Sunday, April 1, 2007

Blue Squash Soup

March left yesterday with a swish of her skirts, bringing a mix of fog, mist, rain and sun. Typical for our part of the world. In March, some days we're in T-shirts, the next jackets. Yesterday we wore jackets.

And Jeffrey painted the breakfast room in tones of the pink and peach seen in the beautiful Australian Blue Squash that my sister Cynthia brought over this past Thanksgiving.

The gray, misty (we call it "spitting") day called for something filling, warming and light, in keeping with the longer, only slightly warmer days.

As I gazed at the colors taking shape on the walls of the breakfast room, the two squashes that had been sitting on the counter lending color inspiration, began to morph into a smooth yet rustic, spicy vegan soup right before my eyes. It was time.

I'm only sorry I didn't get this to Kalyn today in time for Weekend Herb Blogging. Oh, well. There's always next week.

The measurements for this soup are a bit whimsical. I just put things together until the soup came together. See the Cook's Notes below for further elucidation.

Blue Squash Soup
Christine's original recipe
4 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded, sliced thinly lengthwise, then sliced crosswise
1 tablespoon good olive oil
2 teaspoons Earth Balance
4 cups well cooked squash, mashed with a fork
1 tablespoon good curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon kosher salt (or to taste)
4 to 8 cups vegetable broth (depending on how thick or thin you like your soup)
2 cups organic, unsweetened soy milk
6 basil leaves, torn or cut chiffonade
freshly ground black pepper

Place the prepared squash and the vegetable broth in a stock pot and stir.
Place over medium low heat.
Saute the shallots, garlic and red bell pepper in the olive oil and Earth Balance until cooked through and slightly golden brown.
Add the curry powder and cinnamon and stir until the spices release their aromas and are incorporated into the veggie saute.
Add the saute to the squash mixture and stir.
Raise the heat under the stock pot to medium. When the soup simmers, add the soy milk, stir to blend and cook for about 10 minutes. Do not boil.
Add the salt and pepper and check for taste.
Add the basil and cook for about 5 minutes longer.
Remove from the heat and blend,using an immersion blender for a more rustic soup, or a regular blender for a smooth soup.
Serve, eat and enjoy.

Cook's Notes:
I cut and seeded the squash, cut it into quarters, placed in a large roasting pan with about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of the pan, covered with foil and baked at 350 for about 1 1/2 hours. You will need to let the squash cool before scooping the pulp from the skins. One could use canned squash, but fresh is really best.
Any of the saute veggies could be cut finer. This is just the way I did them because I was working out the preparation method as I was cooking.
The liquids may be varied as your whimsey desires.
The soup was delicious before the soy milk was added. I used soy because it's vegan (Jeffrey's here) and I wanted to add a bit of healthy creaminess.
The basil could be chopped fine, if desired, and some of it sprinkled on top as garnish.
A swirl of creme fraiche just before serving would make an elegant presentation if you're not cooking vegan. I, myself, am trying to cook heart-healthy these days and am avoiding dairy fats.
And lastly, the soup may look like baby food but, trust me, your taste buds will wake up and dance.

Copyright © 2005-2007, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved.


Kalyn said...

It's just wonderful looking. Great photos too. Send this to Anh for next week! I would add it in for you, but I think many people have already read the recap so more people would see it in next week's recap I'm guessing.

Anonymous said...

Sounds really tasty to me Christine, I'll have to remember this one.

Christine said...

Thanks Kalyn. Glad you like it. I knew I didn't have a chance of getting into your recap. I will send in on to Ahn though.

I think you would like this Anne. No gluten anywhere! :))

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

That even looks thick and rich. I think I would enjoy this very much especially the dancing taste buds!
I used a squash recently that our son bought when he was here at Christmas. Some how I got joy from it while it sat on the counter and joy again when I cooked it because it was connected to him.

Anonymous said...

I had one of these at my Thanksgiving table and I thought it was a pumpkin! I sat it in my flowerbed after Christmas and now I have over 40 plants coming up. I may have a bumper crop!! How exciting.Jancd

FarmgirlCyn said...

Nearly every time I come here I find a recipe I want to try! So I copy and paste to Word, and file it under "try soon", or "yum"!

sher said...

Those are gorgeous pictures! I would frame some of them and hang them on the wall! And then I would eat the soup!!! :):)

Katie said...

That looks just like the pumpkins I had in Spain!
I used to buy a whole one at the market, bake it in chunks, like you did, then freeze it.
I love pumkin/squash soup. Yours is a bit different from what I usuall make - I copied'n pasted too try next fall (my freezer is empty) Sounds delicious - and great pictures!

Christine said...

Thanks Tanna,
I felt the same way about mine. My sister brought them to me and every time I looked at them I thought of her.

What good luck! A lot of plants to make lots of pumpkins.

Thank you so much Cyn.

You hang 'em on your wall and next time I'm down your way I'll sign 'em. Then we'll eat soup! :))

Thanks so much Katie. I only used 1/2 of the squash I got from these two. The rest of it is waiting for me to come up with something for Beach Night tomorrow.

Mimi said...

Elegant photos and one of those recipes that is equally elegant, even though made with simple ingredients.

Perfect in every way.