Saturday, November 3, 2012

I Yam Not A Pumpkin

I have a fond memory of this time two years ago. I was in a van in Germany with my cousin and  his family. It was quite late, so it was very dark as we wound through the narrow streets of the small towns. We were returning to their home after a weekend excursion to an Oktoberfest celebration. The car radio was on and the fatigued occupants of the vehicle were unusually quiet. Then out of the blue, my cousin's wife said something like "Wenn ich einen Kürbis hätte, könnte ich eine Kürbiscremesuppe machen." (If I had a pumpkin, I could make creamed pumpkin soup).

We all laughed. It was one of those types of comments which everyone has made at one time or another. We mull things over in our heads, then we verbalize a portion of our thought. It all makes sense to us, but does not quite register with everyone else. If there's a conversation going on at the time, it's often a non sequitur and clearly shows that we weren't listening since our minds were elsewhere.

So why did I mention the pumpkin cream soup escapade now? Halloween is over. Yesterday, I needed to figure out what to do with these pumpkins. For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to replace my stand of flower pots with pumpkins for a festive fall decoration. I now have four pumpkins, albeit small ones. I was told that the little ones are "pie pumpkins" and good for cooking. I have learned not to believe everything I hear. Here's my story.
I looked on the internet and into a few cookbooks. I believed I had some delicious solutions for my pounds of pumpkins. I decided on recipes for pumpkin cream soup, pumpkin bread, pumpkin lasagna, pumpkin chili and pickled pumpkin. My day was planned. I retrieved the pumpkins and brought them into the house. I put water into the dutch oven to boil. I got out my favourite small but mighty knife. Uh oh.

I tried a  bigger knife, a cleaver in fact. Hmmm......

I gave up and checked the crisper, where I located some aging sweet potatoes and made this soup instead. After all, yams are orange too.

Sweet Potato Soup - (slightly sweet, slightly tangy, approx. 120 calories per bowl)

Peel and chop into cubes 2-3 sweet potatoes, drizzle with oil and bake in 425 oven for 20 min.
Dice 1 small onion, 1 piece of celery and 1 carrot, 2 cloves garlic and 2 tsp rosemary. Sauté in olive oil until onions are clear. Add 4 cups water and 2 cups chicken stock to sautéed veggies. (I used the boxed broth from the grocery store and tossed in a few pieces of leftover chicken). Add potatoes from oven. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Use a blender and purée about a cup of the soup at a time until smooth.

Warning - Don't put too much liquid into blender at a time or it makes a mess as it spews out through the lid, splats on your walls and countertops and burns your hands. I'm not saying this did or didn't happen to me, since there is no actual photographic evidence. It's just a suggestion.

I put my puréed soup into the crock pot on low heat until we were ready to eat. Yum.

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