Monday, October 11, 2010

Pumpkin and Squash Soup

It seems like Salt and I were on the same page the other day...she came home with a cooking pumpkin and I bought two acorn squash (one golden, one regular). I think the fall weather inspired us both. I decided to use all three and make a soup.

Pumpkin and Acorn Squash Soup

First step: cook the pumpkin and squash

1 small cooking pumpkin and 2 acorn squash, together makes about 8 cups when cooked
4 shallots
6 garlic cloves
3 T. olive oil
1 T. salt
1 T. pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Cut the pumpkin and squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut a flat spot on the bottom so they'll sit flat. Line a baking sheet with foil and arrange the squash. Put some of the shallots and garlic in each half, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Roast until tender and slightly caramelized, about 1 hour.
Note: The pumpkin doesn't take quite as long as the acorn squash, so keep an eye on that.

Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle, remove the squash from the skins.
Reserve the roasted shallots and garlic with the squash.

Step 2 - Make the soup

2 T. butter
1 T. olive oil
2 shallots, diced
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 t. white pepper
2 t. Italian seasoning (not usually what I use, but it was on hand)
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat and when the butter is starting to foam, add the diced shallots and saute until they are starting to caramelize, about 5 to 6 minutes. Deglaze the pot with 1/2 cup of the chicken stock. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add in the reserved squash, roasted shallots and garlic and then the remaining chicken stock. Stir to combine, then puree with a handheld blender or carefully transfer to a blender to puree. The mixture will be very thick. Add in the cayenne, white pepper and the seasoning. Stir in the cream and heat slowly over medium-low heat. When the mixture comes to a slow simmer, mix again with the blender and stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese and turn heat to low. Serve with a fresh crack of black pepper, a nice drizzle of olive oil and a light sprinkle of remaining Parmesan. Ladle into bowls and serve.

We served it with open faced grilled cheese on french bread with roasted red peppers.

Great for fall weather!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Moving to Michigan

It has been a while since the last update. Mostly because we have been in a transition period. Losing my job, moving in with family while searching for the next opportunity, and now finally finding a great new job in Michigan.

We will be moving to Lansing in the next couple of weeks. While I was interviewing we celebrated Salt's birthday at Ai Fusion Sushi and Grill in East Lansing. It was definitely a big plus for the city that we found a good sushi spot since it is one of our comfort foods.

Here is a picture of our sushi, followed by a picture of a sushi boat that the chefs were preparing for a large group.

Up to this point, I don't know what the food identity of Michigan is...other than the fantastic fresh fruit we had a couple of years ago when we were vacationing in Montague, MI. The cherries were fantastic.

We are looking forward to exploring Michigan and its culinary offerings. If anyone has good recommendations, please send them our way!