Not much cooking this year we ate a a friend's home in Monterey and I made my famous...
|cream of butternut squash soup|
You can bake the squash a day ahead and bring all of your ingredients together just 30 minutes before dinner is served.
1, 12" Butternut Squash (or two 6" you get the idea, not need to be precise)
1 small yellow onion (or half of a large)
1 small bunch of fresh sage
4 tbsp of unsalted butter
4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
2 cups of Half & Half (or 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of cream)
2 chicken bullion cubes
nutmeg to taste
black pepper to taste
Cut the squash in half lenghtwise, scoop out the seeds and cover the exposed inside with tinfoil. Bake in the top rack of the oven at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes (or until the interior is fork tender). Pull out of the oven and let cool.
In the meantime, pull out your soup pan (5 quart) and put on a low flame with a dash of olice oil while you corsely chop the onion. Toss the onion in the pan, and peel the sage leaves off about 3 springs of sage and toss in with the onion. Grate some nutmeg, grind some black pepper and stir occasionally untill all the onion pieces are transparent. Add all of the butter. Scoop out the pulp of the cooked and cooled butternut squash halves into the pan - it should sizzle a little bit (this is good you want a little caramelization on the squash for a deeper rounder, nut flavor). When you've finished schooping the squash into the pan, add enough water to cover about 1" over the contents. Add the bullion cubes and mix well and bring to a boil. Grate in a little more nutmeg over everything. With a stick blender (or you can pour the contents into a standing blender but be careful blending something hot!) blend the contents of the pan - this is a good time to taste and see if you think it needs a little more salt. When everything is relatively smooth, add the Half & Half, blend again for a few seconds and serve immediately!
senseless seasoning abuse
I love our hosts dearly but my dear friend, the hostess, is in love with this "21 Spice" seasoning that has just about evrything from one's spice rack mixed in a single bottle. I think it worked well on the Zuchhini, but she sprinkled it in everything! She rubbed it on the turkey, mixed it in with the mashed patatoes (that became yellow speckled with red and green- festive), the gravy and just about everything else could not escape this seasoning save only my soup, the salad and pumpkin pie.
Some dishes just need a little salt and pepper to bring out their flavor, others could benefit from a woodsy sprinkle of sage, rosemary or thyme, some require the refreshing zest from basil, oregano or parsely, maybe a squiggle of lemon peel can make the dish sing, or you can always bring a little heat and spice to the mix with pepper, paprika, or nutmeg.
But dear readers, please, please, please do not commit seasoning abuse by putting all these seasonings together on everything.