Wednesday, October 20, 2010

calm moments with pumpkin

Any Calvin and Hobbes lovers out there? There’s a Halloween column where he pulls out a pumpkin and goes “It’s time for your lobotomy, Jack!”

So so so great.

Anyway, so lobotomized.


It’s grim business in this house.

So calm. Calm and I have a kind of ambivalent relationship. Had you asked me what I thought of calm earlier this year when I was graduated but unemployed and would’ve welcomed a mild case of the ebola virus just to give me something new and exciting to focus on, I would’ve turned up my nose.

However, unsurprisingly now that I’m working late enough to miss sunset (before Daylight Savings Time even starts!) and constantly wrangling kids and families and schools and lesson plans and forms and case notes and a frighteningly epic to-do list, calm sounds nice. Today, when a kid decided that instead of participating in group meeting he was going to go ahead and just run around the room screaming, I could have used some calm.

C’est la vie. We always want what we don’t have.

That being said, today the food bank delivery arrived early, allowing me to plan the weekly meals early and set out a low maintenance snack (fyi: kids go gaga for make-your-own-pizza-bagels). I finished my plan for our special Saturday program. I fixed my time sheet, lesson planned our fall festival for tomorrow, made a supply list, etc. etc. etc. and suddenly my to do list was MANAGEABLE! We resolved a situation with a student- I didn’t realize how heartsick I’d been over it til I heard good news.

Anyway, maybe the day was most remarkable for being unremarkable. No one made me want to cry!

I came home and cut up a pumpkin.


Already had an acorn squash on the counter, and my auntie brought over a cute little pumpkin on Saturday. I was thinking ahead to Thursday potluck, and soup was an obvious choice. I turned to Sundays at Moosewood, a cookbook I’ve been very fond of lately, and found a winner.

You begin with vegetable stock (beautiful, eh? The crockpot did it all for me on Sunday).


You can use pumpkin or butternut squash; I used one of each.

My feeling is that since acorn squash skin is edible, there is no need for excessive formality on the peeling. Especially since it is friggin’ RIBBED, and so peeling it is friggin’ DIFFICULT.


Then I was supposed to add 2 onions (actually 3 since I was 1.5ing the recipe). But we had… this.


Chunked it, tossed it in, pored through crisper.

And…. this.



Then all that stuff was being added to the pot, along with some chopped tomatoes, and it was like “… yeah,  that is going to go ahead and not fit.”


I made do. This is why God invented multiple burners.

I was thinking that this soup would be time-saving since there aren’t multiple steps (sautee stuff, then add other stuff, etc. etc.); you just throw everything together in the pot.


Actually, though, I may prefer the multiple steps way, cause not everything has to be ready at the same time.

Which, of course, mine WASN’T. So I was adding spices while the rest of the stuff was already coming to a boil.


Along with the veggies, you add some spices to the pot, some typical for a soup or something pumpkiny…


… Some I have probably never used before but apparently had sitting on my shelf!


You were supposed to add white wine, but I didn’t feel like opening a bottle to then use 2/3 of a cup.

And you were supposed to use heavy cream but… I mean, I am not opposed to heavy cream, I just do not regularly purchase heavy cream.



Considerably less rich (but ooh, it’s organic!) milk did the trick.

And so it was completed, glowing and orange.


I was sort of overwhelmed by the quantity of soup I had made, so I didn’t do my usual immersion-blend. I went old school and blended it- in batches! After it had cooled some!- in my old school blender.

Blender froth, mmm. Based on my extensive licking out of the blender, this one’s a keeper.


Didn’t actual eat a bowl of it tonight. The big vat on the left goes to potluck on Thursday (we’re all seeking healthy things, methinks, after last week’s pasta overload) and the small ones went into the freezer, a quick and healthy thaw for a rushed day.


And then it was time for actual dinner.

A very large volume of raw mushrooms became a tragically smaller volume of cooked mushrooms (in olive oil, with garlic).


Rinsed the grit off some beet greens then cunningly repurposed the soaking water to poach an egg (due to my wonderful poach pal, the egg never touches the water! It can be as dirty as I want!)


Then sat down to arguably my favorite dining-alone meal:


Dark leafy greens, potatoes, and a poached egg.

Nutritionally spot-on and a seriously heavenly, comforting combination of flavors.

Yes, okay, so, the egg was perhaps less than beautiful. It tasted fantastic. And though I make this a lot (lately every single time I’m eating alone!), the addition of those rich, umami-packed mushrooms added a wonderful dimension to the dish.


Rounded out with my favorite way to end a meal (and my at least relatively calm day): coffee yogurt! (Has this blog ever actually convinced anyone to try coffee yogurt? I’m telling you. It’s the bee’s knees).


1 comment:

Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen said...

I've been oddly craving poached eggs lately.

Never had coffee yogurt, but I literally JUST finished a Wallaby Dulce de Leche one that was coffee-like and paired beautifully with my morning cup (who am I kidding? THERMOS) of java. :)