Halloween Dinner

Halloween Dinner

Oct 29

I was inspired this year to make a special Halloween Dinner. We are going to have Pumpkin Soup and a black rice pilaf. I found the black rice at my local Asian store and I am very excited to use it! Recipes are as follows, however since I haven’t made these yet, I can’t endorse them, so use at your own risk!

Pumpkin Soup with Cinnamon Croutons

Ingredients -

2 tablespoons brown sugar
15 oz can pumpkin puree
2 cans salt free vegetable broth, 14 ½ oz each
1 cup chopped onion
5 tablespoons softened butter
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 slices whole wheat bread
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup 2% milk
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
Handful cilantro leaves
½ teaspoon ground ginger


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix together the cinnamon, half the sugar, and the butter and spread it evenly over one side of each slice of bread. Put the bread, buttered side up, on a baking tray and bake for about 8 minutes or until the bread is toasted. Cut the bread slices into small squares or triangles.

Sauté the onion in the rest of the butter until tender, then add half the chicken broth. Stir the mixture well, bring it to a boil, then cover the pan, turn the heat down, and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Process in a food processor or a blender until it is smooth, then put it back in the pan and add the other can of broth, the salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin puree, pepper, the rest of the sugar and the ginger.

Stir the mixture well and bring it to a boil. Cover the pan, turn the heat down, and let the pumpkin soup simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the milk and warm it through without boiling. Ladle the soup into 6 serving bowls and top each one with some croutons and cilantro leaves.

Black Rice Pilaf with Mushrooms

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
I medium onion, dice
1 1/2 cups black rice/forbidden rice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups vegetable stock ( homemade or canned)
1/2 cup shiitake mushroom, fresh or dried ( If using dried soak it half an hour before starting this dish)

Here’s How:
Put one tablespoon of  oil in a large, deep skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion. Cook, stirring, until the onion is browned. Browning the onion adds a wonderful flavor to the pilaf.

Add the rice all at once, turn the heat down to medium, and stir until the rice is glossy, completely coated with oil, and starting to color lightly, about 5 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper, then turn the heat down to low. Add the stock, stir once or twice, then cover the pan.

Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Turn the heat to the absolute minimum (if you have an electric stove, turn the heat off and let the pan sit on the burner). Add shiitake mushroom, cover and let cook for about 10 minutes or until the mushrooms are, let rest for another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning before serving.


  1. Katie

    What store did you get the black rice from? I’ve been wanting to make some but don’t know where to get it. I think the pumpkin soup looks great – I want to know how it turned out, too. :)

    • Laura V.

      I got the black rice from an asian store down on E. Colonial by Mills in the Little Chinatown area. The one I go to is a big one with a blue awning on the south side of the street. It’s across from a Vietnamese restaurant called Lac Viet, and I have no clue what the place is called. It smells pretty funny in there but they have a bag of black rice by the brand Katashima, and the black rice name in Chinese is Gao Den (which will be the regular black rice, not the sticky/glutenous black rice)
      I wasn’t sure about the black rice at first, but in the end I liked it. It is chewy and firmer like brown rice, since it is a whole grain and wild rice. To compare it to white rice doesn’t work. I did decide to brown and cook the mushrooms in a separate pan before adding them to the rice pot, for a little extra flavor to them.
      Overall, the meal turned out great. Because I hate following recipes to a ‘T’, I doctored up the soup a bit. My sister told me she makes a pumpkin soup that uses some bourbon and maple syrup in it, so I left out the brown sugar and added about 1/4 cup of each of those ingredients. I also added some carrots since I had them around and some curry powder to jazz it up a little (and left off the cilantro).

  2. I’ve really enjoyed your recipes in the last week. The idea of pumpkin soup with the spiced croutons- cinnamon, though I might be inclined to try nutmeg or cardamom too- sounds soooo good, and it looks pretty easy! I hope you’ll update and let us know how it turned out. :)

    • Laura V.

      I ended up thinking about your suggestion and I did use cinnamon on the croutons but also some ginger and curry powder (since I used curry in my soup). But cardamom would have been wonderful too!

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