Friday, November 8, 2013

Squash Soup and Other Delights

Yesterday was a major cooking day.  I started out roasting an acorn squash and a butternut squash for soup.  While that was in the oven for an hour of baking, I put together the beginnings of a loaf of whole wheat bread.  After that, I started hacking and hewing vegetables for the soup - onions, carrots, fennel and zucchini.  Rummaging around in the freezer, I found a container of Grammie soup, pure gold.  I also took out a container of chicken broth for the squash soup and thawed it in the microwave. 

Last week, we bought 2 small bags of dried serrano chilis from Everything Under the Sun at the San Francisco Farmers Market.  What a treat it was to wander thru all the stalls of wonderful fresh fruit and veggies, fresh cheeses, meats, seafood and lots of other homemade treats.  I took the chilis and ground them in a spice mill to make a very potent/hot serrano paprika.  I like to use this in place of cayenne for an extra kick in sauces and soups. 

Now for the soup, once the squashes were baked, I took out the pulp and placed it in a bowl, the skins went to the worms and compost pile.  A good drizzle of olive oil in my favorite large soup pot (2 1/2 gallon pot).  Added 2 diced onions and 4 cloves of minced garlic.  I let that cook for a while along with a sprinkling of salt.  Once the onions were good and wilted I added a tablespoon of ground cumin, 1/4 tsp. of serrano paprika, a tablespoon of Italian seasoning and a tablespoon of dried parsley.  Also added 3 bay leaves and the rest of the diced vegetables, stirred and let the whole mass sweat covered on low heat for about 10 minutes.  After that I added the chicken broth along with a quarter of water.  I brought that all to a aboil over higher heat and then added the squash.  Also let the soup come to a boil and then reset the heat to a simmer.  The soup simmered for about 1 hour until the carrots were cooked.  Then the fun part, I took out the immersion stick blender and made a fine puree of the soup.  After it cooled I froze the soup in 1/2 gallon containers for later use as quick easy dinners with some bread and cheese.

After the soup was done, it was about time to start the bread.  I made my favorite, Peter Reinhart's 100% whole wheat bread from his book Whole Grain Baking.  It makes a great loaf of bread for sandwiches or toasting.  I've taken to grinding my own wheat berries into whole wheat flour and really like the hearty wheat taste of this loaf.  This morning we each enjoyed a slice with strawberry jam and peanut butter, along with our bowls of 10 grain hot cereal.

Life is good!

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