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, K├╝rbis. 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:

(Submitted by Francine T. Ryan)
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 egg
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!

1 comment:

* Sparky * said...

I love the picture of the deer! We have a few here in Kentucky that'll wander into our back yard, as well as rabbits, etc. - and yeah, I feed them. *smiles*

I smiled at your love of "pumpkin", and the soup sounds absolutely delicious! I've never tried making pumpkin cookies before, but my daughter just loves pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread, so I may have to surprise her with a batch of these...

As for writing? I love this line:

"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."