Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Fall Means Squash

So last Friday, I canned tomatoes with Crissie. So earlier in the week, I found a couple in my ward who grow tomatoes and have more than they can eat. So I went over to their house and got some tomatoes. While I was there I was admiring a butternut squash that he had.

Brother G.: The dog digs them up. Do you like zucchini?
Me: Yes.
Brother G.: What size?
Me (confused): The size at the grocery store is the only size I have had.
Brother G. motions with his hands the normal size of a zucchini at the grocery store.
I nod my head agreeing.
Brother G.: Let me go get you on.

He comes back with a butternut squash and a zucchini that is 7 to 8 inches around at the biggest part and 1 1/2 feet long! So this week, I have been planning my squash adventures. On Monday, I made butternut squash soup. I actually combined two recipes, one from my grandmother and one from online. It ended up being like this:

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup

3 pounds butternut squash, halved and seeded
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1 leek, sliced
2 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
32 oz. chicken broth
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup half-and-half cream

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pour a thin layer of water in a baking dish, or a cookie sheet with sides. Cut squash in half and soup out seeds and stringyness. Place the squash halves cut side down on the dish. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a fork can easily pierce the flesh. Cool slightly, then peel. Set aside.
2. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, leek, carrots and garlic, and sauté until tender. Pour the chicken broth into the pot. Add the potatoes, and bring to a boil. Cook for about 15 minutes. Add the squash and let boil another 5 minutes. Mash with the potatoes until chunks are small. Use an immersible hand blender to puree the soup, or transfer to a blender or food processor in batches, and puree until smooth. Return to the pot.
3. Season the soup with cayenne pepper, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, salt and pepper, then stir in the half-and-half cream. Heat through, but do not boil. Strain through a sieve for best quality.

Yummy! Funny thing was that I wanted to strain it to make it the best possible and my sieve was only about 1/4 or 1/2 cup size. So it took me like 30 minutes at a minimun to strain it. I'm glad I can laugh about it now. I have about 7 cups frozen and have eaten 2 cups already. So next is the zucchini. I'm grating it and putting it in the freezer. I have an idea of what I'm going to do with it, but I'm going to wait for a lemon or two from off of the delicious lemon tree in my in-laws backyard.

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