Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Maria bakes!

I know. I know. You just keeled over in astonishment.

Well, it was my turn to make dinner tonight and rather than falling back on my old standbys of grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup or scrambled eggs and sausage or oatmeal and fruit...or my absolute worst idea: cocoa puffs and peanut butter toast...

I decided to use up the pumpkins in our garden and make pumpkin soup. And not only did I pull it off...but it was GRAND. I impressed myself.

So..here is another recipe (never thought you would see 2 recipes in one year from me, didja?)

Pumpkin Chipotle Soup

1 small dried chipotle chile
1 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 white onion, chopped
1 apple (the sweeter the better, I use a honey crisp one),peeled, cored, and sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 1/2 cups pumpkin (or one 29 ounce can...but I used the pumpkins in my garden and I always think that fresh is best)
4 1/2 cups vegetable stock (Bing always has stock in the freezer...but I suppose canned would work just fine)
1 teaspoon nutmeg
juice of 1 lime
kosher salt to taste
sour cream
16 cilantro leaves (again...I use herbs from my garden, fresh is just better, so maybe you can pick up some at a farmer's market, if you don't grow your own)

1) In a bowl, cover dried chile with 1 cup of boiling water. Let stand 30 minutes. In a heavy stockpot, heat canola oil on medium-low. Add onion and cook until translucent. Meanwhile, dice chile, removing stem and seeds and reserving liquid. Add chile and apple to the pot and continue cooking about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds more, just until the garlic is fragrant but not browned.
2) Working quickly, add pumpkin, reserved chile water, vegetable stock and nutmeg and increase heat to bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook another 35 minutes.
3) Remove pot from heat and use a hand blender (or food processor) to puree soup until smooth. Squeeze in juice of one lime and salt to taste. Ladle soup into bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream and a few cilantro leaves.

Liv and Bing loved this and I thought it was pretty good too. I didn't make my own rolls, but I suppose if you can multi-task when you cook (I can't, which is why I will never be in charge of Thanksgiving dinner), you could bake some biscuits. I bought a loaf of sourdough bread at the bakery and we sliced that to go with the soup.

At last! Success at baking!

I thought that Bing was going to keel over when she walked into the kitchen and saw me in an apron, standing at the stove and actually stirring the soup. She literally did a double take.

I feel ridiculously proud of myself. My mother would have hooted at me, a woman who regularly cooked for a haying crew of 14 men on hot summer days, but for me, this is big large news.


In other news, I turned down the job at Liv's school but am interviewing on Friday with the school district for the counselor's job. Just to see what is what. Can't hurt to see what is out there.

And if you get the chance, take a gander at this fantastic interview withe Bill Maher. I agree with every word he said. I am tempted to e-mail this article to my sisters, but I seriously doubt that they would even take a look at it. One of my sisters actually believes that sometimes Satan sits on my shoulder and makes me do "very sad things" and believe "very wrong beliefs."

Examples of this would be voting Democrat and sending a quarterly check to Nebraskans for Choice.

Being that wicked is so phenomenally easy for me....

Liv brought home her school pictures today. I am not sure what to do. She looks very odd in them and has a hank of hair hanging over one eyebrow. She isn't even smiling. She looks like someone startled her. I suppose we will end up buying them and then they will sit in the office drawer with her photos from last year. I don't know why I buy these every year, it isn't like we don't take zillions of photos of her on our own.

It has been raining all day and is supposed to rain all day tomorrow too. We turned the boiler on for the first time today. You know how it always smells so dusty the first time you turn on the heat in the Autumn?

But, it will feel so grand to tuck under those covers tonight. I love that feeling of sliding my legs under the covers and drifting off to dreamland.

Autumn is full of good things: pumpkin soup, the first day of heating, chilly fingers when you get into your car, turning on the car's heater and holding your stiff, cold fingers up to the warm air oozing out of the dashboard heater...

What comes to mind when you think of Autumn in your neck of the woods?

Just curious....

And, just to be....bad, I told my sister that I couldn't wait to take Liv to see this.

It warmed the cockles of my heart to see my sister's incredulous face.

I never said that I was nice....


