Cinderella Pumpkin Soup with Homemade Ricotta and Pickled Apples
as seen on New Day Northwest
For the soup
Makes eight portions
2 lbs Cinderella pumpkin (these pumpkins can be around 20 lbs when mature, so see if your grocer will
cut them into sections for you), skinned, seeded and cut into 1 inch chunks
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 sprig thyme
2 leaves sage
1 bay leaf
1 stick of cinnamon
1 cup white wine
1 T brown sugar
2 cups cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1 T butter
In a large heavy non-reactive pot, melt the butter. Add the onion slices and cook them slowly with the
thyme, sage and bay leaves until translucent. (This step is key in producing good soup, it helps coax out
Add the pumpkin and white wine (use a dry white table wine for cooking, save your fancy white wine for
drinking) and cook until the wine has evaporated. Add enough water to cover the pieces of pumpkin
and season with salt and pepper. When the pumpkin pieces are tender, add the cream and the sugar.
Bring up the boil, remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaf, and then carefully puree in a blender until
smooth. Strain the soup though a fine sieve. Correct the seasoning as needed.
If the soup is still too thick, thin it out with a little more water and adjust the seasonings as needed.
You may also use chicken or vegetable stock in place of water. I find it changes the taste a little, and
takes away some of the pumpkin flavor intensity. If you use store-bought stock, make sure to purchase
the low sodium version and watch how much salt you add as you cook the soup.
Make four cups ricotta
½ gallon whole milk
½ gallon cream
1/3 cup + 1 t distilled vinegar
¼ t salt
Instant read thermometer
In a clean non-reactive pot, heat the milk and cream together until it reaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Stir in the salt and vinegar and bring the combination to 175 degrees (just under the boiling point). Let
the mixture stand undisturbed for ten minutes. Carefully strain the curds into a cheesecloth-lined
colander over the sink or a large bowl to catch the whey. Cover the curds and let them continue to
drain in the colander overnight.
The next day, scrape the curds away from the cheesecloth and store in an air-tight container.
You may use this ricotta in savory or sweet applications.
Many recipes call for just whole milk. I like to use cream and milk, as it results in a richer finished
Yields approximately two cups
Use tart firm apples, such as Granny Smith, cut into 1’4 inch dice
1 cup rice wine vinegar
¾ cup sugar
2 T salt
½ vanilla bean
1 sprig of thyme
In a non-reactive pot, bring the vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved.
Remove from the heat and add the vanilla bean and thyme sprig. Cool to room temperature. Add the
apple dice. Let the apples marinate in the pickling liquid at least overnight.
Cider-Glazed Pork Chops
as seen on QFOX13
For four people
2 c dry cider
½ c honey
½ c pear vinegar
2 pieces star anise
1 bay leaf
1 medium shallot, minced
1 T Dijon mustard
4 T unsalted butter, cold
2 T pickled ginger, chopped or julienned
4 pork chops
Oil for cooking
Chives for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan, cook the honey until it browns lightly. Add the vinegar, cider, star anise, bay leaf, shallot and ginger. Reduce the mixture by two thirds. Add the pickled ginger. Whisk in the Dijon mustard.
You can store this reduction in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week for use later.
In a large pan, heat up the oil until very hot.
Season the pork chops and cook them in the pan until medium, about four to five minutes per side. Remove the chops from the pan and keep warm. Drain off the excess oil from the pan. Add the cider reduction, and cook it until it becomes syrupy. Add the cold butter, and swirl the pan to incorporate it. Put the cooked pork chops back into the pan and spoon the glaze over them. Heat the chops through and then serve, using fresh chopped chives for garnish.
Asparagus and Chevre Crostini
As seen on QFOX13
For 6-8 guests
For the crostini topping
1 bunch large or jumbo asparagus spears
1 bunch radishes
1 bunch scallions or spring onions
When choosing asparagus, I like the fatter ones as opposed to the skinnier ones. They are juicier and tenderer. Look for spears with tight closed tips. Some asparagus are purple in color than others; it does not affect the taste. Avoid stalks that are dried out in appearance, or have loose tips. When storing asparagus, place them upright in a container of water, like flowers. Keep them refrigerated. When using them, hold the stalk in your hands and bend them. They will snap where they begin to get tough. Discard the ends.
Peel the asparagus stalks halfway to the top. In a large pot filled with salty boiling water (the water should be salty like the ocean), blanch the asparagus for four to five minutes. Remove and immediately submerge the asparagus in a bowl of ice water. Drain the asparagus well.
Cut the asparagus on the diagonal in thin slices, about a quarter inch thick.
Wash and top the radishes. Slice the radishes in rounds as thin as you can (using a mandolin for this would be helpful). The slices should be almost transparent.
Wash and pare down the scallions or spring onions of any dead leaves. Slice them very thinly on the bias.
Marinade for the vegetables:
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup canola oil (I like Pacifica cold pressed organic canola oil)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 T kosher salt
1 shallot minced
1 T chopped fresh thyme leaves
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a non-reactive bowl, combine the vinegar, salt, shallots, thyme and pepper. Whish together well until the salt is dissolved. Slowly whisk in the canola and olive oils.
Mix together the asparagus, radish and spring onions in a bowl. Add enough marinade to coat the vegetables, and then let sit for at least an hour.
For the crostini
Extra virgin olive oil for toasting
Slice the baguette on the diagonal about a quarter inch in thickness. Brush lightly with the olive oil; toast in a 350 degree oven until golden and crisp. Cool. These can be made several days ahead; make sure to store them in an air-tight container.
6 ounce fresh chevre (I like Myers Creamery from Orcas Island)
1 clove of garlic minced or 2 stalks green garlic, finely minced
1 T chopped fresh herb of your choice (basil, tarragon, oregano would all work well here)
½ cup of grated cheese (such as parmesan, asiago or similar)
Mix the chevre with the garlic and fresh herbs. This can be made 3-4 days in advance. Store refrigerated in an air-tight container.
To enjoy, you can either assemble them ahead of time, or have your guests help themselves.
Spread each crostini with the soft chevre mixture. Place some marinated asparagus mix on top. Finish with a sprinkling of grated cheese and eat.
Wine pairings: anything sparkling, a good cold rose, or a sauvignon blanc or a sancerre. Try this also with a dry cider from Washington!
All recipes are property of Lisa K Nakamura/Allium Restaurant. All rights reserved.