Roast Butternut Soup

I know, I know. ANOTHER butternut squash recipe? I should be getting some kind of commission from the Butternut Council of America. I am so googling to see if that exists after I finish this post.

So, you know what they say. Soup: it’s what’s for dinner. Or at least, that’s what my poor, long-suffering husband says every time there’s a grey sky. Besides – Costco had two packs of these bad boys. On a cold day, this is a win/win, people.


Roasting concentrates the flavor and brings out the sweetness of the veg. Add some earthiness with the celery and the thyme, and the tartness from the apple, and this is simple goodness all around. Shall we?

Roast Butternut Squash Soup
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
½ large (or one small) white onion, large dice
1 small green apple, peeled and diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tsp. dried thyme
S&P
1 ½ to 2 quarts chicken (or veg) stock.

Toss together everything but the stock on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast 375* for about an hour
The last twenty minutes, bring one quart of the stock to boil, then reduce to simmer to keep it hot. When the squash et al are done (fork tender, nicely caramelized), toss it all in the pot. The stock should just cover everything (add more if needed). Take a stick blender to it, puree, consume. Add more stock if you’d like a thinner soup.

Or – keep the squash in the fridge, and bring to boil and puree later when you’re ready to eat. It’ll keep in the fridge for several days (as will the soup once it’s done.) If you freeze this one, expect some water separation at the thaw. You can do it, I just wouldn’t recommend it.


I garnished mine with a little greek yogurt and some toasted walnut – butter would also be delish.

P. S. That Butternut Council of America does not exist. I must confess to being disappointed, although another smartass food blogger had the same idea back in 2013. So there’s that.

The Yum’s Top Posts 2016


2016. It’s been a slog of year, honestly.
I removed my self-imposed deadline of a post a week, so this year saw only 20 or so recipes and about 5,000 views, which brings the historical total to 15,000. Inspiration has been elusive, and it is, alas, the impetus for a new recipe worthy to shoot and write about.
I still have the goal of self-publishing a cook book. I still have the goal of increasing readership without resorting to all those awful, grasping ads so many foodbloggers whore themselves out for. We’ll see, I guess. If I could find a way to unobtrusively and tastefully do them, I may be forced to eat some crow. Himself would love to see my hobby offset some of its own costs.

But the food! Far and away, my favorite recipe this year was the tacos de camotes. The interwebs had a different take, though. The lemon pistachio scones were finally edged out of the top three. (Two years running ain’t bad, gals. Good job!) This year’s top are:

Mini Oven Omelettes
Sweet Potato and Kale Skillet
Cucumber Watermelon Salad

The omelettes, of course, have five times the number of hits as each of the others (since they were picked up in an article at Daily Burn about a year and a half ago.) But hell, who knows why one thing hits more than others. Maybe it’s just the red plates.

Let us see where 2017 takes us. I wish us all health, happiness, prosperity and balance. And thanks, you guys. It is just lovely to share with others who also love to eat good stuff.
Brightest blessings for the coming year,
KPM

Tacos de Camotes (Sweet Potato Tacos)

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I toyed with some pretentious hipster title for this puppy – caramelized sweet potato tacos in a chipotle garlic emulsion. But, nah. This are simple and good – so tacos de camotes is much better. I want to try it with pumpkin, too. One day….. Anyway, if you get tired of turkey day leftovers in a couple of weeks, or want to use up that leftover sweet potato on the counter, or hell! Make an awesome first course to Thanksgiving dinner, these are ready to roll. Fast, easy and yummy. I can’t really say ‘no pica’, but the heat isn’t bad.
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These are crunchy and soft, tangy, sweet and spicy. Truly lovely.
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This is enough for two people as a main dish, or four for a side.

For the Taco filling:
2 large sweet potatoes, diced*
1/2 white onion, diced
1 Tbps. olive oil
garlic salt
For the chipotle emulsion:
2 large cloves garlic
1 tsp. Mexican oregano
2 whole chipotle peppers en adobo
2 Tbsp wine/cider/sherry vinegar
2 Tbsp olive olive
(A little water mixed with some adobo if needed)
And…..
Soft corn tortillas

*(diced means 1/2” cubes, people)
Preheat oven to 375*. Line a cookie sheet with parchment. spread out evenly the sweet potato and onion, drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the garlic salt.
Roast about 20-30 minutes, until really nicely caramelized.
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While that’s roasting, put the dressing ingredients in the blender and puree. You may need to add a little water/adobo sauce mix to get enough liquid to blend. Transfer to a bowl large enough to hold all the potato/onion mix when it comes out of the oven.
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When the potato/onion mix is done, remove from the oven and set aside just for a few minutes. (This lets the outside crust on the sweet potato cubes develop just a tidge more). Heat your tortillas and get your serving plate. Toss the hot sweet potato/onion mix in the chipotle emulsion, fill the tortillas and consume immediately.

