food, farming, friends and family: a meditation on chosen simplicity and (in)voluntary complications – life.

Pumpkin Curry Soup with Cornbread

This meal accomplished all kinds of amazing feats: It put a huge dent in the massive squash my neighbor gave to me a couple of days ago.  It was my first trial of the Painted Mountain dry corn we grew this year.  It used two of my favorite kitchen tools – the immersion blender and the grain grinder (gifts from Neil’s mom and my parents).  AND it managed to capture what is, to me, the essence of a perfect Fall meal.  Something that warms you from the inside out – creamy, just a hint of spice, y.u.m.  These are both slight adaptations on great recipes from 101 Cookbooks and Mark Bittman.




1 medium sized pumpkin or winter squash

coconut oil (or butter or olive oil)

1 small onion, chopped

3+ cloves of garlic, chopped

1 can coconut milk

3 Tbs+ red curry paste (to taste)


salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°
  2. Chop the pumpkin into small chunks and roast in a baking dish with a little oil or butter for about an hour, or until the pumpkin is soft.
  3. Once the pumpkin is soft: In a large pot over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic in coconut oil until onions are translucent.
  4. Add pumpkin (skins and all if they’re thin enough), coconut milk, and curry paste.
  5. Add water slowly, pureeing the soup as you do, until you reach a desired consistency.
  6. Keep on low heat, letting the flavors meld, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Adjust curry paste levels if you need – I wanted a little extra spice, so I added some Sriracha hot sauce to my bowl.
  8. Enjoy!

But what’s soup without something starchy to sop it up with?




1.5 C  medium grind cornmeal

.5 C  whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp salt

3 Tbs sugar (optional)

1.5 tsp baking powder

1 – 4 Tbs butter*

2 eggs

1.25 C milk


*the amount of butter you use is up to you; I used 4Tbs and it gave the bottom and edges of the bread a rich – and obviously buttery – taste and browned everything nicely.  You can certainly get away with using less.


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°  Put the butter into a 10 inch cast-iron skillet (or an 8 inch baking pan) and put into the oven until the pan is hot and the butter fully melted (browned is fine).
  2. While the pan and butter heat, combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix together well.
  3. Beat the eggs into the milk until they’re fully incorporated.  Then pour this wet mixture into the dry ingredients.
  4. Pull out the skillet and pour in the batter.  It’s a strange sensation to pour it into the little butter pond you’ve formed, but don’t worry – you’re doing the right thing!
  5. Smooth out the top if you need to, and pop that puppy back in for about 30 minutes, or until the top is nice browned.
  6. Serve with soup, maple syrup, or nothing at all.  Enjoy!

It’s a long road to cornbread …



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