soup!!!!

IMG_0893 duh it’s october so therefore…it’s soup season. i just read an article about green soup which looked divine and was vegan, don’t worry it will show up here soon, you can count on it. but let’s begin by talking about getting healthy. i’ve been doing a lot of yoga and just jumped back on my bootcamp train and then today, rory and i joined LA Fitness. we be getting healthy.  we’ve given up caffeine, cut back on booze and sugar and are trying to take meat out of our diets. when making our shopping list earlier this week initially both of us has wanted deli meats to have in the fridge for lunch, etc.  but then we both realized we could make veggie sandwiches and be just as satisfied.  this seems like a no brainer but these baby steps matter to us. they make all the difference.

it’s still a little warm here in LA but our nights are getting colder so i wanted to make soup that we could keep in the fridge all week. years ago my boss, michele, gave me mark bittman’s HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING VEGETARIAN. it’s great and i don’t use it as often as i should.  after looking through a handful of my cookbooks i fell back to this trust friend. they have everything and even the simplest recipes branch out into fun variations. i found a winter squash soup recipe and in reading all of the variations i decided to go with the Argentinian version but did leave a handful of things out; both intentionally and unintentionally. (oopps)  natalie, if you’re reading this, i suggest trying this soup, it’d really good.  here’s the thing, this recipe calls for no puree-ing and i wanted a smooth soup, so i left a handful of things out.

Pumpkin (or Winter Squash) Soup (I used a Butternut Squash)
from Mark Bittman’s HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING VEGETARIAN
4 servings

INGREDIENTS
3T butter or neutral oil
3 lbs sugar pumpkin or any winter squash (a med-large squash), like acorn, butternut, calabaza, hubbard, kaboucha, or turban peeled, seeded and cut into 1-2″ cubes
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
2 or 3 waxy potatoes (I forgot potatoes), peeled and cubed
2 or 3 chopped tomatoes (I forgot tomatoes)
1C chopped dried apricots (I used about 1/4C)
1 medium onion, chopped
1C fresh corn kernels, or frozen (I forgot corn)
1T fresh chopped sage
Salt + pepper
5C veg stock or water
1C cream or half-n-half

DIRECTIONS

1. melt the butter or oil in a large dutch oven (or whatever you are cooking the soup in) over med-high heat. when melted, add the pumpkin, onion, bell pepper and potatoes (if you don’t forget them) and cool.  stir occasionally, until onion softens, about 5minutes. add the sage and some salt and pepper, continue cooking until fragrant, which should be about a minute. I had to stick my nose in my pot to see if it was fragrant…quite the task. add your stock, tomatoes and apricots and bring to a boil. lower the heat to a gentle simmer, partially cover and cook for about 30 minutes or until the squash falls apart.

2. once to your satisfaction, place a trivet or thick towel on your counter, take the soup off of the heat. using an immersion blender puree the soup in the dutch over.  alternatively, you can cool the soup slightly and pass it through a food mill or put it in a blender. if you used the blender, you’ll have to do it in batches.

2a. If you are following the real recipe and not omitting things like I did, you wouldn’t use an immersion blender you’d just let it cook.  if it gets too thick, you can thin it down with more stock or water.  during the last few minutes of cooking add those corn kernels…if you went this route. (cream is optional)

3. put the soup back over the heat and bring it to an almost boil.  stir in the cream but DO NOT boil (it will cuddle…and that’s just unpleasant).  taste and adjust seasoning and serve with a swirl of nice olive oil and maybe some toasted pepitas or nuts of some sort. you do not have to do this, i just think it makes you feel fancy and who doesn’t like to feel fancy?  you can also do a swirl of sriracha – it was so good.

the bonus of this soup is it just keeps getting better in the fridge. i ate it for lunch for 3 days! i love fall and i love soup and while we may not get a real fall or winter here in LA, i do what i can to feel the essence of the season.  … essence = soup. duh.

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