For the last month, I have been going to the Challenger's Boys and Girls Club in South LA on my own each Thursday. Today, however, Matt was able to go too, and the kids went crrrazzy. They love him, and the best part is that they love him even when he keeps things healthy. In the spirit of Halloween we taught the children how to make Pumpkin Soup (remember when we did another version here?). We used Butternut Squash because it has less water than a traditional pumpkin but you could also use a Kabocha Squash. Adding yams to the mix lends a bit of natural sweetness and some density, but you can use all butternut squash or carrots or zucchini even!
Also here we cut the liquid (you can use stock or water) with coconut milk which adds nice body and tones down the color of the soup but you can simply add all stock. The children commented that it looked like "mustard" and "baby food" but I always insist they taste everything we cook. Funny thing is that they across the board end up loving everything we all make together, crudite platters, hummus, brussel sprouts, salads, healthy juices. I have found that when you engage children in the cooking process that they then feel connected to what they are preparing and they are less inclined to stick their nose up. They want to try it and usually really like what we make. So Mom's bring your babes in the kitchen the next time you cook and talk about what you're making. I tell you, it works!
PROCEDURE FOR PUMPKIN SOUP:
• preheat oven 425 F
• peel + roughly chop butternut squash + yams the same size, then toss with olive oil, salt + pepper.
• roast squash + yams in oven until caramelized
• toss pumpkin seeds with olive oil, cayenne, salt, + chili flakes, then roast in oven until they pop
• chop onions + garlic, + place in a hot skillet with olive oil, sage, salt + pepper, tossing to caramelize
• once onions are caramelized, add liquids (including maple syrup) + roasted pumpkin, simmer until pumpkin is very tender
• add some lemon juice to thin out the creme fraiche + to add brightness, then use this as a garnish for the soup along with the pumpkin seeds and cilantro