Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Squash Feast

Sunday afternoon before heading out to the grocery store, I inquired with Jim about what he wanted for dinner. "Squash, squash, squash!" he replied. So I set to work coming up with some new and exciting fall recipes.

Every year when it starts to get chilly I vow to make a different soup every weekend. We're BIG fans of soup and I just love the smell of it simmer on the stove all day. Plus, it heats up easily for lunch or a side dish for dinner during the week. Every year I end up making about 3-4 soups. And trust me, cold weather last way longer than 3-4 weeks. Jim's squash request seemed like the perfect opportunity to try a new soup and keep my soup vow going for week 2 (week one here).

Thai Pumpkin Soup

1 cup carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 leek, chopped (use the white part and peel away the first layer. I used 2)
1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped
curry powder or paste (I used powder)
1 smallish pumpkin, peeled, seeded, & cubed
2-3 medium sweet potoatoes, peeled & cubed
2 qts vegetable broth
2 cans coconut milk

Heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in soup pot, medium heat. Add carrots, onion, leek, and garlic, season with curry poweder & ginger. Cook until start to everything starts to soften and the onions start to sweat. Add pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover, and let simmer. When the chunks of pumpkin and sweet potato are soft enough to smash with a fork, blend with immersion blender. Stir in cocunut milk. Season to taste with curry, ginger, salt, and pepper. Simmer away (stir frequently). I think the longer it cooked the more the flavors started to come through. It such a beautiful bright orange and super delicious!!

---Side notes ---
*I ended up added a can of pumpkin after I added the coconut milk and let it simmer for awhile. After I slaughtered the little pumpkin trying to peel it, I don't think it was enough to get the full flavor.
*I modifed this recipe from one I saw online and decided to add the carrots (mostly because I needed to use them). I think it made the consistency a little less creamy after blending it, which we didn't mind.
*Remember. I'm more of of an eyeball cook and don't really measure things (baking is a different story!), so you might need to modify for taste.

Next on the menu:
Butternut squash pizzas

butternut squash
asapargus (optional)
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
rosemary, salt, & pepper
premade pizza crust
shredded cheese (I used monteray jack and mozerella)
parmasean cheese

Preheat oven to 400.

Heat 1 medium butternut squash in microwave for ~3minutes. This will help soften the skin and make it easier to peel. Let cool. Cut, remove seeds, and peel (kind of like a cantelope). Thinly slice. Peel and thinly slice onion. Cut asparagus into ~1 inch chunks. Mix in medium bowl. Season with salt & pepper. Add rosemary (1-2 tsp). Drizzle with olive oil and balsmatic (~2-3 Tbsp, you don't drench them in olive oil though). Bake in roasting pan for 20-30 minutes. Squash should be tender and onions will start to brown.

While the squash and onions are roasting away, deal with your pizza dough. I bought frozen cornmeal pizza crust from WholeFoods, so there wasn't much to do aside from remove from package and place on a baking sheet. I decided to drizzle the edges with olive oil and sprinkle with parmasean cheese, which turned out to be a good idea. The recipe I modified suggested rolling out the pizza dough on a floured surface into ~ 8 inch rounds, and sprinkling the top with cornmeal (1Tbsp). The cornmeal crust turned out to be freakin' delicious, so recommend just going with that.

Back to the squash. After it's soft and brown and looking delicious, spoon onto prepared pizza dough. Sprinkle with shredded cheese of your choice. Bake at 425/450 (following directions on the pizza dough) for ~10 minutes or until crust is warm and cheese is melted. Remove from oven and give sprinkle with parmasean.

This is seriously the most gourmet looking thing I've ever made! And it was so good!!! I think the cornmeal crust really put it over the top. We cut up the second one and package it for lunches for Monday...if it's possible it may have been better the second time around. I also had extra squash/onion mix because I didn't want to overload the pizzas, which was yummy warmed up as an extra side dish.

Try it. You'll like it

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