Monday, September 8, 2014

What to do with lots of squash? Part 1.

We love delicata squash! So, now that we live in a house (the landlord said we can do anything we want with the yard), we decided to plant some. We put them in a plot behind the cedar trees. However, only a few of the seeds in the package are actually delicata - most are butternut squash. We love butternut as well, so we are only slightly disappointed. Over the summer the plants have grown, and above you see how they are growing up over the cedars and around the cedars.  It is hard to capture in a photograph, but it is pretty awesome.

The first butternut squash was emergency harvested as a deer had nibbled on it. Here is a picture of it from its non-nibbled on side, along with (left to right) everclear being infused with a mint variety nicely called "julep" (I'm looking at you TMV and LH!), everclear infusion based on Samovar Blend tea (KT, this one is for you!), and my felted teacosy. The beer in the background is leftovers from a departmental pot-luck (more on that later. Maybe). When I cut into the squash a few days later, it smelled more fragrant and delicious than any butternut squash I have ever purchased.

One day a week or so ago the Fuzzband - although I think we decided to call him Benevolent Overlord after Doug Berman, who is titled thus on Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! (The best radio show in the 'verse!)... So, Benevolent Overlord declared we need to find at least ten butternut squash recipes. Well, I did. I went through our cookbooks, because I am a cookbook person. We have a pretty exciting lineup of butternut squash and pumpkin recipes!

Here is recipe #1 (complete with an attempt at food photography):

This is perhaps my favorite cook book: 400 Best-Ever Soups,
edited by Anne Sheasby (Hermes House, 2008). The recipe is on p. 150.

Squash Soup with Horseradish Cream

1 butternut squash
1 cooking apple
2 Tblsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1-2 tsp curry powder - I used hot + extra for garnish
900 ml / 3 3/4 cup vegetable stock
1 tsp chopped fresh sage - I used dry
150 ml / 2/3 cup apple juice
lime rind, shredded, to garnish - I did not use this
salt and black pepper

Horseradish cream:
4 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
2 tsp horseradish sauce - I used freshly grated
1/2 tsp curry powder - again, I used hot

  1. Peel squash, remove seeds, chop the flesh. Peel, core, and chop apple
  2. Heat the butter in a large pan. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until soft. Stir in the curry powder. Cook to bring out the flavor, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the stock, squash, apple, and sage. Bring to boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes until the squash and apple are soft. 
  4. Meanwhile, make the horseradish sauce: whip the cream until stiff, add the horseradish and curry. Refrigerate until ready to serve on soup.
  5. Puree the soup. Return to pot and add apple juice. Season to taste. Reheat gently, without bringing to boil.
  6. Serve the soup  in bowls topped with a spoonful of the horseradish sauce and a dusting of curry powder. Garnish with shredded lime rind, if you like.

It was delicious! Seriously. And it was even better the next day. While "best ever" is an absolute I don't like to put in writing outside hyperbole on Facebook, this book sure does live up to its name. Benevolent Overlord said it was the best squash soup he has had - and we've had some darn fine ones. I would rate it at a solid 8 out of 10, Benevolent Overlord at 9/9.5! Regardless, we are remembering this one.

If you try this, I would love to hear how yours turns out, how you modified the recipe, etc.

While my food photography is crappy, to say the least, here is one more shot:

P.S. The drink shown above is actually worth a note in and of itself. It is a mudslide with banana... (Ooo! The webpage has some other promising recipes, too!)We made our own creamed whiskey for the mudslide, since we had the ingredients for it, and did not want to go out and buy Bailey's, the most famous creamed whiskey and staple in home-bars as well as commercial bars. I have to say, the home made turned out more to our palette than then purchased version. What is left of the creamed whiskey now stored in an old everclear bottle in the fridge waiting for further adventures.

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