Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fall Soup & Swine Flu

We spent most of the late summer and fall traveling. We went to Chicago, NYC, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Province Town. Out of 9 weekend, we were in our home relaxing for exactly 1! (This is probably also part of the reason why I haven't blogged as much as I would have liked.) We visited friends and family and had a fantastic time in all our jet setting.

Our last trip was to PA to visit my sister, brother-in-law and youngest nephew, Taylor. It was a great trip that included a Pearl Jam concert, a trip to the local farmers market and introducing my nephew to the spoon.

It also included picking up my first Food & Wine magazine since my subscription ended earlier in the year. It was the Thanksgiving issue, which is my all time favorite issue of any food magazine. You have to expect food magazines to go all out for Turkey Day. It is after all the holiday for which they are written. I find that if I get the November issues of Food & Wine and Real Simple each year, I can be kept cooking through most of the winter.

This year, interestingly enough, it wasn't one recipe that inspired me. It was all the great recipes with squash, sweet potato, leeks, and cauliflower that had be drooling and I didn't want to make each one, I wanted them all....NOW! So I made up my own.

I roasted cauliflower, butternut squash, carrots, parsnips and sweet potatoes in the oven for about 50 minutes. I could have eaten these as is, but instead I threw them into the food processor with some chicken broth and blended them until smooth.

I then sautéed onions, leeks and celery for 5 minutes before adding the pureed winter vegetables and a box and a half of chicken stock. I added about 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger, some nutmeg and let this simmer for 20 minutes. I topped it with some fresh parsley and roasted pumpkin seeds.

The result was a fantastic winter soup that was hearty and earthy. It carried Jared and I though the following week where we were both home from work for 4 days with the swine flu. I would recommend staying away from the flu and making some version of this soup!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Labor Day & Lobster

For the third year in a row, Jared and I celebrated our anniversary in NH with lobster. We were a couple weeks late this year (Labor Day) and accompanied by friends, but it made the occasion all that much more special.

I can't tell you what else we ate, but I know it was fabulous because we were there with Jillian, Ari, Ben and Hana, four of my favorite foodies. As a result, I also can't share any recipes with you. However, I can share this wonderful photo which makes me happy every time I see it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Inspiration in the Bottom of a Pumpkin!

Jared and I were home the weekend before Halloween and had a rare Saturday night at home. We made what I am sure was a fantastic dinner although I can't remember what we had, and carved us some pumpkins. Amid the messy gore that resulted we decided to roast our own pumpkin seeds. Photos happened and all of a sudden I was inspired to start blogging about food again.

It's not that I haven't been cooking in the 5 months that I last posted. I have cooked dinners for friends and brunches for family that were 100% blog worthy! I have even taken photos of some. It's just that on the evenings when I could have been writing about my adventures in the kitchen, I was generally curled up with my Kindle reading away. I have finally found my way out of reading what looks like more than 40 books (according to my Amazon account) and back to my blog.

I am going to boast and tell you how proud I was of our pumpkins. I did the two small ones, and Jared was responsible for the big one. I thought they were all unique and beautiful, however our pumpkin seeds were the perfect combination of crunch and salt and totally out did the pumpkins from which they came.

Making the seeds was easier than I thought. If you can believe it, we actually looked it up online to check. After the slightly painful sorting of the seeds (to remove all the pulpy innards) we boiled them for 10 minutes in some super salty water. I didn't think this was how my Mom used to make them, but the interweb told us to and when has it ever been wrong before?

Once the seeds were boiled, we spread them on a cookie sheet that had been well oiled. They went into the oven at 400 degrees until they started to turn brown. You know that was a nerve wracking 20 minutes. I mean how awful to go through all the pulp sorting to burn the seeds just as you were about to be able to pig out on all their crunchy goodness!!

In any case, we saved them from a burnt ending and then salted to perfection and chowed down. My only warning (besides watching them carefully while they are in the oven) is that pumpkin seeds have more fiber than you would think....