Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere

I've been lax on blogging for this site, I know I'll commit to posting one a week for anyone out there reading. I just got caught up in the harvest and then garden clean up, then we got sick, then, then, then... Let's face it, we have excuses for EVERYTHING, but the bottom line I made the commitment to put myself out there, so I'm going to do it

The end of the summer brought about several bountiful crops - small green peppers, a bumper crop of a few zucchini (that the squash bugs didn't destroy!), tomatoes, apples, grapes, peaches, small pumpkins - mostly pie pumpkins, and ice box watermelon. I was like a canning and cooking fiend. On my best days I put up 8-12 quarts of something or another - Typically some type of "garden marinara sauce".

When the tomatoes ran out (Or more likely when I ran out of steam for cooking them all) I was faced with the last of the green peppers and pumpkins! We ate a lot of pepper steak and I made several batches of the pepper/onion mix to freeze for use later. Pumpkins though they were a different story, and we had 30 small pie pumpkins and 4 presumably small carving type pumpkins, we carved 2 of them.

What does one do with pumpkins that's not "sweet". I knew I could make a killer pumpkin spice cake/cupcakes - But what else?! And so I went on the hunt...

I found several awesome recipes that I'll write about in the next few days: Pumpkin Noodle Bowl (courtesy of a Facebook friend), Pumpkin Ravioli, Pumpkin Pasta, and finally several Pumpkin Soups. When I got confident in the flavors of pumpkin I made my own recipe that turned out mild but very tasty. Here it is:

Delicate Pumpkin Soup

1/2 cup minced onion
1 1/2 T unsalted butter
2 cups of fresh pumpkin puree or 1 can of pumpkin puree
3 T Parmesan Cheese
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups beef, chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 t dried thyme
1/4 t dried tarragon
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

Sour cream, creme fresh, roasted pumpkin seeds or fresh fried sage leaves for garnish

Brown 1/2 cup of minced onion in a pan with 1 1/2 T butter. Add 2 cups of pureed pumpkin and saute for an additional 2 minutes. Add 3 T of Parmesan cheese and a dash of nutmeg. Simmer gently until the pumpkin mixture is slightly dry.

Add approximately 1 cup of heavy cream and 2 cups of desired broth and whisk together until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Add a 1/4 t thyme, 1/4 t tarragon ad 1 bay leaf and bring soup to a gentle boil for approximately 30 minutes - Or longer to add more of the herbal flavor!

Season with salt & pepper to taste and top with a dollop of sour cream or creme fresh and couple chopped and seasoned baked pumpkin seeds or a fried sage leaf for garnish.

Yummy, hearty and warming... The entire family liked this recipe!