Tag Archives: Food 52

Thanksgiving 2016: I’m Unprepared!

If there’s one thing I can say about myself, it’s that I’m consistent. I have consistently broken my promise to write on this blog consistently. I will try to be better.

It’s almost Thanksgiving, which has become my favorite holiday as of late.

Christmas? It used to be cool. But now, it’s just a lot of build up for a whole lot of nothing. Like when I lost my virginity.

HEYO!

Anyways. Thanksgiving is 4 days away. Even with my proclivity for procrastination, I am normally flipping through Bon Appetit and browsing Food52 for inspiration. But this year, I have not been.

This year has been a bit weird. Between some pretty heavy family dramz and the fact I’m on production right now in Salt Lake City, I’ve planned almost nothing. In fact, I only decided to go home to Jacksonville a few days ago.

Which means, I need to cook.

So, here we are. Real life Top Chef Challenge. Put together a Thanksgiving Dinner in 45 minutes of meal planning/grocery list writing. Dad will shop for ingredients at the best grocery store in the world, Publix. I will fly in on Wednesday to prep and the big day is on Thursday.

Game on.

Here’s what I’m doing.

  • Rosemary and Citrus Turkey For a Crowd from NYTimes Cooking
    • I made this turkey last year and it was a real crowd pleaser. And by crowd, I mean: me, my mother and father.
  • Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing from Martha Stewart
    • This has been my go-to stuffing recipe for the past few years. It smells and tastes like being home for the holidays. And unlike being home for the holidays, this stuffing will not ask you why you’re not married yet or if you are a lesbian. (‘I have a busy job’ and ‘no, but like, a little bit in college.’)
  • Best Ever Green Bean Casserole from Alton Brown via Food Network
    • Lovers of my prose will know that I have been searching for the right green bean recipe for Thanksgiving for a few years. Previous green bean casseroles have been too fancy. Regular green beans are too plain for Thanksgiving. Alton Brown has never let me down, so let’s audition this one.
  • Classic Mashed Potatoes from NYTimes Cooking
    • Potatoes? Good. Milk? Good. Butter? GOOOOOOOD.
  • Cranberry Sauce from Alton Brown
    • Cranberries? Good. Sauce? Good. Ridges made by molding cranberry sauce in your own can? GOOOOOOOD.

I’ll get a little help from Sis Schubert’s rolls and some sort of frozen pie. A frozen pie is not my preference, but there are only so many hours in a day.

Bring on the Thanksgiving pants!

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You are my Everest.–via Tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanksgiving Again: My Menu for 2015

It’s that time of year again. Time to invite your loved ones over for a very special meal: Thanksgiving.

I wish my guests were as hairy as that bunny.

Wait, that’d be weird.

Nope, that would be awesome.  

Anywho, I’m starting to put together my Thanksgiving menu. (I’m hosting this year. AHHH!!!) Menu looks like this right now:

  • Starter:
    • Fennel and Carrot Soup from Bon Appetit
      • we started including soup after a Thanksgiving years ago at my dad’s coworkers house. The woman had totally mistimed the meal, bless her heart. So, everyone sat at the table (awkwardly) and waited (awkwardly). Her child leaned over to me at one point during this awkward waiting and said, “Why aren’t you eating?” To which I replied, “Because there’s nothing to eat!” BUT this woman did serve a pre-meal soup and it was a lovely opener to the dinner.
  • Main:
    • Turkey of some kind, roasted…but in like a really cool/delicious way
      • Crispy skin of the UTMOST IMPORTANCE
    • Grandy’s Stuffing from Food 52
      • I don’t know who Grandy is, but this recipe looks baller. Homemade sage sausage with cheap-ass white bread? Do want.
    • Smothered Country Green Beans from Garden and Gun
      • Listen. I’ve got to stop fucking around with a good thing. Green bean casserole from a can? Delicous, but we can beat it. Fancy version of green bean casserole from Bon Appetit? Let’s just say Dave didn’t like it. Al dente green beans are NOT his thing. But this version gives you greenbeanitude, pork fat and none of the texture. What’s not to love?
    • Other sides:
      • Mashed Potatoes
        • Essential
      • Cranberry Something?
      • Another vegetable?
      • Bread of some sort?
  • Dessert: Salted Caramel Apple Pie from Four and Twenty Blackbirds (via Cooking Channel)
    • I think my parents will love this or hate this. I’m going to go with love….but I’m probably wrong here. They don’t like things that are too weird… but….salted caramel is perfection.

