Creamy Velvet Pumpkin Soup with Crispy Sage

Pumpkin Soup with Sage by Modern Day Forager

Recipes by Rj of Urban Table
Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table
Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

MDF’s take on a creamy, velvety pumpkin bowl soup with crispy sage!

This soup will be sure to satisfy your winter cravings.  The perfect bowl of comfort, this warming soup is also a real crowd-pleaser.  As you know, we like to mix things up at MDF so we added Granny Smith apples for an underlieing tartness which adds freshness and cuts the richness of the pumpkin.  I am a soup gal, always have been and love soup for breakfast, lunch or dinner with a crusty loaf of hot bread.  I grew up in a house of soup artisans, there was always a pot of simmering goodness on the stove.  The smell filled our kitchen and was truly intoxicating .   If I wanted soup for breakfast my mom or grandmother were happy to oblige, going to school with a full belly of warm soup was just as good as a belly full of a hearty breakfast.  I have followed this tradition with my kids, they love the option of having soup for breakfast.  Enjoy this recipe it so easy to prepare and freezes beautifully.

Pumpkin Soup with Sage by Modern Day Forager

 Pumpkin Soup with Sage

 Roasted Pumpkin for soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized sugar pumpkin
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cut whole pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, and quarter
  3. Place pumpkin quarters  on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast until tender but not falling apart, approximately 45 minutes. Let cool, peel away meat, and cut into small dice.

Soup

 Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1  Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups roasted sugar pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon sage leaves
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (retain a pinch for garnish)
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Pinch ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup cream
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Fried sage leaves
  • Roasted papitas

Directions:

In a medium to large stockpot over medium heat, melt butter and sauté onion, carrot, apple, roasted pumpkin, and sage until tender, approximately 8 to 10 minutes.

Puree the mixture in a food mill (you can also use your food processor or blender.  (we just prefer texture from mill)

Return the puree to the stockpot, add the chicken stock and spices and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add cream and simmer for 10 more minutes. (do not boil)

Fry fresh sage leaves in olive oil in a small saucepan until rise to the top of oil and become crispy.

Season soup  with salt and pepper.

Garnish with crispy sage, roasted pepitas, and fresh thyme leaves.

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Melon Week Wrap Up

 

Melon Week on Modern Day Forager

Thank you to Andrew Gooi, of Gooi Films.  Andrew contacted us several weeks ago and asked if we would be interested in participating in a video series he was working on called “a day in the life”, after a few conversations we thought, can we be that interesting?  Really?  Seriously?  Then, the dreaded, we are going to look horrible on camera and UGH the sound of our voices being recorded.  UGH again!  But, with a little trepidation and a whole lot of why not, we decided to jump in.   A true professional, Andrew accommodated our crazy schedules and we shot our first video Monday morning at the larder.  We had no idea 24 hours later he would call to say the video had been edited and was on you tube.  We are just over the moon, that we got to share our story, our craft, our process and what we love to do.

Melon Week on Modern Day Forager

A big shout out and thank you goes out to Blue Sky Organic Farms.  Sara and David were so helpful, from Sara providing us with a wonderful selection of melons to use in all our recipes and David taking the time to explain the flavor profile and textures of each of the fifteen varieties of melons he grows, so that we could make good decisions on which melons would go best in each dish we had decided to make for the week.  Thank you for making our jobs a little easier this week and reminding us why it is so important to get to know your farmer!  It makes everything you do in the kitchen easier!

Melon Week on Modern Day Forager

Last, but certainly not least, thank you to you, our readers. We had our highest readership since we started.  Monday with the introduction, followed by Tuesday’s post on selecting, storing and preparing, we saw our page views and visitors skyrocket.  With the busy holiday weekend approaching, we thought readership would dip somewhat and we even considered not posting, but you surprised us and readership stayed strong.  Wednesday’s watermelon soup set a new record for us and then we hit it again Thursday with our melon sangria.  Friday’s reaction was great for our summer melon salad and then Saturday we received the most comments of the week for our refreshing take on granita.  So, thank you, the work is gratifying, being part of this collective and collaborating is truly rewarding and we are all richer for the experience.   We love hearing from you, so keep your comments and suggestions coming, either on the blog or on the MDF facebook page.

Summery Watermelon Soup

Modern Day Forager

Selecting, Storing and Preparing

Melon Week on Modern Day Forager

Every Saturday during melon season, I was asked the same question over and over;  “Could you select a melon for me?”  “How can I tell if a melon is ripe?”  “How do I store this at home?”  So let me try to arm you with the information you need.  First of all, one of the great things about shopping at your local farmers market is that most, not all, of the farmer’s at the market grew what they are selling, that being said, the melon was picked ripe, there are degrees of ripeness to be sure, but the melon is certainly eatable.  The problem comes in when the farmer or a grocery store purchases melons that have to be trucked to their final destination.

