Oh Glorious Fall!!

What a stunning weekend this past was.  I was off Friday and Steven and I spent the morning at the St. James Art Festival where we bought a photograph we have had our eye on for the last year.  Then Saturday was full of market and some cooking while a lovely cool rain fell.  It has been too long since we have had any kind of rain at all and I was thrilled to see it even if it didn't stay long.  Sunday we went to our Alma Mater to see the opening of an art exhibit of a former professor of Steven's.  It was so nice to be able to talk with professors and we remembered why we loved UE.

This sea of veggies is the last glorious bounty that the garden will produce this year.  Steven brought in tomatoes and lots of peppers this morning and they were waiting on me when I got home today.  The nights are dipping into the upper 40's and the tomatoes have gone into shock.  The bucket of green tomatoes is pictured below and I believe I am cooking and giving away green tomatoes this week.  If you need any, let me know.  We have plenty.  The lettuce is coming up and I have no idea whether to leave all of the plants or pull some.  I planted WAY to many seeds and I was burned the last time I pulled healthy plants (pumpkins).  I wonder if I just leave them if I will get lettuce for days or they will choke each other out.  Hmmm...

On Saturday night I made a butternut squash soup that tasted like fall in a bowl.  The recipe came from the cooking bible and there are some changes that I will list in the recipe below.  It nailed the process, which has always been a bit remiss in some areas for me.  I have always been of the roasting camp when it came to butternut squash and the soup never had the silky texture I wanted it to have.  This time the recipe called for steaming the squash and that was it.  Fabulous flavor and beautiful texture.  And the easiest recipe I think I have ever seen for this particular soup.  

Butternut Squash Soup

2 large butternut squash, quartered and seeds and strings removed
1 large shallot, minced
4 Tbs butter
5 cups water
1/2 c heavy cream
1 tsp salt
Fresh ground nutmeg

Saute shallot in butter until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add water, salt, and squash seeds and strings.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium high.  Add squash to a steamer basket with cut side facing out (see pic below), place basket in pot with water and shallots and cover.  Cook for 40 minutes or until squash is tender.  Remove squash and let cool.  Strain liquid and reserve 3 cups.  Scoop squash out of skin and add to blender with some of reserve liquid and blend until smooth.  Work in batches if necessary.  Add pureed squash back to pot with reserve liquid.  Add cream and heat on medium heat until warm.  Do not boil.  Ladle into bowls and finish with fresh ground nutmeg.    

Steaming the squash in a liquid with it's own seeds and strings also adds a wonderful depth of flavor to the squash.  I had it with a new Chardonnay recommendation from the Wine Rack called Foxglove and it was lovely.  The wine had some really nice orange and honeysuckle notes and it was wonderful with the soup.  The picture is a hasty and poor representation of the soup, but you get the general idea.  


This coming weekend is also holding the promise of some great fall activities with Harvest Homecoming, an annual eat-your-way-through-it street fair, a fall festival at my best friend's house, and a boat ride on Sunday on my daddy's new boat.  Fun times ahead.  Until then there are tomato and pepper plants to turn over, some sweet potatoes that have been underground a LONG time and my sweet little mums to water.  Welcome back, autumn.  You have been greatly missed.




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