A good friend of mine once told me, “If your man invites you to dinner, don’t ask questions. Just say yes.” So, when he showed up with a pair of pants and a shirt that needed to be ironed, I got out the ironing board. When he told me to wear a dress, I put on heels. And when he opened the door to John Howie Steak, I almost tripped.
He took my elbow. We walked to our seats. I got my heel caught between the table base and floor. I’m normally more graceful, I swear. But, there’s something about a man in a collard shirt which makes my knees buckle. As he graciously laughed with me, I reached beneath the table and unstuck my shoe.
I adore all 6-foot 5-inches of his blue eyes and blond hair. He opens doors, eats with his mouth closed, and occasionally doesn’t leave his elbows on the table. Conclusion – he’s perfect. Right?
Then I discovered the mushrooms. He doesn’t like them. In fact, he doesn’t eat them. To make matters worse, I found out he hates pumpkin. Once upon a time he apparently liked pumpkin pie. Who wouldn’t love anything with that much sugar? Now that he’s a diabetic, pumpkin pie is out. As luck would have it, pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup, pumpkin scones, pumpkin beer and pumpkin anything are out too. He hates pumpkin.
The kicker is, he didn’t tell me until after I baked a nearly sugar free pumpkin bread and made a savory pumpkin soup. Until after our double date to a pumpkin patch when I specifically bought pumpkin beer and we carved pumpkins.
So now, the pumpkin beer and pumpkin soup are all mine. And as for the pumpkin bread? Hence forth it’ll have all kinds of sugar. Perhaps perfection is over rated.
NOTE: John Howie Steak is an incredibly expensive restaurant, but not too long ago they offered a Groupon – spend $50 and get $50. While this doesn’t cover your entire cost, it does help. Groupon is a site you can subscribe to which sends out e-mail deals, like buy one get one free on movie tickets. While Groupon can be a really good way to do something for cheap, don’t fall into the habit of buying a Groupon just because it’s a good deal. Only buy it if you were already planning on doing it. I have had countless friends over spend their monthly budget because of great Groupon deals.
Adopted from Sunset Magazine October 2011 issue
This soup has a deep pumpkin flavor with a little spice from the ginger. The salty touch of parmesan adds a layer of flavor creating a warm heartiness I love. It’s fantastic with a mixed green salad tossed in a bright vinaigrette and a big hunk of crusty bread. If you your soup with a little heat, try adding ½tsp chili powder when you add the ginger. You’ll want to use a good baking pumpkin like sugar pie or Cinderella. Pumpkins you would use for carving are typically to stringy and don’t have a lot of flavor.
1 large onion, chopped
1 TBS ginger powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons ground coriander
4 1/2 cups peeled, 1-inch chunks pumpkin or other orange fleshed squash (from a 2 1/2-pound squash)
4 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
½ cup parmesan
Roasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
Heat oil in a medium pot. Add onions and sauté until golden. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add coriander, ginger, pumpkin, broth, salt, and pepper. Simmer covered, until pumpkin is very tender.
Puree in batches in a blender until very smooth.
Note: If you have an immersion blender this would be a great time to use it.
Return to pot and stir in parmesan. Check seasonings and adjust as necessary.
Serve warm in big bowls and garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds. For an additional holiday touch, consider serving it in hollowed out pumpkins.
To make mini pumpkin bowls – Preheat over to 400 degrees. Select mini pumpkins which sit flat or cut a thin slice from the bases of each. Slice off the top of each pumpkin just enough to get a spoon or your hand inside. Remove seeds and innards (save seeds for roasting if you want). Set on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until tender, 40 to 45 minutes. Cut off 2-inch-wide lids.
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