Melon Week on Modern Day Forager

 Selecting Melons:

Cantaloupe – Good quality cantaloupes will have a lot of  webbing on the skin, it will have a yellow/orange color and be slightly soft on the stem end.  If the cantaloupe is not ripe enough to your liking, store at room temperature on your kitchen counter or in a loosely closed paper bag for one to two days.

Honeydew – High-quality honeydew melons should be a creamy color and the skin will almost feel waxy when ripe.  They will be somewhat firm with a bit of softness at the stem.

Watermelon – Great tasting watermelons will be firm, even-shaped and heavy for its size.  The easiest method to judge ripeness is to look at the spot where it laid on the ground, that should be a darker yellow, and the rind overall should have a healthy sheen.  Watermelons do not ripen any further once they are cut from the vine.  Most popular watermelons are round dark green or dark green striped.  The light green oval shaped are usually not as sweet and red on the inside.

Seedless Watermelon– Like seeded watermelons, seedless watermelons will be firm, evenly shaped and heavy for their size.  Remember seedless watermelons are not seedless, instead of the large black seeds; they have the small white seeds that some people consider edible.  (I do not)

Storing Your Melons:

Uncut melons can be kept at room temperature for two to four days.  Ripe melons can be refrigerated for an additional 5 days.  Cut melons should be placed in a covered container and refrigerated for no more than three to four days.

Preparing Melon:

Melons taste wonderful just as they are.  Although, we are going to play around with them this week (that’s what we do.)  We like cantaloupe sprinkled with salt and a little black pepper, the combination is amazing, wrap them in prosciutto or any cured meats, blend the flesh and add the juice to anything, perfect addition to any fruit salad. Watermelon is wonderful with salt as well, we also like honey and lime or balsamic vinegar.  Let us know your favorite way to enjoy melons and we will pass them on to our readers.

Melon Week on Modern Day Forager

I hope that I was able to shed some light on the picking a melon question, please comment here or on facebook if you have any other questions on choosing a melon or any other farm fresh fair for that matter.

Melon Week on Modern Day Forager

Modern Day Forager

Shop Girl for Farm Week

One more farm to pay tribute to…thanks to our fellow blogger AGRIgirl–Life Lessons From My Kitchen.

Please check out AGRIgirl, it is packed with  great content and valuable information.  Tammy’s love of  good food, life lessons from her kitchen,  leadership skills and an advocate for creating healthier communities is a food journal readers MUST!

Desert Roots Farm which is located in Queen Creek, Arizona.  Farm owner, Kelly Saxer has been tending to this 33-acre  CSA farm selling fresh high quality vegetables and herbs since 2001 without the use of pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.  Bringing back the farm to the community is her main goal.  A win-win relationship everyone benefits from.  When you sign up for Kelly’s CSA you will receive a box of seasonal foodstuffs throughout the farming season.  Know your farmer, know how the land is being treated, know your food. 

Desert Roots Farm
www.desertrootsfarm.com
Phone: (602) 751-0655

Shop Girl Logo

 

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Tula Hats

Sun protection never looks so good…these Tula hats have timeless style and casual elegance.  Our favorite hats are the Somerset Black Bow $43.99 and the Brook’s $33.99…both UPF 50+.

tulahats.com

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Working Wellies

Made from supple rubber and completely waterproof, they provide all day comfort.  We just think these dirt kickers are so fetching.

Comes in Red and Hunter Green.

$119

Gardeners.com

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City Planter by Potted

How cool are these swanky hanging gardens…they are all the rage.  Made of 14 gauge steel and hand finished with a sealed rust patina finish.  Each piece is one-of-a-kind.  Love the city slicker style.

$198

Pottedstore.com

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Chez Poulet Coop Blueprints by Heather Bullard

$39

coopplans.bigcartel.com

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Farm fresh eggs just got better!!!

Detailed drawings to build your very own Chez Poulet, with a hip copper plated copula.  Your feathered flock will love the design, their new digs and lovely agrarian lifestyle.

