A Plethora of Pumpkins

The ooey-gooey-slimy insides of a pumpkin aren’t for everyone and so carving a jack-o-lantern just might not be your thing.  But does that mean you can’t enjoy Halloween and take advantage of the big, beautiful orange orbs we have all over the market?  Absolutely not!  Maybe you want to do something different than your tried-and-true triangle-eyes.  Or perhaps you’re in an all-out-one-upping with your neighbor.   Whatever the reason, we’re here to tell you that there are lots of fun things to do with pumpkins: from painted pumpkins to party coolers, talking pumpkins too!

Lace Pumpkin

Looking for neat, new deck decor this Halloween?  Pop by the dollar store and pick up some black spider lace, wrap it around a pumpkin (we particularly like the black on white for this effect) and voila!  A quick (and clean) variation on the carved pumpkin!

Painted Pumpkins

Or, if you’re looking for something a little more elegant, pick up some spray paint, tape off intricate designs, polka-dots, or spooky messages and save yourself the carving altogether.  You can even paint the mini pumpkins for festive centerpieces for your devilish dinner party.

Pumpkin Party Cooler

And while you’re in dinner party mode, offer up your ghoulish guests a beverage in an easily-hollowed-out pumpkin for a drink cooler.

Pumpkin Collage

Or hollow out smaller pumpkins to use as bowls or vessels… you can make your party prep even easier by swinging by The Stock and Sauce Co. for all of your dips and soups!

Talking Pumpkin

And if you’re really in the spooky spirit, place the parents’ unit of a baby monitor inside a carved pumpkin and then speak into the transmitter when your guests arrive.  Eeek!

Dairy-Free Carrot Yam Panch Poran Soup

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It’s that time.  Again.  It’s cooler and crisper in the morning than we’d like to admit we enjoy; a chill that makes you walk a little faster when you’ve forgotten your scarf.  And we’re in that “phew-Thanksgiving-is-over-but-man-I-ate-too-much-turkey-must-get-ready-for-Christmas-parties” phase that sends us all flocking to the gym and revisiting healthy recipes to whip up.  Salads aren’t exactly a cold-weather go-to meal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your daily quota of healthy veggie-packed lunch (or dinner) from a soup.  And it’ll warm you up after your chilly evening run, right?  This soup is easy, and quick, healthy, and delicious!   We recommend making a big batch of it that you can tuck away in your freezer for those nights when you need a super quick meal; just heat and serve.  AND, it can easily be made vegan with just a few adjustments.

We really took the “healthy” in this recipe to heart and omitted the usual addition of heavy cream, milk, or coconut milk to thicken carrot soup.  While we agree that it makes the soup more robust and luxurious, the vibrant-veggiriffic-ness of this soup sans dairy is a much lighter option for those watching their waist lines or the lactose-intolerants.  Can you add the cream?  Knock yourself out!  Do you need to?  Absolutely not.  It’s a personal (and often dietary) preference really; we like it both ways.

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Market-Sourced Ingredients

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + more for garnish

1 medium onion, diced from Innisfail Growers

1 large apple (variety is left up to you, we used Honeycrisp), peeled & chopped from Souto Farms

1 medium sized yam from Souto Farms

1.5 pounds carrots, chopped from Beck Farms found at Innisfail Growers (once you taste these famous Nantes carrots, you’ll never go back)

1L vegetable broth from The Stock & Sauce Co.

3 tbsp of Panch Poran, toasted from The Silk Road Spice Merchant

Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper (or pink peppercorns as we opted for), to taste

In a large pot, add 1 tbsp olive oil over low-medium heat.  Add chopped onion and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent.  Reduce heat to low and let caramelize slightly.  Add chopped apple, yam, and carrots and cook for a few minutes more.

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Curry and carrots are very common combination, particularly in a Fall soup, but we wanted to do something a little different.  So, instead of the typical curry powder/paste addition, we’ve added the not-so-common Panch Poran.  A blend of nigella seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds, Panch Poran comes from the Bengal region of India.

