Monday, November 22, 2010

A really good vegetarian thing we had in Munich. No, really. [Recipe]

I guess the first thing you think of when you're going to Munich, or Germany for that matter, isn't "Oooh! I wonder what kind of great vegetarian restaurants they have!" because, duh.

Frankly, until our local friend suggested we get on the U-Bahn and traipse across the city to this "vegetarian place that's one of only two in the city and supposed to be really good", it hadn't even occurred to me that vegetarians (or vegans, as our friend is, for that matter) could even survive in the Wurst Everywhere capital of the universe.

Seriously, friends, to estimate that I ate 50 wursts during our short stay in Germany would probably not be much of an overstatement. Also, I love wurst. And beer. And pretzels. And maybe I shouldn't get carried away here because none of those things (well, maybe beer) lived at this vegetarian restaurant we visited when we slowly stepped back from the biergartens for one single solitary meal at the behest of our lovely wurst-free friend.

I think Bubba and I would have been perfectly happy to eat wurst, pretzels, beer and maybe some Obaztda at every meal, three meals a day, for a week. Or, for that matter, the rest of our fucking lives, but it's probably good that we didn't and won't because can you imagine the fatness? Yikes. It would be extreme.
This is Obaztda and it is The One of pretzel spreads.
Anyway! One day we ate a meal that didn't have any meat, in a really nice little restaurant run by one very enthusiastic and sweet woman and in this restaurant we had a soup that we've been talking about ever since. The moment I tasted the soup, even, I knew I was going to have to recreate it at home. To the point where when the nice and very busy woman came back to see how we liked it, I very nearly held her hand while asking her for specific details about the making of the soup so that she couldn't run away.

I didn't hold her hand though, because that would be stalker-ish and I've been told that's a no-no. Also, I have been told that Germans are not "touchers" and, so, holding her hand may have garnered me an awesome kick to the face. Who knows? Those guys can be a little unpredictable what with the drinking and all. Even the vegetarians I bet.

Enough about that though. I don't want you to get the impression that all the Germans we met or left un-molested in the city were anything other than lovely and non-abusive because they were. Probably because we didn't try to hug any of them or hold their hands.

See! I can learn! Also, I learned that when you step onto an escalator, say when you're coming up from the subway for instance, you better get your ass over to the right if you plan to stand there like a useless lump because GOD HELP YOUR MOTHER FUCKING SOUL if you're standing on the left when a trainload of Munichers want to descend the escalator of their own volition and find it blocked by your dumb foreign ass.

This is Germany, friends, and there are rules and those rules are to be followed OR ELSE. You know. It's Germany.

And, as another aside, I love this about Germany because I love rules and I love them more when people follow them because then everything works so well and then you can accurately predict when your train will arrive because the schedule says it will be there at 12:03 and hot damn if it doesn't show up at the stroke of 12:03.

Not 12:02. Not 12:04. 12 FUCKING OH THREE.

Love you, German People - you make my heart sing with your efficiency. Also, your beer, wurst, pretzels, biergartens, bike lanes, Oktoberfest, Black Forest, flowers planted in every window, ham and...what the hell was I talking about again? Oh yeah, vegetarian food.

So, this thing we had at the one of two vegetarian places in all of Deutscheland was the boring sounding, "Pumpkin Soup" which sounds boring like I said.

But, I do love fall soups, soup in general and pumpkin, so I was basically already going to order it until the very nice and busy woman running this show all by herself told me that it was thickened and made creamy with marscapone and then topped with pumpkin oil and pumpkin seeds.

I would like you to sit there and appreciate that EVEN THEN, after she told me these delicious sounding details, I stillSTILL did not try to hug her or even touch her arm meaningfully as if to say, "Thank you, nice Germaness, for creating this masterpiece of pumpkinness that I am sure to love. I am certain that it will enrich my life and, in so doing, will add an unexpected element of joy to our vacation."

