Tuesday, November 3, 2009

29.0 You're Out of Your Gourd!

Starring Erin & Mike and Kelly & Celia
Filmed on Location in Beautiful Downtown Sellwood
Soundtrack: A potpourri of jazz sides

“Song with Orange”

Autumn. Deep in it. It was raining a bit as I shuffled down Linn through a tarp of wet leaves. Earlier that afternoon, I’d fallen asleep on the couch listening to a live version of Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme”. At times my stride matched the dance of Elvin Jones’ drums. But now, through the leaves, all I could hear was the bow across Jimmy Garrison’s bass.

Our autumn began late September in Ohio’s Amish country. The town has an actual name, but I just call it “Amish Country” even though I purchased some delightful cookies from a sweet Mennonite gal. We were visiting our friends Paul & Donna, who made an appearance in the October 2008 episode of ITSK. They have opened a deli in the “big city” near them, a small town center that makes Milwaukie look like Manhattan. Donna is a terrific cook, made all the sweeter by their refusal to take any payment for our meals (which was darn middle-American of them). Also the visit marked thirty years since Paul and I had first met in grade school, and if he HAD charged me for the beef stew (which was out of this world), I would’ve thrown down my cheesecake-covered fork (also on the house) and stormed out of there!

On the Saturday of our visit, the deli participated in the town’s Scarecrow Festival. I bought a cheese-filled sausage and strolled through the fair, judging the entries on my own. “Woodstock Scarecrow” got a “thumbs up,” as did “Scarecrow Spiderman” displayed in a manner on his stake, I found myself silently musing, “Spiderman died for our sins”.

The orange and red sunsets over the cornfields of Ohio made the perfect autumnal entrance for Erin and me.

Back in Sellwood, we embraced the season. To the pumpkin patch! As luck would have it, our friends the elusive (and bitingly satirical) Kelly and Celia were also in the market for gourds. They met us at the Sellwood Kitchen.

Behold! Upon entering our humble abode one encounters the newly constructed O’Shaughnessy Public Library, five bookshelves, charmingly categorized, and containing more unread than read volumes. That’s my fault – I’m a slow reader, but a perpetual collector (though nothing suitable for the Antiques Roadshow, mind you).

Celia seemed more impressed with the library than Kelly who, reflecting on the Travel section’s proximity to the Poetry shelf, offered, “Let’s see what Whitman has to say about Paris.”

Curiously, I don’t have any Whitman.

Off to Alice’s Country Market in Damascus, not so much a pumpkin patch as a pumpkin pile, pre-picked and unmuddied, which was fine with me as I had worn my new Skechers. A hay pyramid, of the Aztec variety, displayed dozens of pumpkins on its ledges. Kelly scaled the monument and in the bright noonday sun, the silhouette looked familiar to the Tanis dig scene in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.

It was an uneasy scaling, and indeed as she wobbled up the bales, she warned all subsequent climbers that this was not “stable hay” as she had presumed. Luckily, she descended unharmed.

Erin made the fortuitous decision to purchase a pair of butternut squash, a gourd whose playful name would serve well as a 1950’s sock hop dance, performed in tight high-waisted slacks. Later that evening she would turn squash to soup, whose shade so closely matched the color of our cat’s coat, we called it Simba Soup. Unofficially of course, because any cook or writer knows that beyond the Middle Ages, “cat” and “soup” is a poor advertisement for a hot, comforting belly-smile of a meal.

Erin’s Intro: Its autumn, you’ve got to eat this soup!

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

2 Butternut squash
1 yellow onion, diced
4 tablespoons butter
3-4 Cups whole milk
1 can broth
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon curry powder
Salt and pepper

Cut each squash in half length wise and scoop out seeds. Coat a roasting pan with non-stick cooking spray and place the squash halves inside cut side down. Roast at 350 degrees for one hour. After squash has cooled slightly, scoop out all of the squash and throw away the skins. Bring a large stock pot to medium heat; add a small amount of oil, the butter, and the diced onion. Cook until onion is translucent, about five minutes. Add the squash, broth and half of the milk. Add seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. Using an immersion blender, blend to a smooth consistency. Add more milk to reach your desired consistency, blend again. Heat through but do not simmer. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve and Enjoy!

The “In the Sellwood Kitchen” cast and crew can be contacted at: erinandmike@sellwoodkitchen.com


Old Fashion Halloween said...

Soup sounds perfect for this rainy weather.

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