I think you’ll all agree that my menu is basically done.

Hey, at least I have a turkey ordered.

And, naturally, I’ve ordered tiny hats like the hamsters in the video have. Priorities, y’all.

What’s on your menu? What delicious thing am I totally overlooking or completely forgetting or otherwise don’t know about?  

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It’s a Good Thing: Martha’s Cherry Clafouti

Martha Stewart has changed my life twice. The first time was in 2005 when I watched a made for TV movie about her life called “Martha Behind Bars.” The film opens on her shooting a segment for her show. The director calls cut, and as it turns out, someone brought her a cabernet sauvignon instead of merlot. (GASP!) Cybill Shepherd, who plays Martha, loses her shit and yells, “Did I not ASK. FOR. MERLOT?” This moment changed my life because every time I hear the word “merlot,” I re-enact this scene. Either in my mind or out loud.

The second time was in 2009 when I found a recipe for Cherry Clafouti in a Martha Stewart Living magazine. It looked so delicious and so simple So I tore the recipe out of the magazine.

Yes, I STOLE it. WWMD, amiright?

A clafouti (or clafoutis) is a baked French dessert of fruit, usually of black cherries, and arranged in a butter dish and covered with a thick flan-like batter. I got that definition from Wikipedia. You can ALWAYS trust Wikipedia.

This recipe is simple and elegant. The hardest thing about this recipe is pitting the cherries. I do not own a cherry pitter. And cherry pits are like that guy that you dumped in 8th grade: clingy.

I searched for ways to pit cherries without a cherry pitter (use a straw! Use a chopstick!) but I did not have those things. So I used a meat thermometer, with the pointy side pointing up. Did it work? Yeah. Did I almost pierce my hand through more than once? Absolutely. Life is more fun when you’re in constant danger of disfigurement. Once that was done, my kitchen looked like an episode of CSI.

I didn't do it, officer. I swear.

I didn’t do it, officer. I swear.

But then the rest? Smooth, custardy sailing. Whisk, arrange, pour and bake.

This is a sophisticated dessert, especially when you consider how easy it is. The custard is smooth and creamy. The cherries are sweet and tart and break up the creaminess of the custard.

So, Martha Stewart, I salute you. This recipe really is a good thing.

Oh dang.

Oh dang.

— Cherry Clafouti, from Martha Stewart Living

  • Unsalted butter, for dish
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup creme fraiche, plus more for serving
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup granulated sugar, plus more for dish
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces cherries, halved and pitted
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9-inch baking dish, 1 ¼ inches deep. Coat with granulated sugar; tap out excess. Whisk eggs, yolk, and flour in a medium bowl; whisk in creme fraiche, milk, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt. Arrange cherries in prepared dish. Strain batter over cherries. Bake until browned around edges and set in the center, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool slightly. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, and serve warm with creme fraiche. Note! Clafouti is best warm, so bake it just before you serve dinner. Scoop it into bowls, with a spoonful of creme fraiche.

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God Bless America: Pimento Cheese

There’s nothing more American than apple pie, baseball, and bald eagles.

Unless it’s pimento cheese.

Pimento cheese is a thoroughly southern staple, one whose history goes back to the early 20th century. According to Indy Week’s Brief History of Pimento Cheese, it started as a status symbol for the fancies, gracing the tables during tea parties.

Eventually, as pimentos and processed cheese became more readily available, pimento cheese found its way into the lunch bags of textile workers, eaten on white bread or with crackers.

Nowadays, pimento cheese is practically available on every corner. Creamy and fatty and so good you don’t want to stop. Pimento cheese, you are saucy minx.

There are a lot of good options down here in the south, like Stan’s Original Pimento Cheese or the Winston-Salem jam Red Clay Gourmet Pimento Cheese.  (Try their Hickory Smoked Cheddar. I can’t even.)

But, you can make pimento cheese just as easily as you can buy it. Every self respecting southern Grandma/Maw-Maw/Me-Maw or Granny has some in her fridge.

I made this recipe for pimento cheese from Food 52. I didn’t have celery salt, so I used celery seed and it worked just as well.

Whip up a batch today. Keep it in the fridge. Slather it on a cracker or scoop it up with some celery. Put it on a grilled cheese with some bacon and tomato.