No, that would have been too much. So I didn't do it. And I want for you to recognize the significance of it.

OK, we're done with that now.

So, we had the soup, and it was fantastic and we also resisted licking the bowls because we were sure there must be a rule against doing that because, in addition to being Wurst Land it's also Rules Land and our working theory was that if you *thought* something might be against the rules, it probably was and you'd be best to avoid enraging the rules.

Don't do it! They do not fuck around! We are told, anyway. We don't speak German, so what do we know about anything.

Anyway, as you know, we went on with our vacation and ate many other delicious things (which were mostly not vegetarian at all) and then came home and I thought about this soup.

Every time I saw a pumpkin (which is a lot because people around here grow them in their front yards and also it was Halloween and now it's nearly Thanksgiving) I thought of this soup.

Even when I saw one in a tree in Freiburg.

So, this weekend I went out on a hunting expedition for the ingredient I thought would be findable at Whole Foods, land of the niche food bullshit, but alas went home with unrequited pumpkin oil desires.

So sad.

ButBUT I did find marscapone and that's the real key ingredient here and FOR THE LOVE if you like pumpkin and you can handle marscapone (super dairy and fatness) please make this soup. And if you can't find pumpkin oil, please don't despair, because I made the soup without it and it was good.

Like, ruuuuuuuuuully good. Like, when I asked Bubba whether he wanted to have pork chops (his fave) tonight or just have reheated pumpkin soup and arugula, he didn't even blink an eye before he shouted, "PUMPKIN".

Which is big. The man loves pork chops and he's calling for pumpkin before pork chops. That's what a crazy person would say. OrOR someone who loves this soup.

And, I had to love it, one bite of the soup and I was magically transported back to that cutesy little tiny ass restaurant in Munich with the darling gal in her Dirndl offering up her little menu with Kürbis soup right on there. (For the record, I have no idea if it said Kürbis, because, again, I don't speak German, but I assume it did because that's what it was. Whatever. Stop looking at me like that!)

So, don't you want to make this? Because it's really easy. And, for real, only took about half an hour from start to finish.

AND I bet, if you don't have a starter for your Thanksgiving dinner and want to be all festive and shit, you could make a big pot of this soup and serve it up before having the barftastic turkey (if it's not smoked, I do not like it) and everyone will still be your friend even after they've eaten themselves into a painful Thanksgiving food coma.

Though, they SHOULD be your friend already if you just cooked and served them a giant meal. I mean, who are these ungrateful guests that get pissed that they're so super full from the great food you just slaved over for them? Jerks.

Pumpkin Marscapone Soup
Adapted from this recipe
My changes in bold

1/4 cup butter, salted, whole
1 cup chopped onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup dry Sherry
3 cups vegetable broth
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
3 cups pureed pumpkin
1 cup mascarpone cheese
Much salt and some black pepper to taste 
White truffle oil
Salted roasted pumpkin seeds

To make
1. Melt butter in an 8-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until an aroma develops. Add the sherry and cook until it is reduced by half.

2. Add broth, dried thyme and thyme leaves and pumpkin puree, and simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Stir in the mascarpone cheese until incorporated completely. Add a good amount of salt (DO NOT UNDER SALT, DAMN YOU) and some fresh ground pepper to your liking and serve hot with a bit of truffle oil, fresh thyme leaves and pumpkin seeds on top. Plus, some fresh hot No-Knead Bread.

Get ready to love. 


  1. If you ever visit upstate New York, just pretend you're in Germany. That way, you won't frighten the skittish locals with your hippie California hugging. :-)

  2. I am laughing my big fat arse off. right off. thanks for lifting my spirits. Very best escalator commentary i have ever read. ever.

  3. You crack me up Fin. I love the 12 OH THREE. God bless the efficient in the world. And the little old ladies that let you hold their hands long enough to recreate such yumminess.

    Happy thanksgiving, friend. You know, I simply adore you. :)

  4. Germany: everything is prohibited or mandatory.


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.