Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pumpkin Soup

Yesterday I baked: orange flavored sugar cookies cut out as pumpkins and decorated with orange icing. I also made the maple spice cake. It looks great. (We'll see how it tastes on Saturday. Living dangerously...)

Tonight I made pumpkin soup and pepper-Parmesan cheese spread (just 8 ounces of cream cheese, about a cup of grated Parmesan, a few dashes of Tabasco, and a spoonful of light cream. Freshly ground black pepper to taste).

Pumpkin Soup

3 tbl. olive oil
1 tbl. butter
~2 tbl. flour
2 cans pureed pumpkin
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, scraped and chopped
4 small garlic cloves, chopped
4 c. chicken stock
2 c. beef stock
2 c. white wine
1 qt. milk
1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbl. lemon juice

For seasoning to taste: Tabasco, Worcester sauce, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper

Prepare the vegetables and saute in the butter and oil until the carrots are almost tender; sprinkle the flour over and stir frequently for several minutes. Pour in the wine slowly, stirring as you do so.

Next, whisk in the stocks. When the soup begins to warm, pour in the milk slowly. Blend again. Add the Parmesan.

Simmer until beginning to bubble at edges, up to an hour over very low heat. Puree (in a blender or with an immersion blender).

Add the lemon juice, and taste for seasoning. You will need quite a bit of salt and Tabasco. If it is still a too sweet, try a few dashes of balsamic vinegar.

Serve very hot, with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Halloween is on its way

So...we're having another Halloween party. Smaller than last year's. In fact, on request. A friend whom we met last December will be having guests next week: her brother and his girlfriend, from France. They're unfamiliar with American Halloween celebrations, and she (the friend) has heard about our parties, and....

I told her we'd have a small gathering. There will be eight or ten all together, and instead of chili this year, we'll be having pumpkin soup. I still have to come up with the recipe, but it will probably be a kind of bisque, very smooth. (I'm going to buy an immersion blender, finally, so as to be able to make this and not deal with cleaning the blender and pureeing hot soup that way.)

There are gingerbread bat sandwich cookies in the freezer--filled with ginger and chocolate, and frosted with more chocolate--and I will be making orange flavored sugar cookies cut out in pumpkin shapes and decorated with an orange icing. The pumpkin bread is already made, and I'm going to make gingerbread or maple spice cake or some other similar thing. I found a recipe for maple spice cake in a 1938 issue of McCall's. It's like gingerbread, but with maple syrup in place of molasses.

Then cheese, raw veggies, and the other usual suspects. We are serving red or white wine and sparkling water.

I'll be wearing (probably) the "daytime" pin-up witch costume from last year, provided that (a) I can find the dress and (b) the damn thing still fits! (I really should stop eating my own baked goods, it's dangerous. Dancing once a week doesn't cut it these days.)

Does anyone else have plans for Halloween? It's on a Saturday this year!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom!

My mother is a terrific person and parent. She taught us independence, caring for others and how to survive. She's intelligent, well-read, interesting to talk with, and I thank God that my sister and I have her.

My father died when we were very small: I was about two, and my sister was six months old. Somehow my mother picked up all the pieces and never dropped them. (And she didn't have an easy time as a child; her father died when she was seven. Her mother was orphaned at 15 and raised her younger brother and sister.)

But we keep going, all of us. And my mother did it without bitterness or "why me?" or any other kind of self-pity. We had food to eat, a roof over our heads, and even some luxuries now and again.

Happy birthday, Mom. I love you very much.

Friday, October 09, 2009

President Obama...and the Nobel Peace Prize

There's still "Hope" as far as I am concerned.

Socks and more

The knitting continues! Now I have two more new pairs of socks. The second is from a UFO I began in January.

Yesterday I started a pair of gloves from "Holiday Knits"; the Vintage Gloves made of an alpaca/silk blend. We'll see how they go. I had to start them 4x, and then the gauge was off, and...we'll see. It's a good learning experience all the same, I've become too accustomed to knitting with wool. In addition, these are the first complete (ie, not fingerless) gloves I've attempted. If they come out as I hope, they'll probably go to my MiL for Christmas.

We're also re-financing the house. It has appreciated considerably in value, too; we had an appraisal as part of the process...the market value is now 2x what we offered for it last year. Our hard work is paying off. (Now if my job search would do the same. To date I've had a whole 3.5 hours of work since March 6.)