 

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Slow Food:  Collected Thoughts on Taste, Tradition, and the Honest Pleasures of Food, by Slow Food Editore, Carlo Petrini

$20

Amazon.com

The Slow Food Movement shares lessons about how to cook well, eat well and live well.  We are encouraged by Petrini to enjoy life to its fullest.  Bring back the pleasures of the palate, focus on being convivial, nourishing our homes, communities and the humanity of food.  A fresh look on an alternative lifestyle to the fast paced world we live in.  I don’t know who said this, but boy does it resinate loud and clear for me…he who lives slow, lives well.

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Wrap Up for Farm Week

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Living within the biological constraints of the earth may be the most civilized activity a person can pursue, because it enables our successors to do the same. You cannot live within the carrying capacity of a region if you don’t know where you are.  Most of the developed world lacks this knowledge.  We have little understanding of where our water and food comes from, the impacts of our cars and homes, the activities undertaken by others around the globe to support our lifestyle, and the effects we have on the environment and its people…We will never know ourselves until we know where we are on this land.

–Paul Hawken–environmentalist

Getting back to the land and back to the basics was the focus this week.  We came away from our very own farmer+chef connection with hope, inspiration and pride.  We also deepened our commitment to a sustainable lifestyle, our devotion to honor diversity, determination to strengthen our community and are motived even more now to being part of the solutions, and live the change we want to see.

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We gave you a little peek into a very unique and special place in Marin County, Green Gulch Farm, also known as Green Dragon Temple.  We loved being able to show you how other areas grow food and the peacefulness that farming may bring.  Not to mention, all the of the delicious earthly delights.  This tranquil center offers farm and gardening apprenticeships, tours, children’s workshops, lectures and  work week shares, in exchanged for labor and help caring for the land, the Zen Center gives participants accommodation and meals at no charge.  The program also allows you to be part of their formal meditation.

See their website for details.

1601 Shoreline Highway
Muir Beach , CA 94965
415.383.3134 | ggfoffice@sfzc.org

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Next, we gave you a very small tour of a few of our local farms here in Phoenix.  We are truly blessed and feel quite fortunate to have so many amazing farmers here in our valley.  Most of them we are privileged to call friends.

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Tell us about your farm experiences.  Does it make a difference to you knowing your farmer?  Do you get a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share once a week?   We want to know if you think it makes a difference to you and your family.  Have you thought about your own backyard homesteading?

Thanks for being a part of our week.

Modern Day Forager

Local Farms We Love

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Having just moved here from Illinois in the last couple years, I am still amazed and delighted by the number and the quality of farms here in the valley and the incredible variety of produce that these farmers are able to coax from what looks to my mid-western eye to be scorch earth.  In my short time here, I have been incredibly fortunate to meet and work with several of these amazing people; here is a brief overview of just a few of them.

(Full disclosure: I am currently employed and loving life at Blue Sky Organic Farms)

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WEST VALLEY

Blue Sky Organic Farms:  A family farm dedicated to hard work and growing the best quality produce possible.  Located in Litchfield Park, Arizona since 1995 this 35-acre farm is certified organic, which means the fields and growing practices meet strict federal standards and those standards are upheld through rigorous inspections by third-party inspectors and conducted under the strict purview of the Arizona Department of Agriculture.

Blue Sky Farms specializes in growing a wide variety of vegetables and melons for local restaurants, Arizona Whole Foods Markets, The Old Town Scottsdale Farmers’ Market, and their own farm stand and test kitchen.

Owner David Vose’s chef background further compliments his ability to grow specific items, specific sizes and unparalleled quality and shelf life for both chefs and retailers alike.

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http://blueskyorganicfarms.net

Location:

4762 N 189th Avenue

Litchfield Park, AZ. 85340

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Boho Farm and Home:  This little half-acre urban farm the likes of which I had never experienced until we (urban table) were asked to be vendors at an annual Farmer’s/Flea market she hosted.  Caroline Van Slyke an interior designer turned sustainable farmer does a little bit of everything on this diminutive parcel of land, that in my humble opinion is an urban oasis.

Caroline is growing some incredible vegetables and flowers along with raising chickens and ducks and still finds time to produce some of the tastiest jams and marmalades in town, whip up fabulous cheese and if that wasn’t enough she is willing to share all her knowledge with you during one of the many classes she offers.

http://www.bohofarmandhome.com

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SOUTH MOUNTAIN

MAYA’S FARM:  I first met Maya Dailey, owner and farmer of this small operation that is big on results, before I moved to Arizona, at the Slow Food International Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre in Turin, Italy.  What I learned immediately from meeting Maya is that she is passionate about what she does and because of her; Maya’s farm produces very high-quality vegetables, herbs, flowers and eggs.