Panch Poran Collage

We dry-roasted the seeds in a hot pan for two minutes before grinding in a mortar and pestle. Panch Poran works especially well with vegetables like squash, cauliflower and potatoes; a perfect Fall pairing without the pungent punch of curry (which we love, but isn’t for everyone).  The spice in this soup is a subtle, warm flavor that will appeal to even the most discerning of palates.

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Add the vegetable broth with another litre of water, stir, and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 20 minutes covered, or until tender.

Carefully transfer half of the soup into a blender and blitz until smooth making sure to allow steam to escape through the lid.  (You can use an immersion blender but to achieve that unctuous, creamy soup, you’ll really want to use your blender).  Remove blended soup and set aside.  Now add the other half and blend again.  Be careful as it’s very hot.

If you choose to add dairy, now would be the time.  Place soup back in the pot and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve and garnish with freshly ground pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

Marbled No-Can Pumpkin Gingersnap Tart

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Thanksgiving may be our favorite holiday here at the market; it’s the ultimate food holiday and it brings people together over steamy stuffing, a beautiful bird, and the perfect pumpkin pie.  We have some pretty incredible products on offer in the days leading up to the holiday weekend, from free-run and organic turkey’s to mini pumpkin mousse desserts and a Pie Bake Off in support of the Calgary Interfaith Food Bank just to name a few.  And because we’re always trying to offer our incredible guests something new and delicious, we have an incredible recipe to share with you.  Inspired by Smitten Kitchen, we have a easier-than-pie-dough no-can pumpkin tart that is better than the average, run-of-the-mill pumpkin pie, but tasty enough that even pumpkin pie purists will love it.  With freshly roasted pumpkin purée, rather than the canned pumpkin, this tart is fresh, vibrant, and yummy to boot.

Pumpkin Tart 1

Market-Sourced Ingredients

Crust

2 large molasses ginger cookies from Yum Bakery

16 graham crackers

1/4 cup salted butter, melted

Cheesecake Batter

125g of cream cheese, well softened from Blush Lane Organics

3 Tablespoons (40 grams) granulated sugar

1 large egg yolk

Pumpkin Batter

1 good-sized pie pumpkin from Souto Farms

1 large egg

1 large egg white

1 1/4 cups pumpkin purée

1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar

1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon table salt

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon from Silk Road Spice Merchant

few fresh gratings of nutmeg from Silk Road Spice Merchant

250g crème fraîche from Blush Lane Organics

DIRECTIONS:

Pumpkin Tart Collage

Roast Pumpkin
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Slice pumpkin in half and remove the seeds and guts. Cut pumpkin into large slivers, rub with olive oil and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Roast for approximately 30-45 minutes, or until the pumpkin flesh is soft to the touch.  Let cool completely and blitz the flesh in a processor to make the pumpkin purée.

Make crust
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Finely grind the molasses ginger cookies and graham crackers in a food processor (you’ll likely need to do the graham and ginger cookies separately). Add the melted butter, and process until the cookie- crumb mixture is moistened. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9- inch- diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Place pan on rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Make Cheesecake Batter
Mix together the ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.

Make Pumpkin Batter
Beat the egg and the egg white lightly in a mixer with sugars, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Gradually whisk in the pumpkin and then the crème fraîche.

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Assemble Tart
Pour the pumpkin batter into gingersnap-graham crust. Carefully dollop the cheesecake batter over pumpkin batter, then marble the two together decoratively with a knife. Try not to pierce the bottom crust as you do. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 40 minutes, or until the puffed up centre doesn’t jiggle freely.

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To Serve
Cool the tart completely on a rack. Serve when cool or refrigerate until Thanksgiving dinner when it can be served to prying eyes and full tummies; they’ll make room for this tart, it’s just that good.  Theoretically, the leftovers will keep for several days, but the crumb crust will soften on the bottom as times goes by.