Tag Archives: cooking

The Perfect Fall Soup – Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

 

As much as I love the summer fruits and vegetables, I think the harvest of fall flavors is what really excites me.  The squashes, the apples, the pears, the eggplants.  All of them are just so delicious.  What makes these flavors even better is when you can transform them into a flavorful soup that warms up the cool autumn nights.

We went apple picking a week ago today and stopped at a few farm stands. We came home with a giant sack of apples and a few great freshly grown butternut squash (among other vegetables!) and I knew that we had to do something with the apples so that we didn’t lose any of them  by not eating them quickly enough.  My mom learned this great recipe from a neighbor for Butternut Squash soup.  We’ve had it quite a few times and last year, we did it with pear and it was delicious.  This time, I knew that I had heard of people doing it with apples so I wanted to give it a try.

My new favorite vegetable!

First, I quartered the butternut squash, removed the seeds, and loosely wrapped it in aluminum foil and baked at 375○ F for one hour.  Once it was cooked, I scooped out the cooked squash and set it aside.

In a large (4 quart) saucepan, saute one onion (diced), two apples (peeled and sliced), and two tablespoons of butter for five minutes (until the onions are translucent).

Apples, onions, and garlic sauteing. Smelled so wonderful!

Add 1 clove minced garlic and cook for another minute or so.

Then add the squash and 32 oz (1 quart) of chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat on low and let it sit for 20 minutes or so.  Once it’s cooked for about 20 minutes, put into a blender or, use a hand blender if you have one, and blend it until smooth. If you use a regular blender, return it back to the pot and add 1/2 cup of cream (I use light cream) if you want and stir it in.

All the ingredients simmering on low – stirring occasionally.

I also add 1 tsp (or more to your liking) of cinnamon.  Nutmeg works well too but I found that the cinnamon worked very nicely!

Serve warm and enjoy how wonderful the taste of fall can be!  I didn’t take a picture of how it looked when it was finished because I was too excited to enjoy a bowl for myself!  Next time, I will be sure to grab a shot.  I am proud, though, that I was able to grab some snaps while I was cooking.  That is a small victory for me and my blogging – it’s the small things.

For Weight Watchers Points Plus, I plugged in and got a very friendly 4 PP per 1 cup serving.  1 cup of this soup (when left a little thick) is more than filling!

For MyFitnessPal.com, I got the following nutritional info:

127 calories

19g carbs

6g fat

2g protein

2g fiber

7g sugar

A perfect meal for a cool fall day and it’s perfect for those who are trying to eat with their health in mind!

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Filed under Food, New Recipes

Scallops Worthy of A Certain Reality TV Kitchen

Post-op visit number one went very well today.  I go back in two more weeks after the bruising is down a little more.  I am the worst patient because I hate how slowly the recovery process moves.  I am not one who enjoys sitting around, doing nothing.  When I say nothing I mean no driving, no housework (well, that one is not too bad I suppose), no real serious exercising , NOTHING.  I’m getting stir crazy.  I enjoy reading and crafting but I also enjoy going out into the world every now and then.  Sigh.   Only a few more weeks for a lifetime of no gallstone pain, right?  Right.

I suppose Mr. Emerson is right  Nature does know best.  I mean, Nature had some hand in creating wonderful diver scallops, the very same type of scallops that I pan seared this evening for dinner.  Diver scallops, for those not familiar with the difference between the varieties of scallops, are the really big scallops that are hand-picked off of the rocks by divers.  Hence the name Diver Scallops. They tend to be bigger because the divers usually go for the more mature mollusks which are usually the meatier kind of scallops. They do taste very different from Bay Scallops which are smaller and often more sweet than Diver (Sea) Scallops.  Bay Scallops, or Nantucket Bay Scallops in particular, are really my favorite variety, especially when baked and covered in a wonderful buttery ritz-cracker crumble (I think the recipe posted in this blog is a tried and true recipe for anyone from southeastern MA and possibly all of New England though I never use the wine…will have to try that next time)…mmmmm….

This blog has another similar recipe too!

They are the scallops made famous by a certain British chef and his wonderfully foul-mouthed show full of aspiring “chefs” who do more swearing than cooking on some episodes.  But more to the point, on the show, one of the appetizers is pan seared scallops (they pronounce them “SKAL-laps” and people from where I live tend to pronounce them “sCALL-ups”).  The wannabe chefs often find themselves struggling to produce the perfect scallop.  I can understand, to a certain degree, that it might be hard to learn how to do if you aren’t someone used to cooking seafood on a very regular basis.  But after seven or eight episodes, you should be able to pan sear those shellfish in your sleep.  Again, I am judging something that I’m sure is much harder than it appears but seriously, is it really that hard?

Tonight, I pan seared some wonderful Diver Scallops to near perfection.  They glazed on the outside to a perfect caramel brown.  They were simply seasoned with freshly ground sea-salt and pepper.  Nothing fancy.  Maybe two teaspoons of butter in the pan (have to watch the fat/oils for a while after all) and then the scallops were done in a few minutes.  I tend to not always pay attention to the clock and watch the scallops but if I had to guess, I’d say 3-4 minutes per side on medium heat.  Maybe 4-5 minutes but again, I eyeball the actual food to make sure the colors are looking right.

I didn’t cook a veg because I was being lazy and also cautious of the side-effect of some of the veggies so I’m taking them slowly as I add them back into my no-gallbladder diet but I did serve them with the Near East Wild Mushroom and Herb Couscous – another personal favorite.  I love couscous.  Usually we have plain couscous on hand all the time but oddly, tonight, we were out.   For the sake of saving time, I bought some of this and it was perfect for the scallops.  Now if only I had a nice Sauvignon-Blanc with it, I think I would have been an even happier girl.

Well Nature, good things come to those who wait, right?

 

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Filed under Food, Healthy Me - Yay!, Seafood