Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Gingered Pumpkin Apple Soup and Sauteed Kale #bookgiveaway

by Leslie Budewitz

You just get certain urges for certain foods at certain times of year, right? They vary, based on where you live, the weather, what feels like comfort food to you, and your own taste, but there are some predictable tastes. A few weeks ago, I asked fans on my Facebook Author page what they liked most about fall. Sweaters, football, new books by favorite authors all got votes, but the most popular responses? Soup, and pumpkin-flavored food and drink.

And so, today's recipe combines them both.

A note on ingredients: We rarely manage to make our own vegetable stock; we use Pacific Organics low sodium stocks, which are tasty and affordable, and come in resealable containers. I admit, my fresh ginger frequently comes out of a jar; yours can, too. (Find it in the produce section.) Curry and garam masala are spice blends, as varied as the individual making them; we make our own—GUILTY AS CINNAMON (out December 1; available for pre-order now) includes recipes for both, but you can buy both blends in many groceries, as well as spice shops and Indian groceries. Don’t worry if you associate curry with heat; just look for a milder blend—and the other ingredients in this soup will mellow out the heat.

Plus, cinnamon. In GUILTY AS CINNAMON, Pepper Reece, the owner of Seattle Spice Shop in the Pike Place Market, and Sandra, her assistant manager, have been running a taste test, sampling all the cinnamon rolls available in the Market. They’re offering customers samples of cinnamon, and setting up a display with favorite mysteries with cinnamon in the title: Cinnamon Skin by John D. MacDonald, Cinnamon Kiss by Walter Mosley, and of course, The Cinnamon Roll Murder by Joanne Fluke. Here's the exchange:

“Cinnamon?" a woman said, reaching for a jar of our custom blend. "I always think of that as a fall spice."

"It's a spice for all seasons. You can make do without Celtic salt and smoked salt, three kinds of paprika, and all those exotic chile peppers. But you cannot make decent toast without cinnamon."

And for some reason, I’ve also been craving kale. So we put them together, for your comfort and nourishment! Add a loaf of crunchy bread and voila! Instant comfort and warmth.

(My friend Lita tried this recipe, too, and her pictures turned out better than mine, so I used hers. Thanks, Lita!)

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed ARC (Advance Review Copy) of GUILTY AS CINNAMON and a gingerbread man tea infuser. Always in season!

Gingered Pumpkin Apple Soup 

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 medium celery stalks, chopped
2-3 medium tart apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
1 can (15-16 ounces) unsweetened pumpkin or butternut squash
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon curry powder or garam masala
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups milk (soy milk is a good substitute)
salt to taste
toasted pumpkin seeds, plain or seasoned, for garnish (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a soup kettle. Add the onion and celery, and saute over low-medium heat until the onion starts to turn golden.

Add the apples, stock, pumpkin, ginger, curry or garam masala, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat, partially covered, for 30-40 minutes. Stir carefully, as the mixture can pop and will be very hot.

Reduce heat to low. Stir in the milk and heat thoroughly. If you’d like a thicker soup, simmer a little longer uncovered.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Spread pumpkin seeds on a cookie sheet and bake 6-8 minutes, until they start to pop. (You can toss them in seasoned salt or with other spices, such as a curry or cinnamon-chile mix before toasting, if you'd like.)

When soup has simmered, add salt to taste. Garnish the serving bowls with toasted seeds.

Serves 6-8. This soup improves in flavor as it sits, so you can make it ahead and reheat before serving.

Sauteed Kale

1 bunch leafy green kale (about half a pound), including stems; trim the ends
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
dash of red wine vinegar

Rinse and coarsely chop the kale.

  Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Toss in the kale and stir over medium heat, about 3 minutes.

Toss in the sea salt and pepper flakes, and add a dash of red wine vinegar to deglaze the pan. Stir quickly and serve.

Okay, so that's the kale with mac and cheese, not soup. Darned if I know where that other photo went! But the kale is equally yummy -- and I'll give you that recipe another time!

Serves 3-4.

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed ARC (Advance Review Copy) of GUILTY AS CINNAMON and a gingerbread man tea infuser. Contest ends midnight, Wednesday, November 4.

Pepper Reece knows that fiery flavors are the spice of life. But when a customer dies of a chili overdose, she finds herself in hot pursuit of a murderer…

From the cover ...

Murder heats up Seattle’s Pike Place Market in the next Spice Shop mystery from the national bestselling author of Assault and Pepper.

