Pumpkin Soup Demo

With fall's arrival, we decided to do a live demo of making pumpkin soup. We covered slicing, blending, and more from a low vision perspective. Enjoy this recipe and learn a few cooking tips along the way!

October 30, 2019

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Audio Transcript


What’s Cooking – Pumpkin Live Demo

Presented by Pam Winters and Elyse Heinrich

October 30, 2019

Pam W: Okay. So, we are trying something new and different today. We talked last month. We told you last month that we were going to talk about pumpkins, and just last week, Elyse and I were talking about it and thinking that maybe if we did a live demo and I was here doing the techniques, it would ... more of our ideas about low vision techniques and strategies for how to do things in the kitchen would come up while I was preparing something.

So, that's what we're going to be doing today, and we are going to be making pumpkin soup. This is a recipe called Pumpkin Soup Classic and Easy. It's by RecipeTin Eats, and we are going to be going all ... I am going to be using my Google Home Mini while we do this to access the recipe, but the first part of what I'm going to do, I'm going to wait to turn that on because the first part of what I'm going to do isn't included in the recipe online, and that is that we have to get our pumpkin. We're not using canned pumpkin, although we could use two cans of pumpkin puree for this recipe, but I got a pumpkin, a little pumpkin from my CSA. We want to go ahead and try doing it with fresh pumpkin so we can talk about cleaning out a pumpkin, getting the skin off of it, and cutting it.

So, the pumpkin that I have here is ... The recipe calls for a 2.4-pound pumpkin, and the pumpkin I have here is 2.7, so we're pretty close, but that ... As you know, that rind on the pumpkin is very hard. So, what we want to be able to do is soften it up a little bit so it's easier to remove. So, luckily, my pumpkin ended up having an imperfection in it. It's not perfectly round. So if you're ever going to try this, I would suggest looking for a pumpkin that, when you turn it on its side, it can lay ... It kind of has a groove or a divot in it so that it will lay steady on your counter rather than roll. So, I kind of lucked out that way.

So, the first cut that we're going to make, we do have to make with a chef's knife, and we're going to make it down the equator or the belly, like the belt of the pumpkin. I'm going to cut it in half so that I can put it in the microwave. So, I'm going to just take my knife, and I'm going ... I'm left-handed, by the way, so a lot of you probably are right-handed, but I'm going to just take it and go straight down into the pumpkin to get it started, and then release my knife. You can't hear anything right now, but, and then, with keeping my fingers out of the way, it's relatively easy to cut through a small pumpkin like this with a good chef's knife if you put your hand that you're not cutting with, so in my case, it's my right hand, flat on top of the blade. I'm just going to press down because a lot of the pumpkin that I'm going through right now is that center hollow part that has the seeds in it. Okay?

So, now that I've cut my pumpkin apart, I am going to go ahead and get the seeds out of it. I have a bowl here to put my things in, and-

Elyse H: Pam.

Pam W: Yeah?

Elyse H: This is Elyse. Real quick.

Pam W: Yeah.

Elyse H: Can you tell us a little bit I guess about the size? Now, I'm thinking maybe a small-

Pam W: Oh, about how ... Yeah, about ... Yes.

Elyse H: About how big is a 2.5-pound pumpkin?

Pam W: I'm glad you asked because I actually meant to say that. So, I would say that this pumpkin, diameter-wise, is probably about five or six inches. So, it's a pretty small pumpkin. So-

Elyse H: Okay.

Pam W: It's pretty light and pretty small, so it's not one of those big, huge things that you're trying to go through. So, it actually, when I pushed the knife through the pumpkin, that middle, it really only took one good shove. I didn't have to keep doing it over and over again because it's pretty tiny. So, then, when you open up the pumpkin-

Elyse H: I'm going to interject one more-

Pam W: Oh yeah, absolutely.

Elyse H: What kind of cutting board did you use, or what surface was good for you for cutting that?

Pam W: So, right now, I have just one of those ... the thin plastic ones that you can kind of bend and mold. It's just all I have on my counter right now. Just it's kind of more to protect the counter and from the knife cutting it. So, but when I did it when I practiced earlier this weekend, I had one of those ... Let's see. I'm going to take it out of my cabinet here. This is real time here stuff, an Epicurean. I don't know what these are made out of, but they're supposed to stay. Yeah, it's got rubber feet on it, which is also a good idea to use a cutting board with rubber feet, but I actually don't know what this is made out of. Maybe somebody else does. Ah, I see a hand. Maybe Sue knows.

Elyse H: Right. I was going to say. Sometimes I'll put some Dycem mat underneath my cutting board-

Pam W: Right, right.

Elyse H: ... so they don't go ...

Pam W: Right.

Elyse H: Sue, I'll go ahead and unmute you. You can join in.

Sue: Oh, okay. If I'm unmuted ...

Elyse H: Yes, Sue. You are.

Sue: Yeah, you can put a towel or some wet paper towels under a cutting board, no matter what kind it is, and that'll help keep it from sliding off the counter. Another point that you didn't say anything about is you have a jack-o'-lantern, not a pumpkin. The difference is a pumpkin is going to have a meaty part about two inches thick, and a jack-o'-lantern is only going to have a meaty part maybe about half three quarters of an inch thick. You get more meat if you're having a pumpkin ... They're called sugar pumpkins, and-

Pam W: Right, that's a great point. That is actually the pumpkin that I, when I did this the first time, I had that. I had a sugar pumpkin. This one is actually called a pie pumpkin, so that's still considered a jack-o'-lantern pumpkin, I would assume, right?

