Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pumpkin Soup, NYC Food and Wine Show, Chelsea Market, AND Knives

Silly, silly me. Of all weekends to decide to drag a big bag of stuff on the subway and into Manhattan. I went to Chelsea Market this Saturday to get some knives sharpened. I soon learned that this weekend was the New York City Food and Wine Show. The show is sponsored by The Food Network, which is housed INSIDE Chelsea Market. Oy Vey! Well, I thought, I couldn't very well turn back because I had already made it to the west side on the slow weekend trains and the knife lady was expecting me.

To add to the mess, most lines had limited service due to construction AND when I got off the train I had to plow through the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer to get to my destination. I guess it's a good thing that I had a dozen French knives in my bag--I had a false sense of confidence stomping down the street dragging my bag of sharp stuff and made it through the mess of tourists in record time!

I just wanted to get my knives and my clients' knives to Margery, the knife sharpener who, by the way, is fantastic. She sets up her table outside Bowery Kitchen Supply and is there Wednesdays and Saturdays from 12-6. Her prices are really low and she does a bang-up job! I just added her link, Samurai Knife Sharpening, to my links if you're interested. Oh, yeah, and she's really nice to boot!

So, there I was and decided to make the best of it. Below are some pics taken inside Manhattan Fruit Exchange at Chelsea Market. Yes, this is fresh baby corn and behind them, raw uncured olives. Divine!

Above is a shot of the varied and exotic dried beans, grains, nuts, and pasta offered at very reasonable prices. Just look at the colors!

Anyway, the place was jam-packed, but since I was there, I did my best to do a lap and see what I could see. I didn't run into Guy, Rachel, Sandra, or Alton who were all around giving talks and doing workshops. I noticed Paula Deen wasn't there, but she sent her sons to do a workshop for her, though!?!? I thought that was a little odd, but I'm a little odd myself and shouldn't judge.

I made a point to go to Buon Italia and bought some wonderful semolina pasta and bought some imported fresh sheep's ricotta to stuff them with. Sheep's Ricotta!!!! I also hit Manhattan Fruit Exchange, Fat Witch Bakery, Eleni's, and Amy's Bread before I headed out to get out of the crowd for awhile.

By mid-afternoon, I was back to pick up my super sharp knives and get back to Brooklyn pronto. I did manage to take pics of some impressive carved pumpkin displays and some beautiful shots from the Manhattan Fruit Exchange, though. See photo below for a look at the pumpkins carved to look like Guy Fieri and Rachel Ray. Pretty unbelievable, I would say. I also managed to eat a Pumpkin Walnut Muffin and picked up some homemade brioche hotdog buns at Amy's Breads.
Yes, I do believe it turned out to be a surprisingly fun and tasty day.

To celebrate the season, here is my favorite pumpkin soup recipe that is healthy, seasonal, and oh so dee-lish.

Spiced Pumpkin Soup

1 pumpkin, (basketball-sized), halved with seeds removed

1 lg onion, roughly chopped
4 T extra virgin olive oil
1 t sea salt
1/3 c raisins
4 c vegetable stock or water
1 T ground cinnamon
1 t ground nutmeg
½ t cloves
1 T allspice
½ c maple syrup
1 cup almond milk or coconut milk
¼ c lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet and roast pumpkin halves, open side down for 1-1 ½ hours or until very tender and soft. Remove from oven, flip and let cool a little while you put together the soup.

In a large soup pot, cook onion and olive oil for 2-3 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Season with sea salt. Turn heat to low.

Scoop roasted pumpkin flesh from it’s skin into soup pot. Cook for 3-4 minutes and stir.

Add raisins, stock, and spices. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking to the bottom.

Add maple syrup and milk and remove from heat.

Puree in batches until very smooth. Return to a clean pot, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Finish with lemon juice, taste, and adjust seasonings.

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