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Archive for October, 2011

When I was a kid, I ate pretty well. My parents provided a lot of vegetables (some of which I liked, and some of which I spread very thinly around my plate to avoid), a lot of fruit (which I loved and very much still do), and a wide variety of fish, meat, and generally interesting foods at mealtimes. Scalloped potatoes? Thanks, Mom!

While I was busy eating all this good food, however, I was also stuffing my face with as much candy, salty snacks, and pop (call it what you like—in Michigan, it’s “pop”) as I could handle. I spent every waking minute that I wasn’t eating running around, and I certainly never ate any of those things as meals, so I remained generally healthy. All the same, I put a lot of horrible things into my body between the ages of 4 and 16.

Horrible things like these. Wonderfully horrible.

There were some offerings, though, that I refused to eat from the moment I became aware of them. The worst offenders (for my parents, anyway) were American cheese(food) and mayonnaise. I’d tried them, and they weren’t compatible with my idea of deliciousness. And the more I realized just how common these foods were, the more steadfastly I refused to eat them.

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More gourds!

That’s right. Another recipe involving fall foods. Well, guess what? It’s fall, and butternut squash was on sale at Kroger yesterday for $.39/pound, so that’s what you get.

On the bright side this soup, while unplanned, tastes really darn good. And there’s plenty for leftovers!

Note: This recipe can easily be halved, but why would you do that? Quantities shown below give enough soup to feed 10 people a substantial amount, or have a lot for leftovers! Handily, squash soup can be frozen and reheated and still taste just fine!

Note #2: The following may seem like a lot of steps, dishes, utensils, or ingredients compared to what I usually go for. This is not an illusion. This recipe is really simple, but does require a small amount of elbow grease and spice-cabinet variety. Don’t let that dissuade you from trying it though! Your guests/family will like it, and the sheer amount of leftovers merits the effort. See?

Look at all that autumn contained in one little bowl!

Note #3: Hold on, now! I’ll get to the recipe in a minute, but this is important. The recipe calls for chicken. And chicken broth. Neither is required—I am certain veggie stock would be just fine for this purpose if you are vegetarian. If you do use chicken, however, the poaching method I’ve linked to is absurdly easy and produces as much chicken as you want which you can then freeze and use later for other great things like quesadillas or fried rice!

Note #4: I know, I know. You’re getting pissed with all the waiting. Well too bad, because I call the shots here. I’m the decider, darnit! Anyway, if you notice the asterisks next to all the spices, that’s because I of course did not measure them. I estimated. Important: do not oversalt this complexly flavored soup. If your diners like really salty food, they can easily add it themselves, but salt is something you cannot take out once you’ve added it, because it dissolves. Which reminds me of an awesome science joke that I will probably relate (surely to your dismay) at some point in the future.

Now, then: soup!

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haHA! I bet you weren’t expecting a true-to-season pumpkin recipe, based on my passionate denial of seasons in previous pumpkin posts. (Did that on purpose.) Well too bad. I am full of surprises this week. I am also full of pumpkin deliciousness, because I just failed to refrain from eating several of my latest (accidental) creation.

In a way, I’m glad it’s fall now, because I love the flavor of pumpkin and have a reason to use it in recipes more frequently this time of year. I also have an unhealthy love for toasted pumpkin seeds. Seriously, keep them away from me. Wait, I think I see one over there! Hold on, I’ll be right back.

Turns out it wasn’t a pumpkin seed after all. Just lint on the carpet. Damn. Anyway, although I love pumpkin AND pumpkin seeds, something about the ease of obtaining canned pumpkin (and, from what I can tell, no obvious difference in taste from the real thing) makes me tend to favor it over home-baked pumpkin. (I do not feel this way about squash, although I’ve never had canned squash, so maybe I would feel differently once I tried it.) So I use canned pumpkin in this recipe because it’s easy, it doesn’t have any weird preservatives/chemicals/corn syrup in it, and it’s not very expensive. If you want to bake your own pumpkin and use that, feel free to use my empty pumpkin can to measure out the 15oz required for this recipe.

Healthier than they look! Good for an afternoon snack... or maybe two afternoon snacks.

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