Arial Ray said...

ya gotta love school pictures.

autumn: change, letting go, turning inwards

zirelda said...

Congratulations on your soup Maria!

I actually liked Rach's school pictures this year and she came home saying she wanted retakes. :)


jyankee said...

Isn't that cool! Maria makes soup...but I always knew that despite what you say, there is an inner genious chef inside you! I'm going to try it I think!

MLC said...

Oh you're evil indeed! I want to see the film too.

Pacific Foods makes a delicious roasted red pepper & tomato soup...if you made me a grilled cheese and that soup. Well!

I live on the stuff and grilled cheese -so many cheese/bread combos just call it a panini and you're a gourmet cook.


Terroni said...

Oh, definitely buy them. That collection of really odd looking school photos will be priceless comic relief for her one day.

Someone from high school sent me a group photo earlier this week. There we all were, brooding in our denim shirts. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.

And don't get me started on my 6th grade school portrait. When they say "there's such a thing as too much of a good thing," they may be referring to the curling iron and hairspray in that portrait.

Skeeter said...

Dunno about this one dear. Punkin and the Chilis feels more like a rock band name than a dish to me. Well, the punkin bread was such a good idea that I might give in and try.

Best wishes,


C-Marie said...

Sounds like me when I pull off something that is extremely delish in the kitchen. I can cook but in NOT in that creative, all so yummy way. The soup sounds wonderful - I think I might give it a try. (croos yer fingers fer me!)

I can't really pinpoint what comes to my mind as we approach the fall season. A quaint fire in the fireplace, the smell of burning wood, jumping in the leaves and of course, as many pics as I can get of all the spectacular colors!

Gypsy said...

Maira...there's hope for me yet.....

Chris said...

fall = big pots of stew and chili and chicken and rice soup aromas wafting through my still open windows while I'm outside raking leaves and relishing in the fact it isn't 102 degrees.

School pictures - I feel the same way. The Boy went from looking like a little angel in his school photos to looking...well, weird. And do they not pass out little disposable combs anymore on picture day? They must not since last year's looked like he had just crawled out of bed.

As for the pumpkin soup, FROM SCRATCH, color me impressed. I've never had pumpkin served in a savory dish, but your recipe sounds good!

Jill said...

Well, well, well! Color me impressed! That soup sounds fantastic. It's too bad Hubbz would never come near a bowl of it. Maybe invite me over for dinner next time you make it? Yeah, that'll work!

Snooker said...

For me Autumn means crinkling leaves of fantastic colors both on the trees and underfoot. What could be better?

mcCutcheon said...

Autumn in Vienna.. for me it's mostly the smell - if it smells only slightly of autumn I go all gooey inside :)

The sound of rain makes me fall asleep at night, and I like sitting at the desk with the table lamp on because it's getting dark so early. And behind me the bookshelves are making cozy crackling sounds because the heating systems runs by them and makes the wood move.

I love that when I open the window in autumn actual fresh air comes in and not the stuffy warm heat of summer and that I get to wear sweaters and light jackets outside (I'm a huge fan of jackets, I really don't know why). I like burying my hands in my pockets when I'm walking outside, pulling my shoulders up a bit, some kind of autumny music streaming from my headphones, smelling the fresh air and coming home to a warm apartment.

What with living in the city I tend to cherish every single tree I see that has gone golden/red... autumn is by far the best time of year.

Scout said...

The soup sounds great, Maria! I'll print it out and give it a try.

School pictures are torturous.

dive said...

Boy howdy, I am SO going to make this, Maria!

And thanks for the Bill Maher link. I'd not heard of Mother Jones until your comment yesterday and I'm already a big fan.

LostInColor said...

Very nice job with the meal!! You can cook!

Angelissima said...

Autumn = blue, blue sky. brilliant color and that special way the air smells.

My son's photos were really horrid this year, his hair was out of control! Luckily, we have a retake day...lol

The soup sounds cozy!

Miss Healthypants said...

LOL! You are evil--and I love it! :)

I really want to see that movie, too.

As for Autumn? It makes me think of beautiful leaves and a nip in the air and the taste of hot apple cider on a cool day...just lovely... :)

It also makes me think of my cat. (Her name is Autumn. :) )