Thursday, December 18, 2008

CEiMB: Curried Butternut Squash Soup


This week's Craving Ellie in My Belly is Curried Butternut Squash Soup chosen by Mare of Meet Me in the Kitchen. I haven't had curry very often (only 1 time I can think of) so I didn't know what to expect with this one. I just made a butternut squash soup a few weeks ago that was pretty good but it was not as heavily seasoned as this one seemed to be.

It was a pretty simple soup to make thank goodness. That was good because the flavors through me off. The curry powder was pretty strong. I don't know if I put to much in or if curry is just to strong for my tastes (I don't like very spicy or overseasoned dishes). I'll have to try more curry to see if I like it. It was also very sweet. Butternut squash is naturally somewhat sweet to me so adding in the honey made it way to sweet. It was an okay soup but the combination of the curry and the honey was just too much for me. Oh well...there's always next time!

Sorry for the icky picture. This soup did not want to photograph well at all!

To see what the other Ellie cooks did with the soup, check out the blogroll here!

**4 more days until I have internet at home!!!**

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (2 1/2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more, to taste
2 tablespoons honey
4 teaspoons plain low-fat yogurt, for garnish

Heat oil over medium heat in a 6-quart stockpot. Add onions and garlic and saute until soft but not brown, about 6 to 7 minutes. Add the butternut squash, broth, curry powder and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat stir in honey and puree with an immersion blender or in batches in a blender until smooth. Season with salt, to taste.

Ladle into serving bowls and add a dollop of yogurt.

Source: Curried Butternut Squash Soup and in The Foods You Crave by Ellie Krieger


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

TWD: Buttery Jam Cookies

This week's edition of Tuesdays with Dorie features a recipe of my choosing. I was very excited to get to choose this week. Since it is the week before Christmas and I know many are in extreme holiday baking mode so I decided to go with something quick and easy to prepare. The first thing that came to mind was cookies and as you all know, Dorie has a big, delicious variety of cookies to choose from. The Buttery Jam cookies stood out to me because they seemed so easy and quick to turn out. Plus they have some of my favorite ingredients...butter and jam.

I decided to go with a strawberry-raspberry jam that my aunt made (it also featured a caramel Godiva liqueur as well) and it is to die for delicious. In the P&Q section at the TWD site, many said that the cookies didn't spread at all. That had me worried but thankfully a fellow baker, Holly had baked them before and offered the suggestion of not overmixing. It worked like a charm because my cookies spread perfectly!

I must have made my cookies bigger than Dorie because I only ended up with 25 cookies. They still seemed small to me but I guess they must be huge compared to Dorie's! I still only baked them for about 11 minutes though.

Another baker mentioned that the jam flavor wasn't very strong. I'm sure that may vary based on what type you use but I still added more jam to mine...about 1/3 cup (not sure exactly. I just used what was left in the container). Because of the jam, they were slightly pink before baking and still had a pinkness afterwards.

Oh boy...these little babies were delicious! The jam had a very pronounced flavor but it wasn't overwhelmingly sweet. I gobbled up two right after they came out of the oven. They are excellent dipped in a homemade vanilla green tea latte. They would be excellent cookies to serve with tea.

For more Buttery Jam Cookies (or any of the choices this month since we are allowed to go out of order), head over to the TWD blogroll. Because it is my turn to post, I have the recipe typed up below.

FYI- I am still internet less at home but I'm using my work computer to post this. Good news is I will have new internet by the 22nd! I'll try and update my picture and linkless posts then! Thanks for bearing with me!

Buttery Jam Cookies

Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tbsp. whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup apricot jam
icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and place two racks in the oven, one in the upper third of the oven and one in the lower third of the oven. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar (on high speed) for 2 to 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat on high speed for an additional minute. Add the milk and the vanilla extract and beat on high speed for 30 seconds. Add the jam and beat on low speed for 1 minute. Add the dry ingredients, with the mixer on low speed, just until they’re mixed in. The dough will be extremely thick and stiff.

With a an ice cream scoop or a teaspoon, drop spoonfuls of the dough onto baking sheets, forming cookies that are about 1 inch to 1-1/2 inches in size.
Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, rotating the trays from top rack to bottom rack halfway through.

Once baked, let the cookies sit on the pan for a minute or two and then remove to a wire rack and let cool completely. Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Note: This recipe will yield between 40 and 50 cookies, depending on size.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

CEiMB: Cornmeal Crusted Ratatouille Tart

Hi all! Still no Internet so it's another post with the iPhone. This time I'm back with a cornmeal crusted ratatouille tart from Craving Ellie in my Belly. I almost didn't get this one done in time to post. I have a houseguest coming in today and I've been cleaning the past two days. But on my tp run to Walmart, I picked up what I needed and got started.

This was pretty easy to put together. I did most of the work in the handy new(to me) food processor that my grandma gave me. It may be as old as me nearly but it works like a dream! The crust was a cornmeal crust mixed with a bit of flour. It called for a whole wheat pastry flour but I just used all purpose. I also left out the eggplant. I'm not a huge fan so I subbed it with more zucchini. I only used one tomato becauce mine was pretty big.

The tart was pretty tasty. The zucchini still had a bit of a bite to them which I love. The crust was a bit blah. I would add in a bit of Parmesan and possibly some basil next time. All in all this was a great weeknight meal that I'll definitely make again!