These would be awesome with a smoked fontina cheese. Or avocado slices. Or even with some scrambled egg for an amazeballs breakfast taco. Or hell, underneath some poached eggs for that matter.

** This would also work with kabucha squash.
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Bon apétit

Butternut Coconut Curry Soup

November will be here in a few days. It is still ninety forking degrees here (You guys are all watching ‘The Happy Place’, right?) I am thoroughly disgusted. As Himself enjoys saying, “Love that global warming!” Oy. But still, that autumnal food urge is upon me. The markets are filled with winter squashes – butternut, acorn, turban, delicata, sweet dumpling, kabucha. Makes my head swim with happiness. I’ve got a cashew cream kabucha gratin idea floating in my mind, but it hasn’t fully formed yet. Maybe in a few weeks.
In the meantime, this behemoth of a butternut keeps winking at me every time I walk past it on the kitchen counter. It’s a four-pound giant. Gonna get two meals outta that mofo.
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I think the hard squashes scare off a lot of people. Did you know you can peel him with a vegetable peeler? (Mainly because it isn’t lumpy like an acorn.) Goes quickly, and you can peel and cube him in a few minutes – toss half in a ziplock in the fridge to make a couple days later. Here, check it out.
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This and a big salad, and dinner is done. Or, if you’re really hungry, a grilled cheese and fresh jalapeno sandwich would be awesome with this: melty crunchy spicy contrasting with slightly sweet and creamy. Such happiness!
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Butternut Coconut Curry Soup
3 stalks celery
½ white onion
2# (about six cups) butternut, peeled & in 1” cubes
2 Tbsp. oil or butter
3 Tbsp curry powder
1 (-ish) quart chicken (or veg) stock
Coconut milk, the full-fat kind.
Fried onions for garnish

Over medium heat, stir together the curry powder and oil. Let it get a little toasty (when you really smell the spices, time for the next step.) Ad the celery and onion, cook over medium until the onion is translucent around the edges. Add the squash and just barely cover with the chicken stock. (It if boils down, you can always add a little more. Harder to take it away if you do too much, though.) butternuecoco2med
Simmer on medium for about half an hour, until the squash is tender.
When it’s done, purée. (With a stick blender, in an actual blender (remember to allow for steam escape!), or in the food processor. It should be like loose mashed potatoes, almost thick enough to hold up a spoon. Return it to the pot, stir in about ¾ can of coconut milk just to heat it back up. Ladle in to bowls, garnish with a swirl of the remaining coconut milk and or fried onions.
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Bon apétit!

Herbed White Bean Tomato Stew

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It finally happened. Stepping outside in the morning one day last week, I could feel it. The air was cool(er?). Summer is leaving. Then, we had a rainy day. And as Himself will tell you, I’ll use that as an excuse to make soup every time. Even if it’s 85*. But, c’mon – after 104*, the eighties are practically cold. It’s all relative, man.
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Every time I start to make soup, two thoughts come to me. The first is Joan Cusak’s character Marcella in Grosse Pointe Blank, trying to explain a recipe to a friend on the phone, “No, I, it’s not going to be a boring soup! It just, that’s just the base! Carrots and celery are just a base of a soup!”
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The other is that genius Beth over at Budget Bytes, who taught me whenever I’m making a mirepoix for a soup to double it and freeze half so the next time it’s like a little time-saving gift waiting for you in the freezer.

This was quick and yummy. Drizzle it with a little balsamic vinegar before serving.
Bon apétit.

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Herbed White Bean Tomato Stew
Ingredients
5 celery stalks, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced for soup
½ white onion, diced
A fingerwidth of fresh thyme with a couple sprigs of parsley tied in a bouquet garni
1 28oz can diced San Marzano tomatoes
2 cans drained low-sodium cannelini beans
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 quart chicken broth (or veg if you don’t do the meat stuff)
¼ c good olive oil
1 cup dry red wine

In a large soup pot, sweat the celery, onion, and carrots in the olive oil. Add the rest of the ingredients, plus half a tomato can of water. Raise heat to medium and simmer for half an hour. (Remove the garni before consuming.)

