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Rainy Day Soup

The last of the Winter squash

It rains in Oregon - a lot. So here is an easy rainy day soup recipe.

Ingredients

1 medium acorn squash

1 butternut squash

3 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons Garam Masala

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon coarse sea salt

2 tablespoon avocado or coconut oil

1 can coconut milk unsweetened

1 cup of chicken stock or water

optional

2 tablespoons mustard seeds

2 cloves garlic thinly sliced

There are a couple of things I like to keep in my refrigerator, already roasted, so I can grab them and throw them in whatever. One of these is squash of any kind. They keep well once they are cooked and can add thickness or texture to any dish. If you want the sweeter side of things, cook a pumpkin or a few sweet potatoes on Sunday to use throughout the week.

Warning: If you cook this they will come. The smells will warm up the coldest heart. 

Cooking:

  1. Split squash and place on a baking sheet. Be sure to scoop out seeds. If organic save seeds so you can plant them in your own garden.
  2. Drizzle with oil and roast at 375-400 degrees for about 40 minutes or until soft.
  3. Let cool and remove skins.
  4. Place all ingredients, except for coconut milk into a food processor and process. Some people like this smoothly pureed but I like a bit of texture and biting into tiny chunks of squash. So lumpy is my fav.
  5. Move puree to a pot on the stove and set to simmer.
  6. Add coconut milk.
  7. Bring to a slow boil (watch out this can explode out of the pot like lava.)
  8. Serve in nice deep bowls.
  9. To add more texture lightly toast mustard seeds and garlic in a pan and sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon into each bowl

Some thoughts -dangerous squash and regional spices.

Squash secrete a substance when cut that is for their protection. This substance can be itchy and numbing and if you are allergic can cause discomfort for hours. It is the same irritation you receive from a squash blossom vine when you get a spike in you. Wash your hands immediately and be sure not to touch you face or eyes. Sometimes Benadryl helps but otherwise it will go away in an hour or two. To avoid the whole mess, wear gloves when cutting squash or use a kitchen towel to handle. Once cooked you should be able to handle them without injury. Believe me on this one. I know.

Garam Masala is a lovely, velvety blend of spices and is used in Indian cuisine. If you have an Indian food store near you I beg you to go in and get Garam Masala (ground or packed for grinding) at the store. I find the spices to be fresher which means more flavor. Also pick up some regular black pepper. Many times the spices you get in stores have not only been stored for a while, but the type of spice has been specially selected for a broader palate - ie American tongue. What that means is that you are missing the full flavor of the spices from the same family. I keep Indian and Chinese black peppercorns in my house along with 3 other general store types. They each have a different flavor and heat. Peppercorns are a great way to start experiencing the diversity of spice flavors. (skip the crazy salts for now) If you really want to become a spice expert visit The Spice Whisperer - Vinita can take cooking to a whole new level. Oh! and Garam Masala has cumin in it. But you can't have too much cumin. So use as much as you want!

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