Roasted Butternut Squash, Acorn Squash, and Apple Soup

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For 2018 I hope to be here more than I was in 2017. I’m envisioning more of a journal of sorts, where I can feel free to pop in and say “I just made this for dinner! I’m not apologizing for the bad photos! Here’s the general technique and ingredients so you can make it too, if you so choose!” I’m saying goodbye to weighing vegetables and judiciously measuring out olive oil. Maybe I’ll even share some (gasp!) meaty recipes here. We’re going to write our recipes in real time!

2017 was a strange year for me in that it treated me personally very well and it was still painful to go through. I have a feeling that 2018 is going to be much of the same. Since the last time I checked in here (which was what, August?!?) Aaron and I have moved and started talking seriously about getting a dog. I left cooking professionally and became more focused on writing. And I started to cook seriously at home again for the first time in a year or more. Jobs. They drain you of what you love.

We started 2018 as we mean to go- a chill open house filled with friends, water, and soup. We called it “Yes, Soup for You”, and spent the entirety of New Year’s Day at home, with friends coming and going, sharing food. Aaron made some mulled wine, friends brought treats, and I made three soups- my mom’s chicken chili, a vegan version of this coconut red lentil soup, and a creamy and sweet-but-not-too-sweet roasted squash and apple soup inspired by Smitten Kitchen. It was such a success that we’ve decided that we’re going to do this every year from now on. It’s hard to think of a better place to be than surrounded by lovely people and good food.

I’ll see you more in 2018. May you start as you mean to go.

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Roasted Butternut Squash, Acorn Squash, and Apple Soup

inspired by this recipe over on Smitten Kitchen

The timing for the roasted squash and caramelized onions will depend on how much moisture is in your vegetables, and how much attention you’re paying to them.

Preheat the oven to 400.

Quarter and deseed 1 medium butternut squash, 1 large (or 2 small) acorn squash, and 4 apples. Divide between two cookie sheet (I placed the butternut squash on one and the acorn on another), and drizzle liberally with olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt, and pepper. Place in the oven and roast until the squash is tender and the apples are shriveled, between forty minutes and an hour.

In a large heavy pot over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add in 4 yellow onions, thinly sliced, and toss well. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they have lost at least half of their volume and are becoming golden in color. Add in 4 cloves of minced garlic and about 2 tablespoons roughly chopped thyme. Continue to cook until the onions are at least amber, though you can take them darker if you desire.

Remove the squash and apples from the oven. Peel away the skin from the squash and roughly chop it into large chunks. Add the peeled squash and the roasted apples to the soup, along with about 1 cup of white wine (if it’s the remainder of a flat bottle of bubbles, so much the better) and 4 cups of vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, just to let the flavors melt together.

Add 1 cup heavy cream and puree soup, either in an upright blender or with an immersion blender. Taste, and adjust the seasonings with sherry vinegar and dark soy sauce as necessary. If it’s too thick, add some more cream or more water (or both). Serve hot, with lots of crusty bread and butter.

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Some Favorite Healthy(-ish) Recipes for January

Happy 2017! Do you make resolutions? I’m obsessed with resolutions. This year’s include to be better at responding to text messages, to not use my phone in bed, and to do the splits. I’m also hoping to to try out different techniques and flavors in cooking and work more on my photography.

Maybe you’ve resolved to eat better in this coming year, or perhaps you just want a bit of a reset after an intense holiday season. Either way, or if you just want to eat tasty food, I’ve got you covered- here are some of my favorite “healthy” recipes from the past year and a half of blogging.

I put healthy in quotes, because it’s a loaded term and a subjective one. I’m not a doctor or a dietician. I’m a cook. I like butter and bread and cheese and chocolate. And I like lots of vegetables and legumes. These recipes prioritize ingredients that are both nutrient dense and hearty. In my mind, there’s little that’s worse than an unsatisfying “healthy” meal, weather it’s not filling or not delicious.

I think these recipes meet all the criteria. I hope you agree.

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Delicata Squash and Kale Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
Gluten-free, Easily Vegan
If you’re going to start of New Year’s with a kale salad, I would strongly recommend it be this one. Crisp radishes, toasted walnuts, earthy kale, and roast squash are all tossed in a maple syrup-shallot vinaigrette and topped with salty pecorino. It’s like if winter’s bounty reached up to give you a hug. I’m not allowed at Thanksgiving celebrations without this salad.

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White Beans, Fennel, and Tomato Stew
Gluten-free, Easily Vegan
A recipe from Anna Jones, one of my favorite cookbook authors, that’s tangy and sweet and herbal and savory all at the same time. It’s also filled with all sorts of good stuff. It’s amazing on it’s own, but just the kind of dish I want to drag a piece of bread through to soak up all the amazing juices.

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Carrot and Coconut Dal
Vegan, Gluten-free
Some vegan friends of mine claim this is the best soup they’ve ever had. With coconut milk, cilantro, red lentils, and a healthy dose of turmeric, I’m not going to say that they’re wrong.

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Kale Stuffed Double Baked Potatoes
Gluten-free
These are killer. Kale, shallots, goat cheese, and a heady dose of smoked paprika help the double baked potato grow up. These are my favorite way to consume the unfairly maligned potato.

Lemon Lentil Soup

Smooth Lentil Lemon Soup
Gluten-free, Easily Vegan
If there were ever a lentil soup to shake off the hippie coffee shop vibe it would be this one. Gently spiced and elegant, this smooth lentil soup would be at home in a chic bistro or your dinner party. That it’s easy, nutrient dense, and relies on pantry staples is a bonus.

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Lentil Bolognese
Vegetarian, Easily Gluten-free
Rich, hearty, and sophisticated, this lentil bolognese is one of my favorite creations. Do yourself a favor and make a double batch, then freeze half. You’ll be grateful you did.

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A Winter Ribollita
Vegan
Swiss chard, sweet potato, and orange add a wintery spin to this traditional soup made of stale bread. This is a hearty and satisfying meal, the type I like to eat all winter. I love that it’s nutrient dense, but unlike some “healthy” meals I’ve had in the past it fills me up and keeps me going for hours.

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Black Bean Tacos with Mango Salsa
Gluten-Free, Easily Vegan
Aaron is obsessed with tacos, and these are among his favorites. It’s easy to see why- black beans are cooked in lime juice, cumin, and cilantro, then placed in a tortilla, topped with a zippy mango salsa, lettuce, and cotija. And start to finish, they take 20 minutes.

Kale Caesar

Kale Caesar Salad with Sourdough Croutons
Vegetarian
My version of a healthy lifestyle includes kale. It also includes bread and cheese. This salad has all three and the best vegetarian Caesar dressing I’ve ever had. (Warning: post also includes an extended -let’s say conversation- on healthy food.)

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Creamed Lentils with Tomato Paste and Ginger
Gluten-free
Healthy doesn’t have to mean deprivation and lentils don’t have to be boring. These lentils are cooked with a generous amount of spices, then finished with the right amount of cream and butter. It’s as luxurious as lentils can get, which is to say very.

Happy cooking! I’ll see you soon with a proper recipe.

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