Meal No. 44: Roasted Pumpkin Soup; Black-eyed Pea Salad with Baby Greens; Cheese Flautas with Cilantro Pesto; Apple-Cranberry Crumble
Well, Ms. Martha gets an A+ for using all seasonally appropriate ingredients this week! There is also nothing I don’t like, except for cilantro, so that earns her another point or two.
My eagerness to try this soup was quickly diminished by the fact that I had bought the world’s hardest sugar pumpkin. It took me 10 minutes to even get the thing cut in half! I had sharpened my knives, and was terrified I would cut my finger off in the process. So, once I got it halved there was no way I was cutting it into cubes for roasting, per the instructions. I drizzled olive oil on the pumpkin halves and roasted them, along with a quartered onion, for 30 minutes. It was easy to scrape the pumpkin out after it baked.
I forgot to roast the garlic clove, and I didn’t buy fresh shiitake mushroom caps, which were also to be roasted. I only needed two, and I find those bins of loose mushrooms very suspect. Who knows what kind of mushrooms those really are? The packaged shiitakes cost as much as a car, so I decided to use the dried ones we had left over from the mushroom broth recipe of a few weeks ago. I reconstituted them in the vegetable broth, and that was that.
The pumpkin and onion were blended along with the mushrooms and the broth, and salt and pepper were added to taste. I added garlic powder when I realized that I had forgotten about the garlic.
The soup was pretty bland; maybe the roasted mushrooms would have made a difference. The soup barely tasted like pumpkin; if we had closed our eyes while eating it I think we could have guessed it was some sort of squash soup based on its texture, not the flavor. At least it wasn’t sweet, though. Sweet soups are just wrong. I plan to add some chipotles to the leftovers to flavor it up.
A can of black-eyed peas was mixed in with red onion, cilantro, Dijon mustard (of course), garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Right before serving it was added to a baby spinach salad blend. We both really liked the black-eyed pea mixture on its own and didn’t think the salad added much other than soaking up all the oil that was on the peas (and I had added less than recommended, which was three tablespoons!). The pea blend would be good added to a wild rice mixture, or maybe some kind of pasta for a pasta salad. The recipe can be found here.
You might call them taquitos, but Martha calls these flautas. They involved making a cilantro/pepita/lime juice/garlic pesto, which was smeared onto a corn tortilla, along with some shredded Monterey Jack cheese. After rolling them up they are pan-fried in peanut oil. They were fine, if a bit oily, which is why I prefer enchiladas to fried tortilla-type-things. I had gotten some ‘artisanal’ corn tortillas at a fancy market and the flavor of the corn pretty much overwhelmed the mild cheese, so a blend with some cheddar would be better. The pesto was interesting. Martha said to toast the pepitas, which I didn’t think was necessary as they are already roasted. Mine were bordering on overcooked, so the flavor was a bit off.
The recipe makes 8, but I halved it and made 4. We only had one each, so I tried one of the left overs for breakfast the next day. I popped it in the microwave and it was so nasty! All the oil came out. Blarg.
It would be extremely hard to mess up a fruit crumble, but we can never underestimate Martha, so I was a tad worried since her baked goods have been hit or miss. This one involves apples and cranberries topped with a mixture of brown sugar, oats, chopped pecans and butter. It was not overly sweet and quite tasty!
It took nearly two hours to make all of this, and half the pans and dishes in the house, so I’m not sure it was worth it. The black-eyed pea salad and the crumble were the stars of the show. We could have been perfectly happy to eat just those two. It was nice that this meal, aside from the fried flautas, was relatively light. All the flavors melded well together, which is unusual for a Martha Meal!