Roasted Squash Soup

Roasted squash and apple soup, with bacon garnish

I made another soup this week, using roasted squash and apples. The result was a creamy soup that warmed the kitchen and the people who ate it. Once in the bowl, it ended up looking very similar to my carrot soup from Sunday. Luckily I had the bacon for garnish this time.

I started by roasting the squash, then putting through the food mill (because I’m fussy, but you can probably omit this step), cooking the onions/garlic/apples in a pot, adding stock and squash puree, then blending it all together.

Red kuri squash and long pie pumpkin, roasted
Sweet red kuri squash on the left and mild long pie pumpkin on the right

This recipe will easily adjust to whatever quantities of ingredients you happen to have. Just keep tasting as you go, so you can get the right balance of flavors that works for you.

Ingredients

  • Squash, about 5-6 lbs. I used one red kuri squash and one long pie pumpkin
  • 1-2 TB oil or butter for frying
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 apples, chopped
  • 3-4 cups stock or broth, depending on how thick or thin you like the soup to be. I used a combo of turkey stock and chicken broth (so I could finish an open carton that I had)
  • Grated fresh ginger or powdered, 1 tsp or to taste
  • Thyme, parsley, salt & pepper
  • Cayenne gives it a nice flavor boost, a dash or two to taste

Method

  1. Cut squash into large chunks, remove seeds and rub with coconut oil, olive oil, or butter.
  2. Roast the squash on 375° for an hour or until tender.
  3. Scoop squash out of skin and put through a food mill to remove stringy parts (this is probably unnecessary because it will be blended, but I like a very smooth soup so I do this extra step)
  4. Sauté garlic, onion, apples, and seasonings in a large pot with oil.
  5. Add some broth and simmer until everything is soft and cooked through.
  6. Add squash and season if needed.
  7. Working in batches, purée soup in blender (or use immersion blender), adding more stock if needed. The consistency is up to you–it can be thicker or thinner. You could even leave some chunks, if you like.
  8. Return everything to the pot, check once more for desired thickness and taste, adjusting broth and seasoning as needed.
  9. Enjoy!

Kale Chips…YES!!!

Kale chipsI love kale chips, and now is the time to make them with fresh leaves from the farmers market. They are easy to make, but pretty time consuming. This is because I’m kind of picky about removing the parts of the stems that might be too tough. It probably doesn’t need to take as long as it takes me, but I don’t like when there’s a really tough or pointy piece of stem or ribs in the chips.

Dramatic oven lighting highlights the leaves' transformation into delicious chips
Dramatic oven lighting highlights the leaves’ transformation into delicious chips

I also prefer the low and slow method of cooking them, using a 250-degree oven for up to 25 minutes. I’ve tried recipes that call for a hotter oven and shorter cooking time, but I don’t think the chips turn out as crisp. Here’s how I make them. I hope you give it a try!

Kale Chips Recipe

1 bunch of kale (I prefer curly but flat works great too)
Olive oil to drizzle
Salt

Preheat oven to 250°. Wash kale leaves and pat dry. Cut away stem and any thick ribs in the leaves. Cut leaves into bite size pieces.

Put prepared leaves in bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Using your hands, rub the leaves until coated evenly with oil, adding more if necessary.

Spread evenly on cookie sheet lined with parchment. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 20-25 mins or to desired crispness, checking every 10 mins or so. Cool and enjoy!

Store any ungobbled-up chips in an airtight container or they will become stale and soft somewhat quickly.

Toaster Oven Smores

graham crackers, chocolate chips and mini marshmallows making smores
Just 2 mins away from a tasty little snack

Here’s a quick and easy snack that kids will love to help make.

You need:

–Graham crackers
–Chocolate chips
–Mini marshmallows

Directions:

1. Set out some graham crackers on the tray.

graham crackers, chocolate chips and mini marshmallows making a smores
I think 6 chips and 4 marshmallows is the perfect proportion

2. Arrange the chocolate chips and mini marshmallows. This is the part that the kids like to help with, or might possibly see as an opportunity to shove as many chips in his mouth as he can before I shoo him away. Depends on the kid, haha.

3. Put them in the toaster oven on the broiler setting. I do 2-3 mins for the kids (so the chocolate isn’t blazingly hot, just a little soft) and I’ll do a full 5 mins for myself because I love marshmallows toasted and burnt.

burnt mini marshmallows, chocolate chips and graham cracker making a smores
Ahh, burnt to perfection.

4. Place the top cracker on and squish together.