Again no links and pictures but I'll add them in when I get to working Internet. Thanks!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

TWD: Grandma's All Occasion Sugar Cookies

Sorry for the late post! I've had Internet woes since Saturday. I'm having to type this up on my iPhone. I'm afraid this will be a short post without pictures. As soon as I get working Internet, I'll add pictures.

I made a full batch on Sunday but only baked one log for the time being. What? I knew I'd eat all of them if I didn't! I decided to do slice and bake instead of rollout because of my lack of kitchen counter space. They were very crumbly when I tried to cut them. I tried to slice them thicker but I don't think it made much of a difference.

They didn't spread at all when baking. They were exactly the same size as when they went in. The cookies were tasty but they reminded me too much of store bought sugar cookie dough. I prefer sugar cookies that are soft and fluffy.

I still have half a log of dough to work with so I may try and work on it again. Try to de-store bought dough it if I can. I'll do an update with pictures when I have Internet again. I'll also post links to the blogroll and our host for the week!


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Butternut Squash Risotto take 2

Butternut Squash Risotto

After the success of making my first risotto in October, I've been eager to try other risottos. I loved the butternut squash in Ina's so I've gravitated towards risottos containing the vegetable. In Giada's new book, Giada's Kitchen, she has a Vanilla Butternut Squash risotto that looks divine. That one is definitely on the list to make soon.

I picked up Rachel Ray's new book, Rachel Ray's Big Orange Book, at Sam's Club recently and after flipping through all of the recipes, my eye was caught by her butternut squash risotto. Unlike Ina's risotto, Rachel's uses butternut squash puree instead of diced butternut squash. I had just made the Squash Soup for Recipes to Rival that turned out a tad thicker than I was more like a puree. So I substituted an equal measure of the thick soup for the puree. Perfect.

As much as I liked Ina's risotto, I loved this version. It was super creamy, cheesy, and delicious. It also came together in about 20 minutes. Once of the things I liked most about it, was the smoothness. There were no chunks of squash that I found myself picking out as I ate it. The chunks got old after awhile, this was perfectly smooth the whole time. It wasn't as salty as the other version. Perhaps the absence of the bacon? All in all, this risotto was simpler and less fussy. Great for a quick meal for one or to serve at a laid back holiday meal (as Rachel suggests in her book).

Next I'll try Giada's version and see who has the best Butternut Squash Risotto!

Butternut Squash Risotto

Butternut Squash Risotto


* 1 quart chicken stock
* 1 cup water
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 small onion, chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, grated or chopped
* 2 cups Arborio rice
* 1 cup dry white wine (I used more chicken stock)
* 1 (10-ounce) box cooked frozen butternut squash (I subbed thick Butternut squash soup)
* Nutmeg, grated, to taste
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 7 or 8 leaves fresh sage, slivered (I left this out)
* 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano


Bring 1 quart stock plus 1 cup water to a simmer in a sauce pot then reduce heat to low.

Heat a medium skillet over medium to medium-high heat with olive oil. When oil ripples, add the onions and garlic and soften 2 to 3 minutes. Add rice and toast 2 to 3 minutes more. Add wine and cook it out completely, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Ladle in stock in intervals, a couple of ladles at a time. Allow liquids to evaporate each time. Risotto will cook 18 minutes, total, from the first addition of liquid. Defrost the squash in your microwave in a dish to collect any liquids and stir in squash the last 3 minutes of cook time, season with nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. In the last minute of cooking time, stir in butter in small pieces, sage leaves and cheese, serve.

Source: Butternut Squash Risotto. It is also available in her new book Rachel Ray's Big Orange Book.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

No TWD Today

Hi everyone! There's no Tuesdays with Dorie today. I was out of town most of last week and didn't have a chance to make the Linzer Sables. We're allowed to make the recipes out of order during December so I'll try and squeeze it in soon!

Because I was out of town, I am so very behind on commenting! My reader is so full! I'm working on catching up so please forgive me if my comments are (many) days past the actual post!



To see the Linzer Sables from other TWD Bakers, check out the blogroll here.


Monday, December 1, 2008

R2R: Squash Soup with Vanilla Crème Fraiche

R2R: Squash Soup

For November's edition of Recipes to Rival, Meg of Joy Through Cooking was out host and she chose Squash Soup with Vanilla Crème Fraiche. The recipe came from an episode of last season's Top Chef. I am a big fan of Top Chef and was very excited to try and episode from the show. And for it to be the winning recipe of a challenge? Even better.

During one episode, the challenge was set at the Second City Comedy Club where the audience threw out theme words that the chefs found out they were to use as an inspiration for their dish. Each team had a color, a food or flavor, and an emotion. Spike and Andrew won the challenge with a Squash Soup with Vanilla Crème Fraiche based on Yellow, Vanilla, Love. I remember being a little skeptical of this combination when they started making it. Squash? Vanilla? Soup? Ummm...okay.

I guess that shows my limited tastes! This was a delicious winter soup. I used a combination of butternut and acorn squash. When roasted, the squash has a naturally sweet taste and that pairs very well with vanilla topping. Its sweet but it doesn't feel like a dessert.

Mine was a little thicker than I expected, almost a squash puree. Thinned out with a bit more stock and it would have been a perfect consistency. Still it was delicious and a great dinner for a cold winter night.

This makes a whole big pot of yummy soup. Its perfect for feeding a big group of people during the holidays. I made a quarter of the recipe and still ended up with a ton. Most of it was frozen for later.

To get this recipe, you can find it here on

For more Squash soup, check out the Recipes to Rival Blogroll!

R2R: Squash Soup

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