Sunday, November 30, 2003

Pumpkin Soup

So you buy this pie pumpkin from the grocery store on a whim, right? You've been cooking squash (dead easy), so you should have the hang of this, but you're a little nervous about roasting up a pumpkin. Don't be. Super easy, even for a loser like you.

Pre-heat oven to 425°. Cut pumpkin into quarters and cut out/scoop out with hands most of the goop and all of the seeds. Wrap each quarter of the 'kin with tin foil so that it folds over at the top, like a little sealed pouch. Before you do that, though, put a healthy pat of butter in the bowl of the quarter. You can also take a bit of any of the following and dust the surface of the flesh before sealing: lemon pepper, garlic powder, allspice, or cinnamon.

Place the foil-wrapped quarters onto a cookie sheet, and slide into the super-hot oven. Set that timer for 45 minutes.

When the timer goes off, carefully pry open one of the foil pouches and give the 'kin a good poke with a fork or spoon. The flesh of the squash should be fairly soft, and considerably darker than when it was raw. Ideally, you should be able to scoop out the flesh with a regular spoon without difficulty. If it's not done after 45, keep on re-admitting the pumpkin to the fiery depths of your stove in ten minute increments until it's done. When you've achieved this, set the cookie sheet to cool for a few minutes, so you're not burning yourself with steaming hot lemon pepper butter mush.

Scoop as much as you can from each rind into a largish bowl. Get out a potato masher, or, if you're a true loser, the biggest fork you can find. Mush that stuff as smooth as possible. If you're a faux loser, get out the stick blender and make that stuff a gorgeous orange puree. Add enough chicken broth/water to make it a soupy consistency, and transfer this all to a pot where you'll have it on "Low." Stir the goop as you slowly add stuff like: salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, allspice, cinnamon, sugar. Do this to taste: I made mine a bit savory, but that's because I can't make my brain understand sweet soups, really.

Right before you're ready to serve/consume, add a small container of either half and half, or heavy whipping cream. Turn off heat, so you don't scald the cream, and serve.

I got a bit jiggy wid it and added half of a green apple, diced into little tiny pieces. It gave the soup a tart sweetness to remind you of pie, but it was definitely a savory soup.

Don't be afraid to add lots of seasonings - pumpkin can be pretty damn boring on its own. It's only when you add all the flavorings that you start getting that recognizable pie thing going on. I put two cinnamon sticks into the pot so that they would soak up moisture and then continue to season the leftovers as they sit in the fridge.

10:13 PM 0 comments
Monday, November 17, 2003

"pasta con brocolli":
1. look through your fridge. find that all you have is half an onion and a stalk of brocolli. also, you have some condiments.

2. smell the onion and realize that it reaks. more than onions are supposed to. throw the half onion away. get the brocolli out of the fridge.

3. look in the freezer. find that all you have are five supermarket brand, frozen pizzas. pull out a frozen pizza.

4. turn the oven on at 425 degrees. you don't need to look at the pizza instructions to know the cooking temperature. pizza is the only thing that you know how to cook in an oven, so that's the only oven temperature that you've ever used. and you eat so many of these frozen pizzas that you have memorized the instructions.

5. wash and break apart the brocolli. snap the stems so that your large brocolli tree becomes several small brocolli trees. put them on the pizza.

6. put the pizza in the oven. if you have a timer, set it for about 15 minutes. or you can do the smell test. when you can smell the pizza from where you are watching tv, it is done. if it isn't done, it won't particularly matter. because you are a starving bachelor who will eat anything and who no longer is concerned with things like adequate cooking or spending the rest of your life in a loveless and meaningless existence. all you hope for, besides a decently cooked pasta con brocolli every once in a while, is that, when you die alone in your apartment, you will have had the foresight to put some pants on beforehand.

7. once the pizza is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool for a while. garnish with whatever you have lying around that you think might be good on it. garlic salt and/or hot sauce seem to work well.

8. once the pizza is cooled, take it and sit down in your folding beach chair that you have in the living room because you needed some kind of seating to replace the couch your roommate took with him when he moved out. pick up the entire pizza and eat it without cutting it at all. normally, you could have cut it into slices. but your roommate that moved out owned the pizza cutter, in addition to all of the knives.

9. use your lap as your dinner table and try to think of ways to rationalize to yourself why it would be acceptible to be as excited as you are about the recent introduction of the speed channel and tech tv to your cable tv lineup.

10. realize that there is no way to justify such a thing. console yourself with the notion that eating so much of this "pasta con brocolli" on a regular basis will surely shorten your lifespan and put a mercifully early end to this farce that you call your personal life.

8:57 AM 0 comments