Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Prep.

Prep.

If you looked at the pictures on the Posole Post, you might have noticed that there was more prep on the table than was used in the Posole.

I also made another soup, one I’ve made variations on over the years, Pureed Squash and Apple Soup.

I often make this with Indian spices, Curry and Ginger, but when I mentioned that this time, Mrs Flannestad pointed out that we already had one spicy soup in the Posole, so maybe the second should be mild and simple.

You’ll notice that there is a lot more mirepoix in this soup. If you’re making a vegetarian soup, you always need to up the vegetable content of the soup to make up for the lack of meat flavor components.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

2 Onions, chopped
2 Stalk Celery, chopped
2 Carrots, chopped
1 tsp dried Thyme
1 tsp dried Tarragon
Olive Oil

1 Medium large Butternut Squash, peeled and roughly chopped
4 Apples, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped

1 Cup Apple Juice
1 Cup Dry White Wine or Lillet Blanc
Salt & Pepper

METHOD: Sweat onions, Celery, Carrots and herbs in Olive Oil until tender. Add white wine to deglaze and cook off a bit of the alcohol. Add Squash, Apples, and Apple Juice and cook until squash is tender. Puree in a food processor or blender.

Guinness Ginger Bread Cake.

Guinness Ginger Bread Cake.

Lastly, for Dessert I made this Guinness Ginger Bread Cake originally from the Gramercy Tavern in New York.

It is delicious and easy enough to make that even a non-baker like me can pull it off.

The use of leavening in a cake is first recorded in a recipe for gingerbread from Amelia Simmons’s American Cookery, published in Hartford in 1796; I guess you could say it is the original great American cake. Early-19th-century cookbooks included as many recipes for this as contemporary cookbooks do for chocolate cake. This recipe, from Claudia Fleming, pastry chef at New York City’s Gramercy Tavern, is superlative—wonderfully moist and spicy.
Ingredients

1 cup oatmeal stout or Guinness Stout
1 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cardamom
3 large eggs
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Confectioners sugar for dusting

Special equipment:

a 10-inch (10- to 12-cup) bundt pan

Accompaniment:

unsweetened whipped cream

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter bundt pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess.

Bring stout and molasses to a boil in a large saucepan and remove from heat. Whisk in baking soda, then cool to room temperature.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs and sugars. Whisk in oil, then molasses mixture. Add to flour mixture and whisk until just combined.

Pour batter into bundt pan and rap pan sharply on counter to eliminate air bubbles. Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs adhering, about 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely.

Serve cake, dusted with confectioners sugar, with whipped cream.

Read More Epicurious Link to Recipe

Super-Bowl Vegetable Hot Dish

Too much meat and rich food lately, thinking of the idea of a vegetarian Cassoulet.

Improvisation leads to the following:

IMG_20110206_191106

Super-Bowl Vegetable Hot Dish

1 Cup Rancho Gordo Yellow Indian Woman Beans
Soak for a couple hours and cook with…
3 Garlic Cloves
4 Sprigs thyme
1 Bay Leaf
Salt

1 Head Cauliflower, broken down to florets
Salt and Olive Oil
Pecans, chopped
Roast in hot oven, remove, and toss with:
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1 tsp Hot Spanish Pimenton
1 TBSP Chopped Fresh Oregano
Dashes Sherry Vinegar

1 Bunch Tuscan Kale, washed, stemmed and chopped.
2 Cloves Garlic, chopped.
1 Anchovy Filet
1 tsp Tomato Paste
Red Chili Flakes
1 tsp Dry Marjoram
1 Cup Pomi Strained Tomatoes
1/2 Cup Chicken Stock
Saute Garlic briefly in hot oil. Add rest of ingredients and simmer until tender.

Tree Oyster Mushrooms
Salt and Olive Oil
Roasted in a hot oven.

Crumbled Feta Cheese

Bread Crumbs

Layer ingredients in a casserole dish: Beans, mushrooms, cauliflower, kale, feta. Repeat and top with bread crumbs. Bake in 350 degree oven until browned and cooked through.

Server with Warm Pita Bread.

Enjoy Vegetarian Restaurant

Dearest Vegetarian Friends and Sympathizers,

As you may know, even though I am not a vegetarian, one of my pet peeves is bad vegetarian food. There is no excuse for much of the pathetically inedible and not tasty food which passes for vegetarian in the US.

I blame the hippies.

In any case, I recently dined at Enjoy Vegetarian Restaurant, which is very near where I work.

Enjoy Vegetarian Restaurant

It is a Chinese restaurant which features an amazing array of meat free and meat-like entrees. I’m also not usually a huge fan of the fake meat, but this stuff is really tasty. I had a delicious smoked wheat gluten dish with black bean sauce and Chinese preserved veggies. Yum! The toothy texture of the wheat gluten reminded me most of King Trumpet Mushrooms. In fact, vegetarian or not, this is really tasty Chinese food.

OK, it is true parking in the Inner Sunset sucks to all hell.

However, this restaurant is not far at all from the N Judah MUNI line, so suck it up and take public transportation.

Best,

Erik

Sweet Potato, Parsnip, and Tofu Curry

Another easy, old favorite. You can make it with any root vegetables you like.

You’ll need a couple sweet potatoes, a couple parsnips, tofu, an onion, 3 tomatoes, a few cloves of garlic, an inch piece of fresh ginger root and curry powder.

I usually make my own curry powder by toasting 1 teaspoon of whole fennel seed, cumin seed, fenugreek, coriander, mustard seed, cardamom, and 3 cloves over low heat in a dry pan on top of the stove. Once the mustard seeds start to pop, and the whole is quite aromatic, remove from heat, cool, and grind in a coffee grinder or spice mill. Add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, cayenne, and tumeric.

Cut up your veggies and tofu. Mince the garlic and ginger.

Heat a large pan very hot, add a bunch of oil of your choice, and add the garlic and ginger. Once those start to smell nice, add the onions and continue cooking until soft. Stir in the tomatoes and cook until they more or less disappear. Add the root vegetables and half the curry powder. Add a bit of water or stock to loosen, cover and cook until the vegetables are close to done. Add the tofu and a bit more liquid, if necessary.

Serve with rice. A nice addition is some yoghurt thinned out with lemon juice and chopped fresh cilantro on top.

Soup Noodles

Well, that isn’t Soup Noodles, it’s a Fourth Degree Cocktail:

2 oz Junipero
1/2 oz M&R Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Dolin Vermouth
Dash Absinthe
Lemon Peel

Stir with ice and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze lemon peel over drink.

I just love how you can see the little droplets of lemon oil on the surface of the drink.

The original drink from the early 20th century is equal parts Italian Vermouth, French Vermouth, and Gin with a dash of Absinthe. I’ve dried it out slightly and this cocktail falls right into my sweet spot for aromatic cocktails. Complex, simple, not too sweet, and wonderfully balanced. Just a fantastic cocktail.

Now that’s Soup Noodles.

Soba noodles in broth with baked tofu, mushrooms, spinach and an egg. Usually go for the Chinese style broth with xiao shing rice wine, soy, chile, scallions, garlic, and ginger. Top it off with some cilantro.