The Very Patient Pumpkin

No one should have to wait that long. But it was worth it. The Long Island Cheese winter squash–which looks like a beige pumpkin–has been waiting for me since I got it at Pierce’s Pumpkin Patch in Chariton, Iowa, last October. I had no particular purpose in mind when I bought it, but I knew it would wait quietly for me to make up my mind, and then burst into a half-dozen dishes when the time was right.

Last Friday night a part of the Long island Cheese became squash bisque and the first course in our Riesling tasting dinner. A dollop of fresh cheese that I made the night before (the real thing from a cow, not a pumpkin) was the perfect little treat in the middle of the bright orange bowl of smooth squashy goodness. That last sentence will have to serve as your only visual cue. It’s hard to remember to take photos when you’re hosting a dinner party! I used a recipe from Jerry Traunfeld’s The Herbfarm Cookbook, tweaking it to suit me. I also adapted his recipe for Maple-and-Herb-Brined Pork Roast. There were green beans from my garden (frozen, but full of flavor) and the best scalloped potatoes EVER. I used the recipe from Cook’s Illustrated for Scalloped Potatoes, but added more thyme and some fresh creminis and an ounce of dried ‘wild’ mushrooms from Anything But Green Gardens. OMG. I could have eaten those potatoes until I busted. (Long pause here while I collect my wits again.)

Dessert was plain Greek yogurt topped with a spoonful of the ground cherry and vanilla bean compote I put up last summer. A very simple little cup, but so very good. It was perfect with the Washington Hills Late Harvest Riesling. Perfect. My friend Dawn brought some tropical fruit sorbets that she picked up at Costco–which are very good, by the way. So we all got two desserts. Good for us!

Want to see my notes on the Rieslings we tasted? Click here.

So where does the rest of that big beige pumpkin go? I’ll let you know later. I think some of it will get mixed up with a crowd of lively garlic, some very fresh thyme and a couple of leeks. Patience pays off.

Happy Riesling tasters, L to R: Doug, Greg and husband Jerry.
More Riesling tasters, L to R: Husband Jerry again, Dawn, Dagny

Local food sources for this meal not linked above:

butter, cream, and milk from Picket Fence Creamery, Woodward, IA

fresh thyme from Mariposa Farms, Grinnell, IA

Maple syrup from Prairie Mill, 3825 Xavier Avenue, Auburn, IA 51433

organic seeds for Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherry from Seed Savers Exchange, Decorah, IA

many items are available year-round from Iowa Food Co-op


8 thoughts on “The Very Patient Pumpkin

  1. oh how wonderful to read YOUR WORDS, written with such joy and personality!
    Congratulations on the launch of Cake in the Garden, Susan! YEAH!!!
    I’m so pleased to be able to read your writing on a regular basis.
    And PS, I remember that pretty Long Island Cheese squash on your kitchen counter when I visited in early December. Wow~ she keeps well,
    xoxo deb

  2. Well, well, well, what have we here? Congratulations Susan on your new blog!

    The name is delicious as is your vivid description of yummy food. I already subscribed lady. I’m a charter member.

    So excited about your new venture. It’s so you and comes from your heart.

    Shirley Bovshow

  3. Susan,

    Real food and real gardening – two of my favorite things in the world! Cheers to you on this new adventure.

    I see you will be speaking in my area in a couple weeks at the Winter Gardening Fair. I’ll see you there. If there is anything you need during your visit, please don’t hesitate to give me a ring. See you soon, Megan

    P.S. Cedar Ridge winery ( a tasting room early this winter. It is just 10 minutes from where you will be speaking. You might enjoy a visit!

    1. I’d love to see you in Cedar Rapids, Megan! I’ll be staying with my aunt while I’m there, but I’d like to save some time for a chat with you and catch up. And thanks for the link to Cedar Ridge. My main purpose in learning about wine is so that I can better understand Midwest wines in a wider context. I’ll be sure to visit them.

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