The change of season is such a lovely time. The air is crisp, the trees are turning brilliant shades of reds and orange, leaves are piling on the ground, and pumpkins greet us on every doorstep. Walking through our community, and seeing these sights, I am inspired to pull these all into one big pot of wonderfulness. The magic that greets you when a delicious bowl of steaming soup appears in front of you is one of community and love.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Oil baking sheet. Place squash, cut side down, on baking sheet. Bake until squash is very soft, about 50 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, remove peel from squash; discard peel.
While the squash is cooking, heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-low heat. Mix in onion, brown sugar, ginger, garlic and cinnamon stick. Cover pot and cook until onion is tender, about 15 minutes, stir occasionally so that your onion does not burn but is slightly golden and caramelized.
Add the cooked squash and 4 cups chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Take out the cinnamon stick but reserve.
Working in batches, purée soup in blender (or use an immersion blender.) Return soup to pot with the cinnamon stick. If desired, add heavy cream and/or half and half to thin it out to your desired consistency or add more chicken broth. Add the maple syrup to taste. If desired, include a bit of ground cinnamon to taste.
Season soup with salt and pepper. Bring to simmer and ladle into bowls and serve.
(Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate.)
Our Gregorian Chant Retreat has just come to a close today, ending on a very positive and productive note, with a number of first timers wanting to return! Always a rewarding finale to any retreat.
In addition to the new faces in attendance were a number of new menus that brought many sincere compliments from the eaters. One of the new dishes was this warm autumn salad, featuring golden roasted butternut squash topped with smooth soft goat cheese.
Today was another beautiful snowy day. I love the snow. I also love the smell of something cinnamon baking, especially on a snowy day. And I have an affinity for small ramekin-sized servings of breakfast, dessert, or whatever. So today I thought it would be fun to try out an individual french toast souffle. It was so easy! Perfect to serve to friends or family on a wintry morning.
It is officially Autumn. Lots of pumpkins and apples at farm-stands, color coming in the trees, leaves falling, and that nip in the air that reminds us that summer is at an end. I love fall. I love the colors, the crisp air, the clear light. And the food! Summer was great and I enjoyed all of the fresh food, but who doesn’t welcome back hot soups and stews, butternut squash, and apples? I recently was looking for a fall salad and thought apple, frisee, and endive would be a good combination. I decided to stack it! Not only does it look great, but it also tastes amazing with the crunch of apples and greens and the subtle hints of maple and bacon.
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Stacked Apple Salad with Frisee and Belgian endive
I have been thinking a lot about pumpkins lately. I think they are the underestimated vegetable, often relegated to our doorsteps and pies at thanksgiving. When I say to the other sisters that I want to plant pumpkins I get skeptical looks like I am indulging in a hidden sin by taking up garden space for something so frivolous. Of course I can buy canned pumpkin in the store — if I remember to get there before the holiday rush — but what about fresh? It is a lot of work to peel and seed and reduce down to what we can so easily take out of the can. But did you know that pumpkin is also a great squash for roasting and enjoying with roast chicken, turkey, pork or Cornish hen? And even better when you do a medley of butternut, acorn and pumpkin?