Early this morning I rose, showered, dressed and headed promptly into Mendocino’s central small town as I’d spied a Pumpkin Festival going on, and wanted to get there ahead of the inevitable crowds of people from all over the county who come annually to enjoy the festivities. I especially wanted access to an unencumbered look at the giant pumpkins folks around the county grow each year to see who can grow the Biggest Pumpkin! I’d spotted a few of them literally being forklifted earlier in the week into a central park for early daytime viewing! Children had immediately gravitated to them and were permitted to climb up on them and use them as a vantage point in viewing the setting up of the festival.
However what I was not aware of was the addition this year of a Scarecrow City, sporting contributions from children from various Mendocino classrooms. And that was a special treat, I must say! Here were a few of the creations that greeted me!
A modern Greenman?
And here is my absolute favorite! Note the pampas grass mane! Isn’t he wonderful??
Walking beyond the Scarecrow City I arrived at the park where the Biggest Pumpkins had been put on display. Words fail me [moi!] in contemplating these behemoths. Let’s just have a zen moment here.
Can you even begin to imagine the time and energy and commitment it would require to get a single seed to these proportions? Mon Dieu!
I adore this time of year. I do. In preparation for all of the upcoming holidays yesterday I pulled out a recipe from my distant (meaning she’s been found through genealogy studies) cousin Julie for, fittingly, Pumpkin Apple Soup, which she boldly touted as the Best Pumpkin Soup in the World. So what better weekend than this one to try? I whipped it up–and, must confess, tweaked. You can try either version.
Cousin Julie’s Pumpkin Apple Soup
Melt an entire stick of butter in a good thick soup pan. Add one large red onion, which I threw into the Cuisinart first. Add 6-8 tart apples, peeled and cubed. [Again, I threw in the Cuisinart. Also, I used the apples from my tree, which are pre-hybridized delicious.] Add 4 cups of pumpkin puree.
Saute. Now. If you’ve used the Cuisinart, you’re ready for the next step. If not, you need to mash up what’s in the pan before proceeding to next step. Then, add a quart of chicken broth and “a good swig of half & half” which she goes on to define as “a pint or more.” Yeah, that’s a good swig, all right! Add a goodly teaspoon of tarragon. Salt and pepper to taste. Now here is where I tweaked. I could not get myself as excited as I wanted to be without adding a nice fat tablespoon of curry. I love curry and pumpkin. I just do. So the curry was just the thing that made it perfect for me. You can choose.
I found this to be a very rich and delicious soup. It’s an exquisite pale yellow color (richer if you add curry) in which those little tarragon leaves are floating. Gorgeous. I think it would be the perfect soup to prepare the day before Thanksgiving or Christmas, then serve as a simple cup of soup, as a first course. Or you could serve a full bowl pre-holiday on a chilly day with perhaps homemade croustini. Let me know, will you? Enjoy!
Love and seasonal blessings,
Footnote: The first recorded mention of scarecrows is in Europe in the 1500’s! Will you be making one? If so, send me a jpeg and I will post!
Posted on October 19th, 2008 by Kathryn
Filed under: People at Play