Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Passion For Pumpkin

Pumpkin "procurement" at Earthbound Farms farmstand in Carmel Valley

Originally intended in celebration of Halloween, this post never made it beyond thoughts in my head amidst an overscheduled week that taxed my time and energy (a week filled with many great activities and experiences, but too much happening all at once.)  Thank goodness pumpkins are in season through Thanksgiving, not only so I can still write this post without feeling tardy and inappropriate, but also, so those of us who love pumpkins can continue to enjoy their delightful “personalities” and delicious flavors!

Yes, I am passionate about pumpkins, an enthusiastic fan of these shapely, tasty orbs!  I find inspiration in all shapes and sizes displaying their bright shades of orange, the lovely cream-colored pumpkins, the “warty” varieties and other varieties of winter squash and curvaceous gourds. 
Impressive display of jack o'lanterns while trick or treating
(far less impressive snapshot, though...sorry!)
Just as a jack o’lantern is illuminated, pumpkin inspiration has illuminated...
fall decorations around our house,
My favorite Halloween decoration "scored" at a rummage sale years ago

notecards I've been designing,
My latest Plumeria Papercraft pumpkin designs
a craft project for our daughter’s classroom Halloween party,

First time I followed through on one of my Pinterest pins!
I simplified a paper pumpkin tutorial from
for our daughter's classroom Halloween party craft project.
the soup I concocted for a Halloween potluck with friends (I’ve shared in past posts about creativity becoming a more frequent ingredient in my cooking!) and other foods I’m eating and beverages I’m drinking – pumpkin waffles, pumpkin yogurt, pumpkin rooibos tea, pumpkin snacks, pumpkin snickerdoodles, pumpkin ice cream.  I'm craving, but haven't yet savored a pumpkin spice latte.  Mmmm…pumpkin!

Are you a fellow pumpkin lover?  Please share your pumpkin inspirations and indulgences!
As for my latest soup recipe, I perused several pumpkin soup recipes online and in our cookbooks here at home for inspiration and guidance on a sense of balance between ingredients, then created my own version based on flavors our family enjoys and those I thought would offer the broadest appeal at the Halloween potluck.

"A Passion For Pumpkin" Soup
4 tbsp butter
1 small to medium onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans of organic pumpkin (I didn't have time to roast my own)
4 cups of chicken broth
2 tsp of brown sugar
Dried thyme to taste
Ground allspice to taste
Ground cinnamon to taste
2-3 medium tomatoes, diced
1 cup roasted corn (I used frozen fro Trader Joe's)
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
Melt butter on medium heat in soup pot.  Saute onion and garlic in butter (with a pinch of salt) until softened.  Add pumpkin and chicken broth, well mixed.  Add brown sugar, thyme, allspice and cinnamon (I used slightly less than 1 tsp of thyme and slightly less than 1/4 tsp each of allspice and cinnamon.)  Simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Add tomato and corn.  Simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Add cream or half and half and gently bring to temperature.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Enjoy!