How a Potluck Party Inspired Me to Build a Back Yard Sukkah

Posted on September 28, 2012 by

A blog post by Senior Collections Manager Jobi Zink.

Amy, Sharon & Colin

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.

pumpkin soup

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.

The Lutsky family Sukkah, 1904 seems very formal with framed photographs and glass lanterns, 1994.206.1.

Chizuk Amuno Nursery School children built their sukkah out of cardboard bricks, but a good strong wind might knock it down outside, 2002.111.159.

This sukkah is the size of a gymnasium! I’d love to play basketball in a sukkah, but it may be a little too big for my rowhouse back yard, 1999.167.

While most people decorate the inside of their sukkah, I really like the painted garden on the exterior of this one.

I love the beautiful streaks of light coming through this sukkah. Plus, it looks like it was constructed the same way Fluid Movement makes their sets!

This one might require a little bit more engineering than I can manage.

The exterior house wall gives a solid, homey feel. I don’t think our white vinyl siding will have the same effect.

This style matches our back-gate, which is also made out of recycled doors! I love the idea of being eco-friendly. I bet a quick trip down to the Loading Dock (http:///www.loadingdock.org/) would net us all of the supplies we need.

 

pumpkin hummus

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

 

 

Pumpkin Risotto

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.

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