Yes, I know, I know, enough with the pumpkin already.
Before you continue with your inaudible web whining, you should know that this one was for a good cause. Last month I saw a tweet from Ryan asking if any food bloggers were interested in receiving a food box from Good Food Box Ottawa.
Here’s an excerpt from their website to tell you more about the program:
We are a non-profit community-based initiative bringing neighbours together to buy a variety of delicious and nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables at wholesale prices. Our goal is to purchase food that is in season and is grown as close to home as possible.
Pretty rad, huh? Good Food Box is an especially good program for students, and I’ve heard of people splitting one of the large boxes with their roommates. The program has pick-up locations on both the Carleton and University of Ottawa campuses, which means you can avoid a produce run to the grocery store. Does it get much better than that?
Why yes, yes it does. The boxes can be easily bought online and the produce contained within each varies based on the time of year. Access to fresh food has never been easier. The normal boxes run from $10 to $20 and there’s a $5 fruit bag and $25 organic box as well.
Now, as you can imagine, I quickly messaged Ryan back and requested a Good Food Box of my own. After a slight mishap in which I picked up the box a few days late (I have scattered mind/scattered calendar syndrome), I made it home and examined my options. Since I plan on making a few more recipes with what was in my box, I won’t reveal all the goodies just yet.
I will, however, tell you that I made quick use of the pumpkin and apples (speaking of which, I looked only slightly ridiculous carrying a baby pumpkin across campus last night). I have been wanting to make a recipe like this since last October and had just never gotten around to it, so my Good Food Box gave me the perfect opportunity. After searching a few of my favourite recipe source sites (Canadian Living, Tastespotting) to get inspired, I decided to create a soup of my own.
But first, the preparation. Like I said in my previous blog post, it is completely against a pumpkin’s nature to want to be peeled. You think I would have learned better, but alas I did not. The difficulty it gave me was worth it, and the roasted pumpkin came out smelling and looking like a delicious cross between butternut squash and sweet potatoes.
The soup turned out great and I garnished it with a few seasoned pumpkin seeds that my roommate had made earlier in the week. They had cinnamon, salt and nutmeg on them, and added a crunchy surprise to the top of the soup. A pie in soup form. Awesome.
The sunny afternoon meant that I needed to crane my body over my meal setting in order to take pictures that weren’t harshly lit. I was out on the front patio for so long that (a) I had to reheat my soup after the photo shoot, and (b) I attracted the most annoying cat EVER. The little grey feline refused to leave, and insisted on brushing coyly up against my leg, eyes flickering towards my open dish of pumpkin seeds. You shall not induce my allergies today, punk. After much shooing and jumping about on the deck as though there was an earthquake, kitty retreated, choosing to sit instead at the end of our front path.
Back to the soup: Of course, it is required that you serve such a meal in a pumpkin. Even if you cheat and keep the actual liquid in a bowl (I won’t tell if you don’t).
I can’t wait to decide what to make next with my Good Food Box finds. Hint: it will likely involve cranberries.
PS: don’t you just love it when your house has random planks of wood and bricks lying around that are perfect for food photo shoots?
Recipe: Pumpkin apple soup
– 1/2 small pumpkin, peeled, diced and roasted
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 1 onion, diced
– 1 apple (I use Macintosh), unpeeled and diced
– 1 clove garlic
– 1/4 tsp nutmeg
– 1/2 tsp dried thyme
– 3 cups vegetable stock
– 2/3 cup sweetened apple sauce
– 1 cup pumpkin puree (buy in a can)
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Peel and dice the pumpkin and toss with half of the oil. Arrange on a large baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes, flipping chunks once. The pumpkin is ready when you can easily impale a piece with a fork and it seems capable of mashing.
In a large stock pot, heat the rest of the oil on medium heat. Fry the onion, apple garlic, nutmeg and thyme until onions become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the roasted pumpkin.
Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the apple sauce and pureed pumpkin. Let soup simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often.
Remove from heat and blend using a handheld immersion blender. If you don’t have one of these, transfer the soup in segments to your blender or Magic Bullet. Serve with roasted pumpkin seeds and slivered almonds.
Makes 4 servings.