Twitter Follow

Follow blogsgotheart on Twitter

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pumpkin Soup and Pumpkin Hazelnut Cake Recipes with The Healthy Benefits


What's so good about pumpkins, anyway? No matter how health conscious your eating habits, everyone needs a little dessert sometimes. Pumpkin is perfect when you want a healthy treat. That way, you can have all of the enjoyment without any of the guilt. Pumpkin can be used as a fat substitute in many recipes as well.

Pumpkin meat is very high in carotenoids. They're what give pumpkins their orange color—but that's the least of their benefits. Carotenoids are really good at neutralizing free radicals, nasty molecules that can attack cell membranes and leave the cells vulnerable to damage.

Pumpkins are also high in lutein and zeaxanthin, which scavenge free radicals in the lens of the eye. Therefore, they may help prevent the formation of cataracts and reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a serious eye problem than usually results in blindness.

High in fiber (high fiber diets aid the digestive process; help with weight management by helping you feel fuller sooner; help lower cholesterol; help fight heart disease by reducing the tendency of the blood to clot.

High in Vitamin C (Vitamin C help the body's immune functions; helps fight free radicals, which cause cellular damage; helps in the body's production of collagen, which is very important for those recovering from wounds and injuries; may offer cancer fighting properties.)

High in vitamin E (Vitamin E has antioxidant properties, which are essential to skin health and skin care; offers anti-aging benefits for the skin; help regulate Vitamin A in the body; aids in treating sun burns and various skin irritations.)

High in Magnesium (Magnesium is an importabt mineral that is essential to many normal biological functions of the body; important in the formation of bones and teeth.)
High in Potassium (Potassium is an important mineral that helps regulate blood pressure and proper heart function.)

High in a variety of carotenoids (Dietary carotenoids assist in lower risk of a variety of cancers, heart disease, cataracts and blindness, as well as helping fight the effects of aging; provides anti-inflamatory benefits; protects against cholesterol build up.)
So, eat pumpkin its good for you!!

Adapted from William Sonoma
  • 4 baking pumpkins or kabocha squash, each about 2 lb., quartered and
      seeded
  • Olive oil as needed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 6 shallots, thickly sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, thickly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh sage
  • 12 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup apple cider, reduced to 2 Tbs. and cooled

Directions:

Position 1 rack in the upper third of an oven and 1 rack in the lower third, and preheat to 425°F.

Divide the pumpkins among 2 baking sheets. Drizzle the pumpkins with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the pumpkins, cut side down, on the baking sheets. Roast, turning the pumpkins occasionally, until they are tender and beginning to brown, about 45 minutes; rotate the baking sheets halfway through the roasting time. Let the pumpkins cool, then scoop the flesh into a bowl.

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the carrots, shallots, celery, salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, nutmeg and sage and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Add the pumpkin flesh and broth, cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.

In a bowl, whisk the cream until slightly thickened. Whisk in the reduced apple cider until blended. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and drizzle with the cider cream. Serve immediately. Serves 12 to 14.


Pumpkin Hazelnut Tea Cake
    3/4 cup homemade or canned pumpkin puree
    3 tablespoons canola oil
     1/2 cup honey 
     3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar 
     2 eggs, lightly beaten 
     1 cup whole-wheat (whole-meal) flour  
    1/2 cup all-purpose (plain) flour 
     2 tablespoons flaxseed 
     1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
     1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 
     1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
     1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
     1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 
     1/4 teaspoon salt 
     2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts (filberts)
     Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly coat an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray or small individual size bundt pans.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on low speed, beat together the canola oil, pumpkin puree, honey, brown sugar and eggs until well blended.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flours, flaxseed, baking powder, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and, using the electric mixer on medium speed, beat until well blended.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the hazelnuts evenly over the top and press down gently to lodge the nuts into the batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn the loaf  or bundt cake  out of the pan onto the rack and let cool completely. Cut into slices to serve.