totally would put it in here). I served mine over rice and I am still dreaming about it.

aarti3

Make sure you go and grab Aarti’s new book for more delicious recipes.