Pumpkin Eater

2 Nov

The Boy and I pulled a Fergus Henderson on a pumpkin this weekend and indulged in some real stem to blossom-end eating.

Through My Window

We butchered a very large cheese pumpkin, then we gutted it. While the pumpkin parts roasted in the oven, I sorted through the pumpkin’s innards for the seeds. After a quick wash, the seeds went into a pot of salted, boiling water for 10 minutes, were drained, tossed with salt and olive oil and slipped into the oven to roast at 350°F for 15-20 minutes until golden-brown and delicious. The seeds got a mahogany coating of three peppers, a la the pepitas from the lost and mourned for East Village restaurant Uovo.

And that was the extent of my involvement in the evening’s meal. I washed my hands and left the kitchen while the Boy carried on.


It was lovely.

He scooped pumpkin flesh and sautéed onions while I propped my feet up on the ottoman and finished a disturbing and silly novel (I have a new back of cover rule, any books described with the words “gothic” “chilling” and “passion” are now verboten).

The Boy and his family celebrate what they like to call “Western Orthodox Christmas,” that is, Christmas in November in Colorado. They’re a busy family, spread out over a few states, who find it hard (and expensive) to get together exactly on December 25th, so they do the best they can.

A few years ago the Boy’s mom gave him a funny Western Orthodox Christmas present; a hand blender and a recipe.

3 More Peppers

At the time, he and I had been together a little while and were only just beginning to cook together in earnest. I guess it showed, though. His conversations with his mother were peppered with culinary allusions which, being a good mom, she picked up on. So she thought she would share her latest obsession with her newly minted foodie son: puréed soups.

The recipe is simple: sautée aromatics, add something delicious like potatoes, squash or root vege, season with fun spices, purée, add a little dairy, eat. The Boy has become the soupmaster of the house. His creations are always inventive, exciting and, best of all, delicious.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

So when he suggested he make a spicy pumpkin soup as a way to celebrate the season and use up the three surprise peppers that grew on my plant after we thought it was done, I couldn’t have been happier. I’d get a day off and a delicious dinner. Who’s the luckiest girl in the world?

I must say, it was hard to keep myself out of the kitchen. I kept piping up, “Did you put Pimenton de la Vera in there? It smells smoky?” To which he’d reply, “Yep.” At which I whined, “But I was hoping to taste the pure flavor of the peppers!” To which he replied with silence. I kept trying to remember the marvelous quip from Judith Jones in the Times a few weeks ago:

When your husband is enjoying himself in the kitchen, keep your mouth shut even if you could do better.

I find it applicable to boyfriends as well.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup with Homemade Creme Fraiche and Three-Pepper Pepitas

I can’t tell you his exact recipe, but I do know he flavored the soup with the aforementioned smoky paprika, ground cloves and just a hint of dried mustard. Garnished with some crème fraîche we made (which oddly enough turned out lumpy) along with the pepitas and leftover breadcrumbs from my beloved kale salad, it was a delicious, seasonal and relaxing dinner.

It was even better as leftovers a few nights later. Especially when we remembered to add some frozen corn I had saved from an aborted July 4th party.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup with Homemade Creme Fraiche and Three-Pepper Pepitas

So ladies, it’s November now. Want a night off? Go out and buy your man an immersion blender. When he asks why, tell him it’s a Western Orthodox Christmas present.

Then sit back, put your feet up, read a trashy novel, feign abhorrence while discussing the book over a delicious dinner, oohing, aahing and feigning nothing.

Happy weekend!

13 Responses to “Pumpkin Eater”

  1. Jennifer Hess November 2, 2007 at 9:42 am #

    It’s nice to have a night off now and again, isn’t it? That soup sounds delicious, and the pepitas sound positively addictive.

  2. Lydia November 2, 2007 at 1:23 pm #

    I always keep my mouth shut when my hubby offers to cook. Now, if only he were a soup master….

  3. mary November 2, 2007 at 1:29 pm #

    I, too, practice the mouth zipping technique when my husband is in the kitchen to good effect. I also make a weekly menu and post it on the fridge making sure to always include a couple of things that he knows how to make – if I get home late on the appointed night, he can get started before I show up, but I didn’t teach him that trick, his mother did, bless her.

  4. izzy's mama November 2, 2007 at 10:39 pm #

    At one time, back when he was my boyfriend, Izzy’s Papa did cook for me. I would come home from school late at night to find something fragrant simmering on the stove. Those were the days. He is a great, intuitive cook.

    Sadly he rarely gets near the kitchen, except to eat, since he is either working or traveling for work. So appreciate those meals you are getting.. I miss mine!

  5. Susan in Italy November 3, 2007 at 12:10 pm #

    That soup sounds sooo good and how great to eat it after a nice trashy novel reading session. I’ve got to get me some zucca from the market now!

  6. ann November 3, 2007 at 5:36 pm #

    Jenn — They’re great! I highly recommend trying them if you’re a snacky type. Aren’t men great? Just another reason to have them in our lives :-)

    Lydia — Funny! I bet you could train him ;-) Get him an immersion blender as a Western Orthodox Christmas present!

    Mary — Wow! That’s a great idea! I’m such a bad planner though, and too wont to changing my mind on a whim. I bet I’d never be able to stick by something like that.

    Izzy’s Mama — I know, I do!

    Susan — Don’t you just love trashy novels :-)

  7. Kerosena November 5, 2007 at 9:32 am #

    What a great post. I’m really enjoying your blog!

  8. s'kat November 5, 2007 at 9:51 am #

    That looks practically perfect in every way! I missed out on the pumpkin seeds this year, unfortch.

    And everyone needs to kick back with a trashy novel every now and then.

  9. izzy's mama November 6, 2007 at 8:12 pm #

    What is the secret with those pumpkin seeds? I haven’t had homemade ones since I was a kid. I tried your recipe but they didn’t seem quite right..Do you eat the whole thing shell and all? It seemed kind of tough that way but Izzy seemed to like it. I was wondering if they needed to be toasted until very crispy. Also the seed seemed a tad soggy..any advice?

  10. Rachael November 6, 2007 at 10:14 pm #

    Soupmaster…I love it!

    Okay, totally unrelated to this (fab) post. I only learned yesterday that a Granny Cart is a real thing. I sincerly thought you had come up with the funniest, most random blog name ever…and yet, it actually makes sense! Like, a loaf of bread in every trolley! OR…a bunch of radishes in every basket. See? I get it now!

    I cannot stop laughing at how dopey I was and had to share!

    I hope I wasnt alone! LOL…

  11. ann November 7, 2007 at 7:48 am #

    Kerosena — Thanks, that’s a nice compliment :-)

    s’kat — There’s still time for pepitas! Just like there’s always still time for trashy novels!

    Izzy’s Mama — Hmmmmm…. When I baked mine I let them go until they were very golden and even a little bit puffy, so maybe that’s the secret. They were a little bit chewy, but I thought that was normal. My mom’s were always like that… I’m really glad Izzy liked them at least!

    Rachael — Oh my, that is hilarious! I suppose in the land of car culture there wouldn’t be much need for granny carts, huh? Too funny!

    There’s more to it however, the name is based on a campaign promise attributed to Herbert Hoover where he is said to have said that there should be a car in every American’s garage and a chicken in every pot. Deep, right? ;-)

  12. izzy's mama November 7, 2007 at 3:25 pm #

    I am busy with pumpkin seeds, take two..And even though I didn’t love the first batch, they did start to grow on me and Izzy helped me finish them. I plan to blog about the results..

  13. Rachael January 8, 2008 at 1:53 pm #

    LMAO. That Hoover…what a giver.

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