And God bless the USA.

My Endless Love

My Endless Love

Parker + Otis’ Pimento Cheese, from Food52

  • cups sharp yellow cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 8 ounces)
  • cups extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 8 ounces)
  • cup drained pimentos or roasted red peppers, finely chopped
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • To serve: crackers, baguette slices, assorted raw vegetables

Mix ingredients in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover; chill. Transfer dip to serving bowl. Surround with crackers, baguette slices, and vegetables. Alternately, make sandwiches (below).
BONUS RECIPE!!!!

Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches with Bacon & Tomato

  • Pimento Cheese Dip (above)
  • 12 slices sourdough bread
  • 12 slices bacon, cooked until crisp
  • large, ripe tomato, sliced

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread pimento cheese on 6 of the slices of sourdough. Top the cheese for each sandwich with 2 slices of bacon, 1 slice of tomato, then a second slice of bread. Toast each sandwich in a large skillet over low heat till golden brown on both sides, flipping as needed.

Transfer sandwiches to a baking sheet in the oven to finish warming through and melt the cheese. Serve hot.
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Scrumtrilescent Weeknight Dinner: Braised Moroccan Chicken and Olives

I love food.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Because it’s my blog and I’m allowed to say/do whatever I want.

…I’m gonna do it. Say whatever I want. Ready? READY?!

Butts.

(Grow up, Bethany.)

ANYWAY. I love food. And I love people who love food. And one of the people in my life who loves food is my friend Emily. About once a day one of us asks the other one, “What should I eat for dinner?”

And when I did this last Wednesday, Emily sent me a drool-worthy meal from Food 52: Braised Moroccan Chicken and Olives.

Braised Moroccan Chicken and Olives. Yum.

Um, yum.

Emily introduced me to Food52. It’s a site focused on bringing the people who create the recipes and the people who make the recipes together. It’s really a food community. And by the way, it’s a lovely website. Clean design, easy to browse, easy to search. I wish they had an app, though. (Hey, Food52, make an app!)

So when I asked Emily, “what should I eat for dinner?” She said chicken. And then she sent me this recipe. It’s one of her go to meals, easy enough to do on a weeknight. The Braised Moroccan Chicken and Olives was a contest winner (“Your Best Stew with Olives”…a bit specific, but I’m not mat at it.)

I can see why it’s one of her go-to meals. The meal comes together quickly, easy enough to make when you get home from work. A little bit of prep and a whole lot of reward. Tender chicken, a spicy sauce that just don’t quit, and every once in awhile, a briny olive. Israeli cous cous is the perfect vessel for all the elements, soaking up the sauce and cooling your mouth down (if you are a spice wimp, like me.)

When someone loves food and you love food, you listen to them. They’re never going to steer you wrong. Let you down. Run around. Desert you.

 

#rickroll

#rickroll via ultradragonball.wikia.com

 

I’m sorry, I just couldn’t resist. I do what I want.

Braised Moroccan Chicken and Olives from Food52

  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2.5 pounds chicken legs and thighs
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 ½ cup small diced onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2- 3 cups chicken stock | I used 2.
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron
  • ½ cup green olives, rinsed
  • 2 preserved lemons, pulp removed; rind cut into strips | I didn’t have this, so I just zested two lemons into the sauce. Which worked just fine!
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven or large, deep skillet or over medium high heat. Dry the chicken pieces and season them with salt and pepper. Place them in the skillet in batches and brown on all sides. Remove the chicken and place on a plate.
  2. Add the onion to the skillet and cook until slightly softened. Add the ginger, garlic, coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric and cayenne pepper and stir together. Add the chicken pieces and stir to coat with the spice mixture. Pour the chicken stock into the skillet so that 2/3 of the chicken is submerged. Add the saffron and stir to combine. Bring liquid to a simmer, cover the skillet and simmer on medium low heat 20-25 minutes. Add the olives and preserved lemons. Cover and cook another 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken and turn the heat to high. Cook for another 6-8 minutes until sauce reduces slightly. Stir in the cilantro. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  3. Serve chicken on a bed of couscous. Spoon sauce over the top. Garnish with cilantro.