Sue: I mean, if it's a pie pumpkin, it's probably partly sugar pumpkin and partly jack-o'-lantern, some place in the middle.

Pam W: Okay. Right. So, right now, while we were talking-

Sue: Oh, did-

Pam W: Oh, go ahead.

Sue: I forgot. I forgot.

Pam W: Oh.

Sue: You do not have to take off the outer skin. That does cook to be nice and smooth, depending on your cooking time. It also ferments nicely in your sauerkraut.

Pam W: Oh, good to know. There you go. All right. Thank you.

Elyse H: That's neat. Deborah, I see your hand is up. Would you like to join in? I'll unmute your line.

Deborah: Yes. I actually had the same comment, that I always have a damp, a very thin, damp kitchen towel that goes underneath my ... whatever I'm using for a cutting board, and then has about, oh, maybe nine inches flopping in the front so that you can wipe your hands on it as well.

Pam W: Oh, great.

Deborah: Yeah.

Pam W: I did remember to put my apron on today before we started so that I could [crosstalk].

Deborah: Oh, who needs an apron. Just wipe your hands in your hair.

Pam W: There you go. Okay. All right. Some good minerals or something, right?

Deborah: Yeah.

Elyse H: All natural.

Pam W: Vitamins, good vitamins. Awesome. Well, thank you so much. So, let's see. Anybody else want to say anything right now? Feel free to jump in. So, what I've been doing while everybody's been talking, though, is I've been going ahead and taking the insides of my pumpkin out, and you can use a variety different things for that, just a regular spoon, a melon baller, although that would take a little bit longer. What I'm using is my ice cream scoop, and I don't have one of those round ones. I have the ones that's flat and curved and kind of has a little bit of a beveled edge on it so that it can really get down into that pumpkin to scoop out all those stringy guts and the pumpkin seeds. I'm putting those in a bowl next to me so that, if I want to later, I can separate the seeds from the guts, and I can make some tasty pumpkin seeds. If we have some time, I pulled up some recipes for different ways to season your pumpkin seeds, if people are interested in that.

So, what I'm going to do now is, now that I've gotten it, I've gotten both halves gutted, I'm going to take a microwave safe plate here out of my pantry, and I am working in a tiny, tiny kitchen. I have one of those little galley kitchens. So, I'm going to put my pumpkin on here, and I did some ... I was trying to do some research on how long to keep it in, and most of the things online that I found were saying that it was about 18 minutes to cook it, but that was to cook it straight through. I really, for this demo, wanted to go ahead and cook according the recipe, so, which is to cook it on the stove instead of in the microwave.

So, the pumpkin that I used over the weekend was a little bit bigger than this one, and I put it in the microwave for six minutes. It is very hot when it comes out, so I am going to put it in for five minutes. Then I'm going to talk to you a little bit about my experiences with Google Home Mini, trying to get this started, and take any questions that you guys have while it's in the microwave, and then also while it's cooling. Then we'll move onto chopping our onions after that. So, I'm going to pop it in the oven here, and hopefully that's not too loud.

Elyse H: No. We do have a hand up, so let's go to Rachel. I'll unmute you. Can you hear us?

Rachel: Oops, am I ... Yes, I can.

Elyse H: Okay.

Rachel: My question was for either one, either Pam or Elyse, but what I was wondering is the recipe that you mentioned for the pumpkin soup, can you get this off of YouTube?

Pam W: I don't know. We will include it in our show notes.

Rachel: Uh-huh (affirmative).

Pam W: So, I just Googled "fresh pumpkin soup", and then this one came up. I was really trying to stick with one that we'd be able to complete in this hour of time. So, that's basically why we chose this particular recipe.

Rachel: Okay, and if you don't have fresh pumpkin, can you use canned pumpkin as a substitute?

Pam W: This recipe, yes. Absolutely. This recipe says that you can use two cans of pumpkin puree. You can also use butternut squash to replace the pumpkin, if you'd prefer.

Rachel: Yay. Awesome. I'll be looking forward to trying this.

Pam W: So, and it's really easy. There's not a lot of ingredients. So then, this next thing, then, while this is cooking in the microwave ...

Elyse H: This is Elyse, and I will jump in with one of my all-time easiest, favoritest roasted pumpkin seeds recipe.

You just take out the pumpkin seeds from your pumpkin. Usually, I would do it as a kid when we were carving them. You had to scoop out all that stringy sinew and the guts, get your arm really deep in there. So, you take out the pumpkin seeds, and we'd wash them. Just rinse them under water, and then put them flat on a cookie sheet, sometimes with some parchment paper underneath. Then, with a little bit of butter melted, kind of mix them up in there, and a pinch of salt, just to get a light coating over them. Pop them in the oven for about ... maybe about 45 minutes, and the oven was pre-heated to about 300 degrees, so they'd come out nice and crispy on the baking sheet. Oh my gosh. What a great treat. We couldn't wait for them to cool off and eat them as kids. I remember just the smell being in the house, was some great memories. Anybody have any pumpkin seed recipes, or how they would cook them, they'd like to share? Deborah, I see your hand is up. I'll go ahead and unmute you.

