my busy life almost made me abandon my nice little dinnertable here on the web ... but today i am taking on the challenge of cooking another thing i have never cooked before: pumpkin! this might even be strange for some austrians as pumpkin (rather pumpkin seed oil) is a culinary speciality of one of our austrian states, styria.
i don't actually have a recipe for that one. i cut up a medium size pumpkin, i hollowed out the middle part with the seeds. i did not peel it, because you can actually cook and eat the whole thing. i stir-fried rater large chunks of the pumpkin in a little vegetable oil for a moment and later added about 1 1/2 liters of plain water. i let it simmer on medium heat for half an hour. when the chunks were soft enough i mashed the whole thing up with a hand blender. i only added some salt to season to taste. i grated about 1/3 of a zucchini and put it on the soup for garnish, but as i was tasting the soup i figured the zucchini can be mixed in as well. this gives the dish a lovely chunky note and a fine taste too. i also added some creme fin as a garnish on the plate, but if you don't plan on taking pretty pictures for you weblog you can mix in the grated zucchini and the creme during cooking. this would make perfect sense, and if i wasn't so focused on the visual part of a nice picture of my soup i would have done it myself :)
it might be a bit silly to cook an ingredient for the first time and not use a recipe whatsoever, but i wanted it to taste as pure as possible. i have been making soups of chunky vegetables before so i thought i can benefit from my experiences and handle a pumpkin the same way. it actually pays off to try things your way rather than stick to a recipe in every little detail. well, this is my cooking style (an inherited one ...) after all and while i succeed most of the time things can go terribly wrong if you are too careless. then again, i did not only inherit this style of cooking from my mum and my grandmother, i also inherited a bunch of valuable tricks that come in very very handy if you accidentally screw up a dish. i turned many mishaps in my kitchen into successful meals thanks to the valuable legacy of emergency assistance the ladies in my family passed on to me.
i don't have to be afraid of something getting burned, for example. of course i don't set out to ruin my meals but if i get carried away with other things during cooking (mostly digging around on the internet) i am safe to say that i have some neat tricks to rescue anything burned, too salty, to spicey or whatever. so while my soup was boiling away on the stove i was looking on the internet about the history and botanic classification of my organic food, because i usually like to have a little background of whatever i eat. especially if i cook something for the first time. zucchinis and pumpkins for example are actually in the same plant family (cucurbitaceae). i was pretty surprised to learn that they are considered a fruit and not a vegetable. i guess it's because we usually cook pumpkins and zucchinis in a savory way. in some germanspeaking parts of europe the expression "cucumber-pumpkin" is also common for the zucchini (i have never heard of it though). now that i look at my zucchini it suddenly resembles a pumpkin a lot ... hm, strange ...
see? i can get carried away or i can learn new things about my food durning cooking. some might consider this sloppy, i think it's freestyle and very self-confident. well, i think i am in a pretty talkative (writeative?) mood today and before i ramble on for even more paragraphes i think i should grab the ladle and eat some more of my delicious soup!