When we have friends in our home, I like to have something to offer them. Usually it’s something warm and sweet, and best enjoyed with a cup of warm milk tea or a strong cup of coffee. Even if our guests are our closest companions, I find it important to make them feel at home with something familiar and comfortable. This desire to make our home inviting comes from my Dad. He is an excellent cook (I’ll make his famous Massey beans for you one of these days when the weather finally turns into fall) and he is also wonderfully generous. Whenever we had friends over, the first thing he would do, is ask if they’d like something to eat or drink. Most of the time our friends would try to be polite and say, no thank you, but he would ask them again and again until they finally relented. I’m sure this gesture made them feel comfortable and at home and as if they were just as welcome there as any of us. It’s a lovely quality that I’m happy to have inherited from him. (more…)
It’s funny how my affections change so quickly. One day I am completely loyal and in love with fresh summer produce, have no intention of turning on my oven even for a minute (except for the occasional roasted beet extravaganza) and wouldn’t dream of eating things that signify the end of summer. And then the rains came and just like that I jump head over heels into fall. I bought tall leather boots, a warm (and super cute-thanks H&M!) winter coat, and about 10 pounds of butternut squash.
While the wind whips and the rain pounds our windows, I warm the house with a hot oven. The smell of caramelizing onions mixed with roasting root vegetables is enough to send me into fall for good, leaving tomatoes and fresh corn behind. If this rain keeps up, I might just break out the Christmas records. It’s never too early for that.
roasted butternut squash soup with caramelized onion and yogurt
serves 6 for a main course or 10 for a first course
- 1 medium butternut squash peeled, cleaned and cubed
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled
- 4 tablespoons fresh thyme, divided
- olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1 heaping tablespoon smoked paprika
- non-fat greek yogurt
For caramelized onions:
- 2 onions sliced into rings
- olive oil
- fresh thyme
- To caramelize the onions, heat a skillet over medium heat. Coat with olive oil. Add onions, salt and thyme and turn heat to low. Cook on low for about an hour until the onions are deeply caramelized. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss squash, carrots, garlic and two tablespoons thyme in a generous amount of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet until tender, about 20-30 minutes.
- In a large dutch oven, add a glug of olive oil, the diced onion and celery, two tablespoons thyme and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium high heat until vegetables are soft. Add roasted vegetables and smoked paprika. Pour in the chicken stock and simmer for 10 minutes. With an immersion blender, puree soup to desired consistency. [You can also use a regular blender to puree your soup, just be very careful as the soup will be hot. Be sure to remove the stopper in the lid and cover the hole with a clean kitchen towel.] Serve topped with a dollop of yogurt and caramelized onions.
Sometimes recipes can be a bit more involved than I have time for. When I want to make a specific dish, or work with an ingredient I am unfamiliar with, I usually scour the usual places for an appealing recipe. Most of the time I find what I’m looking for, which is usually a recipe that is well rated and manageable. Although, there are occasions when I am unable to find a set of ingredients and instructions that aren’t a mile long and take days to execute. In those moments, I decide to go it alone. This method does not always yield a fabulous product, but this time, it sure did. (more…)
I’m so happy that fall is here. This weekend, in San Francisco, we had a major downpour. It was amazing. The air was damp and cool, and the asphalt had that lovely first rain smell. It all felt so majestic. If I was an artist, I would have painted a canvas to express these thoughts and feelings but instead I put the colors and aromas of fall on a pizza. click here for the full post!