Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Orphan Thanksgiving and Squash Soup

Before Fritz and I were dating, we were just friends. He invited me to his house for an 'Orphan Thanksgiving.' I don't know if that is a real term, or just one that my brothers invented at some later date. The meaning? A Thanksgiving meal for miscellaneous people without family nearby (or visiting). Sometimes, I think it's easy to over-focus on family at Thanksgiving - to the point of depression for those without it - so anyway, there are friends as well and ... I like the term Orphan Thanksgiving, whoever came up with it.

On our Orphan Thanksgiving, with lots of other friends, Fritz made the turkey. It's a tradition he still does to this day. It involves lots of talking and bravado about how he could deep fry the turkey in the garage, followed by frantic internet instructions for cooking one traditionally in the oven (Wait! He found an app this year!), followed by a bizarre rotation of the turkey midway through cooking using latex gloves over the top of ski gloves... hello? are you still following me?...

Fritz makes a delicious turkey. This is something I have only learned in the recent years, as I have relaxed my previously strict vegetarianism. Back on our first Orphan Thanksgiving, I was not eating ANY turkey. So instead, we made an Indian lentil dish. It was as fabulous as Fritz's turkey.

These days, I will eat a little bit of Fritz's turkey - because the latex glove technique really is that great - but I also try to make something Indian. I dropped the lentils when I started to eat bits of turkey. So, the Indian dish became soup. Let's be clear here, I'm not talking about Native American, I'm talking about INDIAN like (the American interpretation what we think comes from) India. Ummm. That is still not clear, huh? Well, I'm sure you are all eager to add it - whatever it is -  to your Thanksgiving lineup, too. (I'm kidding!)

I use Jack Bishop's recipe from A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen, with a few noted changes:
Why, yes, I did spill soup all over the bowl and not clean it before snapping a photo.
Indian-Style Squash Soup with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

2.5 pounds Red Kuri Squash (Mr. Bishop uses Butternut)
3 1/2 cups of water
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 medium onion
12 fresh cilantro stems
4 - 1/4 inch thick slices of ginger root
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon lime juice

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds (These are really yummy with it, I would NOT skip them):
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup hulled green pumpkin seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (Mr. Bishop uses freshly grated, but I don't own a nutmeg grater)
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

1) Remove seeds from squash, peel skin, and cut into 1 inch chunks.

2) In a large sauce pan, bring water, coconut milk, squash, onion, cilantro stems, ginger, and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until squash is tender. Remove ginger slices and cilantro stems.

3) Puree squash and cilantro leaves in a blender until smooth. Add lime juice and more salt (if needed).

4) For the pumpkin seeds: Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once foaming subsides, add pumpkin seeds and cook until golden brown. Keep an eye on them, they burn easily. Remove from heat, toss with salt and spices.

5) Serve soup warm with spiced pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top. Oh, and I add some more cilantro for garnish.

Happy Thanksgiving!

1 comment:

Katie (Mama May I) said...

Eric and I shared our first Thanksgiving together at what you call an "Orphan Thanksgiving". I'm trying to wrap my mind around Fritz's use of gloves... ;)
The soup - sounds heavenly. Some of my favorite flavors. I'll be trying that asap.

Happy Thanksgiving!