Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pumpkin Soup in a Pumpkin Shell :)

I made this soup for Thanksgiving this year, and it turned out really tasty, as well as being super-fun to serve :)

Elegant Pumpkin Soup Served in a Pumpkin Shell

1 large fresh pumpkin (about 12 inches in diameter) for serving the soup in.

2 1/2 cups fresh, cooked pumpkin or canned pumpkin

2 cups chicken broth + 1 cup milk (or 3 cups broth total for dairy-free)

4 tbsp. butter (or olive oil for dairy-free)

2 T. flour (rice flour for gluten-free)

1 large onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, diced

1 sprig of fresh thyme

1/2 tsp fresh marjoram, chopped fine

4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed

1/2 tsp. curry powder

1/4 tsp. ginger

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/8 tsp. chili powder

salt and pepper to taste

(a touch of honey or stevia to taste if it seems too bitter at the end)

Cut the top (one third) of your pumpkin to create a lid for your pumpkin serving bowl. Scoop out the seeds and strings, cleaning the inside well of any debris. Clean the seeds and place them on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle the seeds with a little salt. Roast in a 250°F oven until lightly golden brown. Set them aside to be used as a garnish. Heat the pumpkin shell and lid in a 250ºF oven while making the soup.

In a large soup pot, melt 2 T. of butter over a medium heat. Sauté the onion, celery and garlic, about 10 minutes. Add the pumpkin and 2 cups of chicken broth. Add the thyme sprig and other spices. Mix well. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a separate sauce pan, melt the remaining 2 T. of butter over medium heat. Whisk in 2 T. flour and cook for several minutes, whisking constantly, until it starts to smell savory. Whisk in the milk (or the remaining cup of broth) a little at a time. Blend well. Cook for several minutes, until it starts to bubble and thicken, whisking periodically to keep it from sticking to the bottom. Remove from heat.

Remove thyme sprig from pumpkin mixture. Remove the mixture from the heat and puree in a blender. (Be careful to puree small amounts of the hot mixture with the blender top on to avoid having the mixture burst out of the blender.) Return the mixture to the pot.

Whisk the flour, butter, and milk/broth mixture into the pumpkin puree. Simmer for 5 minutes more. Pour soup into your hollowed-out pumpkin serving bowl. Serve the toasted pumpkin seeds on the side for garnish and plenty of fresh cracker pepper.

Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

the braided scarf

This is a really beautiful scarf that I thought you all would enjoy ... especially since there are video tutorials included.

Scarf knitting season is finally here! Maybe for some of you, like me, it never left. I am thrilled to be bringing Braided to you as a free pattern today. This is a fast and fun scarf that you can whip up on big needles in no time at all. It’s the perfect gift scarf for the holiday seasons ahead. The easy care/machine washable Outer yarn makes it even more appealing.

Here is some information you may want to know at a glance:

3 skeins of Spud & Chloë Outer (I used Soapstone #7200)

US size 17 needles or size to obtain gauge

US size 13 double-pointed needles, set of 4

Gauge: 1.75 sts per inch in stockinette stitch

The scarf involves ribbing (knit and purl stitches) and I-cord and braiding. If you can do those techniques you are all set to go!

Click here to download the pattern for Braided!

Look here for a series of video tutorials on how to knit Braided!


Please note: When beginning a Rib Section after a Braided Section the yarn will be set to start a Row 2 or wrong side of the rib pattern.

I have embedded the first video here: