Thursday, November 1, 2007

pumpkin chicken stew

My wife, who is from Taiwan, told me when I had described my Jack O'lantern plans, "Make sure you don't waste that pumpkin. Make a soup from it." I recalled having eaten pumpkin soup in Taiwan. So as I gathered up the cut out mouths and eyes and noses, I obediently washed them and sliced them into chunks. My wife is still in Taiwan awaiting her visa -- her instruction had come by phone.

I boiled a whole frozen chicken for a couple of hours, and then added sliced carrots, onion, potatoes, and pumpkin, not to mention garlic. For flavor I added salt, oregano, some Carribean Curry mix, chipotle pepper powder, ground sage, black pepper and white pepper. Oh, and garlic powder. It was maybe the best stew I have ever made. The pumpkin's contribution is subtle but significant, I think. As I had cut them, I noticed the slippery secretion of the flesh, common to other squashes, but even more pronounced. It is a mysterious plant with special qualities I do not really understand.

But today I went and got the biggest Jack O'lantern out of the back of the truck (picked up last night from the Green on our way back from New Haven -- its candle already blown out) and sliced it in half with a bread knife. I will roast it and use half of it for a pie and the other half for a savory pie -- maybe chicken and pumpkin pie? My wife does not like cinnamon in sweet things, so I jokingly suggested a salty pumpkin pie for her. Then I thought, hey, why not a savory pie with pumpkin and chicken? I did a tasty chicken pie a couple weeks ago.

I am trying to think outside the box of industrial food, reconnecting to nature in a creative way.

I still want to work on drying seaweed for cooking. My main question now is how much seaweed absorbs pollution. Is it like fish in that regard?

I think of the people who lived here before us. Surely they harvested seaweed for food -- or for growing crops.

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