Thai Style Pumpkin Soup and Cranberry-Beet Relish

To catch you up on some of the recent culinary delights that have come out of my kitchen (well, culinary attempts, at least…) here is an update on two different dishes.

The first was a Thai-style pumpkin soup made after Tawn requested that we have some soup for dinner one evening.  I didn’t follow a particular recipe with this one but just pulled it together by taste.  

Base ingredients: pumpkin, butternut squash, onions, carrots, celery, chicken stock.
Aromatic ingredients: lemongrass, galangal root (similar to ginger but less harsh), bay leaves, curry powder, cayenne pepper.
Finishing ingredients: fish sauce, coconut cream, palm or brown sugar.
Optional ingredients for garnishing: bacon, cilantro, sour cream or parmesan cheese.

Here’s a picture of the finished product, which tasted wonderful.


Coupled with a video that shows the whole “making of”.


The second dish is a cranberry-beet relish that I made for our potluck Thanksgiving over at Vic’s house.  I stumbled across several recipes for this and so improvised a bit. 


Sautee a chopped onion and then add the cranberries, stirring for a few minutes but not cooking so much that they begin to pop.


Add shredded raw beets – this would actually be gorgeous with golden beets – and cook a while longer until the mixture softens.


For flavoring add the zest and juice of two oranges.


Sweeten to taste with maple syrup.  The natural sugars in the beets offset much of the tartness from the cranberries, so I find that you don’t need much maple syrup.  If needed, add a little bit of salt to the mixture.


Let cook until at a nice consistency.  Since I like to still have some whole berries left, I reserve about a cup of berries and add them later in the cooking process so they don’t pop before the relish is done.  This turned out as a very nice alternative to regularly cranberry relish and several diners commented that while they don’t normally enjoy cranberry relish, they particularly liked this recipe.