Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Seasonal Plate

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap
but by the seeds that you plant." 
Robert Louis Stevenson 

 Follow this link for last week's online publication The Seasonal Plate Holiday Appetizers
Cook's notes: This week's submission for The Seasonal Plate is Butternut Squash Soup, Walnut Crostini, Gingerbread Trifle and Cranberry Wild Rice Pilaf Salad. I will post the recipes in two different postings.  

Butternut squash also known in Australia and New Zealand as butternut pumpkin, is a type of winter squash. It has a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin. It has yellow skin and orange fleshy pulp. When ripe, it turns increasingly deep orange, and becomes sweeter and richer. It grows on a vine.

Butternut squash is a fruit that is consumed like a vegetable. It can be roasted, toasted, pureed for soups, or mashed and used in casseroles, breads, and muffins.

ternut Squash Soup-serves 6
Advance preparation
A time saver buying cubed butternut squash in the produce section.  A 20 oz. container yields about 2-1/2 cups when cooked. Roast the cubes on a lightly greased tin foil lined cookie sheet at 400 degrees. Drizzle squash with olive oil- sprinkle with sea salt. Cook till tender about 30 minutes. Note that the soup tastes better on the second day after the flavors meld.
  • 2-1/2 cups cooked  butternut squash
  • 5 cups chicken broth (low salt, low sodium) or vegetable broth
  • ½ cup half and half  
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. Saigon roasted cinnamon or plain ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. curry, ¼ tsp. ground ginger, ¼ tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. celery seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup chopped finely carrots and  ¾ cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 1 TB. honey
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sauté onions, minced garlic cloves and carrots in 2 TB. olive oil in a soup pot
  • Add broth, prepared cooked squash, orange zest, spices, honey and bring to boil
  • Reduce heat, cover and cook 30 minutes
  • In a blender or food processor add soup mixture 1 cup at a time to puree
  • Pour pureed mixture back into soup pot
  • Add half and half cook on low medium heat for 15 minutes- do not let mixture boil
  • Garnish each soup bowl with a dash nutmeg and roasted pumpkin seeds 
Walnut Crostini 
recipe comes from
  • 6 slices of French or Sourdough bread
  • 3 TB. mayonnaise
  • 5 TB. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. Italian or mixed herb seasoning
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • Mix mayonnaise, cheese, seasoning and walnuts
  • Under the broiler toast one side of each piece of bread for 1 minute
  • Remove bread and spread topping on each slice not toasted
  • Broil one minute and serve with soup


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