Archive for November, 2011

November 16, 2011

Roasted Winter Squash Soup

I’m all for vegetables on their own, shining for themselves. I love vegetables in their raw form. Lately, I’ve been wondering if this is just laziness in me. I went to an incredible restaurant where they did magical things with wintery vegetables. Vegetables that I like okay but loved that night. Brussels sprouts, I’m sorry I never gave you a chance as a kid. We’ll make up for lost time.

This soup is amazing (no Brussels sprouts in this one, but squashes). I’m out of my lazy rut, because however delicious vegetables are in the raw, they don’t hold a flickering candle to this hero of foods, this bowl of beastliness, this delight of the senses.

Roasted Winter Squash Soup

1 medium acorn squash
2 1/2 T butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large red onion, diced
15 oz vegetable broth
1 1/2 c butternut squash, roasted with olive oil
1 1/4 t thyme
1 1/2 t cumin
1/2 t ground white pepper

Slice acorn squash in half then slices 1/2 inch thick, or as close as you can get to that. In a preheated to 375 degrees F oven, roast the acorn squash for 20 minutes. I had leftover butternut squash, but I roasted that in a 400 degree F oven for about 15 minutes. You could roast these guys together probably. Whatever order you do it in, just drizzle with olive oil and make sure the pan gets a good little bit of olive oil, too.

Once you’ve got your roasted and peeled squashes (Squash is about 40 times easier to peel post-roasting. I didn’t know. Should’ve. Didn’t. Do now.), you’re ready for the soup bit. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Saute garlic and onion until tender.

Add broth, squash, and herbs. Bring to boil. Lower heat and let simmer until squash is really tender. This’ll take about 25 minutes or so.

Puree soup in food processor or blender. Return soup to pot. Bring to simmer. Add a little more vegetable broth to make it soupier.

This soup will make you melt. This soup will make you fall in love. This soup will make you very sleepy. Creamy without cream. Decadent. Flavorful. Oh my god. I’m going to get some more right now.

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November 14, 2011

Banana Bread, sans Egg

Banana bread is a tricky, slippery, mysterious enigma. I’ve basically kept with the same “recipe” for several years now, but because it isn’t perfect yet, I keep tweaking slightly to discover entirely new worlds when it comes to banana bread. It’s an exciting endeavor, unless I don’t use enough butter or forget an ingredient. This time, I didn’t forget anything (except the fact that I didn’t have any eggs in my house); I adventured into the world of banana bread with an open mouth and ready heart; and I was greatly rewarded for my experimentation. I give you They’ll Never Know You Were Out of Eggs but Wanted to Bake Anyway Banana Bread.

Going into this attempt, I thought my house contained eggs. Those elusive scrambleable necessities for breakfast and baking went for all they were worth, apparently. And more quickly than I anticipated. So, I did a bit of research. Dear internet, what is a good egg substitute other than Egg Substitute? You know, internet, something I can use from my cabinet or fridge, so I don’t actually have to leave my house or my pre-heating oven?

Banana Bread, sans eggs
Inspired by Mark Bittman

1 stick butter, softened
1 c A-P flour (I used white wheat.)
1 c cake flour
1 t salt
1 1/2 t baking powder
3/4 c light brown sugar
5 banananananananas, smushed (Did you know bananas act as a perfectly acceptable and delicious egg substitute? Isn’t that perfect for banana bread??? I added a little bit of yogurt just ’cause and was thankful for the baking powder in this recipe to help the leavening.)
1/8 c plain yogurt
2 t vanilla yogurt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Ready a dozen muffin cups and a small loaf pan.

Whisk dry ingredients together. Cream brown sugar and butter together. Beat in bananas. Add yogurt. Mix until incorporated. Add vanilla extract.

Pour batter into tins. I did it six at a time then the loaf. The muffins took about 12 minutes each. The loaf took a bit longer. Just bake until golden brown and they pass the toothpick test. Really, a good measure is to watch until the edges of the muffins begin pulling away from the tin. But not any longer than that. They’ll get dry.


Cool on rack or whatever (see above for my very and professional cooling method) before removing. Enjoy. Share. Love.

November 13, 2011

Failure

In any endeavor one pursues and hopes to grow from, one should expect learning opportunities, bumps, and disasters. Trying to make this bread helped me realize how much I’ve grown in every other area save for bread making. I think I need new yeast. I used lots of patience this time, trying to wait for something, anything to happen with my dough. Rise, dough, rise. I encouraged, to no avail. Maybe it rose and I’m not remembering the original size very well. I will try to bake it, and maybe, just maybe the lump of elasticky dough will react with the warmth of the oven. No, no, no.

For a loaf that began its life with so much promise– so much delicious, orange-zest-filled, chocolatey goodness, this loaf didn’t rise to the occasion. And I realize it is not entirely the loaves fault. I, the baker, take full responsibility for this baking endeavor becoming heft for my trash bag. What’s the trick with bread???? As soon as I find out, I’m happy to share. Happy to teach. Happier still to learn and eat my own bread.

One day, when I learn me some bread baking skills, I will share this recipe with you. Until then, I will just show you that I can go on. I can create Food. That is Edible. And delicious. Despite specific setbacks and tribulations.

There will be bread. Someday. In the future. I’m sure of it. There has to be. Until then, I will continue to either support my local (well-loved) bakeries or go without bread. It’s not so torturous, really. But it is motivation to face my worthy opponent, my windmills.

Love,

Don Quixote