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for the love of gourd





i'm a big fan of halloween (surprised?). there's something about the absurd blending of happiness and horror that appeals to me. when i was younger, i got more worked up about costumes and traipsing around as dusk crumbled into evening than i did about christmas, with its promise of gifts and food. (actually, i still do.)

it helps that it takes place in the autumn, which is already my favourite season.

it also helps that for one tiny sliver of time, the attention of the world is suddenly focused on the lowly pumpkin, normally an also-ran of the gourd sweepstakes.

of course, pumpkins sold at this time of year are generally used only for decoration (and what decoration). what gets neglected is that the pumpkin is actually flavourful and makes a tasty addition to a variety of recipes- NOT JUST PIE.

i understand that difficulties in preparing pumpkin dishes. given their size, storing, chopping up and cooking a pumpkin is a serious endeavour, to say nothing of a messy one. however, if, like me, you lack space and time, this also happens to be the only time of the year when unsweetened, canned pumpkin is readily available. the pie filling stuff is pretty easy to find at any time, but convenient cans of pre-mashed, low-mess pumpkin are trickier to locate.

but, in keeping with the pumpkin-mania of the season, the cans appear like goblins coming up to halloween.

flavour-wise, the pumpkin is somewhat milder and less sweet than other orange gourds (like acorn squash, probably its closest comparison). this makes it very adaptable to a variety of recipes. here's one i made up...

ingredients

2 cups vegetable broth
3-4 good sized shallots, finely chopped
1 can of pure, unsweetened pumpkin
margarine/ cooking oil
1/4 cup sherry
1/2 cup orange juice
spices (portion as you like- i don't dictate this stuff):
garlic
ginger (lots)
dried mustard
mace
allspice
nutmeg
ground cloves
cayenne
cinnamon
brown sugar (preferably demerara)

heat the oil, margarine or butter in a stock pot and fry the shallots until they become soft. add the spices (except the sugar) and continue stirring to make sure they are mixed. when the shallots are very soft, add the sherry and continue to heat for a few minutes. add the pumpkin and fold in the shallot/ spice mixture until well blended. add the brown sugar, orange juice and broth and allow to heat through, uncovered (stir frequently) until the soup starts to bubble.

note: if finding little bits of shallot in your soup is going to make you crazy, puree the soup in a blender once it's cooled.

may the great pumpkin bless your dinner table!

Comments

as long as you're here, why not read more?

jihadvertising?

i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:



am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

making faces :: hot stuff, comin' through

i don't even know what to say about the weather. the end of september saw temperatures at a scalding 36c/ 97f outside. this is especially annoying because we've had a moderate summer. most days it rained a little in the morning, the temperatures didn't creep into the 30s too often and there wasn't the normal stretch of a few weeks when it felt like we were living on the sun. now, we've receded into more normal fall weather, although it's still on the warm side for mid-october. that climate change thing is a bitch.

trying to think of something positive in the situation, it does put me in a perfect frame of mind to write about urban decay's naked heat palette. it's the latest in what appears to be an endless series of warm neutral and red eyeshadow palettes that have followed in the footsteps of anastasia's modern renaissance. [which i ultimately decided i didn't need after doing a thorough search of my considerable stash.] i do think that it'…

i agree, smedley [or, smokers totally saved our planet in 1983]

so this conversation happened [via text, so i have evidence and possibly so does the canadian government and the nsa].

dom and i were trying to settle our mutual nerves about tomorrow night's conversion screening, remembering that we've made a fine little film that people should see. which is just about exactly what dom had said when i responded thusly:

me :: i agree smedley. [pauses for a moment] did you get that here?

dom :: no?

me :: the aliens who were looking at earth and then decided it wasn't worth bothering with because people smoked even though it was bad for them?
come to think of it, that might mean that smokers prevented an alien invasion in the seventies.

dom :: what ?!?!?

me :: i've had wine and very little food. [pause] but the alien thing was real. [pause.] well, real on tv.

dom :: please eat something.

of course, i was wrong. the ad in question ran in 1983. this is the part where i would triumphantly embed the ad from youtube, except that the governmen…