I was seventeen, Shaun was closing in on nineteen when we went to the cabin. The idea wasn’t our own, rather a gentle nudge from a friend who knew we needed that trip more than we realized at the time. I’m thankful for his wisdom. Although we had been dating for nearly a year, I don’t think it was until that trip that we really saw each other. Saw each other’s heart; the joy and pain and the fear that lay tucked beneath the surface, the façade we for different reasons clung to.
There were swings at the cabin, up the hill from lakeshore. It was barely raining that day, and we sat on the swings and let the wind fill the silence between us. We were both confused. I remember starting to cry, feeling that nudge again coming with the rain. Shaun turned to me and said “you’ve got to let me in.”
I attempted to start this post with a question, how many people in your life really see you? Following it with another, now how many people do you really see? I felt stuck — wanting to make a point about how often we go through the weeks and months surrounded by people believing we see them and know them, when in reality we don’t really at all. But that would be the obvious question.
I dropped Shaun off at the airport earlier in the morning and felt a pang of sadness that we will be spending another one of his birthdays apart. The morning was crisp when we hugged goodbye, and the clouds considered a bout of rain. I drove away and thought of the cabin. Five years. It felt like a long time ago. I thought about how far we’ve come as individuals, as a couple. I thought about what today would have been like if we had put off that trip to Alaska and his grandparents cabin.
The better question is this, who do you let see you? Why do you (we) hold back from allowing people to really see us for who we really are? We must work to be present and truly see others, but we must also work to trust that it’s okay to let others see our own true selves too. It’s scary. I know. But we may be seen when we let ourselves be seen. Maybe not always, but when we do, there will be opportunity and occasion for people who do want to see us, and we will not feel alone.
To make Pumpkin Gnocchi, you’ve got to use your inherent culinary intuition. Pumpkins come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s difficult to quantify ingredients without knowing the variety you’ve chosen and how much it will yield. Here are some rough guidelines:
- 1/2 of one med/large cooking pumpkin, we like Musquee De Provence
- 2 (ish) cups of unbleached white whole wheat flour
- 1 egg, or 2 if your pumpkin gives you more than 2 cups puree
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- A few sprigs of thyme
- (optional) freshly grated parmesan
Cut open your pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits. Wrap one half, and store for later. Cut remaining half into slices like you would a cantaloupe. Depending on your variety, you may be able to peel the skin, otherwise carefully remove with a knife and cut skinless pumpkin into 1″ cubes.
Toss pumpkin into a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until just softened, adding more water if necessary. Strain softened pumpkin into a large colander, and again through a fine mesh sieve a few cups at a time, pressing out the liquid with a wooden spoon or spatula. Resturn mashed pumpkin to the dry saucepan and add a pat or two of butter. Return to the stove over low heat for about 5 minutes to just melt the butter and evaporate the remaining water. Transfer to a food processor and blitz until smooth. While blitzing, bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Turn pureed pumpkin into a large bowl. Add egg(s) and salt and pepper before folding in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time. When you have added enough flour to produce a dough like consistency and forms a ball, turn out the ball onto a floured surface and knead a few times, adding a bit of flour if needed, until the dough no longer sticks to your hands. Take a small section of the dough and roll out into a thin rope. Cut into 1″ sections and make indents on four sides with a wet fork. Repeat with remaining dough. Warning, this makes A LOT. Place half of the finished gnocchi on a floured baking sheet and freeze for up to two hours before placing them together in a freezer bag.
Place gnocchi a dozen at a time in the boiling water. Cook until they all float to the top. Meanwhile, bring a saucepan with butter, olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme to medium heat until the butter melts and you’ve coaxed the aroma out of the herbs. Set aside. Repeat boil process with remaining gnocchi. Toss in the butter/oil mixture, and enjoy.