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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Friday, August 12

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Recipe Mon Sep 23 2013

The Pumpkins are Coming

pumpkinsoup.jpgSummer ended yesterday; fasten your seatbelts, the pumpkins are coming. With global warming, you can't tell that it's fall by stepping outside. How will you know? Well, it's simple, really. You have to visit a Starbucks. Stop your groaning. You know it's the truth. The moment that Starbucks released its famous Pumpkin Spice Latte earlier this month, we all started reaching for our sweaters and dreaming of pumpkin pie.

I wouldn't pay two shiny nickels for a Pumpkin Spice Latte. They aren't that amazing and besides, I would never cheat on the Gingerbread Latte. Still it does mean something when the Pumpkin Spice Latte comes back around each year. Pumpkin, not just the fake stuff that they squeeze from a test tube into our coffee, is the king of all things fall.

People lose their minds over fall (i.e. pumpkin) -flavored foods. All of your favorite foods have a pumpkin-flavored cousin. Maple syrup, pasta, marshmallows, heck--even English muffins have a pumpkin-flavored variety. It's silly, really. You know it's bad when Buzz Feed is making fun of us.

We don't eat a lot of pumpkin at my house. I mean of course, there's the obligatory pumpkin pie, but we don't scribble the release date of the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks into our calendar. All of the pumpkin talk this year has made me a little more derisive than usual. Secretly, it has given me a kitchen challenge. How can we eat pumpkin that has no connection to a Thanksgiving Pie or a $5 cup of coffee?

I wrestled with what to do for a while. What I eventually came up with is a delicious and creamy pumpkin soup. I didn't invent pumpkin soup, but from the looks on faces when I say, "I had pumpkin soup for dinner last night," you would think that I did. So, go ahead and make this soup. Tell everyone that you invented the idea. That's what I plan to do.

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 celery stalks, chopped
5 carrots, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 (15 ounce) cans of pumpkin puree
2 (15 ounce) cans of Cannellini Beans
4 cups (2 cans) of chicken broth
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
½ cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
For garnish: freshly grated Parmesan cheese and croutons

1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in your chopped celery, carrots and onions. You're making a mirepoix, you say that to everyone you know. It's French and you'll sound very fancy. Cook your mirepoix for about 5 minutes, or until everything has softened and the onion is translucent. Mix in the garlic and cumin and cook while stirring for another couple of minutes.

2. Pour in the pumpkin puree, beans, chicken broth, tomato sauce and cream and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to your liking and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered for about 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Garnish each bowl of soup with Parmesan cheese (as much as you like) and toss a few salad style croutons to give it a little extra something.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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