In these last few days before The Election, I have been trying to ease my political anxiety through food. When I catch up on my Google Reader and NYTimes in the morning, I find myself reaching out for snack. A chocolate bar to gnaw on, a cookie to hold on to, a tub of ice cream to drown oneself in. I don't think this is healthy. It's resembling how many women try to ease first date jitters or calm oneself after a devastating break-up.
I have also been cooking nonstop. More often than not, my Firefox tabs extend 10 or 15 long, a window into both my news and food addictions and my ADD: Food Blog Search, NPR, Tastespotting, NPR, Epicurious, NPR, my own blog, NPR, Twitpic of Obama-lanterns, NPR. A few times I had so many recipes open that I forgot which dish I just bought ingredients for.
And like most people using cooking as anxiety distraction, I have taken a step back from experimentations to attend to my comfort food needs, mainly soups, noodle soups, and cookies. Not that comfort food is 100% successful at getting my mind off things. Last night I got so distracted by an article on swing state exit polls that I burnt a batch of the banana chocolate chunk cookies. Then as I was analyzing the Times' latest Electoral Map I managed to burn another batch.
Fortunately my soups have fared better. Like this tea-scented pumpkin soup, made with roasted pumpkins that I thankfully didn't burn. It's as simple as blending the pumpkin with stock, stirring in steeped Ceylon tea, and adding nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Any more complicated and I might have ruined it somehow. More involved recipes will have to wait until Wednesday.
You can top off this soup with roasted pumpkinseed oil if you have any. I just filled up a big mug with soup and sprinkled toasted pumpkin seeds on top. Political news is much easier to digest when you have a hot and fragrant autumnal soup to wash it down.
Tea-Scented Pumpkin Soup
- 2 cups pumpkin, chopped to 2-inch cubes
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon Ceylon tea
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- A pinch ground nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- Pumpkin seeds
- Pumpkinseed oil (optional)
- In a glass baking dish, roast the pumpkins at 300 degrees F for 1 hour, or until soft. You may also roast the pumpkin seeds at the same time (with a dash of salt and sugar), then set aside.
- Steep the tea in just-boiled water for 5 minutes. Strain and reserve the liquid.
- Working in batches, puree the pumpkin with stock until smooth. Return the soup to the pot, add the steeped tea, and bring the liquid to simmer. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
- Divide the soup into individual bowls (or cups), drizzle with optional pumpkinseed oil, and garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.
Adapted from Food & Wine