Thursday, November 29, 2007

Soup, and other mind-altering substances

When you're feeling a bit down, few things help more than a fresh pot of soup. I've had a butternut squash out on the counter for a couple of weeks, and today I decided that since it clearly is not going to look cute and decorative forever (as evidenced by a couple of brown spots on the peel), it was time to figure out what to do with it.

On the spur of the moment, I decided to make a soup out of it. The first recipe I found was for Cream of Any Vegetable Soup from the original Kosher Palette Cookbook that my sister-in-law gave me when I got married. Of course, since then, these cookbooks have become somewhat of an empire, with a new one every year or so, and increasingly long and obscure lists of ingredients. But what would life be without the occasional, elusive search for Panko bread crumbs, crimini mushrooms, or Chilean sea bass? I enjoy the variety, but I really do reach for that old standby, Spice and Spirit a.k.a. The Big Purple Cookbook, about 93% of the time.

I must say, butternut squash is absurdly difficult to peel with a knife, unless I was doing something totally wrong. But this recipe was relatively straightforward, and didn't take too long. I followed the instructions carefully for the roux, an interesting mixture of flour-margarine (I made it pareve). This recipe totally had a funky, Food-Network-vibe to it.

There should be a cooking show about cooking with small kids. "Yes, Andy, you can smell this next ingredient, too, but take my word for it, flour doesn't have much of a smell." "Ann, you can't pick those pieces up from the cutting board to put into the pot until the knife isn't moving!" "I have to go see why Little Rag is crying. Please stop touching the garbage!'

Anyway, I didn't know what to expect from this soup because whenever I'm at a wedding (though I think it's been a couple of years) and they ask if I want "cream of whatever" soup or another option, I ask for the other option. The stars aligned properly, and the soup came out well. It was exactly what I needed. It was similar to a carrot soup I've made, but smoother and milder. Since it's pureed, I sat the kids down with straws in their bowls, and they got to work.

This was one of those days when I had a bit of a sniffle, and was a little bummed out (maybe I'll post about that soon), and what really brought a smile to my face was one thought: "Soup's on!"

16 comments:

~ Sarah ~ said...

i make that type of soup. in fact i have two butternut pumpkins sitting in the kitchen waiting for me to have time. i don't follow a recipe though, make it up as i go.

it's easier if you chop it up first (into large pieces) and then peel the skin off the smaller pieces.

yum yum.

another good pick-me-up that's easy to make is banana muffins. for whenever you've got too many and they are going bad.

Ezzie said...

:) Yum! And I really do hear that - I wonder if it's all the work that goes into it or the food that comes out of it... I think it's probably a lot of both.

SephardiLady said...

I had the same situation a few weeks ago and made a super easy soup with a butternut squash and a granny smith apple going soft. My kids love to hear the soups being pureed.

Anonymous said...

I love butternut squash soup. To make it easier to peel, I cut the squash in half (horizontally) and then use a vegetable peeler to peel. I tried a knife once and found that too dangerous for me!

mother in israel said...

Prick it and put in the microwave for a couple of minutes, then let it cool. It'll then be easy to peel with a knife.

SaraK said...

I peel it the way anonymous suggested. Much easier.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

My wife makes a killer butternut-squash kugel. (kids love it)

I'll see if I can get the recipe. Trust me, the kids will love it.

Anonymous said...

I rarely buy produce peeled and cut (my kosher supermarket offers just about every fruit and veggie pre-cut for a not-so-nominal upcharge), but butternut squash is the exception. It's just so difficult to peel and cut that I'm always bracing for a knife slip. It's usually worth it to me to make the exception and buy it already peeled and uniformly chopped.

orthomom said...

The above anon was me - I guess I hadn't signed in.

Ariella said...

I admit that I don't have much patience for it, but cooking with kids offers great learning opportunities: from noting what has a scent and what doesn't (as you mentioned), to noticing textures and viscosity, measuring ingredients, measuring time to check how long to leave something in the oven or on the fire, etc.

Madd Hatter said...

my mom is a devotee of the spice and spirit cookbook too:)

the apple said...

It's easier to peel butternut squash if you cut it and cook it in hot water first - the peel kinda slides off.

Or you can be like me and use the frozen cubes :).

Scraps said...

I love butternut squash soup (and kugel!), though I've never tried to make it myself. I've been eating a lot of soup lately, though, and I'm getting tired of it.

HK traveler said...

I agree with apple boil it first. Much easier to peel that way or throw it in the micro for a few seconds. I would love the recipe that someone else promised you for butternut squash kugel.

Another great add in for butternut squash soup to make it a bit sweeter is canned or fresh pumpkin or leftover already cooked sweet potato.

~ Sarah ~ said...

fiiiiiiiiiiinally made soup today :)

Halfnutcase said...

y'know the spice and spirit cook book has a great recipie for cheese cake! (and carrot cake too! :))