Friday, December 09, 2005

Soup of Love

Last night the first real snow of this season fell on Brooklyn while we were sleeping. We woke to 3 of 4 inches of snowfall and when Francine and I arrived at the park for our morning walk, we discovered a nearly untouched winter wonderland. I know her little doggie heart was overjoyed as she leaped and bounded through the fresh white powder.

After our usual loop around the park, France was so happy. We took a little extra tour across the soccer field and played fetch with a few snowballs (she doesn't bring them back to me of course, but feverishly eats them instead), after which I headed out of the park to go home. It was then that Francine exhibited most irresistable display of cuteness ever – she stood still and refused to follow me, looking longingly at the field of snow. I called for her to come repeatedly and she slowly began to make her way until she saw a perfect stranger enter the park. Ignoring me, she actually turned back and started to follow that person instead, being all adorable like she can and playing around them as if to say, "Hey, I'll come with you as long as you don't make me leave!"

What could I do? I turned around and headed back to the field, ran around and threw more snowballs until Francine's little doggie pawprints had all but covered that once virgin field of snow. Twenty minutes later, soggy and hot inside my down coat, I turned to leave and thankfully, Francine followed. So now, as I sit and watch the snow fall oustide my kitchen window, I feel as if I have earned some good snuggle time on the couch today.


Last night I also made my third squash soup of the season. (These were the first and second soups.) The recipe I use was adapted from an Emeril recipe called "Puree of Winter Squash Soup of Love". Not only was this soup rich, creamy and delicious, but it has the silliest and most amazing name ever.
While making it and scooping out the squash you can say, "Look, a scoop of love!" and when your hands get messy doing it you can say, "Wow, love is messy. . ." Finally, when you sit down to taste your creation, exclaim, "Mmmmm, love is good!"

Here is the recipe:

Soup of LOVE

2 acorn squashes, about 2 pounds each
1 buttercup squash, about 2 pounds
1 butternut squash, about 2 pounds
1 stick of butter, cut into tablespoons
1/4 cup molasses
2 carrots, peeled and halved
2 parsnips, peeled and halved
1 onion, julienned
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 cups white wine
8 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon allspice
Salt and white pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream

optional garnish 1:
sliced almonds
cayenne pepper

optional garnish 2:
2 cups roasted spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons creme fraiche
1 tablespoon chopped chives

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the squashes in half, lengthwise and remove the seeds. Season the squash with salt and white pepper. Place the halved squashes, skin side down, in a shallow roasting pan. Place one tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of molasses in the center of each squash. Arrange the carrots, parsnips, onions, and garlic cloves around the squash. Pour 1 cup of the wine and 1 cup of the stock in the pan, cover with foil, and bake for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and cool the vegetables for 5 minutes. Scoop the flesh out of each squash and place in large sauce pot. Discard the skin. Place the other roasted vegetables and the cooking liquid in the pot. Add the remaining wine and chicken stock to the pot. Bring the liquid up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Season with allspice, salt and pepper. Simmer the soup for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Using a hand-held blender, puree the soup until smooth.

I added a dash of cayenne and served it with sliced almonds. However, if you're interested, here is Emeril's suggested garnish:

In a saucepan heat remaining butter. When the butter has melted, saute the spaghetti squash for 2 minutes. Add the parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup in a shallow bowl. Garnish the soup with the Sauteed spaghetti squash, creme fraiche, and chives.

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