Lastly, pumpkin seeds contain immune-boosting zinc and their oil is thought to promote prostate health. They are also a good source of various forms of vitamin E: alpha-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, delta-tocopherol, alpha-tocomonoenol, and gamma-tocomonoenol. These last two – whose bio-availability is thought to be greater than some of the other vitamin-E forms – have only recently been discovered in pumpkin seeds. (These toasted seeds below make a delicious snack and a healthy alternative to potato chips.)
A note of caution from the researchers at World’s Healthiest Foods: “Winter squash is a vegetable that might be especially important for us to purchase organic. Recent agricultural trials have shown that winter squash can be an effective intercrop for use in remediation of contaminated soils. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), including pyrene, fluoranthene, chrysene, benzo(a)anthracene and benzo(a)pyrene are unwanted contaminants. PAHs are among the contaminants that can be effectively pulled up out of the soil by winter squash plants. … For this reason, you may want to make a special point of purchasing certified organic winter squash. Soils used for the growing of in certified organic foods are far less likely to contain undesirable levels of contaminants like PAHs.”
And now, without further ado, here’s the recipe. To balance the squash’s and apples’ natural sweetness, add a few drops of chili sauce if you like. Chop squash and apples into fairly small pieces; this way they will cook faster and retain maximum vitamin content. This dish is gluten-free, dairy-free and veg(etari)an. And here is a video of me preparing this soup: http://www.youtube.com/user/connermid?feature=mhee#p/u/0/84OP-3TgmqY.
Curried Pumpkin & Apple Soup with Tamari-Toasted Pumpkin Seeds and Cashew Cream (Recipe from Zest for Life: The Mediterranean Anti-Cancer Diet) Serves 4-6
2 tbsp olive or coconut oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1½ lb/750g organic Hokkaido (unpeeled) or Butternut squash (peeled), cubed
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
1½ pints/750ml vegetable stock
11oz/300g apples, cored and cubed
scant 1 cup/200ml coconut milk
squeeze of lemon juice
chives for garnish
salt & freshly ground black pepper
Tamari-toasted pumpkin seeds
4 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
1 tsp tamari (wheat-free soy sauce)
1/3 cup raw cashew nuts (unsalted, untoasted), if possible soaked for a few hours or overnight; drain and rinse before suing in a sieve or colander
1/3 cup fresh, filtered water
pinch of salt
Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot, add onion and cook at medium temperature until soft. Add grated ginger and cook another 2 minutes.
Add squash, curry powder and turmeric and cook with the onion, stirring constantly, for another 1-2 minutes, then pour in stock. Cover and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.
Add apples, cover and cook for another 10-15 minutes until squash and apples are soft.
While the soup is cooking, toast pumpkin seeds in a dry skillet, stirring with a wooden spoon until they start to expand and crackle (3-4 minutes). Add tamari; there will be much hissing and steam but keep stirring and soon the pan will be dry and the seeds coated with a salty crust. Tip onto a plate to cool.
To make cashew cream, tip cashew nuts, water and salt into a small blender and blend for 2-3 minutes until completely smooth. Dilute to desired thickness (it should be like pouring cream).
When squash and apples are soft, transfer to blender and puree to a fine consistency. When fully blended, pour into a clean pot. Add coconut milk, reheat gently and season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Remove from heat and cover.
Ladle soup into bowls and dress each portion with a teaspoon of Cashew cream. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and chives for garnish.
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