Friday, September 28, 2012

The End of Week-o'-Craziness

Oh my lord.  What a week this has been!  I had no idea Sunday night that I would literally not get the chance to cook anything again till Friday night.  Monday was open house night at work, Tuesday I went to Mary Poppins at the Hanover, Wednesday we went to see Sam James play in Worcester (go Team Adam!:) ), and yesterday we went to the Big E.  I am overtired and barely able to keep my eyes open now!  I fully plan on sleeping an embarrassing amount of hours tonight... and may or may not have attempted to hit the hay at 8:00 tonight but was ridiculed into staying up a little longer.

I did manage to do a little cooking though; after all, I've missed my kitchen this crazy week!  When Mom and I went grocery shopping a few weeks ago, we were looking at the butternut squashes, and she mentioned that Anne had a recipe from my uncle PJ's wedding that was an amazing butternut squash and apple soup.  I was pretty surprised that Mom would think squash and apples would combine to make a good soup, but clearly I knew immediately that it had to happen because I love mixing weird things.  Tonight I finally had the chance to give it a try.

I made a few changes... mainly because I was not entirely sure what a quart of butternut squash looks like, and I also did not want the soup to be too sweet because I knew it would freak my family out a little.  I also doubled it, which was probably not a great idea since we never finish anything anyway, but it made a nice big pot of a lovely, thick, yellow, fall-colored soup.

Mom loved the soup.  She said that it was a treat, and recommended that you slurp a nice big spoonful into your mouth and let it run all over your tongue.  It kind of reminded me of elementary school health class when you learn that the tongue has separate taste buds that taste different flavors.  You definitely did want to let it hit the salty and sweet taste buds, because it is a very interesting mix!  You can definitely taste the apple, and the squash, and the fresh thyme.  I can't really taste the maple, but it said "to taste" and I was nervous about adding too much.  I didn't want the soup to be too sweet; in fact, I cut out 2 apples from the recipe.  And yet still, Kenzie didn't like it because she said it was sweet.  But I have quickly learned that you cannot please them all!  Obviously since this is healthy, low-fat, and vegetarian, Nick bitched all night and would not go near it.  Mark loved it and had two mugs full (don't get me started on him and his eating out of mugs) and I thought it was really tasty too.  Definitely a delicious fall soup on a cold rainy night.

Mark's mug and bandage!

butternut squash and fall apple soup
adapted from a recipe given from the Bedford Village Inn

2 tablespoons butter
2 medium white onions, peeled and diced
8 cups of roughly chopped, peeled, seeded butternut squash
4 apples, peeled, cored and diced
8 cups chicken stock (approximately)
2 cups apple cider
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
pure maple syrup to taste

1) Over medium heat, slowly saute onions in butter until translucent.  Add butternut squash, apples, fresh thyme, cider, and chicken stock.  You may need to adjust the amount of stock to completely cover the other ingredients.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.

2)   Bring to a boil them reduce to a simmer.  Simmer until squash is very soft.  (For this reason, don't be lazy and toss huge hunks of squash into the pot.  Otherwise you will be simmering forever!)

3)  Place all ingredients in a blender (or use an immersion blender if you are lucky enough to have one... sigh) to puree the mixture while hot until smooth.  Be careful here if you use a blender - Mark  burned himself like nobody's business because the steam built up and the cover exploded off.... squash everywhere!

4)  Add maple syrup and salt and pepper to taste.  Adjust consistency if needed with more chicken stock (I did not need to do this).

5)  Optional garnishes include a tablespoon per bowl of lightly honeyed whipped cream or creme fraiche and freshly chopped chives.  I did not have any of these so the soup was fine on its own.

Thanks Mom for the medical help!

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