Plagued with a case of aggressive nesting, the local superstore executives have overturned every department where I shop in order to give birth to something I no longer recognize: Aisles 1-15. I used to know where they were and what they contained, but not anymore. Now, I drift about aimlessly, my paper list waving in the wind. I desperately cry out, “Someone help me! I can’t find the ice cream! I can’t find beans, either! Where am I?”
My list contains produce, a few canned goods, some snacks, meat, milk, and eggs, but I can’t zoom about with confidence anymore because that’s how I’ve ended up in the automotive section with windshield wiper blades for cars that we don’t own—and no toothpaste.
However, I do happen to notice a stray can of pumpkin, which I could either use as a guidepost for finding my way back to the cash registers— or I could just take it home because it’s edible and versatile, and I can’t find anything else on my list.
I go for option “B” and grab the can, rushing home to tell Nate, “I found this! Today, I found something!”
It’s 7:45 a.m. on a Saturday morning, and I’m waving canned pumpkin in front of Nate’s face, hoping he’ll wrap his arms around me and say, “My God! You did it! I’m so proud of you!” But he hasn’t had his coffee yet, and he hasn’t seen the things I’ve seen. (Salsa is now refrigerated and sharing a shelf with shredded cheese. This has never happened before.)
To celebrate my safe return from “the place of confusion/grocery store,” I decide that I will transform the pumpkin into a soup. The temperature outside does not exactly call for soup. It’s still pretty hot out there, but I’m determined to make some kind of steaming pumpkin stew anyway because it’s October.
A “spicy southwestern pumpkin soup” recipe catches my eye on the Internet. Here is the link to the recipe from Sommer Collier’s website: “A Spicy Perspective.” I’m also providing some of the steps and ingredients that I used from her recipe:
Ingredients that I used:
–1 tsp of olive oil
–1/4 cup of finely minced shallots
–1 tsp of chopped garlic
–1/2 of a jalapeño seeded and chopped
–1 tablespoon of ground cumin
–1 tablespoon of dried oregano
–1 teaspoon of salt
–6 cups of vegetable broth
–1 15-oz can of pumpkin
–1/2 of a 15-oz can of white beans
–2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
–2 tablespoons of honey
–green pepita/pumpkin seeds for a garnish
–Over medium heat, cook the olive oil, shallots, garlic, and jalapeño for a few minutes.
–Add the cumin, oregano, salt, vegetable broth, and beans.
–Bring to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes.
–Add in the vinegar and honey and let the mixture cook an additional 3 minutes.
–Blend it until the mixture is smooth.
–Serve with the pepitas/pumpkin seeds.
Results: The soup was flavorful, warm, and had all of those wonderful “fall feels.” Sour cream would be a good topping as well—if I could ever find it. Once I do, I’ll leave a trail of canned pumpkin from the parking lot at the superstore all the way to wherever the sour cream might be (the seafood counter?) and that’s just how I’ll have to find everything from now on.
In Other News: A super short fictional piece of mine called “Salud” was published in Safe & Sound, which is a really cool literary magazine that focuses on writing and well-being. You can check out the poem and the magazine here: “Salud.”
–My second column at The Daily Drunk is also live. You can find a recipe and review of Nate’s Rum Punch here: Rum Punch Review.
Your Turn: Do you use the same method/route each time for finding items at the grocery store? Do you make a list, or do you just wing it?