Main Dishes, Recipes, Soups

SRC: Pumpkin Coconut Soup

It’s no secret that I love pumpkin, and since it is now September, it is perfectly acceptable to bake and cook with pumpkin as much as humanly possible! Right? šŸ™‚ Though I must say that while I love pumpkin so so much, it’s a bit odd to use when it’s 90 degrees and 90% humidity outside. That’s why I was so excited last month when it started to get a bit chilly. See, I was assigned to Leigh’s refreshing, classy blog, Chit Chat ChompĀ for this month’s edition of the Secret Recipe Club, and I couldn’t get this Pumpkin Coconut Soup out of my head!

Leigh writes from Melbourne, Australia and her recipes and photography [and travel accounts!!] are absolutely to die for. I justĀ haveĀ to makeĀ thisĀ Coconut Mint Syrup CakeĀ asap. I actually planned on making it this month as well, but just ran out of time. Alas, this Pumpkin Coconut Soup is totally worth its own post.

Pumpkin Coconut Soup | thepajamachef.com

I’ve made pumpkin soup before, and have even made a pumpkin-based stew, but this soup is so unique! Aside from the usual suspects like garlic and onion, this pumpkin soup is spiced with fresh ginger, coconut milk, and shredded coconut for some warm notes. The soup is kinda Thai-reminiscent, and though it is simple and comes together in less than 20 minutes, is very sophisticated. Leigh calls it “luxurious” and I would have to agree.

Pumpkin Coconut Soup | thepajamachef.com

I should note that I took these photosĀ before pureeing the soup with my immersion blender. At first I didn’t think that step was necessary, but after trying a few bites, realized it really was… I think it was the shredded coconut that did it. No matter though–this soup is a wonderful gateway to fall. Be sure to come back to The Pajama Chef often… more pumpkin recipes are in the works! šŸ™‚ Thanks, Leigh, for the first pumpkin recipe of the season. šŸ™‚ Absolutely delicious!

one year ago… Iced Tea with Ginger-Mint Simple Syrup
two years ago… Pumpkin Granola
three years ago… Tropical Granola

Pumpkin Coconut Soup [from Chit Chat Chomp]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 29 ounces pumpkin puree [or 3 cups fresh pumpkin, diced]
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 walnut sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 32 ounces vegetable or chicken stock
  • 15 ounces lite coconut milk
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine pumpkin, onion, garlic, ginger, coconut, and stock in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil then simmer, covered, until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Add coconut milk, then puree soup with an immersion blender, or carefully with a blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for another 3-4 minutes or until hot.

Time: 10 minutes.

Yield: 4-6 servings.

Be sure to check out other recipes from other SRC members here today too! šŸ™‚

Cakes, Desserts, Recipes

Mango Quick Cake Squares

Classic 1980s family recipe right here. These buttery, thin, quick cake squares were one of the desserts of my childhood. And my high school graduation party too, back in the day… 10 years ago. Yikes. On that note, we need a recipe like this to celebrate the first day of summer. And Mango Quick Cake Squares are just the thing! Soft and fruity cake that couldn’t be simpler to make.

Mango Quick Cake Squares | The Pajama Chef

This easy cake, like Monday’s Thai Tofu Ramen, has gotten a bit more sophisticated over the past ten years. Me too? One can only hope. The original Quick Cakes Squares starred classic ingredients like store-bought cherry pie filling and margarine, but when I needed aĀ quick dessert to take to dinner at some friends’, I had to improvise. Use what I had. Remix the recipe, if you will. By using butter and mangoes. Because who store-bought cherry pie filling in their pantry? Though it is delicious….

Mango Quick Cake Squares | The Pajama Chef

These quick cake squares are a taste of the tropics in yellow cake form. Though I’ve never had a mango pie, I think I need to make one now because my mango ‘pie’ filling is super addicting, and incredibly simple. Just mangoes, coconut milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. That’s it! Seriously good. And easy too! Just the way I like it, haha.

