JOURNAL: What To Do With This Pumpkin? A Peek At My Process

I was chatting up my new roommate over beers in the kitchen, and without really thinking, I grabbed a chef knife from its magnetic wall-mount and chopped into eighths the little organic pie pumpkin I had picked up on a whim. I mused, “What I am going to do with this pumpkin?” and my roommate offered only “I love pumpkin seeds!” before she scuttled off to get ready for a date and I continued to ponder the pumpkin as I scooped the gunk from the slices and separated the seeds.

I roasted the seeds on an oiled baking pan with a quick shot of olive oil-flavored cooking spray, sea salt and Garam Masala spice mix (cinnamon, cumin, cloves, nutmeg and cardamom) which I added at the half-way shake, as it tends to scorch. Toasty and tasty! Lindsay, if you are reading this, there is a bowl of seeds for you on “the white thing” by the stove (she’ll know where I mean).

Still unsure of what to make with it, I tossed the pumpkin into the oven in a covered Pyrex dish with a half inch of water and some maple syrup and put it in the oven while I looked around the kitchen. It was a cool night so I decided on soup. I had a carrot, celery and shallots left over from a gravy experiment and I was hoping to find a box of broth or some stock in the freezer, but there was none. Always the innovator, I decided to substitute a bullion cube and a Knorr Herbes de Provence cube that a friend picked up in France and left for me when she moved to Switzerland.

I minced the veggies and sautéed them in a stir-fry pan with butter, salt, pepper and eventually a splash of my 4th beer. Once everything was soft, I added water and the cubes and while it worked its way up to a boil, I sliced the pumpkin flesh from its shell, diced it quickly and added it to the simmering soup. When everything seemed well integrated, I added heavy cream, finished it with a dollop of butter and pulled the whole thing off the stove about a minute after it returned to boiling. Everything went into the food processor (where I should have started it with those veggies) and I pulsed it until the chunks were gone, but the bisque still had some texture.

Results: Nearly amazing. The texture was ideal and while the cubes were crucial to the flavor, since I didn’t have broth or know how to season it, I didn’t consider the overall salt content, so the end result was delicious except for an overpowering saltiness.

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