Posts Tagged ‘cream’

Next week Adam and I go on our annual pilgrimage to the sleepy coastal town of Oceanside, Oregon. This will be our third year celebrating his birthday there and I cannot wait. When winter falls, Oceanside is virtually abandoned. Summer homes lay empty and locked against the sharp ocean winds. The tiny café closes at 3. The few folks you do see are the light sprinkling of year-round residents, or people who come to Oceanside longing to walk their dogs on a quiet beach.

Adam and I are an off-season kind of a couple. We tend to go out in the middle of the week, and rarely gravitate towards large people attracting events. We like quiet and subtly. Oceanside in January is just that.

The meticulously clean cabins we like to stay in are practically right on the beach. In the evenings we sip wine and watch the sun slowly make its decent into the horizon, play a game of chess or cards, then fall asleep each night to the sound of crashing waves.

There is only one restaurant in Oceanside and they make the best salmon cakes (more salmon than cake) I’ve ever had. Wanting more restaurant options means driving for at least 45 minutes, so last year we decided to rent a cabin with a kitchen and bring food to cook for our meals. This year we’ll do the same. We haven’t decided on a menu yet, but this soup would be perfect to warm us against the cold grey ocean winds. There is just a hair of spice from the red pepper flakes I tossed in, and the bright butternut squash orange is like a bowl of sunshine right when you need it.


Butternut Squash Soup

This recipe is adapted from two recipes in Amanda Hesser’s Essential NY Times Cookbook: Roasted Squash Soup with Cumin and Butternut Squash Soup with Brown Butter. I used one as a guide, and pulled an idea or two from the other. One of the recipes called for half a cup of cream. For some reason, my stomach is very opposed to warmed or cooked milk, so I substituted coconut milk for cream. The coconut milk transformed this soup into a wonderfully Indian style bisque. I wish I had made naan bread to go with it!

What you’ll  need~

1 large butternut squash

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

2-3 sprigs fresh thyme or other herb

1 teaspoon ground cumin

4 1/2 cups chicken broth

2-3 cloves roasted garlic

1/2 teaspoon champagne vinegar

1/2 teaspoon honey

1-2 pinches red pepper flakes

Pinch of nutmeg

1/2 cup coconut milk or heavy cream

Preheat your oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Using a sharp knife, cut your butternut squash in half lengthwise. I stabbed the squash in the middle and cut down like I was cutting open a lobster. Turn the squash around do and the same thing in the other direction.

Scoop out seeds and place in a bowl. Brush olive oil onto each squash half and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tuck fresh herbs into squash cavities and place squash cut side down onto the foil.

Roast until soft and tender, about 45 minutes.

Rinse squash seeds under cold water and discard all the leftover goop. Place seeds on a paper towel and pat down to dry.

Warm olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Toss seeds in skillet with 1/2 teaspoon cumin and some salt until nicely browned and crisp.

Scoop squash flesh from shells and place in a pot. Add chicken broth, roasted garlic, champagne vinegar, honey, red pepper flakes and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cumin.

Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes.

If you have an immersion blender then use it to blend the soup into a purée. Otherwise, blend soup in batches in your blender, then return soup to the pot.

I find that coconut milk tends to separate and get clumpy in the can, so I like to gently warm it up in saucepan before using.

Stir in coconut milk or cream and bring to a gentle simmer.

Season with salt and pepper.

Serve warm and garnished with squash seeds.


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My older sisters will argue differently, but I don’t really like dessert. It’s either too sweet, or too heavy, or just too much. I’ve just enjoyed a lovely meal, how could I possibly top off a full and content belly with a pile of flour and sugar? I know, I know. What on earth is wrong with me? Especially, according to said older sisters, when I was a wee lass and my mom was off at work, I would cry and cry until my dad gave me orange (orange was my favorite color) sherbet for breakfast. No, not sorbet (that would be better, right?), orange sherbet. And yes, for breakfast.

Please don’t get me wrong. I can and DO appreciate a fine dessert. If David Lebovitz created, well, ANYTHING, in his repertoire, if he literally pulled a chocolate cake out of his sleeve and I was offered a bite, I would certainly thoroughly and blissfully enjoy every nibble.

For my birthday last fall, Adam and our dear friend B took me to the well-known Papa Haydn for dessert. Ugh, that was difficult. You see, this revelation of not liking dessert is new to me. I always thought I was too full or just not in the mood, but really, I was just kind of bored. So, after a lovely day of wine tasting, we headed over to Papa Haydn for the obligatory indulgence. Not surprisingly, nothing on the menu sounded good. Not their chocolate brownie cake, buttermilk panna cotta, or crème brulee tempted me. Nada. If I remember correctly, I picked a lemon tart and a couple of chocolatey thingies filled with liquor. Adam loves just about anything involving lemons, and B loves chocolate.

I wonder if there is a name for this sort of disorder.

Just so you don’t think I’m completely off my dot, there is one exception to this rule and that is the berry tart. I absolutely adore berries. Not only are they adorable, their delicate tartness does something delightful to my taste buds. It’s like pulling back the curtains on a beautiful summer morning and the crisp blue sky is freckled by fluffy clouds. Perfection.

Lara Ferroni turned me on to this recipe. The original version comes from the Australian magazine, Gourmet Traveller, and involves rhubarb and apples. And let me tell you, when Lara made it for our Natural Lighting Workshop back in May, it was phenomenal. It’s also darn cute, and I’ve been thinking about making a version of it every since May. I’m so glad I waited until berry season to try it out. When Adam ate some of the cobbler this morning for breakfast, for about 10 minutes I heard nothing but a clinking fork and grunts.

Summer Berry Cobbler

The blackberries and raspberries were grown by the Liepold Family Farm. The organic blueberries were grown by Escoe Farms in breathtaking Hood River.

About 4 cups of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries (more or less depending on the size of your baking receptacle. I used a 9 1/2 inch Pyrex pie plate)

1/2 cup granulated sugar (the Aussie recipe called for caster sugar which is a finer than our granulated sugar, so I gave the sugar a good grinding in my mortar and pestle. I don’t think it is totally necessary though)

1/3 cup raw honey

2 tbsp corn flour

1 lemon, juiced

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Buttermilk Pastry

1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

1/4 cup raw (turbinado) sugar

1 stick of butter, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup buttermilk


Rinse your berries and let drain.

Gently stir berries with granulated sugar, corn flour, lemon juice and vanilla.

Pour into pie plate.

In a food processor, or with a hand mixer, blend flour, baking powder, salt, two tablespoons of raw sugar and butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add buttermilk and process until the dough is formed.

Place dough on lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.

Roll out dough until it’s about half a centimeter thick.

Cut out rounds with a 3 inch biscuit cutter (I don’t have a biscuit cutter so I used a clean coconut milk can).

Lay rounds over fruit overlapping the edges a bit.

Sprinkle the rest of the raw sugar over the dough and bake in a 375-degree oven for 45 minutes.

You want the berry juices to be bubbling and the dough to be golden.

Serve with cream.


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