This is truly the best time of the year in my little corner of the world. If you live out in farm country like I do, everything is in season right now, so everything is fresh and readily available at the local farm stand. This includes ginormous boxes of stewing tomatoes for next to nothing. We scored a beer-case of them from Hopkins Produce for about $10. So this long Labor Day weekend was stewing tomatoes weekend.Read More
We first started seeing fresh pumpkin for sale at the beginning of the month when we were in Wisconsin. At the time, we thought little of it - they have a different growing season than we do here in Maryland, and this seemed about the right time for the squash in that part of the country. But, when we were out procuring food items this weekend and saw them all over the place out here, we rejoiced, for pumpkin season has arrived in Maryland. We stopped by Hopkins Produce on Route 155 and picked up a couple of small but attractive pumpkins and created our first pumpkin meal of what will hopefully be a plentiful season.Read More
Honestly, one of the best parts of my life is being able to share it with someone who punctuates it with really good food. Because I live with a cook, I can actually get away with doing things like spending the weekly grocery budget on a medley of game birds ordered off the internet. What we got for our $100 (including shipping) was:
- 1 pheasant
- 4 quail
- 1 guinea hen
- 2 squab
The day was a perfect balance of summer's warmth and fall's dry, crisp air. While my counterpart put a pot of chicken thighs on to stock, I paid a visit to my local pumpkin patch. I found one of those rare, perfectly round pumpkins that seemed to call out to me, whispering "Hey, hey, over here" as I wandered through. And it turned out to be a real beauty.Read More
The days are getting shorter. The farmer's markets are winding down. The shadows grow long in the afternoon as the air cools and summer's brightness wanes. When we were still an agrarian culture and lived among our food, this was the middle of the harvest, and the very end of the growing season. We began preparing for winter, when our diets inevitably, necessarily changed from fresh produce to dried and preserved fruits, pickled and stewed vegetables, nuts and legumes and other foods that store well for months at a time.Read More
Today is the first day of October, and while the vernal first day of autumn was a week ago, today it is indeed autumn in earnest at a slightly chilly 50 degrees and just barely sunny. My counterpart and I spent the day in the kitchen working on an appropriately seasonal meal involving pumpkin and game. The game was rabbit in pear reduction with mushrooms and creamed leeks plus pate on the side. The pumpkin was one of the simplest and most satisfying soups ever.
First, you need a fresh pumpkin.
Go to your local pumpkin patch - there are a lot of them selling this time of year.
Pumpkins this size will give you enough for soup and still have some left over for pie.
You will also need a 5-pound roasting chicken.
Quarter the chicken and place in it a large pot of water to stock.
Wash the pumpkin, cut it into quarters and remove the seeds.
Roast on the center rack of a 365-degree oven for about 90 minutes.
Then set aside to cool.
Add some onion and leek to your chicken stock.
When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, strain your stock.
Return it to the pot and add some curry and white pepper.
Skin half of the pumpkin, cut into large chunks, and add to the seasoned chicken stock.
Add just a little heavy cream - a couple of tablespoons is about enough.
Use an immersion blender to smooth it out.
Taste it and add more of whatever you think is missing.
If you add more pumpkin, use the blender again.
Add a couple of dried chilis - you can find these at Latino, Asian or Indian grocery stores- and let the whole thing simmer for about 45 minutes.
Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche.