10/14/09

Pumpkin Bisssssssssque!!!

Just like the Brussels Sprouts, the Pumpkin Bisque is another one of those Fall favourites that's coming around again. Li just made a GIANT pot of the stuff, so get it while it's hot, and get a few bowls. Pumpkins, being related to watermelons, squashes, gourds, and cucumbers, can come in a dizzying variety of shapes, colours, sizes, and textures, much like their milder cousins. The seeds are quite yummy, when washed clean (of that gunky stuff that keeps them in place), dried, and toasted in the oven with a touch of oil and salt, and a hint of red chili powder.

Let's make something abundantly clear: the pumpkins that you get for jack-o-lanterns are not good to eat. They're essentially made to grow to the pre-determined size, and aren't cultivated for their taste. The pumpkins that are good to eat are often clearly marked in the store, so that you can choose the best ones for your table. Choose pumpkins that are heavy for their size, and are firm all throughout. More info.

So why eat them (aside from the fact that they're absolutely delicious)?

For one thing, pumpkin is absolutely groaning with A vitamins. It's low in fat and calories, and rich in potassium, fibre, and vitamin C. Furthermore, there are hundreds of ways to enjoy it, be it in soups or stews, with beans (roast, scoop out from the skin, chop into pieces, and slide it into your cooking beans), casseroles, boiled/mashed, or ::shudder:: pie.

There. I said it. I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate pumpkin pie. It's sweet and thick and a sin towards this noble plant. For the love of all that's holy, please try something unique with pumpkins that doesn't involve drowning them in sugar. They have so much natural sweetness that adding more sugar is overkill.

Which brings us back full circle to Chow's pumpkin bisque. It's only slightly sweet, but has those lovely mulling spices, like you'd get from a cup of good mulled cider. The beauty of it is that in spite of its creaminess and smoothness, you can still taste big pumpkin flavour. Definitely a fan favourite for a reason!
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