Deborah: Yes, thank you. I leave my seeds and the stirrings and everything in the pumpkin, and when I'm roasting it, I wouldn't do that on top of the stove, but I do it when I'm roasting, and I ... I don't know what to call it, kind of "ooge" around, so spices and a little bit of salt while it's roasting so that when the seeds come out of the pumpkin, they're already roasted. As soon as they cool, they're ready to eat. Then your pumpkin is ready to release the meat from the skin for whatever recipe you're using, so it's just sort of-

Elyse H: How clever.

Deborah: Yeah, just-

Elyse H: How clever is that. You just-

Deborah: It's kind of two for one, and it works just beautifully.

Elyse H: Oh, that's wonderful. About how long did you put it in the oven?

Deborah: Like she was talking ... Pam was talking about a two and a half pound, that would be about 40 minutes, but in a little bit hotter oven, like about 375 or 400 because you want it to cook a little bit more quickly and end up with that roasted kind of spicy flavor in the end.

Elyse H: Oh, great. Thank you for sharing. That sounds like a great idea.

Deborah: You can do that also with the butternut, the Delicata [squash], the ... any of the autumn or winter pumpkins that are ... I mean squash that are coming in right now, so ... or mix and match. I mean, just mix them all up in a stew.

Elyse H: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Okay. Okay.

Deborah: Okay. The end.

Elyse H: Thanks, Deborah. I like that.

Deborah: Okay.

Elyse H: We have another hand up. Let's keep going. This is great how we can learn from each other. Charles, you're next in line.

Charles: I would use Mrs. Dash, the seasoning.

Elyse H: Okay.

Charles: That would give you different flavors.

Elyse H: Oh, sure, instead of just salt.

Charles: Yeah.

Elyse H: Yeah. Yes.

Charles: The way you do it, I have a question on the way you do it. Do you dry the seeds out like you would... I always would dry my seeds before ... to put it up, to use it for planting next year, but do you dry the seed before you cook it, or do you just, as soon as you get it out of the pumpkin, put it on the pan?

Elyse H: You're right. Okay, so we take them out of the pumpkin, put them in a colander, and rinse them off just under water.

Charles: Okay. Uh-huh (affirmative).

Elyse H: Not really, you didn't have to dry them too well. Maybe just a paper towel, pat them dry.

Charles: Okay.

Elyse H: But then the-

Charles: So, these-

Elyse H: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charles: These aren't dried seeds, then. These are moist anyway, so, and what you're doing, you're drying them out in the oven, when you season it.

Elyse H: Yes. Yep, yep.

Charles: Okay.

Elyse H: Drying them and getting them crispy.

Charles: So, do you put anything like Pam or some type of paper down to keep them from sticking to the pan, or does it really matter?

Elyse H: Yes, we used to use parchment paper, or thin wax paper so they wouldn't burn onto them, just with that little coating of butter. They sometimes would fuse together with the cookie sheet, and you'd have to scrape them off, but ...

Charles: Yeah.

Elyse H: Mm-hmm (affirmative), and sure. Cooking spray or a piece of parchment paper would help alleviate that.

Charles: Okay. Well, thank you.

Elyse H: Yes, you're welcome.

Pam W: So, during the commercial break, I took the pumpkin out of the microwave, and it is now sitting on the plate cooling because it's very hot. So, I don't want to deal with that. So, I was starting to talk about the Google Home Mini. I'm a little bit nervous about just losing some time, so I think I'm going to go ahead and just forge forward.

The next thing I need to do is chop my onions. So, I don't know how many of you out there have a lettuce knife, but I really like these because it's very difficult, if not impossible ... I mean, I guess you probably could cut yourself with it, but it's not really ... It would be really hard to do, I think. So, that has the serrated edge on it, okay? So, to chop my onion, I'm going to use that because this onion doesn't need to ... or slice it, actually. It doesn't need to look pretty because it's all going to get blended up into the soup anyway. So, if the recipe calls for one large onion, it can be yellow or white.

So, I happen to have a white one here, and again, one thing I learned was that how you chop, and onion determines the kind of flavor you're going to get out of it, which I never actually knew. So, if you want a more pungent onion, you are going to cut the onion ... There. I wrote it down here, around the equator, like around the belly, and if you want the sweeter flavor, you're going to do it from pole to pole, so from the root to the scape, which is the top hairy part on it.

So, I am going to take my lettuce knife, and I'm actually going to go for the pungent flavor, and I'm going to cut mine right down the middle, in the belly, with my lettuce knife. Oh, that was my timer for the cooling. Then I'm going to go ahead and peel it, and one thing that I have found about peeling onions for myself, personally, is that it's easier sometimes to get that thin skin off of there by going ahead and just taking the first layer of the onion off with it. You can always chop that up later if you want to, but sometimes it's just that it's so thin to get off, and you want to make sure you get it off though by peeling a thicker layer off. That makes that a little bit easier, so that's what I'm doing right now, peeling this part off. Just going around.

Then, once we have that done, we're going to lay the onion with the flat side down, and we're going to just start cutting the half-moon shapes from ... Now, I'm left-handed, like I mentioned earlier, and so I'm going to start on the left side and work toward the middle. I'm going to keep my fingers curled in on that, the root part as I cut so that I don't cut my fingers. Then I'm just going to go ahead and slice my onion. So, how about a ... Are there a lot of people out there that use the lettuce knife? Such a great thing. Okay. Right.

Elyse H: I can hear you, though, cutting that onion. That sounds like it's right next to the phone there.

Pam W: It pretty much is. Is it too loud?

Elyse H: No, no, no.

