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Posts Tagged ‘butternut squash’

Anne’s butternut leek ginger soup


Before I launch into today’s recipe, I’d like to share a little esoteric trivia with you. Esoteric in a world-wide sense, as our enlightened inner circle contains a bazillion people. But in order to understand the following, you must have a linguistic understanding of what www means and that’s a big outer-inner (out-there) circle.

Stick with me, there’s some logic to this intro, however convoluted it might be.

Today has great significance in the posting of this recipe. On November 12th, 1990, English physicist Tim Berners-Lee and Belgian computer scientist Robert Cailliau drafted a proposal entitled “WorldWideWeb: Proposal for a HyperText Project.” That’s what guys who work at CERN, the world’s largest particle physics lab, do in their spare time.

You know, when they’re not messing around with particle accelerators or smashing atoms.

Little did they know that their project and the alliterative fusion of three simple words would have such a profound impact on the future of information technology and the way we communicate. And on food. Although few of us understand what’s really going on in cyber-space, www has become a household “word” and making friends with people in far-off places is as easy as commenting on a blog.

Which brings me to the point of this post – Anne’s butternut, leek and ginger soup. The recipe originally came from Mitchell Beazley’s book, The Simple Art of Marrying Food & Wine. Anne, whom I met ages ago at Miles Collins’ blog, left her version of the soup in the comment section of my Dia de los Muertos post. I doubt that Tim and Robert had friendships, food writing and recipe exchanges in mind when they wrote their proposal for the HyperText Project and dubbed the nebulous world of mark-up language and stored information the WorldWideWeb. But that’s how things have unfolded in my little corner of culinary cyber-space (alliterations aside).

WWW has turned into FFF. WorldWideWeb. FoodFriendshipFun. I love it!

Okay, I’ve indulged myself in some off-kilter rambling, now on to food. This week’s CSA box contained butternut squash, onions, leeks and an assortment of other fall veggies and fruit. As luck would have it, those were the ingredients in Anne’s version of Mitchell’s version of butternut squash soup. Thanks for the inspiration, Anne. Here’s my version.

Butternut squash leek onion ginger curry coconut soup
what you need

1-2 butternut squashes (I ended up with about 4 cups of peeled and cubed squash) *
4 cups vegetable broth (or chicken)
1 cup water
2/3 cup light coconut milk
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 apple, washed, peeled, cored and chopped
2 leeks, trimmed and chopped
2-3 tablespoons butter
1-2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger (I like things gingery, use less if you please)
2 teaspoons curry powder *
roasted pumpkin seeds

what you do
Melt butter in a medium soup pot. Add onions and leeks and sauté until lightly browned. Add broth, water, apple, squash and ginger and simmer until squash is tender (30 minutes or so). Remove from heat and let cool for 15-20 minutes. Carefully puree soup in a food processor, in batches, and transfer back into the soup pot. Add curry seasoning and coconut milk, stir well and reheat. Top with a few roasted pumpkin seeds, even though I forgot to do it before taking the picture.

* Check with Amy at SS & GF for detailed instructions on how to peel and chop butternut squash.

* My Madras-style curry mix contains turmeric, cayenne pepper, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, white pepper, cinnamon, fennel, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves and Tellicherry black pepper.


The sisterhood of the traveling soup bowls would like to thank Tim and Robert for setting into motion the worldwideweb. We also appreciate the random brother with a bowl. Go forth and make soup!

spicy squash salad


Miles, my favorite blogging chef recently published a post extolling the benefits of grinding your own spices (along with a recipe for curry). I’ve been following his blog for quite some time now and because of his influence, and the fact that he patiently answers my food questions (thanks, Miles), I’ve purchased my own spice grinder and pestle and mortar and I’m learning the nuances of what fresh spice or herb to use and when. Plus, if I start from scratch with a cumin seed and not a blend of spices, I know exactly what I’m eating. No possibility of gluten cooties.

When you have food issues and an assortment of ingredients are off limits, learning the fine (and not-so-fine) art of culinary experimentation becomes all the more important. Without getting too sappy, I’m lucky to have an innate interest and love for high-quality and nourishing food, making my gluten-free journey a gift and not a burden. I actually find it fun.

This recipe is an expression of my growing interest in spices and herbs, which by the way have all kinds of healing properties. So, let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.

Spicy squash salad
serves 8 picnicers (is that a word?)
what you need

3 to 4 cups squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into 1 inch cubes *
1 cup raisins
1 chopped apple *
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO for GDave)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon *
1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin *
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, washed and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces

what you do
1. Cook squash in large pot of simmering water until knife tender (it won’t take long, maybe 5 to 10 minutes). Add raisins during the last minute of cooking. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool.
2. Whisk together lemon juice, EVOO, garlic, honey, salt, cumin, cinnamon and cayenne in large serving bowl. Add squash, raisins, apple, cilantro and pecans. Toss lightly to coat. Serve at room temperature.

Adjust the dressing as needed. This may be too much or too little for your taste.

* Butternut squash is good in this recipe. You can also use sweet potatoes.
* I almost always use Fuji apples, because I’m addicted to them. Seriously addicted.
* I’m grinding my own cinnamon and cumin, but the pre-ground version is fine. Cinnamon helps keep blood sugar levels balanced and works as a circulatory stimulant. It’s also a carminative (fancy word for helps reduce gas and bloating). Cumin has been used in Ayurvedic healing for thousands of years. It stimulates the secretion of pancreatic enzymes, aiding digestion.

Go forth and spice up your food!

Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for informational and educational use only and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Consult with your physician regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.
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