Creamy “pumpkin” soup

January 2, 2013 § 35 Comments

pumpkin soup 1

Happy, happy New Year to you all!  Did you ring in the New Year in style?

I know we did.  Much more stylishly than we really are, in fact.  But if the holidays aren’t a time to up your style game, when is, right?

Perhaps it’s the crash after the high of holiday activity, perhaps it’s that the New Year always makes me nearly as nostalgic as October does, but I’m now left feeling quietly morose.  “Another year,” a voice somewhere inside of me sighs, “another year, and I still don’t understand.”

onion skins

So I’m sitting in our living room now, which feels dark as the Christmas twinkle lights have all been put back into boxes, wondering to myself, ‘understand what?  What do I so yearn to understand?’

The answer, I’m sorry to say, is anything and everything, as far as I can tell.  The answer is Life.

Day by day life happens, intermittently glorious and terrible, and I don’t understand any of it.  At all.  Not a bit.

I’m suddenly remembering a quote my mother told to me earlier this year (I’m not entirely sure of its origin), “this thing of which we speak cannot be found by seeking.  But only seekers will find it.”

I don’t entirely understand the quote either, but it speaks to me about life and meaning on a level separate from understanding.  I feel somehow like that’s it.  Like maybe trying to understand won’t get you anywhere.  Life just is, it isn’t an entity to be dissected and understood.  You have to get out of your own way, but at the same time seek and make that daily effort to get out of your own way. « Read the rest of this entry »

Baked winter squash pasta

October 19, 2012 § 28 Comments

A few summers ago, I did an internship at the photography studio at Stonewall Kitchen up in Maine.  I was just starting to really dig into my PhD work, and the pressure I was putting on myself because of it had started giving me panic attacks and making me sick.  Things weren’t going at all as I’d planned, so I decided to take some time off to recover and learn better how to deal with, well, myself really.

At that point I had just barely picked up a camera and started aiming it at foodstuffs.  I hated every photograph I took, but I adored the process of taking the food photos, so when a friend connected me with her friend who was the photographer for Stonewall, and she offered me a summer internship, I jumped at it.  It was like being in college again.  A weird summer internship!  Barely getting paid! Exploring new pursuits, things I enjoy,  rediscovering myself, yippee!

I learned all about f-stops and shutter speed and ISO numbers that summer.  I learned a lot about what I liked and didn’t like in food styling and lighting, and I gained the confidence to start experimenting.  I learned that I totally loved spending the whole day in a photo studio, even if I was holding light bounces and washing dishes most of the time.

I also learned that I did have the mental fortitude to stick with things that are tough, things that I suck at, and improve little by little.  Even though I kind of wanted to stay in the photo studio forever, it helped me feel like I could stand up for the research I wanted to do and ideas that I had, and I would finish my PhD.  (Um, though that part is still technically TBD.  IthinkIcanIthinkIcanIthinkIcan…Give me a few more months.) « Read the rest of this entry »

Butternut caponata

February 17, 2012 § 24 Comments

I was thinking of calling this butternata, which, to me, makes it sound like it is a sonata of or about butter, which sounds bizarre and wonderful.  Don’t you think?  But, I didn’t want to mislead anyone.  There is no butter involved here – though a generous hand with the olive oil more than makes up for that – except of the ‘nut squash variety.

And, speaking of butternut squash, have I told you about my friend and the bulk squash episode?  I probably have already.  But, I consider us all old friends here now, which means you’re going to have to listen to my stories, whether or not you’ve already heard them, and laugh and gasp and nod in all of the right places.  I can’t wait.

We have a friend who, one fall when he and his wife lived near us, tagged onto our CSA to buy a bulk order of winter squash.  And bulk was what he received.  I’m not even quite sure how many pounds of squash he ordered, but it was on a magnitude you’d usually associate with a grocer’s.  Joel is piping in, “it was probably, like, a hundred pounds. At least.”

« Read the rest of this entry »

Winter Squash Calzones

October 11, 2010 § 12 Comments

It’s a Monday holiday, which means an already beautifully languorous and relaxed weekend (if you can really call a weekend relaxed when it includes staining a set of cubbies, running a half marathon, going to a parade, and having a dinner party…Hey, that doesn’t sound relaxing at all!! And yet, it was. Something in the air, I think.) is even longer. I think every weekend should be a three day weekend. I’m convinced that it would actually increase everyone’s productivity by oh, at least 5 trillion percent, or so. Saturday allows you to begin to unwind, Sunday allows you to relax and also putter through some odds and ends that need doing, and by Monday you are free to be completely loose and carefree and rejuvinated so that on Tuesday you’re ready to jump back into work. Well, maybe.

Anyway, what I’m dancing around and trying to get at here is that on Monday holidays (however little the person whom the holiday is celebrating actually deserves said veneration, ahem, Columbus didn’t actually discover America, ahem, the Vikings did, ahem. Sorry, something in my throat there.) my mind had reached a state of complete and utter emptiness. Which, I think in Eastern spiritual practices is considered an ultimate goal. In Western practices it’s considered being blonde (hehe, gotta live up to your stereotype sometimes!). And either way, it turns out it makes it very hard to think of something to write, even if you really want to.

Am I allowed to just say these calzones were seriously delicious, you should make them, the end!? Because they were. I think “calzone” might actually be Italian for delicious. Or at least, it should be. Think about it. You take all sorts of delicious seasonal ingredients, add delicious cheeses, stuff it into a delicious dough, and then eat it steamy and crusty and gooey after it comes out of the oven. Overall they’re just a pretty darn good idea. They also make wonderful leftovers for lunch because your food is all neatly wrapped up in a portable little package and they reheat nicely. You can stuff them with whatever vegetables are in season, but even if it weren’t in season I’d say winter squash is one of my very favorite fillings. The combination of warm, sweet squash with pungent, nutty cheese sings songs of fall and coziness and contentment. « Read the rest of this entry »

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