 

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You Put the Lime in the Coconut: Coconut-Lime Pork Tacos

I will not apologize for certain things. For instance:

  • Being tall. I cannot help it-slash-I like it. (I didn’t always.)
  • Being sassy. I fully expect that I am the Dorothy Zbornak of most groups. Because I am sassy. And aforementionadly tall.
  • Loving the Muppets.

THAT’S RIGHT.

I love the Muppets. The Muppet Show is my jam.

And although I like to think I’m Rowlf (cool, calm, ready with a quip), I’ve been told more than once that I’m Animal (the crazed “primitive man and crazed drummer from Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem Band” according to Wikipedia.) Why fight the truth. Hey, at least nobody has figured out that I’m actually Gonzo.

How I See Myself

 

 

How Others See Me

How Others See Me

Sidenote? Why don’t I identify with any lady Muppets? Well, let’s be honest. The only real lady Muppet is Miss Piggy. And I’ll never be fancy enough to be Miss Piggy. I do not own nearly enough luggage.

The thing about it is. The Muppets are wonderful. I saw the newest Muppet movie with my parents and Gramma. I asked my Gramma, who is 91 and a bit hard of hearing, if she liked the movie. And she said “I really liked those Moffats. They’re really colorful.” They are, Gramma. They are.

But she’s right. They Moffats Muppets ARE colorful. And bright. And funny. And silly. And funny. And weird. How do you not love them?

PLEASE NOTE: I have two best friends who do not love them. Emily and Marla do not love the Muppets. And while I understand their fake reasoning (“I didn’t grow up with them!”) versus their real reasoning (“they FREAK ME OUT”), I can appreciate that some of my friends are different than me. ….I guess.

But here’s the thing.

Sometimes the Muppets can inspire you in the kitchen. And I’m not just talking about The Swedish Chef. (Bork bork bork.) No no, I’m talking about something else. Something that’s a bit more infectious. A bit more Caribbean.

In college, we would walk around singing this. “You put the lime in the coconut.” God, theatre majors are weird. How we get jobs is beyond me.

ANYWAY.

As promised, I made the Coconut Tres Leches Cake that I blogged about a few weeks back. And although I hadn’t tried it then, it was, in fact, delicious. The only thing I’d warn you about is that this cake doesn’t travel well. The leches are spilly. And they can and will spill all over your car, seeping into every crevice of your passenger seat. So, I’d say: make this one at home and leave it there.

But I did not stop there. Because when you put the lime in the coconut, you must drink it all up. (Now, let me get this straight…)

I also made Coconut-Lime Pork Tacos with Black Beans and Avocado. This is a simple, easy recipe for a weeknight dinner or a weekend lunch. Lots of flavor and little fuss. Nothing crazy. No surprises.

But if you prefer something with some surprises, maybe you should try this.

And that’s why this is a fake food blog. Bork bork bork.

Coconut-Lime Pork Tacos with Avocado from Food 52

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 2/3 cups coconut milk, stirred (full-fat recommended)
  • 3 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • 1-2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, from 1 lime | I used 2. 
  • 2 cups or one 15 ounce can cooked black beans, drained and rinsed | I used canned cause it just easier. 
  • Corn or flour tortillas, for serving
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • Other recommended toppings: corn salsa, chopped cilantro, sour cream, shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese

In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and a large pinch of salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until they’ve softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Push the onion and garlic to one side of the pan, and add the cumin, paprika, oregano, chile, and cayenne. Let sizzle in the pan until they’re toasted and fragrant, about 1 minute, then stir well until the onions and garlic are evenly coated with the spices.

Add the ground pork to the pan. Cook over medium-high heat, breaking up any large chunks of pork and stirring occasionally, until the pork is just cooked through. Season with salt to taste. Remove any excess fat from the pan.

Add the coconut milk; simmer for about 5 minutes until thickened, then stir in the black beans, pineapple juice and 1 tablespoon lime juice and cook for an additional minute or two. Taste and add more lime juice if needed. Adjust the seasoning to taste. You can serve right away, or cover the pan and let the pork gently simmer over low heat.

Using a slotted spoon, divide the ground pork equally among lightly warmed flour tortillas. Serve with lots of avocado and other toppings of your choice.

Tacos!

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And on the 15th day, I moved.

A brief respite from my humble bragging about Barcelona and #ham to tell you that in between my trip to Barcelona and my upcoming production, I moved. (Oh, you didn’t know that I went to Barcelona? WELL, I DID)

I didn’t move because I wanted to. Well, I did want to. But I also had to. My landlady decided to sell the condo I’d been renting. So, I had to find a new place. 

