whiteravengirl: science is fun; gloves are difficult. (salsa isn't salsa without one.)
[personal profile] whiteravengirl
i've been trying and trying to write up that reflective year-in-summary post which is so popular around this time (read: two weeks ago), but. there is too much. let me sum up. last year i: quit two shitty jobs. quit smoking. found more to love about my boyfriend and my friends and family. ate a lot of food. drank a lot of beer. got my drivers license. had a lot of feminist rage. had a lot of bewilderment at everyone else just sort of sailing through not noticing things they really should be angry about. had a lot of fun. had a lot of suck. and figured out a couple of pretty important things. and quite frankly, aside from the shitty jobs/suck/rage aspects, i really wouldn't complain if this year tallies up much the same. (well, plus having more money. and health insurance. and someone i can respect in the white house. those things strike me as pretty keen.) pretty much my new year's resolutions are: get accepted to grown-up school already. be really, really drunk for a wide space of time around the election. have more sex. eat more vegetables. be happier. be more relaxed. go to more shows. go outside more. and do more cooking.

so with that in mind:

curried squash soup

curried squash soup

every time i've made this soup (three or four times in the last six months), i've done it off-the-cuff, so all measurements and instructions are vague as vague can be, and very malleable. i like things really heavily spiced and really spicy, but the time before last, i made it without spices entirely and it turned out quite well, so there's a lot of room for variability there if you like things more bland.

1 good-sized butternut squash, peeled and chopped into similarly-sized hunks
2 or three medium or large carrots, peeled and chopped into similarly-sized hunks
2 or 3 jalapenos, halved and quartered
olive oil
fresh ground pepper and salt
1 medium yellow onion (or several shallots), chopped
butter or olive oil
2 1/2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons garam masala (i use homemade; commercial would work just as well)
more fresh ground pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon chicken stock (what i use is kind of a paste and then i add water to dissolve; bouillon cubes or ready-made or homemade stock/broth would substitute fine)
1 or two cans coconut milk, shaken well
2 cups half & half or whole milk
more water/chicken stock if you'd prefer a cream-free version
sriracha or other hot sauce
finely chopped cilantro
additional cream, etc.

preheat the oven, on bake at about four-fifty. peel and cut the butternut, carrots, onion, etc.. take a fairly deep oven-safe pan and toss the squash, carrots, and a quarter of the onion in, cover with a couple tablespoons olive oil, and some salt and pepper. Toss it around with your hands or a tool of some kind until everything is pretty well-coated, and stick into the oven. Put the chilies into the stock you're using to let them steep for a bit.

while that's going, which takes a little while, take a medium-to-large saucepan and put it on medium and put in a tablespoon or so of the fat of your preference. i like to use butter and olive oil, not because one protects the other from burning (which it doesn't), but because i like both, which isn't a very good reason unless you're me. add the onion once the butter/oil is hot and brown it very well, being careful not to burn it. once the onion is browned, add your spices and cook for about a minute until fragrant. add the garlic. (at this point last time i deglazed the pan with a 1/2 cup of vermouth and it turned out well, but deglazing with the chicken stock works just as well.). add the chicken stock and the chilies and give the bottom of the pot a good scraping so as to get up all the fond. at this point check your squash mix to make sure it's cooking nicely, mush it around with a fork, see how tender everything is (usually the squash is done a bit before the carrots are). if it's not done yet pop it back in the oven for a few more minutes. it's not a big deal if it's not completely fork-tender, it will cook more once it's in the soup-pot, and it all gets blended up anyway.

turn the heat down to medium-low and let the broth cook a little bit while the squash is finishing up. once the squash is cooked, pull your pan out and spoon the squash mixture into the soup pot, using a spatula to scrape in any browned bits or liquids. give it a good stir, add more chicken stock or water if it's necessary, and let it cook for about ten minutes (i usually sit next to the stove on a bar stool with whatever book i'm currently reading and take a peek every now and then.).

once you're done sitting and waiting for it to cook, pull the jalapenos out and set them aside to either chop up for garnish or toss. at this point i yank out my braun multipractic (<3333333), and i blend the soup right in the pot. before i got the immersion blender i used an egg-beater to much the same effect. you could also let it cool a bit and transfer to a traditional blender, which is a lot messier and kind of scary, but still effective. once it's blended, taste it and decide if you'd like to add the coconut milk or half-and-half or not. when i made this the other day i had a jar of double devonshire cream that wasn't being used for anything, so i stuck a couple tablespoons of that in, plus some half-and-half and it came out quite nicely. it tastes best with coconut milk but pretty much everything does, so. give it a good stir and taste to see if it needs anything else.

ladle into bowls and garnish as desired with sriracha, cilantro, or extra cream. best accompanied with a nice dense bread, good company (or a good book), and a tall glass of milk.

curried squash soup with sriracha and cream

Date: 2008-01-14 05:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] instantkrazy.livejournal.com
Yay for surviving another year. :) Someday I will get myself up to Monterey and wish you a happy new year in person.

Also, I'm glad you posted this. I was planning to call you tomorrow to see if you're still alive. Apparently I've gone brain dead and forgotten how to do things other than work, eat, sleep, talk to a boy, and watch Battlestar Galactica. :( Most notably keep in contact with people.

Date: 2008-01-15 01:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jerushajen.livejournal.com
YES. we miss you like crazy. either we'll come visit you so we can meet the boy or..something.

heee, i am sort of alive, yeah. i am having trouble prioritising anything over talking to tyler, sleeping and eating, myself, so. i feel your pain. people are so hard to keep in touch with though...so much work! ugh. hee.


whiteravengirl: science is fun; gloves are difficult. (Default)

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