I try to stay focused on thoughts of snuggling up with tea and skipping through the leaves, but it gets harder and harder as the hours of daylight fade away, and I wake and return home from work in complete darkness. I once read a book called Edge Seasons, by Beth Powning. She referenced the term metaphorically, in her life transitions, and to give a name to the space between the obvious seasonal markers. I often think about the term before and after the snow falls. We can easily spend a great deal of time in autumn and spring, not with the obvious signs of renewal and growth, but in gloomy gray and brown landscapes. Sometimes it's comforting to remind ourselves that it is what is needed for nature in this part of the world to survive.
In an effort to avoid turning into a hibernating human between the hours of 5pm-7am, I am busying myself with the comforts of this season's produce. Farmers' markets are still thriving, with plenty of root vegetables to keep my spirits up. This soup was one of my favourites.
Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds (Vegan, Gluten-Free)
1 cup sweet potato
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp fresh ginger
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp nutmeg
4 cups vegetable broth (gluten-free and tomato-free, if necessary)
1/4 cup maple syrup
For the seeds: 1 tsp each garlic powder, cumin and oil of your choice; dash of salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the pumpkin in half, and scoop out the centre and seeds. Set the seeds aside if you plan to toast them.
Lightly oil the flesh of the pumpkin, and roast face-down in the oven for 25 minutes. While the pumpkin is roasting, peel and chop the sweet potato, onion and garlic, and sauté them on medium heat for 3-5 minutes, until onion has softened.
Stir in the ginger, coriander, nutmeg and apples. Cook for 5 more minutes, until apple has softened. Add the vegetable broth, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to let simmer for 10 minutes.
When the pumpkin has cooked, remove the flesh and add it to the soup with the maple syrup. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Blend with a hand blender or food processor.
If toasting pumpkin seeds, toss them with the garlic powder, cumin, oil, salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes, stirring a few times.