Alright, I could make a million excuses here again for why I haven’t posted as frequently as I’d like, but I don’t really have any good excuse. Except that I got a kitty cat and I’ve been spending more of my spare time throwing crumpled up balls of paper down the hallway for her to chase! But I’ve still been cooking and taking photos, and have a backlog of things to tell you about. I will try and post a lot in the next few days to get up to date and also since this weekend is Thanksgiving there’s sure to be some delectable treats being made in this lil’ apartment.
So, onwards! First off, I canned some tomatoes! See?
I won’t go into too much detail about it, but it’s exciting! I used Roma tomatoes, which are the best for canning since they’re meatier and not as watery, and I only got three 500ml jars out of them, but I’m excited to crack them open in the dead of winter to make something really delicious that tastes like summer.
Next up, I made a delicious pumpkin curry with a pie pumpkin from my CSA. I’m very excited to actually make a pumpkin pie this week from an ACTUAL PUMPKIN because I’ve never done that. We always used canned pumpkin – not pumpkin pie filling, don’t insult me! We spiced it ourselves and all that, but never bothered with actually starting from a real pumpkin. I don’t think I realized that there was such a thing as a pie pumpkin, but there is, and they’re much smaller than regular pumpkins. As soon as I realized that pie pumpkins existed and that I didn’t have to try and cut a giant pumpkin in half, I was all for it! But trust me, trying to work with a full-sized pumpkin is nutty – my mom and I once made a pumpkin risotto that was amazing, but had to enlist Jeff solely for the purpose of cutting the pumpkin because it was insanely hard to do. Anyways, a few weeks ago I used a pie pumpkin for something other than pie, and made a curry with it! This is not a recipe from a blog or a book, I just sort of made it up as I went along. First, you cut the stem off of your pumpkin, cut it in half, and scoop out all the seeds and guck with an ice cream scoop. Save the seeds, so that you can burn them later on in the oven! Then you cook your pumpkin. I steamed mine, since it seemed like the method that was both the least time consuming (rather than roasting it) and the least gross (as opposed to microwaving it for 30 minutes – microwaves should not be left on for that long!). It was super easy to steam it, and then once it’s cooked and cooled, you can easily slip the skin off. Or, if you’re impatient like me, you can slip the skin off while it’s hot and burn your fingers a hundred times.
Then I cut the pumpkin into cubes (very mushy cubes) and brainstormed what to do with it. A curry, I thought! I figured a curry would also be a good way to use up a bunch of the CSA veggies that I’m always working to get through. Actually, to be honest I think I used store-bought swiss chard in this curry, and then a few days later got the HUGEST bunch of swiss chard in my CSA share and struggled to use it all up. But bygones. All good curries start with onion, garlic, and ginger. And, ideally, a chili pepper, but I didn’t have one so I skipped it – but I was sad that I did! You want to saute your onions and garlic and ginger until they’re looking really good and translucent, and then add a spice mix. I’m no expert at Indian spice mixes, but I’m starting to get the hang of what you want in them – a bit of turmeric, a bit of cayenne, a lot of cumin, a lot of coriander, some garam masala – all good things to have in there. I think this is basically what I used, and probably added in some cumin seeds as well. Saute the spices with your onions – it will be really dry and gummy, but let them cook for a few minutes, and then add a bit of water or broth to it and scrape up the brown bits from the pot. Then, add some tomatoes.
Basically, once you’ve got the tomatoes in there, you can add all the stuff you want, let it simmer, adjust your seasonings to your taste, and play with it until you’re ready to eat. In this case we threw in some potatoes (which we boiled separately to start) and chick peas, along with the pumpkin and then, in the last moments of cooking, some chopped swiss chard.
It looked pretty much like this, which is to say, glop:
But, you know, glop is basically what I want out of my Indian food – I am fairly sure Paul and I remarked that it was the perfect consistency. You want something that is saucy enough to be good on rice, but not so soupy that it’s, well, soup. This was pretty successful, particularly for a made up recipe. And pumpkin, like all squash really, is a delicious addition to curry.
Lastly, I will just quickly tell you about the potato leek soup I made – the first such soup that I’ve made without an immersion blender, since I no longer have one and absolutely refuse to puree soup in batches in a blender or food processor. I did that once a long time ago, and frankly, it’s not worth the effort.
So, potato leek soup goes like this: you chop up some leek. You saute it in butter, and season them a bit with salt and pepper and whatever else you’d like, such as thyme. Then, you add a bunch of chopped up potatoes, Yukon Golds work best, and that was what came in my CSA (with the leek and the thyme) so that is what I used. Add some water or broth until the potatoes are just covered, and boil away until they’re nice and tender.
When the potatoes were good and tender, I just mashed them with a potato masher, in the pot. Mash away, until desired consistency – it will never be perfectly silky smooth, unless you blend it. But I liked the hearty texture of it – it made it feel more like a meal then when it is pureed.
Once your potatoes are all mashed up, add more liquid until it is the consistency you’d like. I added a bunch of milk, and also some buttermilk, because it seemed like the right thing to do. Adjust your seasonings (i.e. add salt) and serve! Best if topped with grated aged cheddar and alongside some toasty buttery delicious bread.
That’s all for now, but stayed tuned for more catch-up posts in the next couple of days before I create a small feast on Monday for Thanksgiving!