Friday, November 28, 2008

The Pumpkin Post: Pumpkin Soup by JRo & Pumpkin Crunch

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, Internet. I did!

I feel a little guilty that I'm not including my Dad's pumpkin pie in this post, but I really don't think the recipe is anything too special. It's just made with Dad love. So follow the recipe on the back of the Libby's can and then add a lot of love. There, done, recipe in the box.

I like pumpkin because it's such a good flavor that recipes that include it are very simple. Here are a couple of favorites.

JRo's Pumpkin Soup

Jerome is one of the coolest, sweetest, sexiest people you could possibly encounter in your life. And he makes a delicious pumpkin soup. He taught my sister Haley, my friend Brian and my beau Natey and me how to make it. It's super simple.

Take one small to medium yellow onion and chop it up. Do NOT cut your finger off like Jerome's about to do.

Sauté it in some butter 'til translucent, then add two containers of vegetable broth. Jerome swears by veggie broth instead of chicken for this broth.

Then add one 30oz can of pumpkin. I prefer Libby's. Make sure that's straight up pumpkin and not spiced pumpkin. You don't want this soup to taste like pie.

Let it cook for a while. Just before serving, add about a cup of heavy cream.

You can leave it as pure as you want, but we experimented a little with seasoning. We put some vindaloo and chili powder in it. Nate also put in exactly five coffee beans.

We enjoyed this fall treat right out of coffee cups. Brian put whiskey in his.

Pumpkin Crunch

I got this recipe from a co-worker who brought it in for everybody.

You put 30oz of Libby's pumpkin (again, unseasoned, though you could do it seasoned and leave out the), ~1 tblsp of cinnamon, 4 eggs and 1 1/2 cups of sugar in a bowl and mix it up. You add one 12oz can of evaporated milk, but the two times I've made it since, it's been too moist. I'd like for this to be "bars," so next time I make it, I'll use much less evaporated milk, maybe half.
Grease and flour a 9x13 (or Pam Baking Spray it), and spread it around.

Then you mix one box of yellow cake mix with 1/2 cup to 1 cup of chopped pecans and a stick of (melted) butter. This is the "crunch" part that you sprinkle evenly across the top of the pumpkin part.

Bake it at 350 for about an hour. Easy and delicious!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Special Video Post - Beer Cheese Curry Chili

Hey, Internet. Here's a special edition video post since my sister's in town for Thanksgiving. We came up with a silly way to make dinner: Eight ingredients, chosen at random by some guy in a blindfold (actually Haley's friend Rob, who made the video).

Garbanzo beans, Great Northern beans, red curry paste, corn, broccoli, a Grain Belt Premium beer, some fresh Wisconsin Muenster and some brown rice. (We ended up leaving out the rice.)
Cheese, beer, broccoli... only means one thing: beer cheese soup. We started by checking out this recipe.

Starring me, Haley, Nate and Rob --

We started by sautéeing carrots and onions in some butter. We took it out and then used more butter to make a roux with the red curry paste and some flour. A roux is something I ought to be well-acquainted with because it's the start of every good Cajun dish, but, to the shame of my mother, I wasn't sure if I'd ever made one without my Mom. Good thing Haley was there. She taught me how to thicken it up with flour, making sure it was brown enough -- which was a bit of challenge because the curry paste gave it a lovely rust color.

After this, things went along pretty quickly. We added the veggies back in and dumped in some beer (after testing to make sure it was good still). A lesson for you, young kitchen padawan: always have some organic vegetable broth in your fridge. You never know when you may need to make soup. We then added the garbanzo beans, Great Northerns, corn and chopped broccoli.

The one big improvement to this recipe that I would recommend would be to use a cheese that melts better; muenster just doesn't cut it even though it tastes so darn good. We grated the cheese and slowly -- very slowly; Nate put in one shred at a time because he's Nate -- added it to the chili-ish Frankenstein soup we had created with our godlike kitchen powers.

Here's us enjoying it.

... After dinner, we made s'mores. I'll assume you know the recipe for that one.

Next time on Experimental Cookery...
It's pre-Thxgvg! Get ready to get your pumpkin on.
My friend Jerome will teach me, Nate, Haley and Brian how to make his infamous pumpkin soup. I'll share a friend's recipe for a delicious dessert, pumpkin crunch.