Pasqualina is something my mother would make basically only once a year and I have always loved. Spinach is among my top three favorite vegetables, along with broccoli and zucchini. But those also happen to be my sister’s top three least favorite vegetables. So any chance to have spinach was good with me. I know, strange child.
Category Archives: Vegetable
Where can I even begin?
Well, you can thank (or blame) my sister for my return. She and I don’t get to spend as much time together as we used to and it has led to me neglecting things. She is always very encouraging of my cooking (because I think she appreciates having cookies around our parents’ house).
So, I’ve pulled out the electric blankets, bought some spray foam insulation, and started preserving the last of the summer produce. I love the taste of fresh tomato sauce, so naturally those have been canned some weeks ago. Now I’m just getting around to a new love, roasted red peppers under olive oil.
I resist eating squash throughout the spring and summer. Even in early fall, like now, I normally try to resist. Something about squash really calls out for crisp, sunny weather to me. And now that I finally have some, I’m stocking up.
This month’s book: Z by Therese Anne Fowler
The holidays call for elegant food. However, the rich stuff you normally eat doesn’t make you feel good about yourself. So how about this for a change: white pumpkin chestnut soup. It’s a great January soup, really. No cream or fat really, aside from a tiny bit of olive oil. It is complex in flavors and very pretty!
The original recipe calls for cooking the fresh pumpkin chunks in the broth and then pureeing and seasoning everything. However, I tend to make an afternoon of roasting, pureeing, and freezing fresh pumpkins in the fall/winter. Especially when I have been given pretty white pumpkins! Standard orange sugar pumpkins will also work. The most important thing is not to use canned pumpkin. It will be too thick and is most likely already sweetened.
White Pumpkin Soup with Roasted Chestnuts
Adapted from Manger
1 large onion, small dice
4 c chicken broth
1 large pumpkin, roasted and pureed
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
20-25 roasted chestnuts, broken into 4 to 6 pieces
Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add onions and cook over medium heat until translucent. Add chicken broth and pumpkin puree to the pot. Bring to a simmer. Add seasonings to taste. Serve with 3-4 chestnuts sprinkled over the top.
How can this be? Elegant comfort food. Brisket, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, brownies. Sure, they are all comfort foods but I wouldn’t go so far to say that they are elegant. It takes some pretty fussing piping and arranging to make them look nice. And there is seemingly little point as you will soon demolish them while sitting on the couch, wrapped in a blanket, watching Netflix.
This, like so many of my other recipes, came from a point of necessity. A sad eggplant. An enormous container of mashed potatoes. A few rogue mushrooms. And FMFK’s (future Mr. Fictional Kitchen) burning desire for something called potato cakes which he has never eaten nor has any idea how to make. Since I have a tendency to read cookbooks cover to cover, I did have an idea.
The end of summer is so bittersweet. The beautiful warmth and sunshine may be fading away but the excitement of a new school year and crisp leaves awaits. It also marks one year until Fictional Kitchen has a Mr. and Mrs. A lot of work still to do on that front…
In sweeping up the last of the summer, I offer to you a simple panzanella. I think that there is no wrong way to make a panzanella, though I’m sure I will be harshly reprimanded. It is intended as a use for leftovers, for stale bread and overly abundant tomatoes and whatever else is in the fridge.