Good morning, people of the world. And Happy Hanukkah, to those that celebrate! It hasn’t really been that happy in NYC…mostly gloomy, rainy, and an odd mix of unseasonably warm temperatures combined with humidity. One day it’d be cold, the next, way too warm, so I was basically sweating in my coat all weekend. It was super fun! Really, though, we do what we can. Friday night, Kramer and I went out with some friends to see Killing Them Softly. As much as it pains me to say this…the movie was terrible! Brad Pitt is one of my favorite actors, and I can usually trick myself into liking something mediocre if he’s in it, but this just didn’t come together. It was disjointed and boring, despite being beautifully shot. Things don’t look super promising for Mr. Pitt, either, seeing as how the World War Z trailer was almost painful to watch. Here’s to hoping they just did a poor job cutting the trailer and that Mr. Lindelof was able to fix things when he did script rewrites earlier this year. Sigh. Either way, we at least saw it at Nitehawk, so a beer or two helped lessen the sting of a bad movie. Saturday, Kramer was back at it again, working on his papers for the final week of class. I went into the city to meet him for a study break and bring him lunch from Mile End, which I like to think helped, but I’m not sure that anything can help when you’ve been working non-stop for 14 days straight. Poor Kramer. He called it an early night and got some much needed rest, while I went and did karaoke with some friends. I would never have imagined that I’d be someone who absolutely loved karaoke, but I am officially one of those people. Even if I am a horrific singer. It’s all about having fun, right? Whatever, don’t look at me like that.
The holidays means time to spend many hours wrapping various baked goods.
I actually made this soup a while ago, maybe even as long as six weeks ago, but I kept making more seasonally appropriate or holiday-ish stuff, so it kept getting pushed back. Despite that, it was one of my favorites so far this year. We even had our friend Joel over for dinner the night we had this, and he went back for seconds of this vegan dish. That’s right, vegan. No cream or anything was added. You really don’t need it when you’re working with vegetables are rich as butternut squash and potato. They had plenty of body to soups, and squash becomes so creamy when pureed, that you’d never even miss it. I think the apple added an extra element of sweetness, as well as something a bit more mild to take away some of the heat from the cayenne pepper and chile powder. I loved how this soup ended up having a bit of heat which builds with each spoonful. Obviously, if you’re sensitive to spice, you can always just omit the chile and cayenne completely, and maybe add a bit more smoked paprika, but I challenge you to be daring and adventurous! It’s supposed to drop back down to colder temperatures again tomorrow in my neck of the woods, and this is just the thing to warm you back up. Best of all, it will keep well for a week in your refrigerator, or even as long as 3 months if you decide to freeze it. Make a big batch to enjoy all week while you’re running around making last minute holiday preparations – you’ll thank me later.
The lunch I brought to Kramer from Mile End Sandwich while he was working on his finals. Smoked meat poutine and a tuna sandwich with a soft-boiled egg on pumpernickel.
Simply place your chopped squash, quartered potatoes, and chopped apples on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper. Place your shallot and garlic in foil packets and put on the same baking sheet. Roast at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes or so, until everything is tender. Puree, add some spices, press through a sieve, reheat, and serve!
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 10-12 fingerling potatoes, washed and halved (or about 3 regular potatoes, peeled and cubed)
- 1 apple, peeled and cubed
- 1 large shallot, peeled and quartered
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for shallot/garlic
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 2 leaves fresh sage, roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon ancho chile powder
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 6-8 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment, then spread the chopped squash, potatoes, and apple over it. Toss with ¼ cup of of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper. Wrap the peeled and quartered shallot in a small foil packet, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and close the packet. Place it on the tray with the squash and potatoes, and do the same with the garlic in a separate packet. Place in the oven to roast for 30 minutes or so, until everything is tender.
- Place your roasted vegetables in your food processor (or a large pot if you are just going to use your immersion blender). Add in the sage, paprika, ancho chile powder, and cayenne pepper. Puree until smooth, then add in half of your stock and continue to puree until completely smooth. Press the soup through a sieve to remove any remaining solid pieces, then whisk in the rest of your stock. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, taste, and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve warm. This will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.