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Friday, September 13, 2013
Prairie Grass Cafe Celebrates the Fall with Delicious Pumpkin Specials(Northbrook,IL)
Prairie Grass Cafe Celebrates the Fall with Delicious Pumpkin Specials
fall at our doorstep, the scent of fresh pumpkin and autumnal spices
have started wafting through the kitchen at Prairie Grass Cafe (601
Skokie Blvd. Northbrook, IL 847-205-4433). "The first batch of heirloom
pumpkins just arrived,"
says Northbrook's Prairie Grass Cafe chef/owner Sarah Stegner. "We have
our pumpkins specially grown for us by farmer Tracey Vowell from a
local farm, Three Sisters Garden, in Kankakee, IL," she says. "It's a
special time of year. We use between 1,000- and 1,500 lbs each season." On the menu.
dishes typically run mid-September through November, as long as the
pumpkins are available. Expect to find offerings including: Grilled
Honey Glazed Heirloom "Luxury Pie Pumpkins" with
Capriole Farm Goat Cheese and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds ($8.50); Three
Sisters Garden Heirloom Luxury Pie Pumpkin Soup ($5.50); Maple Leaf Farm
Crispy Half Duck with Roasted Pumpkin and Heirloom Kale with
Huckleberries Sauce ($28); Roasted Pumpkin Fritters with Pumpkin Honey
Butter ($8), Stuffed Pumpkin French
Toast with Grilled Pumpkin Wedges ($12) and Sarah's Mom's Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream ($7.50). Prairie Grass Cafe uses two pumpkin varieties. The
first, the Heirloom Luxury Pie Pumpkin, is a beautiful pumpkin that was
introduced in 1893 by Johnson & Stokes. The Heirloom Luxury Pie
Pumpkin is a lovely golden fruit with white netting, typically in the
6lb range and perfect for pie making. In fact, this is one of
best tasting pie pumpkins you can use; with very sweet and smooth
flesh, it's a favorite of all who use it," according to SeedSavers.org.
it's petite and has a smooth silky texture and intense pumpkin flavor.
"It's also perfect for our grilled pumpkin." The second variety used by Prairie Grass Cafe is a
large pumpkin called Kankakee Brown, says Stegner. "It's a special
variety that only Three Sisters Farm grows." It has rich flavor and the
meat is dense, not stringy. About Three Sisters Farm
Vowell and Kathe Roybal worked in the restaurant industry until they
grew tired of the hard work and decided on a career change. They bought
their nine-acre farm in 2000, and named it after the Native American
practice of growing corn, beans, and squash in the same
mounds - a sophisticated, sustainable system that provided long-term
soil fertility and a healthy diet then, and still does. The partners
(that's Tracey on left, Kathe at right) focus on specialty vegetables
like microgreens (which they grow year-round), pea shoots, heirloom
tomatoes, summer and winter squashes, herbs, fresh beans (shelled at the
Market) and huitlacoche, a mushroom particularly prized in Mexican
# # #
Three Sisters Garden Heirloom Luxury Pie Pumpkin Soup
By Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris
(serves 4-6 people) Tracey from Three Sisters Garden agreed to grow
Heirloom Luxury Pie Pumpkins for me. They are less stringy and less
watery then a regular pumpkin. They have intense pumpkin flavor. Each
year we have sold out on all her pumpkins. This year she grew 1500 lbs
for us! They are really delicious! Ingredients: 3 cups pumpkin, peeled, seeds removed and cut into 2" chunks ½ cup onion, peeled and chopped 2 Tablespoons olive oil 3 sprigs fresh thyme 2 bay leaves Salt 8 cups chicken stock ½ cup heavy cream Method: In a large soup pot sauté the pumpkin in
the olive oil with the onions, thyme, bay leaves and salt. Cook over
medium heat until the onions are transparent. Do not add color to the
vegetables. Add the chicken stock and simmer for 30 minutes or
until the pumpkin is tender and the liquid reduces by about a ¼ of it's
original volume. Add the cream and simmer another 5 minutes. Remove from the stove. Take the thyme and bay leaves out of the soup. Blend well. Serve hot with toasted pumpkin seeds and popcorn.