My parents came up last week and frankly, I could not have done it without them. Literally. If I’d done it alone, it would’ve gotten done. Like, all the stuff would be at my house. But I would’ve been living in a fort of boxes because I would’ve gotten overwhelmed and instead of unpacking the boxes, I would’ve come up with something new to do with them. Like make a fort. 

I’m living in a house now, which is exciting. And kind of scary. I think I might set up a tar and feather station, a la Home Alone. Just for some extra security. Bless this highly nutritious, microwavable meal and the people who sold it on sale. (Sorry, Sarah. Home Alone sin, quoting it out of season.)

Here are some pics. 

Naturally, the thing I’m most excited about is my new kitchen. And one thing in particular.  

IT. HAS. AN. ACTUAL. OVEN. For the last 5 years, everything I’ve baked was made in THIS monstrosity. 

Although, to be fair, it didn't usually have other racks in it.

Although, to be fair, it didn’t usually have other racks in it.

I know, it’s worse than Portia di Rossi’s new face. But, seriously folks…

This was really hard for someone who loves to bake. To make a batch of chocolate chip cookies, it would take me over 2 hours. I could fit 4 cookies on a sheet tray. I had to buy special sheet trays to fit the oven. It was just dumb. 

My dad, whose passion is model railroading (I know…we’re a really cool family), compared my love of baking to model railroading. And he said “you’re probably just as excited to bake something as I was to get out there and put cracks on the sidewalks on my model railroad!”

Again, VERY cool family. Welcome to the family, fake future husband!!

So, he asked what the first thing I was going to bake was. And I said: coconut tres leeches cake.

Much like the patatas bravas, I haven’t had a chance to make this yet. But it’s from Food 52, so I feel like it’s gonna be delicious. It’s going to be the first thing I bake. I mean, I may throw a piece of salmon in the oven. But this will be the first cake-ular thing that happens. Because man should not live on bread alone. And let them eat cake. And I’m out of phraseology, but now I’m hungry for cake.

Fuck.

Coconut Tres Leches Cake from Food 52

Serves one 9×13 cake

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), plus more for the pan
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3/4 cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • One 13 1/2 ounce can coconut milk
  • One ounces 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • Zest from 1 lime
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Heat the oven to 350. Butter a 9×13 baking dish. Melt the butter and honey together and set aside.
Whisk the flours, salt, and baking powder together in a medium bowl.
Beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a larger bowl until everything lightens in color and is nice and smooth. Now on lower speed or with a gentler arm, beat in the flour in 2 additions until the batter is just smooth. Fold in the butter and mix until it is just fully incorporated. Pour the batter into the pan and bake 25-30 minutes, rotating cake once halfway through, until it is golden and a toothpick comes out clean. This is going to look like a sort of shallow cake. Don’t worry.
While the cake bakes, mix the three milks (tres leches) together and also spread the coconut out on a baking sheet. When the cake comes out, pop the coconut into the oven to toast. Check and stir every 3-4 minutes. It should only take 8-9 minutes to get golden brown.
Use a toothpick to poke little holes all over the warm cake. Now pour the milk over it — slowly. It is going to look like a LOT of milk and you are going to want to panic. Don’t. My cake actually floated up like a raft briefly! But pour it all on and wait — 95% of that milk is going to adsorb into the cake and the rest is that lake you are looking for. Allow the cake to cool completely, and the toasted coconut as well.
Now whip the cream, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and lime zest together until stiff peaks form. Spread the cream over the cake, then sprinkle the coconut over top. You can dig in right now, our keep it in the fridge for 3-4 days, though I doubt it’ll last that long.
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Creamy Butternut Squash Soup; Do YOU need all 10 fingers?

Let’s have some real talk, folks.

Do we really NEED 10 fingers? Doesn’t 10 seem like a lot? Are we being a little bit greedy?

You definitely need the thumbs. And the middle fingers for driving and flicking off the phone after you’ve gotten off an annoying call. Pinky? Decorative, but ultimately unnecessary. As I’m still single, I’m opting to keep left hand ring finger in case I do meet THE ONE. (You’ve heard of THE ONE, right? He’s from the movies. Goofy, funny, secretly hot. Probably already my best friend but I didn’t notice him because he wears glasses and I’m head over heels for that guy who doesn’t call and rides a motorcycle and runs a bar and hates commitment and stuff.)

