Monday, September 17, 2007
Real deer really in Beaverton (Township, anyway) approaching the pumpkin patch at my parents' house.
This is what we call a squash, a buttercup squash.
Here in Germany, everything that we would call squash or pumpkin in the United States is only called pumpkin, Kürbis. They just have one word for both things. Well, somebody must really love me, because he knows my love of these big, round vegetables and bought me one yesterday from a little roadside stand. I was so excited about this pretty green squash that I immediately cut it open and started working away, making soup, cookies and roasted seeds. Mmmmm. Usually when I chop open a pumpkin, it's cold inside (this time of year in Michigan is already pretty cool), and when I reach in to take out the innards and seeds, I imagine cold brains. But this one was warm! It had been out by the road on a table in the sun all day, just waiting to come to my kitchen!
For dinner, we had "season your own pumpkin soup." I made a very basic pumpkin soup, first boiling half of the squash cut into chunks and 3 or 4 small potatoes. When it was all soft and squishy I drained off most of the water and blended the vegetables until they were smooth and soupy. Then I put this back on the stove and added some cream and a big, fat pat of butter, and once that was all warm again and mixed, we put our soup into bowls and the fun began. I put ginger and sea salt in mine, and this was a delectable treat, another variation was with nutmeg, paprika and salt. Usually when I make pumpkin or squash soup I make it with onion, garlic and curry.
Since I have never succeeded at making a good pumpkin pie (how very un-American of me...), I made pumpkin cookies instead. Here's the recipe:
GREAT PUMPKIN COOKIES
(Submitted by Francine T. Ryan)
MAKES ABOUT 20 COOKIES
Fran writes: "The Great Pumpkin Cookies recipe has been one of my favorites for Halloween. The neighbors are sure to know that when Halloween rolls around I can be counted on to have bags of these wonderful mouth watering cookies at hand. They even prefer these to candy. What a compliment."
2 cups flour
1 cup quick oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup margarine or butter softened
1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar (dark or light)
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup Libby's Solid Pack Pumpkin
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips or M&M's candies
1 cup raisins
1 cup nuts (any kind)
Preheat Oven to 350° F. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Cream butter, gradually add sugars, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Alternate additions of dry ingredients and pumpkin, mixing well after each addition. Stir in morsels. For each cookie, drop 1/4 cup dough onto lightly greased cookie sheet; spread into shape using a thing metal spatula. Bake at 20 to 25 minutes until cookies are firm and lightly browned.
Note: You can double the recipe if you use can pumpkin, since you usually have a lot left over.
I got this recipe on the internet, and have never followed it exactly. For example, I've never included the chocolate. Usually I use walnuts for the nuts, but yesterday I only had some slivered almonds, and this was super, maybe even better than the walnuts. I also only used half the white sugar that the recipe calls for, and the cookies were still quite sweet. One final note, I obviously didn't use Libby's solid pack pumpkin. This time I took a chunk of squash, skinned it and put it through the food processor with the grater. It worked like a dream.
And what, you may ask, did I do with all the squash skin left over from this culinary adventure? I gave it to Rosie and Rocket, of course! I knew that deer like pumpkins, so I figured bunnies should, too. And this morning nearly all of it had been eaten in the night!