RECIPES: MY ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

I made this recipe up about 10 years ago after having Butternut Squash soup for the first time at an event in Chicago. It was so memorable, I can still taste it. That’s what people tell me after they try mine. Perfect for any occasion, you just dress it up for Thanksgiving by serving in a beautiful bowl as a starter or serve it  in a mug with sandwiches for game day. Either way, everyone will want this recipe… and a second bowl so double the recipe.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup in a thermos along with some goat cheese truffles, toasted crostini, and fresh fruit. Add a bottle of wine and you're ready for a fall picnic or apple picking party!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup in a thermos along with some goat cheese truffles, toasted crostini, and fresh fruit. Add a bottle of wine and you're ready for a fall picnic or apple picking party!

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

Prep Time: 20 minutes   Cook Time: 30 minutes

2 (4-5 pounds) large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

4-5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (you may want to use more, depending on how thick you like the soup)

¼ cup organic maple syrup

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt or to taste

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Dash cayenne pepper (I use a couple of dashes but I suggest you do one, taste and then another if you want more heat)

½ cup heavy cream (more if you like, and I always like!)

2 Tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Peel the butternut squash. Remove the seeds. Dice into large cubes. Drizzle the squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with a salt and pepper. Place on a sheet pan or roasting pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until the squash is fork tender. Check the squash after 12 minutes and turn with a spatula.

NOTE: You can roast the squash in the skin and scoop it out after you cook it. Either way works. With a heavy duty vegetable peeler, I find peeling it first is easier.)

While the squash is roasting, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot. Over medium-high heat, cook the onion until softened but not browned.

Add the cooked squash to the onion. Use a potato masher, a spoon or a spatula to break up the squash. Stir in the first 4 cups of chicken broth a little at a time. Simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes, adding more chicken broth as necessary to keep the soup from becoming too thick.  Add the maple syrup, salt and both peppers. Whisk in the cream. If you like your soup with texture, stop here.  I like this soup very smooth so I use an immersion blender to make it smooth and velvety. When you get it to the consistency you like, add the heavy cream. Just before serving, stir in a tablespoon of butter and the finely chopped parsley. Check the seasoning. You may need to add a bit more salt. (you can also add the parsley before you use your immersion blender if you have people who don't like anything green in their food)

Depending on portion size, this serves about 8

I spoon this soup into quart-sized Mason jars once done; it, keeps in the fridge for 4 or 5 days. Sometimes I make a big batch and deliver it to friends around the holidays. It is always appreciated!

Print Friendly and PDF

FALL FLAVORS: CARAMEL APPLE MARTINI RECIPE

Everyone loves a caramel apple but they aren't that easy to eat and there's always the risk of expensive dental repairs afterwards. For that reason, I came up with this cocktail a few years ago and it has certainly become a fall favorite. Serve it as a cocktail or as an adults only dessert at the end of the evening.

The perfect fall cocktail: my Caramel Apple Martini.

The perfect fall cocktail: my Caramel Apple Martini.

Put martini glasses into the freezer to chill them. Drizzle caramel sundae syrup into the chilled martini glasses and put them back into the freezer while you mix your drinks. Make a design like a flower, polka dots, a spider web for Halloween parties, etc. Be creative! I wanted mine to look like a caramel apple.

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice mix:

2 parts Butterscotch Schnapps

2 parts Sour Apple Pucker Schnapps

1 part vodka-- use plain vodka or adjust the recipe by using vanilla vodka for a sweeter drink or Vox Green Apple vodka for an extra apple kick. I prefer the vanilla vodka but it may be too sweet for some people.

Shake and pour into the chilled and decorated glasses. Yum.  Now go enjoy the weekend. This will certainly make it better.

Print Friendly and PDF

FALL FAVORITE RECIPES: PUMPKIN SPICE CHEESECAKE WITH SOUR CREAM TOPPING

My niece has a birthday in October and this became her requested birthday cake after she had it at California Pizza Kitchen. Here’s my version; it’s creamy and spicy from the ginger and the gingersnap crust. I think it’s better than the original. It may seem complicated to make but it is not hard- just takes some time but worth it, especially for a special girl!  

My Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake is spicy, creamy, and tastes better than those lattes we look forward to all year long!

My Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake is spicy, creamy, and tastes better than those lattes we look forward to all year long!

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour plus 10 minutes and 10 hours to chill

 INGREDIENTS

35 gingersnap cookies

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup granulated sugar

4 bricks cream cheese, 8 ounces each

1 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

4 large eggs, room temperature

½ teaspoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups sour cream

1/3 cup Confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Tiny squeeze lemon juice

Pinch nutmeg

 DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9” springform pan by inserting the bottom and then wrapping the bottom with two layers of foil so water from the water bath will not seep in. Get a large baking pan with sides for the water bath.  

For the crust: Melt butter. Put the gingersnaps and sugar in food processor until they are coarse crumbs. Add the melted butter. Toss with a fork to combine together. Press into the bottom and slightly on the sides of a buttered springform pan. Bake the crust for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Don’t let it get too dark. Let cool on a rack. 

For the filling: In a large mixing bowl, cream the cheese and sugar together on medium speed,  just until creamy and light. Add the maple syrup. Reduce the speed to low. Add the flour, a little at a time. Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure the first one is incorporated before adding the next one. Next, add the puree, lemon juice, spices, vanilla, and salt.   

For the topping: Mix together sour cream, sugar, nutmeg, and lemon juice. Set aside for later.

Spoon the filling into the springform pan on top of the crust. Check the foil around the edges of the springform pan to make sure no water leaks in. Place the filled springform pan in the baking pan and put the baking pan in the oven. Carefully pour warm water halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake at 350 for 60-70 minutes or until the edges are set but the middle is not quite set; it will set as it cools. Add the topping and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Carefully remove the springform pan from the water bath to a rack and let it cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen but don’t remove the sides. Cool another hour then transfer to the refrigerator and let chill for at least 10 hours. Longer is even better. Remove the sides of the pan and let stand for 20 minutes at room temperature before slicing.

Print Friendly and PDF