i have been having the worst time putting words on paper (er, screen) lately. i suppose this is the teacher’s busy time of the year and i continue to take on so much, that i forget to take time. i consider this a big “life lately” dump so i can start fresh and start recording more of the day to day stuff. going back almost two weeks ago to halloween – we had a great one. alex and i reprised our costume from six years ago (our first halloween together) as wayne and garth from wayne’s world and it almost went even better than the first time.
we like to utilize halloween as a time for some great character acting, and it was perhaps the best (if you may have seen on instastories!). i feel like this is where we really shine as (comedy) partners! even better than simon & garfunkel a few years ago and the endless streams of “lie-luh-lie’s” from the chorus of “the boxer”. (arguably one of the best s&g songs) but i digress yet again.
other favorite moments were a rousing rendition ondrej and i performed of “tubthumping” (an underrated duet, in my opinion, but one that goes on way too long) and someone’s memorable louis armstrong impersonation. also notable were the ways that other people got into the holiday this year. every year our (czech) neighbors have a pumpkin carving evening with their grandkids, and i opened my front door on sunday night before halloween to see the entire hall of the building alight with glowing jack-o-lanterns, big white ghost lanterns, and candles. it made my halloween-loving heart swell.
our jack-o-lanterns sadly went bad before the 31st, so i took to lighting our neighbors’ jack-o-lanterns instead…. and laughably, even one that was sitting dark and forgotten in our local park. someone had lovingly carved it and lit it the saturday before halloween, but it had blown over in the storm the next day. then the day before halloween, someone picked it up and placed it on a planter box, and i lit it – a neighborhood effort. apparently it stayed lit the entire halloween evening… i hope it brought a smile and a bit of whimsy to someone’s night.
so far, november has brought with it quite dismal and cold weather that has us pulling our winter coats and sweaters not seen since last march. we’ve had a beautiful full (hunter’s) moon and i’ve been scrambling around on my precious weekends trying to do everything i don’t have time for during the week. baking. countryside walks with dogs & friends. movies. livestreams from this year’s iceland airwaves. nights at the cinema and in cozy cafes. we’ve got a three day weekend coming up for “struggle for freedom and democracy day” (aka, 28th anniversary of the velvet revolution) this coming week, which i think will help me slow down while still doing all the things i want to do.
yesterday we celebrated st. martin’s day with our friends/neighbors and their closest family members which was such a fantastic feast and experience – to take part in this czech celebration day the proper way… with soup, roast duck and goose, sauerkraut,
nádivka, dumplings, and all the trimmings, not to mention dessert upon dessert. it reminded me in this month full of thanksgiving how deeply touched and grateful i am to have met such wonderful people here that welcome us into our homes and seat us alongside their family members and children. i feel as though we are part of a community here – a feeling that doesn’t automatically happen in every place you live, and there is no better feeling.
although i’m deeply looking forward to what the rest of 2017 will bring (and in deep anticipation of the upcoming holiday season), i am also very conscious of being in the moment each day and savoring the very last autumn – what storm hewart did not blow away, at least!
the storm sadly destroyed many crops from local farms in south bohemia – been enjoying the last of those fresh leafy greens and other delicate produce that will be the last from the year. also snatching up the last of the local gourds – various squashes to make so many bowls of pumpkin pie oats, baked goods, and soup. ohhh, how good is a big bowl of pumpkin soup after a cold afternoon walking in the forest?
here’s my spin on a simple pumpkin soup with the secret healthful ingredient – miso! use white miso for a delicate flavor and dark (hatcho) miso if you want more miso flavor. it adds a lovely umami flavor to what could be an otherwise plain soup, not to mention so many health benefits.
pumpkin miso soup
1 hokkaido or kabocha pumpkin, sliced into chunks
2 small / medium onions, sliced
knob of ghee or coconut oil
sea salt, to taste
ground pepper, to taste.
chicken or vegetable stock – about 750ml
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon miso paste
pumpkin seed oil (optional)
1) heat the oil in a pot and add onions.
with a pinch of sea salt until translucent.
2) add in the pumpkin chunks and give them a stir frequently for about 10 minutes.
3) add in the stock just enough to cover the pumpkin (otherwise the soup will be too brothy) add a pinch salt and pepper to taste.
4) simmer soup until the pumpkin chunks can be easily pierced by a fork.
5) carefully transfer to a blender (or you can use an immersion blender if you prefer). add the nutmeg and miso and blend. you want to add the miso at this stage because water that is too hot can destroy some of the healthful properties.
6) taste as you go – you can add a little bit more miso, nutmeg, or a pinch more of salt to suit your particular tastes. (there’s nothing worse than an under-salted soup, but the miso does add a good hit of it, so salt more only after the miso is properly dissolved)
7) ladle into bowls and add a swirl of pumpkin seed oil and/or cream and swirl it in a pattern with a spoon.
8) serve with bread or toast if you prefer. feel warmer and cozier!
what’s your favorite soup or meal to warm you up on a cold autumn day?