Pam W: Okay. So, I'm going to go ahead and throw those onion slices. They are not pretty, I'll tell you that, but I didn't have to use a sharp knife for them, so that was perfect. Then, I'm going to do my other half real quick, and then we'll move on to the pumpkin.

Elyse H: The recipe just calls for one onion?

Pam W: One onion. It's one large onion, actually.

Elyse H: Okay. Okay. Sounds-

Pam W: So, any questions about cutting onions for people? Because I might be missing something. I'm trying to rush here now. So, all right. I've put the onion in the pot. I just threw it right in there. I'm going to get rid of my scraps in my bowl here, so it's nice to have that bowl. I did go ahead and get all of my ingredients out ahead of time on a cookie tray so that I could find them easily when I needed them. I'm going to check out my pumpkin now and see how it is for peeling. It's a little warm, but I'm still going to go ahead and try it. So ...

Barb: Hi, this Barb. I have a question-

Pam W: Yeah?

Barb: On the onion.

Pam W: Yeah.

Barb: When you're peeling the onion, is there any pros and cons to trying to peel it under running water?

Pam W: I don't know that, actually. Elyse, do you know anything about that?

Elyse H: Well, Barb, you were talking about when you're peeling the onion, running it, or cutting the onion?

Barb: When you're peeling it.

Elyse H: Oh. No, I haven't, although sometimes-

Barb: Is there any-

Elyse H: ...I get my fingers a little bit wet, and that helps get that started when you're peeling the onion.

Barb: Okay.

Elyse H: To pick off the very thin film, or the very thin layer.

Barb: Right. I just didn't know if it did anything to change the flavor or anything.

Elyse H: Hmm. Well, let's see. We have a couple other people raising their hands. Maybe they can help us out. Deborah, you are unmuted. Go ahead.

Deborah: Yes, I would not run water over onions. Some people put a little bit of ice water if they're in a rush and want to take some of the fumes out of an onion that's already cut, but I wouldn't run water over an onion as you peel it or as you cut it. There's always a question of, how do you keep from weeping? How do you keep the tears away? And I, believe it or not, I use swim goggles, and since I don't need to see, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what they look like or anything. In fact, when I went to the sports store to buy a pair of goggles, he said, "So, you can't see. Why do you need goggles?" I said, "To peel onions, of course." So, that keeps the fumes out of your eyes.

Pam W: Well, thank you.

Elyse H: That's very clever. I have not heard that one, Deborah, but now I want to try it myself because I am always tearing up and I have to leave the kitchen. I've got to walk through the living room and around just to get my ...

Deborah: Yeah.

Elyse H: ...to give my eyes a minute to adjust.

Pam W: [crosstalk]

Deborah: Well, and you hear all kinds of things, like you put a match in your teeth and all kinds of things, but I've found that swim goggles are just the best.

Elyse H: Oh. Okay. Thank you for sharing.

Pam W: Well, I trim ... When I dice my onions, I think I heard some time that doing the cross hatch on them, cutting them in a cross hatch, cutting down one direction, and then turning it and cutting across it in lengthwise cuts, and then turning the onion sideways, and so it's laying on its belly, basically, and then slicing down that way for the dicing, that that helps with not tearing, but I don't know. I mean, I still tear sometimes from that, so, doing it that way, so ...

Elyse H: Oh, sure. We have a couple other hands raised.

Pam W: Yeah, go for it.

Elyse H: Okay. Charles, you're next in line.

Charles: Yeah, the onion releases the gas, and gas rises up.

Elyse H: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charles: So, what ... There's a couple of things I've read, about the water, you don't cut your onion under the water. You just turn your faucet on, and that helps to relieve some of the gas that's coming into the atmosphere. If your eyes start watering too much, you're supposed to lower your head down below the cabinet for a few moments, and that'll clear your eyes. Then stand back up and finish chopping the onions, but leave the water running. It's supposed to dilute the gas, whatever. Do you understand what I'm saying?

Pam W: Oh, that's .... Yeah, yeah.

Charles: You don't cut the onion underwater, but you have the faucet running while you're cutting the onion.

Pam W: Right, right.

Elyse H: Sure, to have the sink on. Thanks. That's a great tip. I'll have to try that one too.

Charles: That's just, it's in that book I suggested.

Elyse H: Oh, neat. Okay.

Pam W: Oh, awesome. Yeah, that book is ... That sounds like a good one, that book, and we will share that in our show notes, the resource for that. Charles already emailed me the information about it.

So, I am ... I kept going here. I think that I needed to keep my pumpkin in the microwave a little bit longer to bust. I am managing to go ahead and peel it now. So, what I have done so far, I'll get you caught up, is I went ahead and took my two halves of the pumpkin, and now that it's softer, it's easier to cut with that chef's knife. So, I did cut off the very bottom of it so that I would have a flat surface, and I did cut off the very top of it. Again, I used that flat hand on top of the blade when I pushed down so that all of my fingers were out of the way.

So, this is probably the coolest tip that I learned about. When I was reading about how to get that rind off the pumpkin, it was suggested online to use a serrated peeler, which I don't have. So, I went out and bought one, and I just bought a real cheap one, but I think now that I've used it, I'm going to go ahead and get a better one. What I did then was I took the pumpkin, or what I'm doing, actually, I'll take my half that I haven't done yet, and I set it with the base down on the table, on the counter. So, the hole is facing up, so it looks like a bowl.