Mango Quick Cake Squares2

Anyways, these Mango Quick Cake Squares have minimal ingredients, take little effort, and are made in a jelly roll pan so they are great for a barbecue or a crowd. The cake batter might not look like enough to spread in the pan, but just work at it [and don’t lick the spoon prematurely] and it should spread out enough. Also, be sure to dot the pie filling on beforeĀ baking. I like to use a rubber spatula to section off the batter in the pan to dot in the filling, but you can also eyeball it. I hope you’ll try these yummy cake squares–whether you choose to use mangos or cherries, you can’t go wrong! Enjoy! šŸ™‚

Mango Quick Cake SquaresĀ [from Mom]
click to print

Ingredients:

for mango filling

  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk [could sub regular milk or water]
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 mangoes, peeled and diced

for cake

  • 1 cup butter, softened [or margarine]
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together coconut milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla, then stir in mangoes. Set aside.

With a hand or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together. Next add eggs, beating well, and mix in flour and lemon juice. Spread in a jelly roll pan [12.5×17.5×1 inch].

Section off into 24 squares gently with a rubber spatula, then dot each square with a small spoonful of mango filling. Bake for 28-30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely in the pan before cutting. Enjoy!

Time: 40 minutes.

Yield: 24 servings.

Notes: Also awesome with other prepared pie filling, storebought or not, like cherry. A classic taste of my childhood.

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.

Main Dishes, Recipes, Soups, Tofu

Thai Tofu Ramen

So, last month I had a Rachael Ray Magazine recipe on my weekly menu plan. I was all excited to make Tofu Ramen Soup with Spinach, but then I saw that Hannah had made that very soup recently… and thought it was basically a flop. A good idea as a nod towards a healthified college classic, but a flop nonetheless. Good thing I found this outĀ beforeĀ I made it. Thanks to Hannah, I can present you with this amazing Thai-inspired Tofu Ramen.

Thai Tofu Ramen | The Pajama Chef

Each noodle-y slurp of this spicy, garlicky, gingery broth took me back to my sophomore year of college when, sick of dorm food, I enjoyed a steady rotation of ramen, easy mac, and oatmeal for lazy dinners or weekend meals. Prepared in the microwave, of course. Fortunately, this ramen has grown up and gotten much healthier, but still delivers in terms of ease, taste, and comfort. Ā Instead of just a salty bowl of meat-flavored noodles with a few dehydrated vegetables thrown in, this ramen has tons of personality–chunks of carrots, celery, and mushrooms. Spinach! Cilantro! Tofu! A little coconut milk to add a bit of creamy sweetness and balance out the spice… and ta da! You have an easy, flavorful soup that is darn near perfect comfort food.

Thai Tofu Ramen | The Pajama Chef

Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients, including the scary fish sauce. This soup certainly comes together quickly and the fish sauce? Well, all I can say is a little goes a long way. Just stir it in quickly and ignore the smell, because you’ll love the taste! All the flavors go so well together, and definitely improve over time, so leftovers will be really coveted. At least they were here! Enjoy!

Thai Tofu RamenĀ [adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 ounce freshly grated ginger
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 7 cups low-sodium chicken broth [or vegetable broth]
  • 3/4 cup carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced and cleaned
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 pound tofu, drained, pressed, and cubed
  • 4 ounces fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced
  • 1 bunch scallions, minced
  • 3 packages ramen noodles [uncooked, broken, noodles only]
  • 3/4 cup lite coconut milk

Directions:

Heat oil in a medium pot set over medium heat. Add ginger, garlic, and crushed red pepper and saute for 1 minute untilĀ fragrant. Add chickenĀ broth, carrots, celery, mushrooms, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.

Next, stir in tofu, spinach, cilantro, scallions, and ramen. Cover again and simmer 3-5 minutes until noodles are tender. Reduce heat to low and gently stir in coconut milk. Simmer for another minute or so until hot, then season with additional crushed red pepper or coconut milk as desired.

Time: 30 minutes.

Yield: 6-8 servings.