Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Easy peasy pumpkin soup -- and a throw-together spinach salad to die for.

This is what I call a kick-ass autumn supper! It all starts with PUMPKIN -- and the right music to cook by.  Tonight I chose Tim McGraw's, "I like it, I love it, I want some more of it" for obvious reasons.  (Actually, I like to cook to country music because if the pan is sizzling and the exhaust vent is roaring, it doesn't matter if I miss a few words or chords, I can still sing along and make up whatever rhymes.)  And yes, that's fine Corelle china we're eating off of.

The wine I chose to swill while cooking was the bottle in the 'fridge we didn't finish last night.  (Sad, I know.  But that happens as you get older.  Or, hopefully it does...)  Palazzo Della Torre, 2009.  Although I must say, Calvados makes a great aperatif for this meal...  Now, as I'm writing this, I'm sipping Calvados as a digestif.  (If you don't know the difference, google it.) 

I LOVE pumpkin soup and have made numerous variations of it, over the years.  Also squash and carrot soup.  Actually, anything orange.  Orange and green are good colors to eat.  This recipe for pumpkin soup is one of the easiest EVER.    I improvised on it just a little, but it's from the Food Network Magazine, Oct. 2013. 

You can make it after work really quickly -- or you can start it in the morning in the crock pot on LOW.

Simmer one 15- oz can pumpkin, 2 cups chicken broth, 1/2 tsp pumkin pie spice and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup. 
Next, I put this in a small crock pot (1.5 qt. size.) 
A few minutes before serving, add 1/2 c. cream.  If you aren't doing it in the slow cookier, just mix everything together from the get-go. 
Fry up some bacon (and save the grease in a can.  You all DO save your bacon grease in a can, don't you?)
 Chop up a nice tart apple and fry in butter until soft. 

Now, you can either dish up the soup, sprinkle some white cheese of your liking on top, then add the apples and crumbled bacon -- or you can use individual bread boules (you know, those round shaped loaves) and scoop out the middle, heat it in the oven, then fill it with the soup, sprinkle the cheese, then the apples, then the bacon on top and go for it! 

This recipe serves approximately 4. 

For a side dish, I saw I had some nice baby spinach in the crisper.  I got rid of most of the bacon grease (poured it into the grease can -- NOT down the drain), except for a couple of tablespoons.  Into this nice bacon grease I put half an onion, chopped, and a couple handsful of sliced mushrooms.  Sauteed these, then added a splash of apple cider vinegar and a splash of the wine I was drinking. Stirred some more, scraping the good stuff on the bottom of the pan.  Then I added the spinach, right into the cast iron skillet, stirring as it wilted nicely.  After which I added a few slivered sun dried tomatoes, for the color.  (And because I love sundried tomatoes.)  I tossed it all around and dished it up in a Corelle bowl that matches those classic blue and white plates.

Do you know this dinner contains five servings of vegetables -- six, if you count mushrooms?

Singing, "I like it, I love it, I want some more of it!" 

With pumpkin for dinner, who needs dessert?

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