Then, I take that serrated peeler and just, at a little bit of an angle, like a beveled angle, I'm going to go around the top edge and peel off the edge of the rind that's right there at the edge. Then I'm going to go. I'm going around, and what's really cool about this peeler, and some of you might know this and have had some experiences with it, but it was new to me, is that as you peel, it leaves lines that you can feel on the flesh of the pumpkin. So, it's very easy to tell what part of the pumpkin you've peeled, and what part of the pumpkin you haven't peeled because the serrated edges leave lines on your pumpkin flesh.

Elyse H: How neat is that?

Pam W: And you get a-

Elyse H: We have a-

Pam W: Feel around your pumpkin. Yep?

Elyse H: Yeah, we just have a few hands up, so maybe while you're-

Pam W: Yeah, absolutely.

Elyse H: ...doing your serrated.

Pam W: Yeah.

Elyse H: Great.

Pam W: Yeah.

Elyse H: Rachel, you're next in line. Go ahead.

Rachel: Yeah. What I'm wondering about the onions, because I'm very, very skittish with sharp knives, can you use frozen onions that you buy in the grocery store for this recipe?

Pam W: I don't see why not, but, Rachel, do you own a lettuce knife?

Rachel: I do not. I have a, what they call a mezzaluna or a rocker knife.

Pam W: Okay. Now, you can ...

Rachel: You know where you press down-

Pam W: So, the lettuce knife doesn't cut everything, but it definitely cuts a lot. It's plastic and serrated, and you really ... It's not very expensive. They sell them at, even, I think, at stores like Walmart and Target. You don't have to go to a fancy store, and you really would ... I don't know. Maybe somebody has ... Has anybody had an experience where they've cut themselves with a lettuce knife? Because I really can't imagine doing it, unless you really came down full force, right on your finger, but they're so safe that it would be a good thing for you to maybe try, to practice.

Rachel: Yeah, I'll have to look into it.

Pam W: Yeah.

Elyse H: This is Elyse. I'll add in, too, Rachel, there's a couple different choppers available too, more of a stand-alone chopper with a comfort grip handle that you would just ... almost a capsule. You would put your onion in the bottom, and then clip the cup into the blade part, and then push the handle up and down, and the blade goes in and out. You can chop garlic or onions or nuts like that. Then your hand isn't on a knife, per se, but the blade is fully enclosed in a little cup, or it's a plastic cup. There's also a fruit and vegetable chopper, which I have, and I absolutely love it. You cut your onion, you need to cut it down a little bit smaller to fit onto the plastic little tray, but then it sits right on top of the serrated blade. Then there's a separate arm that you push down, that forces the onion through the blade into the catch compartment, and you can choose what size. You can do dices. You can do cubes. There's also a slicer option on there, and that keeps your hand away from the blade, and we can add those-

Rachel: Oh, I'll have to look into that.

Elyse H: Yeah, we'll add those links into our notes in case anybody else is interested in not using a knife to cut, more of a utensil. Yeah.

Rachel: That sounds great. Thank you very much.

Elyse H: You're welcome. How we doing, Pam?

Pam W: [crosstalk].

Elyse H: We got a couple other hands here.

Pam W: Yeah, go ahead.

Elyse H: Okay.

Pam W: That's great.

Elyse H: Okay.

Pam W: Because that's what this is all about, discussion, and I can backtrack and tell people what I did after the fact. So, that's totally fine.

Elyse H: Okay. Okay, let's see. This person, didn't get your name. The phone number starts 817.

Cleora: Yes, this is Cleora.

Elyse H: Hello, Cleora.

Cleora: Hi. Well, now I have two things to say.

Elyse H: Great.

Cleora: On the matter of controlling the tearing when you're peeling an onion, something that I discovered back when I was a teenager, this was about 50 years ago, I had heard the deal about putting a match in your mouth to catch the fumes, and what I discovered is you don't really need to do anything. Just keep your mouth shut. Make sure that always breathe through your nose. Do not open your mouth at all while peeling that onion, and you will not-

Pam W: Oh, I think I've heard that too, yeah.

Cleora: I don't know why. Like you said, like one person said, it's the fumes that cause this, but something about keeping your mouth shut works. Now, the question that I have, I'm with the lady before who was asking about using frozen onions. That's something I almost always have, but how much onion would you use, frozen onion, to equal that large onion?

Pam W: I think that that would require just a Google search, right, Elyse? I don't know if you've got your hands full there. Mine are full of pumpkin right now, but-

Elyse H: I sure can. I can sure look it. I'm not familiar myself with frozen onions, but let's see if I can find something, or if other people would know how to calculate some of that ...

Cleora: Well, I know-

Elyse H: Frozen versus fresh over ...

Cleora: I know that on dehydrated minced onions, one tablespoon equals one quarter onion, but I don't ... This isn't dried. A frozen onion is not dried, and I don't have any idea what a large onion weighs, or how many cups it would make.

Elyse H: That's a great question. Great question. This, I-

Pam W: I have ... I'm looking over my notes about things that I wanted to make sure that I mentioned about some tips as I was going, some of the things that I've already done. Using the lettuce knife to slice, like I said, if I wanted pretty slices of onion, then I might not use that serrated lettuce knife, but it works fine for this recipes since it's going to get ...

Cleora: So, you-

Pam W: ...all mashed up, but-

Cleora: I thought the ... grated peeler, but you're saying a serrated knife to peel the pumpkin?

