This seasonal Curry Pumpkin Soup is another MaxLiving recipe, which means it’s naturally gluten free, full of healthy fats, free of sweeteners and perfect for fueling fall adventures.
During a particularly quiet moment, I began to look at my dining room table in greater detail, skimming the subtle intricacies with my finger. It’s a drop-leaf table with three large planes. The history is easy to miss, since the eye blends the details, but in that moment of quiet, I felt like I had discovered traces of a story, little notes left by a neurotic craftsman.
It’s a table I sanded, sanded and sanded some more, then conditioned to reveal a warm, auburn hue. In the years since, I took the details for granted. I let them fade, but in the quiet moment of reflection, they surfaced: little plugs of wood barely larger than the pearly head of a pin. Someone had painstakingly crafted those details so I wouldn’t notice, so the beauty of the whole would outshine the minutia. This is what fall feels like this year.
I live in Pittsburgh. We have seasons. We have extreme seasons by some standards. Winters are snowy, springs are rainy, summers are muggy and fall is … breathtaking!
Pittsburgh is also a city that collectively complains about its weather, acts constantly surprised by the repeating patterns. It’s in the working class nature to turn to a neighbor and complain about the grey, gloomy skies or the all-too-short fall and spring, or to complain about the all-too-long winter. But where are those people when the universe pours beauty into an extended season? I can never seem to find my neighbors in those moments, and I’m guilty of negativity myself.
I live in Pittsburgh, a city recently marked by immense, shocking, devastating tragedy. The day of the Tree of Life massacre was a day worthy of weather complaints. It was gray. It was unseasonably cold. It was wet, soggy and gloomy, but I swear that day gave way to one of the most vibrant falls I’ve seen in my 16 (!!!) years of living here. It was, like my table, as if a craftsman thought, “these details may fade. Their eyes may blend these colors into a blur of a background. They may not notice, but I will notice. I will sleep better knowing this was done right, that I gave them my all.”
Fall was done right this year. With each drive or dog walk, I saw reds sweeten, like plump berries, but each walk also felt like inching closer to that last, final burst of beauty before the elegant ladies shed their cloaks. I needed a pause, an afternoon to appreciate the colors, the crisp temperatures and the clinging leaves. It was time for a fall picnic.
Lately, Julep and I have been wandering more randomly, adventuring further and shaking up routines. One of our routes includes a sky-blue bridge that leads to what I have tongue-and-cheek been referring to as “our island.” Washington’s Landing is a little slice of peace with some of the most captivating views of the city, yet it often goes overlooked.
Washington’s Landing is largely a quiet place with the occasional rower skimming the Allegheny River or a runner looping over the landscaped trail. Once an industrial brownfield, it’s now a small haven that boasts the brightest autumnal palette (and a connection to George Washington himself). In short, it’s an ideal spot for a picnic.
Fall picnics call for thermoses of steaming, hot soup to contrast the chillier temperatures. Creamy, comforting with a kick of curry heat, fall picnics call for thermoses of piping hot Curry Pumpkin Soup.
This Curry Pumpkin Soup, like my Cauliflower Salmon Chowder, is another MaxLiving recipe, which means it’s naturally gluten free, full of healthy fats, free of sweeteners (because SURPRISE, so many packaged soups, even organic ones, have added sugars), and most importantly, this curry pumpkin soup is good and good for you.
SIDE NOTE: If you happen to live in Pittsburgh, I can’t recommend my MaxLiving doctor enough. Dr. Alex keeps makes up for all the schlepping, craned-neck working and general non-stop go-go-go nature of my work/life.
Curry Pumpkin Soup (Gluten Free, Vegan Option)
Recipe adapted from MaxLiving
Yield: makes about 10-12 servings
1/4 cup butter (substitute coconut oil for vegan option)
3 Tablespoons avocado oil
1 large white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
a 3 to 4-inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 apples, chopped
2 Tablespoons curry powder
salt, peper, cinnamon & nutmeg, to taste
32 fl oz (1 QT) organic chicken stock (use vegetable stock for vegan option)
3 cans (15 oz each) organic pumpkin puree
1 can (13.5 fl oz) full-fat, organic coconut milk
In a large stock pot, melt the butter (or coconut oil) and avocado oil. Add the chopped onion, garlic and fresh onions. Sauté until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the chopped red pepper, apples, curry powder and seasonings. You can be pretty generous with the cinnamon and nutmeg and trust your sense of smell at this stage. Sauté until the peppers and apples are just cooked, about 2-3 minutes more, and thoroughly coated in the spices.
Transfer the onion-apple mixture to a blender or food processor and pulse to combine, until desired consistency (I like to keep a little chunky texture to the blend). Return the puree to the stock pot, add the chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegan option), pumpkin puree and coconut milk. Bring to a boil and stir to combine thoroughly. Add additional salt, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg, to taste. Remove from heat.
Serve warm and enjoy!
… then get ready for gratuitous pics of my favorite adventure partner: JULEP!