Springtime in Seattle’s Pike Place Market means tasty foods and wide-eyed tourists, and Pepper’s Seattle Spice Shop is ready for the crowds. With flavorful combinations and a fresh approach, she’s sure to win over the public. Even better, she’s working with several local restaurants as their chief herb and spice supplier. Business is cooking, until one of Pepper’s potential clients, a young chef named Tamara Langston, is found dead, her life extinguished by the dangerously hot ghost chili—a spice Pepper carries in her shop.

Now stuck in the middle of a heated police investigation, Pepper must use all her senses to find out who wanted to keep Tamara’s new café from opening—before someone else gets burned…

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher. 

Connect with her on her website or on Facebook.


  1. I love this series , and the recipes sound fantastic ! kathambre@yahoo.com

  2. Such a nourishing recipe; and the book sounds wonderful! EMS591@aol.com

  3. I have a pumpkin soup that I adore but I think I'll try yours. It is similar but different. Sand it is much healthier. Thank you for the give away. suefister109@netzero.net. By the way I always review books that I win. I hope others do also.

  4. I can smell the cinnamon. Can't wait to read Guilty as Cinnamon.

  5. I make a butternut squash soup but yours is spiced differently. It sounds good.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

  6. Love these books, and apples and cinnamon!!

  7. With a main character called Pepper, it must be good!

  8. I have never had pumpkin soup before, but it sounds good. Thanks for the chance to win! I have been looking forward to reading Guilty as Cinnamon. =) sarakgrotz at gmail dot com

  9. Thanks for the recipe, and the chance to win! We have a lot of butternut squash here so I may have to try it with that.

    ElaineE246 at msn dot com

  10. The soup sounds delicious. A nice warm, savory/sweet curry. Perfect.
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

    1. How odd. I was not asked for the usual "reply as" or prove you aren't a robot

  11. Can't wait to try the pumpkin soup and to read the book. You had me at cinnamon.... It makes everything better!!!

  12. Anything with cinnamon, pumpkin and apples has to be delicious! Thanks for the chance to win your book! kimdavishb@gmail.com

  13. Fingers crossed! It won't let me change from unknown but my name is Dawn Smedley. dawnsmedley69@gmail.com

  14. I love the series but hate kale. LOL I have a fairly healthy spice collection which I cull older then a year items from and replace as needed. I enjoyed the first book and would love to have the ARC for my home library.

    NoraAdrienne (at) gmail (dot) com

  15. Thanks for all the comments -- and yes, you could easily make this soup with butternut squash instead of the pumpkin. Lita, my recipe tester, also wondered about using coconut milk, which would work nicely with the spicing, I think.

  16. This sounds very good thanks for the review.
    Penney penneyw(AT)sbcgloval(DOT)net

  17. The soup sounds very tasty! Congrats on the new release! Looking forward to reading it. jeaniedannheim ( at ) ymail ( dot ) com

  18. I love pumpkin, but have never tried soup. Must give this a try. The gingerbread infuser is adorable and the books are great. What a wonderful gift!

  19. Sounds good. Looking forward to reading this.

  20. I really like the idea of the main characters using spices and mystery book titles. Thanks for the great giveaway.

  21. I really like the idea of the main characters using spices and mystery book titles. Thanks for the great giveaway.

  22. The recipes sound wonderful. I love this series and looking forward to this new one. Thank you. poohwine1217@gmail.com

  23. I have read several of Leslie's cozies and they are delightful. Can't wait to read this one.

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. The soup recipe sounds good but I usually only like chicken noodle soup (the old standard). I think of cinnamon as year-round, maybe because I live in California and we don't really have seasons. I would love to in a copy of your book.
    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  26. Can't wait to read this series. Great recipes for Fall.

  27. Can't wait to read this series. Great recipes for Fall.

  28. Thanks for sharing the recipes! Fall and winters and soups all go together here at my home. jmvarner50@hotmail.com

  29. I hate to admit that I am not fond of pumpkin but I really like butternut squash - maybe I will try substituting. This newest book in the series sounds great and I will be eagerly waiting to read it!

  30. Thanks for a wonderful autumn soup recipe and for the giveaway! bobandcelia@sbcglobal.net

  31. My son has moved to Seattle. Would love to read a series that takes place there.

  32. Thanks for the giveaway ...would love to have your book and the cute tea infuser. I have a collection but have not seen this one. jchizmar01@windstream.net

  33. This soup is ideal for fall and I will be making it. Thanks for this great recipe and giveaway. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  34. Fascinating recipe. I'm craving soup now.

  35. This book is so special and the soup delectable. Thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  36. Thanks for the recipes and giveaways. Books sound good.

  37. The infuser is adorable, and love this series. Whoever wins is going to be so excited!

    ~Daryl / Avery

  38. Thank you for the chance. I can't wait to try the recipe!