So this weekend we had the great opportunity to take the Perfect Ones for a trip to the pumpkin patch…a real one. Rows and rows and rows of pumpkins and winter squashes. In Perfect Boy’s words, “Nana, there’s millions and millions of ‘em!” I agreed.
We traveled to Dickey’s Farm in Tontitown, Arkansas based on a recommendation from our friend Jennifer who had been there with her little boy, Brody. I’m so glad she told us about it because it was so worth it to see how excited the kiddos were. Perfect Boy was a little disappointed that the hayride wasn’t going Saturday morning. Unfortunately, the farmer was busy planting thousands of strawberry plants that day and couldn’t be around to drive the tractor. We’ll be back to check that out next spring. (Perfect Girl was singing me a song when Hubby snapped this picture. Perfect Boy was, of course, telling her to say, “cheese!” Oh, well.)
There were wagons for pulling and hauling, however, and that worked out just fine. Perfect Boy insisted on pulling the wagon himself and wanted to take Perfect Girl along for the ride.
They inspected pumpkin after pumpkin, squash after squash. Each one had to be turned and viewed from all sides. It was, of course, the most important of purchases they were making.
Perfect Girl came away with the first mini-pumpkin that she laid hands to --- naturally! It was the perfect size for her and her “babies.” She also had to pick out some perfectly colored leaves to take home to momma. Those were carefully scrutinized…one at a time…before being given the stamp of approval by PG (who now wants to be known as “Princess”).
Perfect Boy wanted a BIG one and he found just the perfect one. Then he wanted a green one…then a white one…and how about that funny looking striped one waaaaaaaaaaaaay over there? And Nana needed some acorn and Hubbard squashes for dinner that weekend, too.
And here’s the one he picked to make this year’s Jack-0-Lantern.
Sometimes, getting back to the patch is what it’s all about. It’s great to be a kid again.
Isn’t he just the cutest thing? Go here for his favorite pumpkin bread recipe. It’s really good!
PickYourOwn.org has a nice, simple explanation for making your own pumpkin puree. You might give the pumpkin butter recipe a try as well. It is so tasty over warm biscuits or nutty pancakes.
Pears top a rich, delicious butternut squash soup in this recipe. It uses some items you might not ordinarily have in your pantry, but it really is terrific if you like pumpkin/squash type soups. It makes a nice addition to your holiday table.
The recipe comes from Candle 79 restaurant in New York. You can find more vegetarian recipes from Candle 79 in The Candle Cafe Cookbook.
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large leek, trimmed and rough chop
1 cinnamon stick
1 whole nutmeg cut in half
1 stalk lemongrass, rough chop
2 cardamom pods
1-inch piece fresh ginger, rough chop
1 dried chipotle pepper
1 small piece cheesecloth
2 large butternut squash, large dice
2 cups peeled chestnuts, fresh or frozen (You can also use peeled hazelnuts.)
2 tablespoons fresh sage
2-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt, and more to taste if necessary
For Caramelized Pear garnish:
2-3 pears, diced
1 tablespoon grape seed oil (or a flavorless oil like canola or safflower)
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1. In large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add leeks and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. While leeks are sautéing, place cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, lemongrass, cardamom pods, ginger and chipotle pepper in cheesecloth. Knot securely or tie with string and set aside.
2. Add butternut squash, chestnuts, cheesecloth pouch, sage and water to pot. Water should cover squash by about an inch to two inches. Allow to come to simmer and reduce heat to low. Cover pot and simmer for about 30-45 minutes or until squash is very tender and falls apart. Remove soup from heat.
3. While soup is cooling, in a sauté pan over high heat, heat grapeseed oil. When oil is hot, add pears and sauté for 5 minutes. Lower heat to medium and add maple syrup, cinnamon powder and balsamic vinegar. Continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes until pears are soft and vinegar has become syrupy and coats the pears. Set aside to cool.
4. Remove cheesecloth pouch from soup. Add maple syrup and 1 teaspoon salt to soup. With immersion blender (or a regular blender) puree soup until creamy. (Be very careful when pureeing hot soup in a regular blender. It’s best for it to cool slightly so it doesn’t make a mess.) If soup appears to be too thick, add water to achieve desired consistency. Reheat and add additional salt to taste, if necessary.
5. Garnish hot soup with caramelized pears. Enjoy!
In honor of Pink Saturday hosted by Beverly at How Sweet the Sound, I thought I would share this little video with you. I thought they had a wonderful idea. If Perfect Girl had seen these pink pumpkins, we would have HAD to have one!
I’m just very glad that Dickey’s Farm didn’t seem to have any of these pink banana squashes, or we would have had to bring them home as well:)