Saturday, February 25, 2017

Coconut Butternut Squash Soup - Sopa de Abóbora e Coco

Link to recipe The Spruce

Butternut squash has a sweet nutty flavor that is delicious when roasted (as in this roasted butternut squash soup) or when baked into desserts (like this pie). But butternut squash can also go tropical - as in this rich savory soup made with creamy coconut milk. Pumpkin and squash "carries" like this one are popular in Thailand, but the Latin versions don't typically include curry powder, though a touch of chile pepper is always welcome.
Any winter squash works well in this soup. There are many options for garnishing this soup, such as crumbled queso fresco cheese, roasted corn kernels, chopped tomatoes, and cilantro, spicy aji salsa, or several boiled shrimp.

What You'll Need

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chile pepper, or 1 tablespoons fresh minced chile pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to Make It

  1. Peel butternut squash, then cut in half lengthwise and remove seeds (and the fibrous material around the seeds).
  2. Roast seeds (optional): Separate seeds from the squash, and rinse well. Place seeds in a shallow pan with 1 tablespoon butter and 1/2 teaspoon salt and toast seeds in the oven at 350 F until dark golden brown and crispy, stirring once or twice, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove seeds from oven and set aside to let cool.
  3. Chop squash into 1/2 inch cubes. Peel and dice onion. Peel sweet potato and chop into 1/2 inch cubes. Wash spinach, dry thoroughly, and roll it up tightly in a bunch. Slice spinach crosswise to make thin ribbons.
  4. Place vegetable oil and remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in a heavy stockpot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring, until onion is soft and fragrant.
  5. Add the squash, sweet potatoes, cumin, cinnamon, and sugar to the skillet and cook, stirring often until vegetables are lightly browned.
  6. Add the chicken stock, season with salt and pepper, then simmer vegetables over low heat until they are tender (about 15 minutes).
  7. Once squash and sweet potatoes are cooked through, use a slotted spoon to transfer the vegetables to a blender (reserve cooking liquid). Add coconut milk and lime juice to the blender and process until it's smooth.
  8. Add blended mixture back to the soup and whisk gently over low heat until evenly heated through. Stir in spinach ribbons and heat for 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Serve soup warm garnished with the toasted seeds.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Puzzling with Friends & Wine: The Journey Continues

February 21, 2017
Dianne is bringing a new puzzle.  This time 1000 pieces. We will be testing the new puzzle mat compliments of the TLT Group.  Thanks Sally and Steve!

The focus is on Australia and New Zealand

Lamb meat pie: Beth Kost
Mesclun and Mango Salad with Ginger Carrot Dressing: Jan
Dover bread: Dianne
Pavlova with Kir Royale Sorbet: Beth

The wines:
I can't wait to try the Black Bubbles.

The Black Bubbles was a fan favorite. My favorite was actually the Pinot Noir from New Zealand.  It was a 2011 and sort of amber in color.  I liked how smooth it was, more smokey than berry.  My least favorite was the Chardonnay.  I would like to try another Chardonnay from this region before passing judgement.

The lamb meat pie was absolutely amazing and a super paring with the Shiraz. 

Cloudy Bay did not disappoint. I discovered that goat cheese and sauv blanc are delicious together.

Wine and Cheese Pairing Resources

Thanks Jan Pitzo.  This is the best resource for wine and cheese pairings.