Monday, October 26, 2015

The no-work butternut squash soup

One of my favorite fall soups is butternut squash soup. One thing that keeps me from making it is sometimes the handy work that has to go into it.

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First, there is operating a huge knife and cutting a very hard squash in half. Then, removing the seeds with a spoon. Followed by peeling and cutting the squash into chunks. That’s a butternut squash workout.

This soup needs only 1 step, maybe 2: cutting the squash in half and removing the seeds.

Then, the squash halves or quarters are places in a slowcooker, half filled with vegetable broth, a carrot, some onion, and the slowcooker produces a ready to puree and eat soup in 4-5 hours.

Yes!

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All done!

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Butternut squash soup in the slow cooker

Makes 4-5 servings.

  • 1 x 2-3 pound organic butternut squash
  • 1 small sweet onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 large carrot, peeled
  • some fresh thyme
  • vegetable or chicken broth, about 4-5 cups
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder (optional)
  1. Cut the butternut squash in half with a large knife. Be safe! The knife can slide of the butternut squash skin.
  2. Remove seeds with a spoon.
  3. Potentially, cut the halves in quarter so that they fit better in the slow cooker.
  4. Optionally: peel the butternut squash with a vegetable peeler.
  5. Place in a large slow cooker.
  6. Add the peeled carrot.
  7. In a pan, heat the coconut oil and saute the diced onion for 5 min (sauteeing the onion adds a nice, nutty flavon).
  8. Add onions to slow cooker.
  9. Add herbs.
  10. Fill the slowcooker to half with vegetable broth.
  11. Set slowcooker to high, and cook for 4-5h. (You can shave off one hour if you add hot broth).
  12. During the last hour, add the coconut milk.
  13. Use an immersion blender and puree the soup.
  14. Add the curry powder, and stir. Taste for salt and adjust.
  15. Serve!

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Done!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Brownie Bites with Chocolate Glaze

This is a recipe inspired by my sister. Once I saw her brownies, glazed in dark chocolate, I was so smitten I had to try to make them immediately. It took a while until I had my act together, and actually glazed a batch instead of just eating the brownies.

The recipe is quite straightforward: take your favorite boxed brownie mix (or make it from scratch or make them even vegan), mix according to instruction, but add additional cocoa (and a few other secret ingredients), underbake (just 22min), and then glaze with dark chocolate

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Add about 1/4 cup of dark chocolate extra to the boxed mix. Also add a teaspoon of instant espresso to the dry ingredients, and a teaspoon of vanilla to the wet. Mix the wet ingredients separately.

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I used a ‘brownie’ pan since I like the crust of brownies. One package makes 1 pan.

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Bake 23 min at 325F.

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Cool the brownies and cut them in quarters.

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Mix a glaze with about 1.5 cup of chocolate couverture (I used these ‘chocolate chips’ from Lindt), and melt them over a double boiler. Add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

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Dunk the chocolate bites in the melted chocolate, and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper to dry.

After about 1hour, they are ready to eat!

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Fall Red

Fall is in full swing. The leaves have turned into a vibrant red and yellow this year.

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The apples are so red one can easily imagine Eve would entice any Adam with such an apple.

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They are so sweet, crisp and beautiful, and picking is still going strong at the apple orchards.

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We have been lucky with the weather so far because it has been mostly sunny, much appreciated by the cats.

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Hopefully, all this last still for a while until the inevitable all-white version of Maine will happen again. But first, a weekend ahead!

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The beer selection at the Orono Brewing Company is also fall appropriate. Existential crisis anyone? Or professor pumpkin?

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Into the fall

It’s a long weekend ahead. The seasons seem to be one month behind this year, the foliage only just started, and we have wonderful, sunny days that are still nice and warm, and one can walk around with a t-shirt.

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But this might also be the perfect long shopping weekend with deals to prepare for the winter that they promise will be less of a winter of the century like the last one. The snow is supposed to be all rain and end up in California and they are looking forward to it.

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It is also apple picking time, and recipes for apple cookies seem to abound this year. I have been so busy that I only managed to collect recipes but not really cook much (yet). Nevertheless, apple picking is on the plan this weekend.

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A few days ago when I went for a walk I found some porcini, right on the side of the road. It was a surprise because it had be so hot and dry for so long, and mushroom like hot and humid. Nevertheless, it seems like a good idea to go foraging in the woods. And, did I find some great looking porcini ! So many actually that I dehydrate them for those winter risottos.

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ok, enjoy the long, relaxing weekend!!

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