Monday, October 10, 2011

so i get sick, then clock my head and see stars.





So I had a fun weekend (enter sarcasm here). Did you? I normally have really good weekends, action packed, bikes to ride, lengthy field trips to Whole Foods, stuff to watch on TV, people to see. So what happened is I got a bout of food poisoning. And NO, it wasn’t from my food. Let’s just say I’m staying away from sushi for a while. 


Ahem - anyway, so I have that wonderfulness Thursday night and all through Friday.   Saturday morning, feeling better, we decide to go for some phở as it has Miraculous Healing Powers (it’s also the best hangover cure around IMO).   I was digging around in the trunk of my car for my sunglasses (because sunglasses belong in the trunk of your car, don’t you know?), and noticed Roy, our neighborhood stray cat ambling by. As I closed the trunk of the car, I looked towards Roy and clocked myself in the head with the corner of the trunk, right smack on my left temple.  So let’s just say that Saturday and Sunday were a wash. I must be the only person on the planet who’s happy that it’s Monday because now all that garbage is over.  The Universe sent me a memo, trying to tell me something, but it’s in Greek or Parseltongue so who the hell knows what that was all about.

In the meantime, I’ve been on a soup kick again since I don’t feel like chewing much of anything. I bought some packaged Thai butternut squash soup over the weekend, but honestly, it tasted like ass. I was so disappointed, because when you’re not feeling well the last thing you want to worry about is your food.  I was also not impressed by the amount of sodium in that one little package of it, and even less impressed by the high price of the damn product. I swear this blog isn’t turning into a soup blog (or is it?), but I’ve had a craving for a good Thai-inspired squash soup since Saturday, so deal with it.

Butternut squash soup with curry and ginger

  • 2 lbs butternut squash
  • 5 (or more) cups veggie broth (*see note)
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder (I use Madras)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 piece of ginger about an inch long, peeled and minced
  • 1/3 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 small red chilis, minced
  • Squeeze of lime juice
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.  Peel the squash, de-seed it, and cut into 1-inch cubes.  Toss the squash on the parchment paper with ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Place baking sheet in oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the squash is soft and cooked through.

In a Dutch oven or pot, sauté the onion, the garlic,  the ginger, and red chilis over medium heat in a bit of olive oil (about 1 tablespoon of it).  You want the vedge to get soft, not get browned, so turn the heat down if things are getting too brown.  Add the turmeric and curry powder, stir, and cook for another minute or so.  Add the squash and the veggie stock, stir, and bring to a boil; reduce to simmer for 5 minutes so that all the flavors meld together. 

Remove pot from heat. Using a stick blender (or regular blender, in small batches), blend all the ingredients together until there are no more chunks of squash left – it should be smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a bit more veggie stock, a ½ cup at a time.  Return pot to heat and swirl in the coconut milk and the lime juice (if your lime has been fairly stingy, use the whole lime; otherwise the juice from half a lime is fine).  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes approximately 5 cups. This recipe can easily be doubled or augmented.  

*A note about vegetable broth: you can, and should, make your own -  see the last paragraph of this post.  Or use store bought if necessary. I prefer to make my own since it can be made in the time it takes to roast the squash; plus you can control the ingredients (read: sodium level).  You can also use chicken stock if you’d prefer – it’ll make for a richer tasting soup.