- Date: Thursday, February 18, 2010 -- 7pm
- Location: Palo Alto, CA
- Kitchen: Emilee and Brian's Apartment
- Fellow Chef: Brian
- Dining Companions: Emilee, Matty, and Sam
- Recipe Rating: B-
Although I love pumpkin soup, I hadn't made this recipe yet because I couldn't find kaffir lime leaves. Last week I was showing Emilee and Brian a list of all the crazy ingredients I still needed to find, and Brian said, "I can pick some kaffir lime leaves for you." It turns out that one of their good friends has a kaffir lime tree in his yard. The next day Brian had the leaves in hand and I had everything I needed to make this soup!
I started by peeling, seeding, and chopping a sugar pumpkin. Then I cooked onion, ginger, and garlic. I added the pumpkin and some white wine and boiled for a few minutes. Then I added chicken stock and cooked until the pumpkin was tender. I chopped the lower parts of 6 stalks of lemongrass then cooked the lemongrass with galangal and jalapeno chiles until browned. I pureed the pumpkin mixture in a blender, then returned it to a pot and stirred in the lemongrass mixture, the kaffir lime leaves, some lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar. I simmered for a while, then Brian and I forced the soup through a sieve. I seasoned with salt and pepper then we served the soup with shrimp toasts (see post below). I had high hopes for this soup and I was a little disappointed. I was expecting a hearty pumpkin soup with some hot and sour notes to it. But this soup was very thin, and not-at-all pumpkiny. Indeed, I feel fairly confident that if I didn't know that there was pumpkin in it, I wouldn't have guessed. The flavor was totally dominated by the lemongrass and the citrus notes from the lime juice and the lime leaves. All of us agreed that the first few bites were extremely tasty, but it was so strong and one-note that it was hard to eat more than a few spoonfuls. It would have made an excellent amuse-bouche, but as a soup course none of us could finish it. I think the recipe definitely had potential -- more pumpkin and less lemongrass would have been a huge improvement -- but as written I don't particularly recommend it.
The recipe is here.
After several weeks in California with my special gentleman, I am headed back to the Midwest on Monday. My first stop is Chicago, where I will do some work with my friend V for a few days. Then I am headed back to Bloomington for a while. I anticipate that it is going to be very odd going back to my empty apartment. In Berkeley my special gentleman and I share a house with his friend Josh. And for the last week or so their friend John has been staying here too. It's not a huge house, so having four adults living in it makes it feel very inhabited and cozy. Personally, I prefer having people around to living alone, particularly when it is a group of people whose company I enjoy! So while I am excited about going back to Bloomington, I am less excited about the prospect of my empty apartment. I just keep reminding myself: only a few more months until I live with my husband full-time! How exciting!!