When I was a kid growing up in Brooklyn, Halloween was one of my favorite holidays. I loved to wearing a mask, and, in all honesty, I didn't always wait for the holiday, I had a large collection of rubber faces and would wear them around town whenever the mood struck me. I can still remember walking through the neighborhood and hearing someone call, "Look out, it's Frankenstein!" or "Hide the kids, it's a zombie!" And it was even better when I wore a mask!
Okay, so maybe I'm exaggerating a bit about that. I really did enjoy trying to fool the neighbors with my ghoulish disguises, but it never seemed to work. I could hide my face behind the rubberized image of the most horrific movie monster and still be greeted with "Hi, Anthony!" But that didn't stop me from trying! I must confess that even today I love to use Halloween as an excuse to relive my twisted childhood and put on a mask once again. Next time you see a six-foot gorilla walking around Warrensburg, it just might be me!
Now let me trade my Halloween mask for a chef's hat and add a little flavor to the season. The other night, we had a special fall menu that included a fabulously delicious pumpkin soup (another Halloween favorite of mine) This is perfect for a special event evening with a set menu, because you cant sell pumpkin soup -- it just doesnt sound appetizing. But let me tell you, it's not how it sounds that's important, but how it tastes -- and this pumpkin soup is a killer! Its a perfect autumn dish, like a bowl full of good pumpkin pie (which, by the way, is much easier to sell than pumpkin soup).
One of the neat things about this soup is that you can serve it right out of a whole pumpkin, which makes an attractive centerpiece for your dinner table. (Just don't carve it like a Jack o' Lantern unless you want soup all over the table.)
This recipe is one exception to my otherwise-strict rule of not using anything from a can. But what you lose in culinary pride you gain in fun -- this recipe is perfect if you have a young aspiring chef running around who wants to lend a hand. It doesnt matter which ingredient is added first as long as all your measurements are correct, so have a good time with it.