Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween (1 day late)

Happy Halloween!

Wait, it isn't Halloween today, that was yesterday.  But here's my Halloween post.

Last night, after a particularly gruesome Monday, Forbes and I headed to Emily and Travis' for a Halloween Party.  This is the first time in four years I have had an excuse to dress up and I pulled my reserved costume out from the depths of the closet in the spare bedroom.  I have been holding onto this skirt and old boyscout shirt for a very long time.  The shirt is my brother's, circa 2000 (I can only guess) and the skirt I picked up on the sale rack at American Eagle at least that long ago.  I was surprised how short it was when I put it on last night.
I supplemented my outfit with green tights from target and my brown boots.  Last minute I had the clever idea to wear feather earrings but didn't feel like running back out to the store.  The photos are a little blurry but I was really pleased with this costume, and even more pleased to have an excuse to wear it!

Emily and Travis are foodies just like Forbes and me.  They hosted a soup party with vegan and original chili, broccoli cheddar soup, chicken noodle soup, and my addition: Butternut Squash Soup.

Butternut Squash Soup
serves 8-10

This soup came together beautifully with the sweetness of the onion and squash.  The natural flavors were so delicious it required very little seasoning.  It is creamy and smooth without any dairy products or even dairy substitutes.  This is an allergy-friendly recipe that requires very little ingredients but packs a ton of flavor!

prep time: 30 minutes
cook time: 45 minutes

  • 1 very large butternut squash, or two small
  • 5-6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 sweet yellow onion
  • 2 carrot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350* and spray bottom of baking sheet with cooking spray.  Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds from the middle.  Lay face down on baking sheet and bake 45 minutes, until soft.  Remove from oven and let cool.
  2. Heat large stockpot over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons broth.  Slice onion, and saute in broth 10 minutes to caramelize, adding more broth a few tablespoons at a time.  You will want the onion to become brown and stick a little to the bottom of the pan before adding more broth, but do not burn.  Use the broth to release the onions from the bottom of the pan with the brown bits.  (these brown bits create flavor in the dish)
  3. Continue to cook onions in this way until soft.  When onions are cooked through, let them stick to the bottom of the pan one last time, and use the apple cider vinegar to release the onions and brown bits from the bottom of the pan. 
  4. Add carrots and garlic to the pan with enough broth to cover the bottom and saute several minutes.  Add about 2 more cups of broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a fast simmer and cook until carrots are soft.
  5. Remove the skin from the butternut squash and add squash to the stock pot with enough broth to cover.  Cook several minutes and then remove the pot from heat to allow the soup to cool.  
  6. If you have an immersion blender you may use that to puree the soup.  You can also use a blender or a food processor, removing the soup a few cups at a time to puree.
  7. When the soup is pureed, return to pot and bring back to heat.  Add more vegetable broth to create desired soup consistency.  
  8. Salt to taste.
  9. Serve hot.
I was worried the soup would not have enough flavor, but I really enjoyed it just the way it is.  Of course, you could always add more or less seasonings.  However, I really feel the caramelized onions and vinegar give this soup a sweetness and depth of taste.  And the salt just helps bring it all to life.  It is simple and delicious.

The party was fun and Forbes and I met quite a few new friends.  Everyone dressed up, but this costume definitely won the prize last night!

We didn't stay late, being a Monday and all.  I was in bed by 10.  (So old!) But that also means I am up this morning feeling great and ready to start my day.  Happy Tuesday!

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