November 9, 2013 archive

What’s Cooking: Pumpkin Soup

Republished from October 17, 2012

Pumpkin SoupYes, I’m on a pumpkin kick but the the sweet, small “pie” pumpkins have been plentiful in the market this year and I found an easy way to roast them. But, is your lacking time, canned pumpkin works just as well. My favorite is Libby’s which can be found in most grocery stores year round and you cannot beat the pie recipe in the label.

So let’s start with picking the pumpkin. Pie pumpkins are small, about 8 inches in diameter and yield about two to three cups of puree per pumpkin. Like picking any squash, look for one that is firm, no bruises or soft spots, and a good orange color.

To bake the pumpkin: This method from The Pioneer Woman works amazingly well, except don’t cut up the pumpkin. I found it easier to clean the “guts” out after the pumpkin was cooked.

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place the washed and dried whole pumpkin on a cookie sheet. No need to cut the top off of cut it into chunks.
  • Place in the oven for about an hour. Remove and let cool.
  • Cut the cooled pumpkins into quarters and with a spoon, gently separate the pulp and seeds from the flesh. If there’s a little of the stringy pulp left, don’t worry, it won’t hurt.
  • Gently scrape the flesh from the skin with a spoon or a knife.
  • Place the gooey flesh in a food processor and pulse until smooth. A potato masher, food mill, hand-held immersion blender or a ricer work well, too.
  • As I said, you should have about 2 to 3 cups of puree per pumpkin.

    Now you’re ready to make soup. I’ve tried various recipes and ended up with my own version.


  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 4 cup unsalted vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup light cream, or half and half
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • In a large sauce pan, heat 1/4 cup of vegetable broth over medium heat. Add the chop onion, and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add more broth if needed, do not let the onion dry out.

    Add the remaining broth, pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the cream and cook until hot. Don’t boil.

    Ladle into warmed individual bowls and garnish with black pepper. Serve immediately.

    I serve the soup garnished with parsley and toasted pumpkin seeds, shredded Gruyere, croutons, chopped green onions and sour cream on the side.


    On This Day In History November 9

    Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

    This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

    Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

    November 9 is the 313th day of the year (314th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 52 days remaining until the end of the year.

    On this day in 1872, fire rips through Boston. The Great Boston Fire was Boston’s largest urban fire and still one of the most costly fire-related property losses in American history. The conflagration began at 7:20 p.m. on November 9, 1872, in the basement of a commercial warehouse at 83-87 Summer Street in Boston, Massachusetts. The fire was finally contained twelve hours later, after it had consumed about 65 acres of Boston’s downtown, 776 buildings, and much of the financial district and caused $73.5 million in damage. At least twenty people are known to have died in the fire.

    In the aftermath, the city established an entirely new system of firefighting and prevention. The fire also led to the creation of Boston’s financial district.

    The fire began in the basement of a warehouse at the corner of Kingston and Summer streets. At the time, this area of the city contained a mix of residences and light industry. Its buildings and most area roofs were made mainly of wood, allowing the blaze to spread quickly as the wind blew red hot embers from rooftop to rooftop. In addition, as Boston streets were narrow, large flames from one structure could literally leap across them to nearby buildings.

    Firefighting units from Maine to New Haven, Connecticut, arrived to help, but efforts to fight the fire were plagued by difficulties. There was not enough water on hand to get the fire under control; the hydrant system did not work well because much of the equipment was not standardized; and even when firefighters got their hands on an adequate supply of water, the height of the buildings and the narrowness of the streets made it difficult to direct the water at the blaze from the optimum angle. Because a local equine epidemic had struck the city fire department’s horses, it was difficult to get the fire engines to the correct locations at the right times. In addition, some of the efforts were counter-productive. Explosions were used to attempt fire breaks, but this high-risk strategy was not executed with enough precision and served only to further spread the fire.

    The fire was finally stopped at the doors of Fanueil Hall the following morning, but it had already destroyed much of the downtown area. Boston’s officials realized that their fire-prevention efforts had been ineffective and, in the aftermath of the disaster, began to revise and strengthen all of the city’s fire laws and regulations. An inspection system was instituted and the local fire departments began to coordinate their efforts.

    Late Night Karaoke

    Friday Night at the Movies

    “God didn’t make garbage.”

    Leahnora Isaak identifies as a transsexual woman.  She is also a Mormon.  She is attempting to gain recognition from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints so that she can live her life…inlcuding worship…as a woman.  She says she will be filing a formal request in the next couple of weeks.

    Leahnora says she was born without external genitals, but she was given testosterone treatments as a child and was raised as a boy.  She later married and raised a family in Ohio.

    Her local stake (an assembly of local churches) has been supportive.  Church leaders have met with fellow members to help them cope with Leahnora’s transition.

    I want happiness.  I want companionship.  And I want to live the gospel.  That’s what I want.  And I want this equal for everybody.  I want people to celebrate who I am.  Because I’m not ashamed of who I am.

    –Leahnora Isaak