Biodynamic Buzz

  (Fallbrook, California)
A Fallbrook Grove

Pumpkin Soup with Mexican Cinnamon Creme Fraiche

I know, I know, nobody wants to be thinking about this yet.... and if you are anything like my mother, you will have faith in your culinary skills and can just "wing it" with a new recipe the day of a big event.

But if you're anything like me, you will want to try it out first and make sure you are capable of pulling it off, not to mention quenching your curiosity as to what it will taste like. That is why I decided to share this story with you now, just in case you are apprehensive about making a new recipe on an important day.

A few years ago for Thanksgiving, my mother made a pumpkin soup that called for a chipotle puree. What a challenge that was to find! She could not find a chipotle puree anywhere. Not even knowing who La Vigne was, we were shopping at Jimbo's and stumbled upon this persimmon chipotle puree. Well it worked wonderfully, and who knew that down the road we'd be selling it in our family's shop and I'd be telling you all about it!

Thanksgiving is coming up, and this recipe will be sure to please everyone at the table. It's perfect since the persimmon puree is already a rich pumpkin color, only adding to the beauty of this presentation. Be sure to order a jar of the chipotle puree and try the recipe this year. Everyone at our table was delighted, not to mention impressed.

If you decide to give it a try, let me know how you like it!

Mesa Grill's Pumpkin Soup

Yield: 4 servings

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 stocks celery, coarsely chopped
7 cups vegetable stock, or water
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (not flavored pie filling)
1/4 teaspoon ground Mexican cinnamon, plus 1 teaspoon (canella)
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons chipotle puree
3/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Garnish: 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Heat the butter in a medium stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery and cook until soft. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Strain the stock into a clean medium saucepan and whisk in the pumpkin puree until smooth. Bring to a simmer and add the 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, spices, honey and chipotle. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Add water, if the soup is too thick.

Remove from the heat and whisk in 1/4 cup of the creme fraiche and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix together the remaining creme fraiche and remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon until combined. Divide the soup among 4 bowls and garnish with the cinnamon creme fraiche and a handful of pumpkin seeds.

Good Luck!

San Diego Slow Foods Stagecoach Days!

It's been a year already.... time for another Stagecoach Days,
a fabulous Slow Food event!!

Sunday June 28, 2009
Plaza of Old Town State Historic Park

"Come support Slow Food Urban San Diego at our first fundraiser, a food tasting celebration in Old Town Stage Historic Park that will feature outstanding local restaurants and chefs, artisan food producers, farmers and more. You'll be able to sample wonderful dishes that celebrate the food cultures of early San Diego and enjoy the finest offerings from local breweries and wineries. Scheduled participants include Starlite, 1500 Ocean, Cafe Chloe, Romesco, JSix, AleSmith Brewery, Ballast Point Brewery and more!"

Tickets are only $45.00 per person

I hope to see you there. This a great thing to participate in, and no better way to spend your Sunday afternoon. All of these businesses offer the most caring and conscientious of food practices. You can indeed taste the difference!

Nice To Meet You

A little introduction to The Beck Grove...

In 1982 the Becks moved from Los Angeles to Fallbrook to pursue a more healthy, rural lifestyle. They settled on an old avocado grove that was most definitely on the decline. Faced with the decision to revive the current trees or start new, Helene and Robert chose to make a fresh start with new crops.

The Becks decided that two main producers would be kumquats and persimmons. They wanted to bring these less conventional fruits to the public, and help familiarize the West with the Asian fruits. Filled with Vitamins A and C, the fruits can be used in so many ways other than the traditional (yet still scarce) uses seen in baking recipes. After testing the soil and beginning their new venture, slowly but surely The Beck Grove became certifiably organic and biodynamic, ensuring a closed system using all natural and historical methods to produce some of the sweetest blood oranges, kumquats, persimmons, and 12 other types of fruit crops as well!

The idea of living in an agrarian cycle every year was an appealing one, and they have embraced organic living ever since. Helene describes it in a refreshing way, "Seasons come and go and it's so exciting to see new crops develop each year. The process is invigorating and keeps us youthful." 
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