Interview with Clara Lyle from Outstanding in the Field – 10.29.15

Today’s guest is Clara Lyle, the primary photographer and blog writer for Outstanding in the Field. Back in the summer of 1999, Jim Denevan came up with the idea of setting a long table on a farm and inviting the public to an open-air feast in celebration of the farmer and the gifts of the land. It would be a traveling feast with a central vision of farmers, chefs, cheese makers, ranchers, foragers and winemaker
s in delicious communion with the people they sustain. He saw it as a terrific challenge, and as a mission. Since then, he has organized more than 600 Outstanding in the Field events, made twelve coast-to-coast tours of North America, visited all 50 of the United States and set their table in a total of ten countries. More than 80,000 people have come out to their events, to understand, learn from and celebrate the farmer. It sounds like a Slow Food event to me! Clara shares with us, first hand, what it is like to be at all of these events, and what sets them apart from the others.

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Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Makes 44 cups- (30-40 servings)

2 Pumpkins, cut in  half, seeds removed

1 Tbs. minced garlic

3 Tbs. fresh minced ginger

5 t. salt

2 Onion, chopped

2 t. black pepper

4 carrots, chopped

5 potatoes, cut into chunks

2 can coconut milk

2/3 cup maple syrup

16 cups water

3 t. ground dried ginger

Parsley for garnish

2 t. cinnamon

1 t. turmeric

½ t. nutmeg

Lay out the Pumpkin, cut side down, on an oiled roasting pan. Bake at 375 for 1 hour, until pumpkin is soft. Meanwhile, in large stock pot, sauté the onion, carrots ginger and garlic in a little olive oil. Add the spices and lightly toast for 2 minutes. When the pumpkin is ready, scrape out the pulp, leaving behind the skin, and add pulp to the stock pot. Add 16 cups water to cover the pumpkin by 3” inches, and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and let simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, and with an immersion stick, puree the soup until smooth. Return to stove, and add the coconut milk. If the soup is too thick, add some more water. Add the maple syrup. Adjust spices and salt to taste. Garnish with parsley.