Winter Butternut Squash Soup!

squash

Most likely because neither my mother nor grandmother, as I recall, ever baked or in any way prepared a winter squash for our family, it’s taken me quite awhile to familiarize myself with the many varieties–and then to learn what I can do with them! I’m imagining if I set my mind to it I could write an entire book about winter squashes and their infinite possibilities. What is more likely, and what appears to be happening, is that each fall and winter, as the squashes come into their splendid season–just in time for the winter holidays, how convenient, and no accident, I’m sure, given the organic nature of the tie between our winter celebrations and our Harvesting, I appear to be learning each year about yet another, and adding to my kitchen repertoire–and then sharing that with all of you. So, welcome. This year it’s the butternut squash, which, pretty sure, I have never ever cooked before now. Really. I’m sure I’m not alone in this unfamiliarity with all my options. So here we go. Butternut squash soup, which might be my all time favorite, though if I review my past discoveries it just might be that I say that every year. For now, it’s my yummy scrumptious fave and I am going to share this wonderful recipe I just discovered, and tweaked–as I nearly always tweak. ;)

Winter Butternut Squash Soup

You will need:

*a butternut squash
*butter and olive oil
*two medium onions or one large one
*curry
*brown sugar
*chicken or vegetable stock, depending on your orientation
*milk or (if you are so inclined) cream
*salt and pepper to taste

Wash and dry the outer skin of your butternut squash. Cut in half or quarters, oil slightly with olive oil, place in a baking pan and place in a 375°F. oven for an hour or until the squash is tender to the tines of a fork. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Quarter your onions and cut into thin strips. Sauté onion in a combination of olive oil and butter until somewhat carmelized which is going to take a minimum of fifteen minutes. Keep stirring while this is happening. Look at that yummy goodness! By now your kitchen is going to smell delicious and you are going to get hungry!

onion

Now remove the outer skin of your cooled squash and cut pulp into large pieces.
pulp

Place in Cuisinart or blender.

chopped

Once blended add onions. Blend. And then add one cup of chicken or vegetable stock. Blend moderately.

Pour this mixture into a saucepan over a low heat.

pan

Season with salt and pepper. Add to this one cup of milk (or cream) and a second cup of your stock. You are now going to add into this mixture one teaspoon of curry. Blending would be easier if you were to put a bit of the soup mixture into a small cup or bowl into which you stir the curry and then return that to the soup. Lastly at this point you may also add a tablespoon of brown sugar, but I am recommending to add a bit at a time, and stop when you find the flavor to your liking. I used two teaspoons and found it be an interesting and unexpectedly satisfactory addition.

Serve this hot soup with your favorite bread for a wonderfully hearty meal!

done
I bet this becomes one of your favorite go-to recipes this winter! Enjoy!

Love and kitchen blessings,
Kathryn xoxo

Book News: Planning Christmas presents already? (I am!) Is there someone on your Christmas list who would welcome a copy of Plant Whatever Brings You Joy: Blessed Wisdom from the Garden under their tree? Plenty of time to order from your local bookstore or from Amazon or Barnes and Noble online! Both paperback and Kindle/Nook options available! Or please consider a copy for yourself–reading one of the 52 stories each week next year, and taking notes in your journal of what each lesson means to you! #innerwork


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Another Garden Transforming a Community!

Seedsavinggarden
Neighborhood Seed Saving Project

One of the most life-affirming, inspiring movements in the world today is the Community Garden movement, particularly when it involves teaching children. And we see or hear of examples of this emerging trend throughout our country. But there is nothing as profound and wise and enlivening as bearing witness or becoming involved in a community garden that not only includes children, but also totally transforms a neighborhood, and that is precisely what Brightmoor Youth Garden in a formerly impoverished and crime ridden neighborhood in Detroit is doing! I learned about this marvelous endeavor on Super Soul Sunday on OWN and I immediately googled them and wrote to the co-founder, Riet Schumack, asking for a link to this vid, which she kindly shared.

Riet says, “Ultimately blight is an expression of the breakdown in human dignity and the breakdown of community. Poverty in itself doesn’t cause blight. It’s when people lose hope and stop caring.”

paint

I am going to let Riet tell you her story via this vid, as it’s beautifully produced. My deepest apology for the ad that was built in to the beginning of this wonderful vid. It’s standard at Oprah.com to include these at the beginning of all videos and interviews. It’s short, and worth the 30 second delay. :)

Is that not the most positive story you’ve heard recently? There is more information on the history and development of Brightmoor Youth Garden here.

I would love to hear about similar projects in your locale. Or perhaps this story will inspire you to start your own!

Love and garden blessings,
Kathryn xoxo

Footnote: If you are inspired by this story, check out this indigogo project to raise $10,000 for Neighbors Building Brightmoor Community Kitchen. These people are solid, inspired and creative folks and should be better known as role models for urban areas around the country! They have raised over $6,000 to date. Want to help? Click on the link and share the link on your social media platforms. Thank you!

Book News: Many thanks to everyone I met at the Book Depot in Mill Valley last Saturday afternoon. It was a fun time and I deeply appreciated the opportunity to meet new people, sign books, and to share Plant Whatever Brings You Joy: Blessed Wisdom from the Garden. Meanwhile Barnes and Noble has made copies of the book available throughout the country!


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Time for Gingersnaps!

dorsey500

October! A favorite month and one that gets me thinking of spicy sweets with lots of cinnamon and ginger. So it was a lovely synchronicity when my dear friend Maloah mentioned her family’s old recipe for gingersnaps, which I immediately requested. What better treat to hand out out to Trick or Treaters on Halloween? As fate would have it, Maloah’s mother, Buffy Treat, included that particular cookie recipe in a cookbook she lovingly edited back in the 80’s for the Heifer Project International. “Peace begins where the hungry are fed,” says the cover of her book. And I found some used copies still for sale on Amazon, to Maloah’s immense surprise and delight!

cover

Here’s Buffy’s treasured family recipe:

Gingersnaps

2 cups sifted flour
1 T. ground ginger
2 t. baking soda
1.2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses

Sift the dry ingredients. Cream the softened butter. Gradually add sugar. Add egg and molasses. Beat. Sift dry ingredients over wet ingredients. Shape dough into small balls. Roll the balls in granulated sugar. Place two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350ª F.for 12-15 minutes until tops crackle. Cool on rack.

Personal tweaks: I doubled the ginger and I rolled the doughy balls in a heavier sugar, called evaporated cane juice, which I’m accustomed to using when I top my scones.

Here are my gingersnaps, out of the oven, served, appropriately, on one of my Grandmother’s plates. They are so delicious!

gingersnaps

I have heard loving stories about Buffy Treat (don’t you love her name?) for years. So I must include a picture of Buffy with four of her six children here–all four of her beautiful daughters. Doesn’t she look like the most wonderful mother and wouldn’t you want to inherit a cookie recipe from her? I’m so glad Maloah and her sisters did, and that I have permission to pass along to all of you.

Maloahfam

Thanks so much, Maloah, for sharing your special recipe with us this Halloween. These cookies will add a festive cheer throughout the holiday season.

Love and holiday blessings,
Kathryn xoxox

Book News: I am delighted to announce that I’ve been invited to do a booksigning at Depot Bookstore and Cafe in downtown Mill Valley on November 1st, noon-1:00PMish. If you are around and available, I’d love to see you in person! I’m so looking forward to being there!

bkdepot


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