Mar 22, 2011

Warm and Inviting...Butternut Squash Soup + a BLOG HOP!

So we had a break in the cold cold weather last week making it feel like spring!!  I was so happy - the sun was out, the birds were singing, and I was wrestling the grill and patio furniture out of storage.  I went so far as to take my double wide hammock out for a spin.  Oh, Life is Grand!!

I put the screens down for both the storm doors and turned off the heat.  In Chicago, a sure sign of spring is when you can keep the heat off overnight and wake up feeling refreshed...not cold, just refreshed. Saturday morning...not so much.  I woke up to be freezing and the thermostat temp said 60 - on went the heat and down came the screens.  I suppose 2 days of spring weather is a bit premature for my having sprung into action (sprung/spring...get it?!) but I was just so excited to see sunshine and warmish weather.  Old Man Winter is still lurking and, in honor of him, I decided to whip up a batch of soup.

 Here are my two stars of the soup:

I picked up 2 Butternut Sqaush this week for 99¢/lb.  This soup is SOUPER SUPER SIMPLE to make and will only take you about 20-30 min from prep to eating!!  Remember - I am not good with recipes as I feel you should create when cooking - it shouldn't be a rigid act...thats how you get the "love" into a dish, you know?  That being said - for the purposes of teaching this to ya'll I took down some loose measurements - You will need the following:
  • Butternut squash - I used 2 but you can use as many as you like
  • Carrots if you have an abundance and just want to get rid of some!  I used 6 grated carrots per 2 squash...
  • One or 2 onions - I used 2 small ones.
  • 2 TBS Olive oil
  • 4-6 cups Chicken/Veggie stock or just water and a bouillon (water/bouillon is my preferred choice...easy to store and rarely expires)
  • Spices - I used nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and pepper.  You can use any variety or just salt and pepper.  I find the nutmeg and cinnamon really warm up the flavors and also add a little sugar to my spice - I add Sriracha (AKA Rooster Sauce) to each bowl!!  

Peel the squash with a veggie peeler of knife.  Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and gook.  We like to save the seeds and roast them for garnish.  Some may be too small to crack and de-shell but these are fresh so we tend to pop them in our mouth whole.

Dice your onions and throw them into the pot with a nice dredge of olive oil...1 or 2 TBS if you are counting...

Grate your squash and carrots - you can also dice it up but I find using the Cuisinart is so much faster...assuming you have a Cuisinart.  If not, take knife to squash and get to work!  Once onion has been cooking for about 5 min throw the carrots and squash in along with your stock or water and bouillon.  Your pot will be almost overflowing but the squash and carrots will cook down.  Don't worry that the stock doesn't cover the veggies - it will all be blended later...

Let juices start You can add your spices now.  For all this soup I put in 1/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper.  We do everything low sodium here so you may want to add a touch more salt.  If you aren't sure then start small and, once blended, taste to see if you have enough.  If not just add more until it tastes right.

I like to use a hand blender when doing soups but you could always throw it in an actual blender in small batches.  Either way works but seriously think about getting a submersion blender...this is what makes this SOUPER SUPER SIMPLE... I couldn't resist saying that again!  :)

Once it is all blended let the soup simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

Hey - while all this souping it up is happening you have a chance to roast your seeds!  Just rinse the goo off and let them dry a bit on a paper towel.  throw them in a bowl with a teaspoon of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper...I bet a pinch of curry powder would really add to the soup flavors too!  Spread them out on your pan and bake at 275° for 5 minutes - shake the pan and let them cook another 4-5 min.  They should be a nice golden brown when they are done.

E can't eat a thing without bread and some kind of dairy's a weird little quirk I am trying to get used to.  One night as he declared he was "starving" and dinner was being served he realized we had no bread and actually left the house to go buy some.  WHO DOES THAT??  When I am "starving" I will eat crumbs off the floor...I certainly won't pass a hot meal to go in search of a loaf of bread.  I suppose as long as I am not the one who has to leave for the bread it doesn't much matter to me...  Anyway - I always add sour cream or cream cheese to his soup bowl as well as a bit of Sriracha for a kick and, of course, whatever bread we have laying around.  Here is the finished product once again:

And five minutes after E saw it:

Old  Man Winter, I hope you have enjoyed your final meal - now get out of here and let Lady Spring into town!!

Anyone else cooking something up?  Hating the random weather changes?  Feel free to leave a comment below and a link to what you're working on!!  While you're at it become a follower so I can pop into your blog and follow along!  :)

Bianca Vegan Soups, Vegan Butternut Squash soup, Sriracha, homemade pumpkin seeds, roasted squash seeds, 
I'm Linking up to some ParTays!!  Please check out these lovely ladies blogs for even MORE inspiration!! 
And thanks to It's so Very Cheri for introducing me to my first Blog Hop!  Hop in and see if you can catch me or BECOME A FOLLOWER so I can catch you!

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