It's the most wonderful time of the year...the HOLiDAYZ! All the weirdo flavors start having their time to shine when November rolls around... like Peppermint, Peppermint Mocha, White Chocolate Peppermint Mocha, Peppermint Bark, Candy Cane, Eggnog, Holiday Nog, Sugar Cookie Nog, Caramel Nog, Coffee Nog, Soy Nog, Gingerbread, Ginger Spice, Cinnamon Spice, Vanilla Spice, Custard Spice, Sporty Spice, Scary Spice, Sugar Cookie Spice, Spicy Spice... But the king of all flavors is PUMPKiN. It just ain't the holidays without a Pumpkin Spice Latte or a Pumpkin Pie. To reveal the savory side of the Pumpkin, I decided to make Spicy Pumpkin Soup with Mustard Battered Onions.
It's a little scary to buy a whole huge pumpkin and use it for cooking instead of carving a funny face into it. But after seeing how much food you can get out of one of these thangs, it's a little scary that anyone throws it away after carving! Get a big knife and cut your pumpkin in half. Scoop out all the guts. Save the seeds and roast them with some Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper and Cayenne for later. Slice and dice the whole pumpkin and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for like 2 hours. Seriously. I know you're not supposed to leave the house with your oven on but I did. I got so impatient that I had to go to Walgreen's and buy a candle so at least I could smell that while I waited for the pumpkin to finish cooking!!
When it's out of the oven, wait another 20 minutes for it to cool so you can peel off the skin.
I bought this pumpkin with a good friend of mine in the town of Sleepy Hollow, New York. We booked a night at hotel, went to a Cider Mill, found vintage stores and coffee shops, went on a Haunted Cemetery Tour, and explored the local nightlife. There were no ghost attacks, but a scary thing happened at the "hipster" bar in town: I downloaded Tinder. For those of you who don't know what Tinder is, it's a dating app (?) or maybe a hook up app (??) that allows you to see the profiles of other users around you. By profile, I mean a couple of pictures, an age, and a tagline. If you like what you see, slide Right. If you don't like what you see, slide Left. My friend and I thought it would be fun to browse the singles around us in Sleepy Hollow! There was "Dude with a Parrot On His Shoulder!" slide Left "Driving Selfie Guy with Sunglasses!" slide Left "Blurry Picture Bro with Backwards Cap!" slide Left "JUST A BIG OL DOG FACE!" slide Left "A Guy Cuddling with a Real Tiger!" slide Left "Five Guys in One Picture so You Don't Know Who is Who!" slide Left "Really Young Boy Shaving His Face!" slide Left "ToTaL BaBe in the OceAN!!??!?" I stopped at that one. But then read his tagline "if u like smokin w33d 420/365 ima dealer. u dont like it dont bother"........_slide Left_......... There was "Someone Dressed in a Full On Chicken Suit!" slide Left "Totally Wasted MaaAaaAaN!" slide Left "I Only Have Muscles to Offer You!" slide Left "JUST DREAD LOCKS and THE MIDDLE FINGER" slide Left "I Play a Guitar Too!" slide Left....before I knew it I was in a Tinder K-hole. Who have I even looked at? Was anyone my type? What IS my type? What have I been doing? What time is it? Was anyone cute? Am I cute? Does anyone even like me? Do I like anyone? Have I forgotten to breathe this whole time? Am I a bad person?? How do you date?!
Chop up the garlic and toss in a pot with all those spices and a little bit of Olive Oil. When that becomes fragrant, add the Pumpkin Chunks. To really SpiCE Up YoUR LiFE, chop 2 Jalapenos, keeping all of the seeds. Mix in with the Frying Pumpkin Chunks.
After about 8 minutes of frying the Spicy Pumpkin Chunks, remove from heat and transfer into a food processor. Or a blender. Start pulsing while slowly pouring all of the vegetable broth in there. When it all becomes a liquid, transfer back into the pot on a low heat and add the Apple Cider Vinegar and Braggs Amino Acids. Put a cover on that and let it simmer for a while.