Anyways. No pinkies. No right hand ring finger. And you could probably lose at least one pointer.

The reason I bring this up is because I made creamy butternut squash soup last week (yeah, it’s a FAKE blog, guys…I might be late on posts sometimes). It’s a recipe adaptation from Food 52 that I found on YumSugar. And it was EASY. And it was GOOD.

Except for the whole cutting-the-butternut-squash-oh-holy-crap-I’m-pretty-sure-I’m-going-to-cut-all-of-my-fingers-off thing.

But other than that, REAL easy. Great flavor. Comforting. Comes together fast. That is, if you managed to keep your wits about you and keep your fingers connected to your palms.

There is one thing I had to go out and invest in before I did this recipe, though. And that is a Y peeler. I went to William Sonoma at the mall, expecting to shell out tons of bucks. And I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it only cost me 4 American Dollars. That made the whole squash peeling situation so much easier.

I made this soup for myself and my friend Em. Our only complaint was that it made us really tired. We both had the soup and then promptly went into a food coma. Like, lethargically flipping through a magazine and barely speaking to one another food coma. Does butternut squash have some sort of naturally occurring roofie in it?

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup, from Food 52 as found on YumSugar

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large leek, thinly sliced and cleaned (about 1 cup)
  • 1 3- to 4-pound butternut squash, peeled and roughly cubed
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg | I bought some of the actual nutmeg….nuts? Alton Brown said they last for years vs. the store bought, pre-grated stuff which loses its flavor within weeks. He wears glasses. I trust him.
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry, plus more to finish
  • 2 to 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock | I used 3 cups of chicken stock.
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more for garnish
  • Sherry vinegar, to finish

To clean the leeks, trim off dark green part and spiky, white Guy Fieri-hair at the bottom. You want to use the white and light green parts only here. Leeks live in the dirt, so they’re really, really gritty. I typically split them down the middle like a hot dog/longitudinally (that was for you, Ben), and then cut them into thin half moons. Then, let them soak in a bowl of water for 10 minutes or so, changing the water out a couple times and moving the leeks around to get all the dirt and grit out. The dirt should settle on the bottom of the bowl, so when you’re done, transfer your leeks to a paper towel to dry. Boom. Clean leeks.

To peel and cube the butternut squash, here is a lovely step by step demo that I borrowed from YumSugar.

First, remove the ends. WATCH YOUR FINGERS.

Then, cut down the middle/longitudinally/like a hot dog.

Scoop out the butternut squash guts. Make sure you get all the little strings out because the blender won’t catch that and you’ll have little annoying guts in your soup at the end.

Lay flat and peel with your Y-peeler, available for 4 American Dollars.

Cut the butternut squash into fingers.

Then cube!

Melt the butter in a medium stockpot or dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and sweat, stirring occasionally, until softened but not yet browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the butternut squash, nutmeg, pepper, and ½ teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes.

Add the sherry to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until reduced slightly (something that I didn’t really notice happening), then add enough stock to just cover the vegetables. If 3 cups isn’t sufficient, make up the difference with water. I think I put an extra cup of water in.

Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to keep it at a bare simmer, a phrase I’d never heard of before. So in my mind, I determined that a “bare simmer” was barely a simmer. Context clues! And it worked out alright. (Again. Fake food blog. Are you seriously expecting more expertise than this?)

Simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes, or until the squash is fork-tender.

Add the milk and 2 tablespoons cream and blend until smooth, either using an immersion blender or by carefully transferring to a blender in batches. Be careful with that blender, y’all. Hot things in a blender means hot things in your eyeballs.

Thanks to Sarah and her dad for that phrase!

Season to taste with salt, pepper, sherry, and sherry vinegar. Literally, I just did a little glug of the sherry and the sherry vinegar. Maybe about 1-2 tablespoons each.

Ladle into bowls and drizzle with cream.

If you managed to make it to the end of this recipe with all of your limbs, bravo! You are now free to enjoy very creamy soup that is actually pretty healthy in addition to delicious.

If you did not manage to make it to the end of this recipe with all of your limbs, that’s ok too! Duct tape a spoon to your bleeding used-to-be-a-hand. This soup is too good to be missed. Someone will drive you to the hospital later.

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