And, btw, the fresh thyme and the San Marzano’s are really essential. Spring for the toms, for this and your pasta sauce. You will be glad. Safeway has them under their house label, so they’re not insanely expensive. They really do make a difference.

Chorizo Lentil Soup

“Hmmm….how do I photograph lentils to make them look appetizing?” Another item to file in the “shit I never thought I’d hear myself say” folder.  But, seriously. How?

 ChorizoLentil1

I guess you are going to have to take my word for it.  In the winter I am often obsessed with an italian sausage and lentil soup created by that genius Beth at Budget Bytes.  It was cold. Any rainy. And a hearty bowl sounded just perfect! Plus, I’ve been trying to find that “just right” bread recipe……it was destiny.  (More on the bread next week…)

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Billy bought some chorizo for our breakfast mini omelettes, and I started to think how good that would taste with lentils. (The chorizo, you guys, not the omelettes.) So, poof! Soup!  Make some. It’s fairly quick and easy. Himself can’t have carrots anymore, so the base is stock, onion and celery only.  Feel free to add two peeled carrots sliced for soup.  And, this does work with Soyrizo – you just have to add it at the end with the spinach.

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This is made with Mexican style chorizo, by the way, not the Spanish kind. Although that would also be very tasty. And, for chrissakes, get the pork.  Unless you go the soyrizo route – but we’ve already talked about that.  As a reformed vegetarian, I can’t bitch now.

 This soup is awesome. And easily serves four very hungry people, add some good bread and salad and it’s show time.
Ingredients
½ # pork chorizo, cooked. Use the good kind that’s lean. It makes a difference. (or, use Soyrizo)
½ # lentils. I used green, but yellow or orange would be tasty if creamier.
½ white onion, in ½” dice
3 stalks of celery, sliced in soup chunk size
2 quarts chicken or pork stock
½ package frozen chopped spinach
S&P to taste
Instructions
Wash and pick through the lentils. Rocks and bad bits are rare these days, but not impossible.
In a large stock pot, brown the meat. If you didn’t listen and got greasy chorizo, drain it. Toss in the veg and sauté with the meat for a couple minutes. Pour in the lentils and the stock. Simmer about an hour. (Or on low in the crock pot while you’re at work. If you use a crock pot, only use 1.5 qts stock). Ten minutes before serving, take the stick blender to half the pot. This breaks ups some of the lentils and thickens the soup. Then, add the spinach give it a stir and set the dinner table. (If you’re going the Soyrizo route, add it now.)
Notes
Serve with lime and hot sauce. Or a sprinkle of smoked paprika and sliced bitter olives. Or with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. You get the idea. You are going to LOVE this.

Servings 4
Calories 228
Fat 9 g
Sodium 830 mg
Carbs 21 g
Protein 16 g

Baked Tomatoes

Love those  Campari tomato clamshells from Costco.  We eat these. A lot. 

Somewhere between a cherry tomato and a regular tomato....
Somewhere between a cherry tomato and a regular tomato….

And, because it is winter we usually bake them with some olive oil, parmesan and S & P.

...just like the Grinch's heart....
…just like the Grinch’s heart….

Because Himself has to really limit the starches now, we needed to add a second veg option to dinner (and weekend breakfasts, too). This is simple and fast. And very, very tasty. 

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Got 30 minutes? Let’s go!
Ingredients
4 Campari tomatoes, washed and sliced in half.
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp parmesan cheese
S & P
Instructions
Preheat oven to 375*.
Place the tomatoes cut side up in a shallow baking dish.
Sprinkle with S & P.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for 25 minutes. The cheese should be crispy brown on top of the toms
Serve immediately.
Notes
If they’re not brown at the end of the time, turn on the broiler for a minute or two to toast up that cheesy top. (Assuming you’ve used a pan that can take it, obviously….)
This is great with steak, roast chicken, omelettes, green beans, and just about anything you can think of.
You can sprinkle with some herbs before the cheese layer for variety: basil, tarragon, chives, etc. The cheese will seal the herbs in with the tomato’s juice and keep them from burning.

Servings 2
Calories 200
Fat 16 g
Sodium 161 mg
Carbs 10 g
Protein 5 g

Smoky Eggplant Dip

Smoky, creamy lusciousness.
Smoky, creamy lusciousness.

I have always known this as baba ghanouj. Then one day, a friend of mine who spends her summers in Jordan told me, uh, no. That is muttabal. Not baba ghanouj.  Wha-wha-wha?  Unknowingly, my dear friends, we have stepped into an area between cuisines…..it is…..the foodist zone!   Whatever we call it, I’m sticking with fucking delicious. Because it is. 

