soup!

well, it’s back: fall. i’m not going to lie – i usually dread this season. goodbye summer, goodbye beach, oh hello yet another time of transition, and to top it off, my annual nemesis, that cold cold winter, starts moving in…

so in order to live my life like it’s golden, i’ve decided to embrace this challenging season fully. and how better to kick that off than with some soup! talk is already a brewin’ about soup group in the neighborhood – goodbye fall blues, we have work to do!

potato leek soup with roasted garlic, kale and charred sweet corn
2 -3 potatoes, sliced
1 large leek, sliced
5 leaves of kale, massaged and chopped into bite-sized pieces
2/3 to 1 cup sweet corn, charred on the stovetop in butter
1 head of garlic
3 – 4 cups broth, depending on your preferred consistency
salt, pepper and lemon to taste – i added about 1 tsp of salt at the end

preheat oven to 350 degrees. chop the top of the head of garlic off, and place in oven-safe dish. drizzle with olive oil and generously salt and pepper it. cover dish with lid or tinfoil, and put in oven for 45-60 min until all cloves are roasted through and will easily slip out of their papers.

meanwhile, saute the leek and potatoes in a large pot over medium heat, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pot. once the leeks are translucent and the potatoes are softening, add 1 cup of broth. simmer for a few minutes, then remove two cups of the potato/leek/broth mixture and puree. or, if you have an immersion blender, go ahead and blend about a third of your soup. you want to keep some of the potato slices and leeks in tact to make this a hearty soup. while you are pureeing, add your roasted garlic cloves to whatever blending method you choose.

return pureed mixture to the pot, and add 2-3 more cups of broth and the charred corn. bring to a simmer. add all the kale, and let it wilt, 2-3 minutes, until bright green. season with salt, pepper and lemon to taste.

soup group is officially in session!

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Risotto: An Experiment

Like many others, I have always feared making a risotto.  I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so the thought of all the ways such a delicate dish could go wrong kept me at bay.  Until today.

Several friends have been making risotto lately, and they gave me courage (Thanks Krista, Jen and Sonja!).  I had two acorn squash hidden in the back of the fridge needing to be put to good use.  After some online recipe hunting, I came across this Faux Martha post.  I edited to my liking and available ingredients.

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Acorn Squash Risotto with Leeks, Mushrooms and Gruyere Cheese
1/2 c. acorn squash, roasted
2 tbsp. salted butter
1 c. leeks, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
A handful of mushrooms, sliced
1 c. jasmine rice
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. marjoram
dash of cloves – I threw in one whole clove, then removed at the end.
dash of freshly grated nutmeg
1 bay leaf
3 c. veggie stock
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 c. gruyere cheese, grated
3 tbsp. heavy cream – I used whole milk

Roast acorn squash. Place in a 350° oven. Bake for about 20 minutes or until you are able to cut squash in half. Place the two halves on a baking sheet, skin side down sprinkled with a bit of olive oil. Bake for another 20 minutes or until squash is soft. Allow to cool. Remove squash from outer peel. Mash and set aside. (This can be done up to a week in advance.)  I roasted two squash, to use the second set as serving dishes.

  1. In a saucepan, melt butter on medium-high heat. Saute leeks, mushrooms and garlic until leeks are translucent.
  2. Add rice to pan, coating with butter mixture. Add acorn squash and spices. Stir.
  3. Cook over medium heat, adding one cup of chicken stock at a time until liquid is absorbed. Stir often. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Before serving, remove bay leaf (and whole clove!) and stir in cheese and cream/milk. Garnish a sprinkle of extra gruyere.

If you prepared extra acorn squash, serve the risotto in the shell of the extra squash (flesh still intact so it maintains its form – there’s nothing wrong with a little extra squash!).
acorn squash risotto

SUPER pleased with the results!  Incredible flavor, each ingredient both stands out and blends into the whole in beautiful ways.  Will definitely be attempting more risottos in the future.
You’re invited :)