Rainy days

Rain rain, how do I love thee?
Let me count the ways...

1. Car wash!
2. You do a much better job on my lawn than my sprinklers
3. You make me not feel guilty for curling up on the couch and watching tv (the Sing-Off is on tonight!)
4. You make a warm bowl of soup taste even better

It's soup night here at Ai's place. I picked up a lovely gourd the other day and saw this recipe while flipping through one of my favorite magazines, Sunset. The full recipe is below, but I will admit, I didn't really care for the mint pesto. I ended up not using it and put in strips of prosciutto instead. Now that was good!

Pumpkin Soup with Pumpkin Seed-Mint Pesto

1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons ground coriander
4 1/2 cups peeled, 1-in. chunks mini pumpkin
4 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 small garlic clove
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup salted roasted pumpkin seeds

1. Make soup: Sauté onion and ginger in oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat until golden, 5 minutes. Add garlic and coriander and cook until softened, 1 minute, then add pumpkin, broth, salt, and pepper. Simmer, covered, until pumpkin is very tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Purée in batches in a blender until very smooth.
2. Make pesto: Pound garlic, whole mint leaves, salt, and 1 tbsp. oil in a mortar into a coarse paste (or use a food processor). Add remaining oil and pumpkin seeds and pound until coarsely crushed.
All oiled up and ready to go
3. Drop small spoonfuls of pesto over bowls of soup, garnish with slivered mint, and serve remaining pesto on the side.

To make the pumpkin bowl:

1. Preheat oven to 400°. If needed, cut a thin slice from the base of a mini pumpkin so it sits flat. Set on a rimmed baking sheet, rub with a little oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until tender when pierced, 40 to 45 minutes.

2. Cut off lids about 2 inches wide. Carefully scrape out seeds with a small spoon, keeping walls and bases intact. If you accidentally get a hole in the pumpkin, line it with a piece of foil.

Now that I feel all warm and fuzzy inside, I'm parking myself on the couch and watching some a capella action! 


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