Sunday, December 07, 2008

squash soup

My hands are orange and sore from cutting up a huge butternut squash. It's one of those bright wintry days that look really nice from inside a cosy house, but feel like a son of a bitch when the wind blows ice crystals into your face. Everything is coated with a powdery, pristine blanket of snow, so it's almost painfully bright in our living room with the wall of window. I can barely read the computer screen.

Yesterday at the drop-in centre, we served a fantastic pumpkin soup. Gingery, garlicky, smooth but not too smooth, it was delicious. Sadly, nobody knows who donated it or where I might find the recipe. So today I am attempting a butternut squash soup with the flavours I think I tasted (onion, a bit of celery and carrot, fresh ginger and garlic, and turmeric -- I'll add a bit of cream at the end I think). It's simmering now.

Last weekend I went hunting for new recipes. We've been in a bit of a cooking funk lately -- for months, really -- and I need to find new things to cook, things that don't depend on cheese and pasta, because that gets old pretty quick when you eat it four nights a week. But I realized we have a significant handicap: there are a lot of vegetables I don't like, or that I only like rarely with specific and careful preparation (that I don't know how to do). Eggplant falls into the latter category, and all the autumn vegetables fall into the former - squash, turnip, carrots by themselves, sweet potato, rutabaga, parsnips, fennel. Oh and I don't like bizarre, slippery-feeling mushrooms either. Which writes off almost all the recipes in my cookbooks that I haven't already tried. Sugar D doesn't like brussels sprouts, and I don't think lima beans don't really count as a vegetable.

Wow, that was fast -- the squash is already cooked! Apparently, butternut squash takes longer to peel and chop than it does to cook. Regardless, it smells fantastic. Now I just need to put it in the blender, which could prove hazardous since Swee'pea is napping.

Oh crap. I just tasted it - it's way too sweet. (I also hate sweet and savoury flavour combinations - probably why I hate all those root veggies.) Anyone know how to cut the sweetness? Vinegar? Salt? Add more stock to thin it out? Help!

Which was not what I was going to ask for help with. But it will do for now. Help?


thordora said...

There's an answer, and I can't remember what it is. That's the same reason I don't usually like stuff like that though-the sweet is too weird and sweet.

I did start pulling myself out of the cooking funk-made these awesome little puff pastry packets full chicken cooked in broth, sauteed scallions, mushrooms, celery and garlic, which covered a slice of brie and pear. TASTY. Might try it with Tofu as well. :)

Beck said...

More browned onion can help too... cinnamon (just a pinch) makes a nice counterpart to sweetness. I hope it tastes great!

Janet said...

Butternut squash is a bitch to cut up, but I love the silky-smooth soup it makes. I make mine with pear mixed in. I think you would find it too sweet.

Mimi said...

Total cooking funk over here. Total.

Janna said...

Use LOTS of onions and garlic to help balance it out and use stock/salt as well - Sometimes I use yogurt instead of cream and that might help too....also chillies (but not sure what your son would think about that).