Pam W: No, for the onion. I went back to the onion. So, yes, I used a serrated peeler to get the pumpkin off. How I did that, then, after I cut the top and the bottom off of it, then I was able to ... It was able to sit flat like a bowl. Then I took the serrated peeler and went around the edge. I tried to go around a couple of times, and just slowly working my way down, and I was turning the pumpkin with my other hand in a circle.

Then, once I got about an inch or so off of that rim, I flipped the pumpkin half back over. Then I took the serrated peeler and, sort of like when you're brushing your hair, like when you take your brush and put it on the top of your head, and then brush down, I took the serrated peeler and went around the pumpkin that way, peeling it down the rest of the way, but I didn't have to worry about getting down at that bottom edge because I had already peeled that part off.

So, then, as you go along, because of how this serrated peeler works, you can tell very easily by just running your hand around the pumpkin to see which parts are smooth because, if you don't get into that pumpkin and get a layer of it off of there, you're still going to feel that smooth rind as compared to the soft flesh of the pumpkin that now has your serrated lines on it.

Elyse, are we doing okay? Do we have people's hands up at all?

Elyse H: We have another hand up, yep.

Pam W: Okay.

Elyse H: Yep.

Pam W: Yep, let's go ahead and do that.

Elyse H: Okay. We'll go over to Brenda. Can you hear us?

Brenda: Hi, this is Brenda. Can you hear me?

Elyse H: Hi. Yes, yes, there you are.

Brenda: Okay. I bought my first no-cut glove the first time I ordered a mandolin off of Amazon, and whenever I'm using my knife, I will put the no-cut glove on the hand that is holding whatever the food is. That works really well for me. The other thing is if I know I'm going to be chopping at least half of an onion, or more, I use a lot of onions in a lot of food, I'll use my small chopper, and I prefer to do that. Back to you.

Elyse H: Thank you, Brenda. You're talking about a small chopper that has the blade enclosed, or has a push arm? So, you're not touching the blade.

Brenda: Yes, an electric chopper.

Elyse H: Oh, electric one, too. Neat. Okay. Then, going back to the frozen onions, I was able to onions, I was able to pull up a conversion website called Produce Converter. It said if I need one cup of onion for a recipe, they could change the one to one and a half, two, two and a half, anything that your recipe calls for. You click on 'calculate'. It comes to ... So, one cup of chopped onion, you would need one and a half onions.

Pam W: Okay.

Elyse H: So, I would think if it was frozen, you could just measure out cups of frozen, and then convert that backwards to what your recipe calls for.

Pam W: Right. Okay.

Elyse H: I'll add those in the show notes, so we are ...

Pam W: That'd be great.

Elyse H: Yeah. Well, no more hands at this point if you want to keep talking and describing how your pumpkin soup is coming along.

Pam W: Sure. So, I'm going to make a little bit of noise here because I do have to put some garlic in there. I have a couple of ways to get the garlic off, but the easiest and the most tried and true, I think, is to take the flat blade of your chef's knife, put it over the garlic, and then just smash it down with a flat hand, which I'm going to do right now. So, everybody, hopefully it's not too loud. Then, that peel will come right off. You can tell that difference between that peel and the garlic because the garlic is broken up, and so it's pretty slimy.

This calls for two garlic cloves. My husband and I both love garlic, and so we usually double the garlic that we put in. You could also use minced garlic instead. That comes in a jar, and I have that in my refrigerator, I think. Let me look and see, and I can tell you how much of that you would use. It says on there that one-half teaspoon equals approximately a clove of garlic. So that, you can use a little bit more simply than the fresh garlic.

I also have a little round silicone sleeve that you can put your garlic inside. It kind of rolls up, like a little tube. I was trying to think of something else that it's similar to, but you put your garlic in there, and then roll it on the counter back and forth. That loosens the skin to get it off, too, if you're a little nervous about using the knife, and that will do it, as long as you have a good, flat surface.

So, anyway, so now what we have in here is we have the one large onion chopped. We have the pumpkin that I did go ahead and chop. I described how I went ahead and peeled the pumpkin. Then, what I did when I cut it into slices and then chopped it was I just made, with my non-cutting hand, a very loose fit with my thumb tucked in, because one thing I found out is that I have a tendency to leave my thumb out, and then it could possibly get in the way. So, I tried to tuck my thumb in. I had the pumpkin with the opening down, and I had my hand on the top, with my fist on the top.

Then I just started at the edge of the pumpkin and sliced with my knife. Then I dragged my blade up the side of the pumpkin and met my knuckles. Then I would could down again to another slice and slightly moved. Again, now I'm moving from left to right because I'm left-handed, so that I would take my knuckles and move them a little more across to the right of the fat pumpkin, drag my knife up to it, and then slice down again. So, my knife is never really leaving the surface of that pumpkin when I do it. So, there's not a blade that's sharp, that's being outwardly exposed. It's always right there on the pumpkin. So, that's what I did there.

We talked about peeling. So, now we're ready to go ahead and put in our liquids. I find that ... I always thought, for some reason, somebody told me, I think, that things measure differently in a liquid measuring cup than they do in a dry measuring cup. I tested that out the other day, and it was exactly the same. So, I think that using dry measuring cups for cooking, at least, gets you close enough. Maybe not if you're baking. I would have to kind of look into that a little bit more.