Such simple ingredients...
Such simple ingredients…

Safeway had eggplants on sale for a buck this week. How can you not make this luscious elixir when it’s a buck an aubergine?!?   Of course, the secret to this is how you cook the eggplant.  Sure, you can put this in your oven and it will come out….fine. But if you want something truly exquisite, you will need fire. 

If you have a gas burner, you can do this there. I used the barbecue. That little skinny zebra in the picture took ten minutes each side. But the big fat one, he took twenty-five minutes per side.  But, it was sooooo worth it. You wash ’em and throw ’em over the open flame. That’s it. Don’t peel, or pierce, or anything. Just flame ’em til they’re blackened and smooshy. When they collapse in on themselves, they’re done. Then you put ’em on a tray and cover ’em with plastic wrap to loosen the skin.

 

Once they’re peeled, purée them in the Cuisinart and then drain them for a good half hour.  Out of those two eggplants, I got 2 cups of purée and 1/4  c. of liquid. So, now you know why I wait til there’s a sale…..

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Oh, yeah mama! Look at those charred bits of goodness under the peel. That’s what makes this so very tasty.

Ok, enough chit chat. Shall we make some?! 

Let's eat!
Let’s eat!

 
Ingredients
2 medium eggplants
zest and juice of half a lemon
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/3 c. tahini
1/3 c. chopped parsley
S&P
Instructions
Roast the eggplant over an open flame (ie on the grill) until it is charred and smooshy.
Put the cooked eggplant on a tray and cover with plastic wrap for 20 minutes or so to loosen the skin.
Peel the eggplant.
Purée the flesh in the food processor.
Drain the purée for twenty minutes or so. Discard the liquid.
Add the lemon, garlic and tahini.
Pulse until smooth.
Taste for seasoning, and adjust as needed.
Add the parsley and pulse a couple times just to mix it in.
Serve warm, or chill and serve the next day.
Notes
I like it better the next day, but it is certainly delicious as soon as it’s done.
Use this as a dip with pita chips or wedges, or with veggies, or as spread on a wrap with grilled veggies and kalamata olives.

Creamy Tomato Dill Soup

One year. 52 posts.  5,582 views.  Wow.  To celebrate actually sticking with something for year, and the cooling weather, let’s make some soup!

 

Tomato Dill Soup

 

 This recipe is easy, fast, delicious, and infinitely modifiable. 

Tomato Dill Soup

 Shall we?
Ingredients
2 Tbsp AP flour
2 Tbsp butter*
Freshly ground black pepper
1 14.5 oz diced tomatoes**
1 Tbsp. grated onion
14.5 oz chicken (vegetable) stock, hot. (In other words, measure it with the can)
½ c. almond milk
1 tsp. dried dill weed**
Instructions
Puree the tomatoes, set aside.
Reserve some dice if you like your soup chunky.
In the saucepan over medium heat, make a white roux with the fat and flour.
Once it smells cooked and no longer like raw flour, SLOWLY whisk in the hot stock.
Whisk the crap out of it to avoid lumps.
Next, whisk in the tomatoes and whatever herbs/seasonings you feel like. I used 1 tsp. dried dill.
Let simmer for a couple minutes, and right before serving, stir in the creamy stuff of your choice and turn off the heat.
Ladle it up – it’s done.
Garnish with croutons and a dollop of sour cream (or the like).
Make some grilled cheese, and it’s dinner!
You will never buy tomato soup again.
Notes
* Or olive oil, or whatever fat you like.
** I like to use the plain low salt diced tomatoes when I do this with dill. You can used the kind with olive oil and garlic, and then toss in a frozen Dorot basil cube (or fresh, if you have it), instead.
You can make this creamy with whatever creamy stuff you like: whole milk, cashew cream, 1/2 & 1/2, soy creamer, heavy cream. Whatever floats your boat

Lemon Parsley Chickpea Salad

Parmesan, olive oil, lemon, parsley...what is not to love?
Parmesan, olive oil, lemon, parsley…what is not to love?

 

Ah, my love affair with summertime mediterranean flavors continues.  This week, it’s a quick and easy chickpea salad.  This is best the day after it is made, to allow those peas to soak up the dressing.  You can wait and add the parsley just before serving, if you like. 

This is SO tasty, with that lemony garlic dressing.
This is SO tasty, with that lemony garlic dressing.

 

Have some!
Have some!