You know those adorable pie pumpkins in the store during the holidays? They are easier to use than you imagine.
Wash the outside, then cut into quarters. Grab all the seeds and soak them in warm salt water (because you totally want to roast them, right?) and then use a spoon to scoop out the ooky stringy bits. Then set the pieces on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 until soft. Let cool until you can handle with bare hands, then scrape the fleshy bits from the shell and puree the heck out of it. TA DA! Fresh pumpkin. Rinse the slime off the seeds and toss them with a little oil (coconut oil, vegetable oil, whatever) and season with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, whatever. Spread on a cookie sheet and roast (the oven is at 350 still, that’s fine) stirring occasionally until they get brown. Cool before nibbling, trust me.
Now for the soup. Curried pumpkin soup is an easy quick hot meal, and can be made vegan without becoming boring. Heat some oil in a stock pot and cut up a shallot or two . Cook the shallot Until clear and soft, then add curry powder (I use Spice Guys Madras, just use one you like) and stir to let the curry toast a bit. Add pumpkin and vegetable broth (proportions aren’t critical, I used one pumpkin, one shallot, 2 tablespoons of curry, and one box of vegetable broth). Puree with a stick blender and bring to a simmer. Taste and add salt, sugar, or wine to balance the flavor. Bring to a simmer again and add yogurt, heavy cream, or coconut milk a little at a time until it tastes right (about half a can of coconut milk tastes right to me). Serve with toasted seeds.
You can scoop out a second pumpkin to use as a serving bowl for a special meal. People ohh and ahh, but it’s big pay-off for not much work.