It calls for two cups of chicken broth, chicken or vegetable broth with low sodium. So, I'm just taking my one cup, dry measuring cup. I've got my right index finger a little over the edge when I'm pouring so that I can feel when it gets close to the top. I'm going ahead and pouring that in, and then once I feel that I can pour just a little, like a half a second longer, and then we go into the pot. Then I need a cup of water, so I'm just going to actually get that from my sink.

So, and then it just says salt and pepper. So, what I did is I took ... I have a dish that I can just reach into with my salt, and so it's very easy to just take a big pinch. So, and I took two big pinches, and I think I might have salted it a little bit more later, so I just threw two big pinches in there of my salt. Then I have a pepper grinder that I just kind of guesstimate. I just kind of do a few turns there. You can probably hear me doing that, and-

Elyse H: Isn't that they say "salt and pepper to taste" in a lot of recipes?

Pam W: It is salt and pepper, right. Yep, it is.

Elyse H: So, really, however much you like is how much you can put in there. Yeah.

Pam W: Right, and it's better, I guess, to start out with a little less, and then you can always add a little later. The other thing about this recipe is they did give some tips for ways you can vary it, and my husband and I tend to like things a little spicy. So, when I made it earlier, I went ahead and added a half a teaspoon each of coriander, smoked paprika, and ground cumin.

So, I did want to mention about measuring those kinds of things, like in particular, liquids. When you're using your measuring spoon, one thing that I have found to be very helpful is to, if you can, put your spices in containers that have wider openings so they're easier to get your spoon into, so that you can measure out the right amount. If you have the little ones, a real good investment is, which is like a dollar, probably, at the Dollar Store, is to buy metal measuring spoons, and then bend the handles up so they're like ladles. Then you can go straight down into that spice thing, or even if you're measuring small amounts of liquids too, you can go right down into the liquid, pull it up, and level it off if it's dry ingredient, and then throw it right in there. So, I-

Elyse H: Pam, I really love that. You can put it into a bigger mouth jar that you can just easily get the spoon in there. I see a hand is up too. Okay. Let's see. Barb, can you hear us?

Barb: Yeah.

Elyse H: There you are.

Barb: On the ... Yes, I'm here. On the measuring, I have found that ... or I heard about it. I read about it somewhere here recently, is to buy a box of those Dixie bathroom paper cups, you know the real small ones?

Pam W: Oh, sure.

Elyse H: Yes. Uh-huh (affirmative).

Barb: And just pour some of my liquid in there. Then I can dig up my measuring spoon down in there. Then, when I'm ready to put it back into the container, depending on the size of the container, I can either just squish that cup together to pour it in, or I can just stick a funnel in the top of the bottle and pour it to get it back into the bottle.

Pam W: Right. You could even do that with your spices because, even if you have just the spice bottles that you buy from the grocery store, if you dump those out into a container and measure your amount that you want out, if you have the funnel, you can just stick that funnel back into the original bottle and pour the remaining spice back in there. Right. So, that's a great point. Yeah.

Barb: I was having a lot of problems with doing a tablespoon. The tablespoon wouldn't fit into the jar, so I just pour my spice into a bowl or something, or one of those cups, measure out what I need, and then put it back in the container.

Pam W: Right, right.

Elyse H: That's a great idea, Barb.

Pam W: Okay. So, I'm seeing ... I'm seeing that we only have about five minutes here, and so, our soup is not going to be done in time for our thing. So, I'm going to go ahead and talk about a couple more things here real quick. So, I have everything put together. It's in the pot, and all I have to do now is ... So, I'm going to go through again real quick. It's onion, one large onion, two cloves of garlic. It's the small 2.4-pound pumpkin, or two cans of pumpkin puree, it's two cups of chicken or vegetable broth, low sodium, one cup of water, and then a little bit of salt and pepper. That's all that's in there.

So now, I'm going to bring it to a boil, and once it boils, then it will need to simmer. It's supposed to simmer for 10 minutes. I think when I did it last time, mine was a little low. I had to go closer to 20 until I got the pumpkin soft enough, but ... Then, what you will do then, it's pretty much done, other than that you have to now make it into a soup, like a creamy soup. So, the two things to do there are to either use an immersion blender, which is ... or a stick blender, it sometimes is called, or a regular blender. The caution about using a regular blender is that your soup is hot, and so you need to be very careful when you're pouring it into the blender. So, one recommendation would be to use a liquid measuring cup and scoop it out of there slowly rather than dumping it because if it splashes up, you could get burned from the hot liquid, so, when you're pouring it in there.

So then, the other way, the recommended way is to use the immersion blender. You have to be careful with that too because, then, if you lift the immersion blender out of the liquid, it's going to splatter everywhere, so you really ... but you do have to move it around there and go up and down. What you can really pay attention to is the sound that it makes because you can definitely hear it. It sounds differently when your immersion blender's down at the bottom of the pan, as opposed to close to the surface of the top of the liquid.

Elyse H: I'm going to go ahead and open up all the lines here because we are just to the last few minutes. So, if people want to jump in, and we're so glad you could join us on our first ever demonstration. Just if you have a chance, email myself or Pam. Did you like it? What did you learn about it? Would you like to see more of these in the future? Just let us know. You can email us or call us and get in contact with Hadley's staff, and they'll send your notes to us as well.

Cleora: I would never have thought of making pumpkin soup.

Elyse H: You would have never thought of making a pumpkin soup? Is that what I heard?

Cleora: Yeah, that's what you heard.

Pam W: Oh.

Elyse H: Oh, okay.