Maya has never used pesticides, herbicides, or commercial fertilizers and just recently became one of only 3 Certified Organic Farms in the valley.  Maya’s farm is nestled up to South Mountain Park in Phoenix, Arizona, a beautiful location where visitors are welcome and like Caroline, Maya likes to share her knowledge and offers many classes throughout the year.

http://mayasfarm.com

Located:

6106 S. 32nd Street

Phoenix, AZ 85042

(32nd Street & Southern)

SCOTTSDALE

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Singh Farms:  Singh Farms is located on the Northeast corner of Loop 101 and E. Thomas Rd on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Reservation.  Yes, really, there is a farm there, I was surprised too but a farm it is and a gorgeous one at that!

Owners Lee and Ken Singh have created another urban oasis with and an incredible selection of seasonal vegetables surrounded by mesquite trees and a wonderful farmer’s market Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (noon in the summer)

We carry some of Singh farms products in the larder and they were our farmer at the Miller Market on 1st. this year and we have had nothing but rave reviews on their produce and all their quality products this season.

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https://www.facebook.com/singhfarms

Located:

8900 E. Thomas Road

Scottsdale, AZ 85251

480-225-7199

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The Simple Farm:  Lylah and Michael own another of our urban farms, this one is sandwiched between gated communities in the middle of Scottsdale and this one has goats, to be more specific, a herd of purebred Nubian goats.  Twice a day this heard is milked and that milk is transformed into amazing caramels and cheeses.

On Thursdays the farm is open to the public from 8:30 until noon with a French styled market offering eggs, cheese, vegetables, flowers, fruit and herbs they grow along with other local produce they bring in. More importantly the caramel, you have to try the caramel!  We cant keep the stuff in stock at the larder, salted goat milk caramels… how can that be bad?

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http://www.thesimplefarmmarketgarden.com

Located:

9080 E. Cactus Rd Scottsdale, AZ.

1/4 of a mile east of the 101.

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Green Gulch Farm

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Today we have the pleasure of introducing you to Green Gulch Farm in Marin County.  This place is truly magical.  For several decades they have been a model for organic farming.  If you have ever been to the farmers market at the Ferry Building in San Francisco you have probably seen their wonderful produce for sale.  The Greens Restaurant at Fort Mason uses the bounty from the farm in every meal they create.  The restaurant on the property, wasn’t on our itinerary,  but we look forward to eating there on our next visit.

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This really is a Buddhist Zen Meditation Center.  The calm that settled on us as we walked the farm was much needed and welcomed.  There was no cell phone service so no interruptions as we enjoyed the quite that this place provided.  We had to keep telling ourselves “this really is a working farm”  as all around us people were working in the patchwork fields of new lettuces and chard.

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The farm was ripe with fruit trees of all kinds.  Pears, plums and apples in several varieties and various stages of ripeness. Its not every day you get to see just how something grows.

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Your first introduction to the garden starts with these beautiful fruit trees then opens into a beautiful flower garden.  There are bees everywhere, from small hives scattered around the farm that added to the lovely sites and sounds.

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Spearmint had been harvested for the farmers market but we think it makes a lovely bouquet.  They also have a green house where all the magic starts.

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If you continued walking through the farm you end up at the Pacific Ocean.  As we walked we could hear the ocean long before we could see it.  It was a very cloudy day but still wonderful to see. We hope you enjoyed the tour of this beautiful place.  We would love to know if you have ever visited Muir Beach area or other parts of Marin County.

Modern Day Forager

Welcome to Farm Week

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Today here in Phoenix we are attending the fourth ArizonaFarmer+Chef Connection.  An event that focuses on developing successful farm to chef relationships by connecting food producers and buyers so they may talk directly to each other about product needs, availability and procurement of farm fresh honest food.  The day will be filled with education, facilitate collaboration, cultivate partnerships and promote growth for our local food system.

As chefs, we our schooled in knowing the importance of where our food comes from, but do we always take the time to get to know the people behind the food?

So this week we are taking you behind the scenes, we will be sharing information on this event, along with some photos of great small local farms in our own backyard and some farms we have had the pleasure of visiting across the country.

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The largest fig tree we have ever seen.  The fruit was almost ready to harvest.  This is where the chickens were hanging out.  It was about 100 degrees that day.  These chickens had the right idea.

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These goats were not shy.  One of them tried to eat our lens hood.

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This sweet old wooly gal looks like she is smiling, she must be oh sooo excited about farm week.

Thank you for joining us.  We are so excited to have you here.  Looking forward to hearing about your farm adventures, so please share, we just love hearing from you.

Modern Day Forager