*All events that transpire below are true and factual. Real names have been disguised to protect the innocent.
Sunday, October 3, 2010 —
It was an ordinary, uneventful day at the market. I was laying next to my cohorts in the front display, eyeballing the humans as they walked by, crossing my seeds that I wouldn’t be the unlucky one that day. I knew it would be tricky dodging the greedy hands that would rummage around me, as a tall and unruly human had just posted a “2 for 1” sign above us, and it would prove to be an “every squash for themselves” kind of day. I was feeling confident. I had encountered these challenges before and remained unscathed, albeit the occasional tumble to the ground thanks to a careless hand brushing up against me.
Just when I was about to thank my lucky gourds, a small hand cradled me, scooping me up and away from my comrades, and placed me in a shopping cart. I was whisked away from my home to the checkout lane to the kitchen of strange human. I peered around nervously, unsure of what my future held. Then, without warning, I was being thrashed around in cool water, getting tousled to and fro. After getting towel-dried, I lay unabashed on a dark, walnut cutting board, trying to will myself to lean to the side to get some momentum and roll off the counter, onto the floor, and out the door, much like Spaghetti Meatball (who also, I might add, went on to roll into the garden and under a bush! A bush! Of all places!).
Several minutes pass and I’m feeling relieved. I may be in the clear. Perhaps human only intended to showcase me on the table as the lovely squash that I am? Maybe I am to be used as a fancy addition to a Pilgrim’s cornucopia? But no. Suddenly, without warning, I am being stripped down to my knickers. The pulp surrounding my seeds starts to shiver and I get this sense of dread, this sense of perpetual doom. This is it. This is where I lay my final vine.
And just when I think that they can’t possibly continue, the chopping begins. The steady, determined blade coursing through me, separating me into small chunks. I’m breathing hard, just barely surviving each slice. What more can human throw at me? This is an outrage! Does weird human have no spine?!
I’m about to hone all of my mind-speaking energy together and amplify it to the two-legged, when suddenly I’m laid onto a large metal baking sheet, being spread about with gentle and nimble hands. After a dusting of salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil, the hands begin to massage me, tossing me all around. A slow, satisfied smile creeps onto my face. This…actually feels… gooooood. I feel warm, and silky smooth, and…wow, this is strange but, it somehow feels familiar, like I had been here before. And I LIKED it!
I bask in the warmth of the oven, feeling myself get toasty soft (Is that an oxymoron?), absorbing the seasonings that were dressed upon me. Thirty-five minutes later, I’m transported from the heavenly retreat of the oven to the stove top, allowed to cool slightly. And then, just when I think I can’t get any higher…I meet truffle oil.
And the rest folks, is history.
If you’re wondering what in the ham hocks THAT was, I’m just as clueless as you. I don’t claim to be a “normal” person. I just write whatever pops into my head at the time. Sorry.
Here’s the recipe to the soupie =
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Apple Cider Cream
Inspired by Epicurious
1 medium butternut squash; peeled and chopped into chunks (or, if you’re like me and prepping butternut squash isn’t #1 on your favorite pastimes, get 2 containers of pre-cut butternut squash from Trader Joe’s — AWESOME!)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped into chunks
1 large garlic clove, halved
1 apple (honey crisp or McIntosh work really well, but any apple will do); peeled, seeded, and cut into wedges
Approximately 3 C. chicken stock/vegetable stock/water; depending on desired consistency
3/4 C. apple cider (1/4 C. added to soup, 1/2 C. reduced for cream)
1/2 C. heavy cream
1/4 C. sour cream
S & P
Nutmeg, a pinch
White truffle oil (optional, but strongly encouraged!)
How to get ‘er done
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Peel your butternut squash. Cut it in half and discard flesh and seeds. Chop into chunks. Place onto baking sheet. Peel apple, core, and add to sheet. Chop the onion and garlic and toss with squash and apples. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Throw into the oven and let roast for about 30-35 minutes or until the squash is fork tender. Take it out and drizzle with heavenly truffle oil.
In a small sauce pot, heat 1/2 C. apple cider over medium-high and let reduce until about 1/4 C. Mix with sour cream by spoonfuls until desired taste and consistency is reached. Set aside.
In a big soup pot over medium-low heat, warm roasted veggies with desired broth/water, and 1/4 C. apple cider. Using an immersion blender (if you don’t have one, you can ladle mixture into a blender by batches — but be careful, it can explode, (so don your renegade goggles and militia helmet and prepare for skirmish…j/k) so cover blender lid with heavy dishrag in case hot liquid seeps through), mix ingredients until smooth. Add heavy cream and a pinch of nutmeg. Combine. Taste for seasonings. Add more salt and pepper if necessary.
When ready for deliciousness, ladle warm soup into bowl and drizzle with cider cream. Garnish with greenery if you’re feeling pretty. Thyme, sage, or green onion will suffice. Enjoy.