Cleora: I'm assuming that-

Rachel: Same here.

Cleora: On the immersion blender, I'm assuming you're talking about the kind, it has the blade you stick in thing, and then you just ... down in the bowl or whatever? When I was growing up, I don't know if everybody has this. I know they have some of them, and mine will come off of the stand, and you can hold it in your hand, but mine is on a stand, and as you are blending, you can move the blender. You can move the table so that the blender is kind of striking the edge of the bowl a little bit, and it makes the bowl turn. So, this avoids business of messing it up, or maybe accidentally lifting it out and splattering yourself with whatever you're blending. It works pretty well, and you can take one of those plastic paddles, and move it like-

Pam W: Spatula, mm-hmm (affirmative).

Cleora: That's it. As the bowl turns, put your hand on ... Whichever hand you choose, put your hand on the bowl so you can feel the bowl, not hard enough to make it stop, but then with the other hand, put that spatula on the side, and just as it goes around, you scrape the stuff that you're blending back off into the center of the bowl so that it all gets blended evenly.

Pam W: Yeah, sort of like a stand mixer, then, it sounds like.

Cleora: In fact, I used to put the spatula up against the blades as they were turning to kind of scrape some of the stuff off. You have to be careful, of course, that you don't ... Be sure you approach it flat so you don't stick your spatula into the blade, but the ... Putting it on a stand works really, very well. I don't know if it's possible to get those anymore or not.

Pam W: Yeah, I don't know. I just keep picturing my KitchenAid stand mixer, by what you're describing, so ... but I don't think that's the same thing.

Charles: No.

Cleora: This is a really, really old blender. It's one of those ... I can't even remember the name of it. It's about ... Oh, it's probably old as I am, but we had it ... I don’t think Black & Decker is right. I don't-

Elyse H: Charles, I see your hand is up. Do you have a-

Charles: Yeah, I have an immersion blender I bought.

Elyse H: Oh, a note about the blenders? Yeah.

Charles: Yeah, I bought it through the Black & Decker's store. It's about-

Elyse H: Oh, you ... Okay.

Charles: It's about, the one I've got, is about the thickness of the old timer flashlights, and then it's about 18 inches long. Has a blade on the end, button on the other, and you just stick it down in your pan or pot, and it grinds up. It makes the soup and whatever you're trying to do, your liquid, and it's really easy. You use ... It's cordless, and ...

Elyse H: Yeah, that sounds like you-

Pam W: What you have to ... Is this Charles? I don't have my-

Charles: Yes. Uh-huh (affirmative).

Pam W: ...gear up. Yeah, yeah. So, Charles, and do you find that you're able to tell how deep or far into the liquid you are by listening to the sound changes too?

Charles: Yeah, and you just run your blender down around in the pan, and you can tell when it's grinding.

Pam W: Right.

Charles: The problem I've had is that sometimes I'll leave something that's chunky, but it doesn't matter anyways.

Pam W: Right, exactly. Right, right.

Charles: Anyways.

Pam W: My immersion blender has ... The part that it has a blade on it, kind of has a metal ... I can't describe it in any other way than it seems like an umbrella that kind of goes over it. So-

Charles: Yeah. That-

Pam W: If you're a little ... Yeah, exactly. Yep.

Charles: Yeah, that's what I've got.

Cleora: I have-

Charles: I don't know if it's metal or if it's a hard plastic.

Pam W: Right.

Cleora: I have one like that too, but I don't think it blends quite as well. I don't think it's big enough to do something like this, but it has little holes around that umbrella, or that covering, so that the stuff can spray out, and you hear things. If it's not blended, you can hear it, like go, "Chunk, chunk, chunk, chunk."

Pam W: Right, right.

Charles: Yeah.

Cleora: [crosstalk] stuff. Uh-huh (affirmative).

Pam W: For sure. Yeah, that's exactly how mine is too. Well, I-

Sue: Something you to know about the old immersion blenders-

Charles: Yeah, that way you don't have to-

Pam W: [crosstalk]-

Sue: ...and they're Bamix, I bought one in the 1980, early 1980s, and it was Bamix, made in Switzerland, I think.

Pam W: I didn't ... I'm sorry, is this Sue? I didn't hear the first part of what you were saying about it.

Sue: Yeah. The old immersion blenders were made in Europe, I think Switzerland, and they were Bamix, B-A-M-I-X.

Pam W: Okay.

Sue: I don't think you can buy those anymore, but that was one of the first available.

Pam W: Okay. Great.

Elyse H: That's a new one for me, Sue, but I'll write it down and see if I can dig it somewhere up. It might be sold, or maybe Amazon would have maybe some gently used Bamix mixers.

Sue: But they were immersion blenders.

Elyse H: Oh, excuse me. Immersion blender, okay.

Sue: Yeah. Uh-huh (affirmative).

Elyse H: As a blender. Yeah, that ... neat. I know we have more hands up, but we are past 5:30 for our time limit, so please, please, please email us or call us and follow up. We'll be happy to talk with you, and we'll be posting this recipe, along with all these other great ideas and hints, and the no-cut gloves we found, on our Hadley website in just about a week for our archived call. My email is elyseh@hadley.edu, and Pam is just P-A-M, pam@hadley.edu. Again, we thank you so much for joining us tonight and listening with us as we sat in Pam's kitchen for the pumpkin soup demonstration. Thanks, everyone.

Pam W: Bye.

Elyse H: Have a good day.