While the calendar told us that fall began on Friday, I had my first taste of this welcome season a day early.
A visit this time of year to Central Market has become as traditional for me as picking out a Christmas tree or driving downtown to see the holiday lights on the River Walk. It’s time for the pumpkin display.
This sprawling array of amazing colors, shapes and sizes of pumpkins, as well as squash and ornamental gourds at Central Market, is one of the best ways I know to get a big, beautiful eyeful of fall color. Giant orange pumpkins for impressive jack-o-lanterns, a big crate full of eerie, pale-as-a-ghost white pumpkins, gnarled blue pumpkins and pumpkins so intensely orange as to be almost red; pumpkins so big they’d probably take up the passenger seat in a Smart car. How much more fun it is to gaze upon this splendor, I thought, than it is to stare at those masses of poinsettias coming up in a couple of months.
Each year, I choose one “pet” pumpkin to display as living sculptural art on the coffee table or mantel. For the past few years this has been a blue pumpkin. This year I strayed, however, and fell for a lovely Blue Warted Apple Pumpkin. At least I think that’s what its name is. It was more pale green than blue, but the shape was right on.
On Friday, fall announced itself by a temperature in the actual 70s as I left the house late in the morning. I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt and, to my amazement, I wasn’t dripping wet by the time I was settled in the car.
So, here’s to fall. We’ll be gratefully looking up fall recipes and sharing them in the next weeks. Honest. We are determined to wallow in a good measures of fall, Halloween and Thanksgiving spirit before getting into the coming “C” season.
Thai Red Curry Pumpkin Soup
1 (2-pound) pumpkin or butternut squash, steamed and peeled, with flesh cut in 1- to 2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
Salt, to taste
White pepper, to taste
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add pumpkin and curry paste. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture starts to stick to bottom of pan. Add coconut milk and one cup chicken broth. Cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes, letting some of the liquid reduce.
Let soup cool slightly, then blend (taking care to cover the top of the blender) the soup in batches until it is smooth. Reheat, and let reduce more if you wish to have a thicker texture. Season with salt and pepper, tasting. Spoon into bowls or cups and top with the chopped cilantro.
Makes 8 servings.