How a Potluck Party Inspired Me to Build a Back Yard Sukkah
Is there a better way to celebrate the fall – the autumnal equinox, and a dear friend’s birthday—than a (fairly) impromptu pumpkin potluck party on our patio? We gathered outside and enjoyed pumpkin hummus* [recipe below] on fresh veggies, curried pumpkin soup with a balsamic reduction, salad with toasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin risotto*, Moroccan couscous and a variety of pumpkin desserts.
The air was nearly crisp enough to warrant a jacket, but when the sun went down we lit a fire and enjoyed the warmth and glow. Even though you couldn’t see the stars in the sky from our city yard, the evening was nearly perfect.
That is until Colin said that he wanted to cut down and even out our fence posts. It’s true they do extend way past the gate top, but Eric left them that way on purpose. And if they were chopped down we couldn’t build a sukkah in the backyard. Okay, we’ve never built a sukkah in our back yard, but now I kind of want to. We can use our fence as the framework, and then we just need to rig up a roof of branches. The idea is that the sukkah is a temporary structure representing the biblical booths, and that light (and rain!) can stream in through the ceiling. Since it is a mitzvah to eat in the sukkah, we’ll have a chance to try out some more fall favorite recipes!
For inspiration for sukkah construction, I turned to the JMM photo collection.
Recipe for Pumpkin Hummus
1 15 oz can drained garbanzo beans
1 cup (or more) pureed pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling!)
Or the pulp of one roasted sugar pumpkin
½ cup oil
2 TBS tahini
2 TBS lemon juice
1-2 cloves of garlic
¼ cup parsley
2 tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. ground smoked paprika
¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper to taste
Blend all of the ingredients in the food processor to the your preferred hummus consistency .
Serve with toasted pita chips or fresh vegetables
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 TBS oil
2 cups arboio rice
2 cups pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling!)
6 cups vegetable stock (or more), heated
½ cup grated romano or parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over high heat and sweat the onions until soft.
Add the rice, stirring with a wooden spoon to make sure each kernel is coated with oil.
In a separate pot, heat the vegetable stock to a simmer. Whisk in the pumpkin puree. Maintain at a simmer.
Add the broth to the rice, 1 ladleful at a time. Stir the rice so that the broth is fully absorbed before adding another ladleful. Continue to cook the rice until it is slightly al dente and most of the broth has been absorbed.
Finish the risotto by stirring in the Parmesan cheese.