Arriving late afternoon in Amsterdam, and moving quickly to baggage claim with the final exit just beyond the glass doors, we could see him. His oversized smile greeted us. A moment reminded me he grew older, a little wiser but, remained virtually unchanged. His smile, his incredibly sunny and optimistic disposition unchanged from his first day arriving in the U.S. in 2005. It has been more than a decade since we had been to visit him in the Netherlands. Married and with children of his own, we would spend the next few days enjoying his family’s warm hospitality. We realized to late, that we spent too few days; it was hardly enough time. We will be back soon.
We enjoyed an afternoon shopping in the Hague, explored the famous tulip gardens of Keukenhof, and visited local wine shops to indulge my pleasure of perusing wine shelves.
During our stay we enjoyed traditional Dutch meals, and breakfast is always a treat. Fresh bakery bread, local cheeses, a steady stream of delicious coffee, good conversation and two hours later, you are ready to start your day. The Dutch like many Europeans are not a “grab n’ go” culture. Mealtime is an important family gathering, and it’s meant to be enjoyed.
Soup is popular all year round in this part of Europe as the climate remains cool most of the year. During our stay we enjoyed a delicious pumpkin soup served alongside a bowl of egg salad, fresh bread, a late spring salad of greens, local strawberries, and cashews.
I have attempted to recreate this beautiful easy to prepare pumpkin soup with the guidance of our hosts. I had to make minor modifications as fresh pumpkin is typically not available this time of year. For some, you will be thinking this will be great for autumn-don’t get trapped in this thought you will miss out.
Easy Pumpkin Soup
Recipe from Loek Van Vliet
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small red chili pepper, or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon Curry Powder
One small Pumpkin, seeded and chopped into roughly 1-inch pieces
or optional: 2- (15 ounce) organic pumpkin puree
3-1/2 cups vegetable broth
Pumpkin seeds for garnish
In a soup pot, add olive oil and chopped onions. Cook over medium heat. As onions become translucent add the red chili pepper or cayenne, and curry powder. Allow 1-2 minutes to allow the spices to open up. Add chopped pumpkin or pumpkin puree and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add vegetable stock and bring to a simmer, and cook for fifteen minutes. Remove from heat.
In a blender add pumpkin mixture (cooks note: if you are using fresh pumpkin add the pumpkin first before the broth to the blender, and add enough broth to cover the pumpkin). Blend until smooth.
Add pumpkin seeds to garnish.