The residents of the winter squash gallery were giving me a look. In late October, when I brought six beauties home from Brook Lawn Farm Market, they were happy to oblige, adorning the dining room and entertaining us nightly with their pigmented pageantry and futuristic architecture. Enough of the fun and games, they said. It’s January. When are you going to put us to work in the kitchen?
For her curried pumpkin puree, food writer Kim O’Donnel chose Peanut squash (left) and red kuri (right), both known for their creamy flesh.
All I needed was some truly wintry weather, I explained, for the muse to come out and play. And just like that, last week’s snowstorm took care of the inspiration drought. While two squash roasted in the oven, I got to thinking, what do I need to cook on the first truly cold day in a year? I need color. I need to eat the equivalent of the sun and be reminded of its magic powers with every sip or bite. I need to feel its warmth like a kitty cat sitting in the window.
As I inhaled the caramelized perfume coming from the oven, it occurred to me: There may not be a sunnier stand-in than a pumpkin puree. The pumpkin, and all its tough-skinned brethren, is completely dependent on the sun to morph into fantastical shapes and grow technicolor dream coats. And when pureed, the pumpkin is grounding and yet dreamy, as if the golden light of September was keeping you company.
With some leftover Thai red curry paste in the refrigerator and a can of coconut milk leading the way, I went in my mind’s eye to faraway places where I have yet to visit. Stovetop travel is the next best thing.
The roasted flesh of a Peanut winter squash is deep orange with a swirl of coral pink and reminiscent of a late summer sunset.
THAI-STYLE PUMPKIN CURRY SOUP