Slice about a quarter of an onion. Find two bowls. In one bowl, combine a handful of Flour, Bread Crumbs, and Nutritional Yeast. In the other bowl, combine Mustard and Olive Oil. Start heating more Olive Oil in a frying pan. Coat the onion slices in batches starting with the Mustard//Oil bowl and then dunking into the Flour//Bread Crumb//Nutritional Yeast Bowl. When fully coated, toss those Onions into the hot pan and watch it SiZZLE!
I started thinking about my sister and how I couldn't wait for her to try this Spicy Soup when she got home from yoga. It feels very second nature for me to prepare a meal for more people than just myself! Whether it's for a dude, my sister, my friends, my family, whoever! I just love to provide and nurture those around me. But I don't know if I could ever cook for a living. The closest I've gotten to working in the food industry is working in a coffee shop in college. During rush hours, I remember thinking to myself, Wait did she ask for Decaf? Can someone sue you for giving them Caffeine? What if I'm burning this milk? He specified 140 degrees! There's another latte coming up, I can use this already foamed milk! Oh but wait, it's soy. Can anyone REALLY tell the difference between soymilk and regular milk? I accidentally iced a hot Americano!! Why is this little kid staring at me? Oh yeah I was supposed to make her a Chocolate Milkshake!!! I was supposed to put chocolate AND caramel sauce on this whip cream!! I'm forgetting everything!! Why am I so stressed out this is COFFEE not BRAIN SURGERY!
I've also been the stressed out customer on the other side of the coffee counter. This past July on a Prince Rama tour, we were staying in this super bleak motel in God Knows Where, North Dakota. After zero sleep and a LooOOoOOoooOONG drive ahead of us, I found a Starbucks to grab our morning coffee at. I ordered a Venti Iced Soy Mocha instead of my usual Tall Americano because I was feeling the need for a special * Treat *. Everyone working behind the counter was a girl and in my head I was thinking They are totally judging me for getting a mocha. I'll just give them a fake name so no one has proof of this drink order.
"ICED SOY MOCHA FOR KIM. VENTI!"
God, did they have to throw the "Venti" in there at the end??
I was dashing outta there with my sissy drink, when I realized: This Venti Iced Soy Mocha is not Soy. It's Whole Milk. I hate being that girl, but I'm not drinking 20 ounces of Whole Milk. So I went back up to the busy girls behind the counter.
"Hey, I'm so sorry...but this isn't Soy in my Mocha," I said sweetly.
A brown haired girl took the cup from me and looked at the writing that said "SOY".
She looked back at me and frowned. "It's company policy that the customers enjoy their drinks at Starbucks."
I guess that means she's remaking my drink? She's probably going to put all of her crazy vibes into it. Crazy Vibes Venti Iced Soy Mocha.
I waited and waited and waited for them to remake my stupid hedonistic Venti Iced Soy Mocha. Creme Brulee Lattes went by, Java Chip Frappuccinos, Skinny Vanilla Lattes...then finally....
"ICED SOY MOCHA. VENTI!"
"Oh my God thank you so much for remaking this! I really appreciate it I know y'all are busy!"
Alright, it's probably fine. I stepped outside and took a sip. There was definitely Soy, definitely Ice and Chocolate....but NO ESPRESSO. She had basically given me a Venti Iced Soy Chocolate Milk with Crazy Vibes.
I'm late! We have a 13 hour drive! I haven't even had coffee yet! Are these girls fucking with me? I don't even want this big drink anymore! I'm basically a nice person but I feel like I'm about to burn this whole Starbucks down!!!!
I turned around and went back up to the busy girls behind the counter.
"Heyyyyy I'm really sorry...um...but there's no coffee in this Iced Soy Mocha..."
The brown haired girl turned to a blonde haired girl and asked her if she had put espresso in my drink.
Of course she said yes making me look crazy.
"I just don't taste any coffee... I know what it's supposed to taste like when...."
I was cut off by Blondie grabbing the drink out of my hand and without ever breaking eye contact, she threw it behind her shoulder into the trash can.
When the soup is HOT and the Onions are CRiSPY, serve up in a couple of bowls with chopped Cilantro. This season, I'm grateful for PUMPKiNS and how they make the holidays tastier than a Tinder Date or a Starbucks.