The US dollar is readily accepted by merchants in Lebanon; in fact, even if one pays with a credit card the cashier will immediately ask “Dollars or Lebanese?” and compute the bill in the corresponding currency. What is neat too is that if you end up being shortchanged by the currency conversion, say your bill is LL31,000 (the equivalent of US$20.65) and you hand over US$21, which is 500LL more than asked, the cashier will give you a bag of nuts or gum or some candy to make it an even exchange.
It can be overwhelming when the pumpkins start to show up in the garden and we cart back a ten-pounder to the kitchen every few days. One way to solve this is to cut the pumpkin up into small chunks and freeze them as is in ziploc bags; each bag holds about one pound, enough for a dish or a baking session.
INGREDIENTS: 6 to 8 servings
- 2 lbs of pumpkin, cut up
- 2 onions or 2 cups of leeks (white part only), chopped fine
- salt, pepper
- 1 cup of cream (or milk)
- dash of cinnamon and nutmeg (optional)
- 4 tbsp of butter or 1/4 cup of olive oil
- Melt the butter and sauté the leeks, chopped in thin slices (or the onions)till softened and translucent. Add the pumpkin and fry for a few minutes as well to soften; add the spices and 6 cups of water (or chicken broth). Simmer for 30 minutes.
- Purée the mixture in a blender, transfer back to the pot and add the cream. Simmer 15 minutes longer very gently, taste to adjust seasoning and serve warm with croutons if desired.