Sunday, November 13, 2011

"Nutty Asian" Butternut Squash Soup

It's what always happens. I have a whole bunch of film-related projects to finish and I get distracted looking up recipes online. It's getting chilly these days so I'm in a soup-y kind of mood. Last week, I made a slow-cooker turkey chili that's been the go to meal when we're too busy to sit down and eat. The hubz and I have very different eating schedules and he is so food-challenged that if I don't make these one pot meals for the week, he'll just end up eating white rice with dried, shredded pork (Vietnamese dish) that sits in the fridge. There's nothing wrong with that. It's just so boring. I guess it's better than eating cereal for dinner.

Anyway, on twitter, SkinnyJinny posted this picture of his curry cashew butternut squash soup with coconut yogurt that he made using Sensual Foodie's recipe and I KNEW I had to make a batch, or at least a rendition of it.

I call this the "Nutty Asian Butternut Squash Soup" because in some weird way, I feel like I find my identity in soups. I'm a nutty Asian, especially when my ADD gets the best of me and I put everything on hold to perfect my cravings. But, on the realz, it actually contains coconut milk and cashews which are NUTTY and curry and turmeric which are ASIAN.

The taste is very similar to Me's coconut curry that I make all the time, except it's sweeter and more squash-y (if that's a word).

Nutty Asian Butternut Squash Soup (serves a crap ton of people, or a few people a lot of times)

  1. One whole butternut squash
  2. 4-5 Large carrots
  3. 1 whole white onion
  4. Enough chicken stock to cover (I used about 3-4 cups)
  5. 1 can coconut milk
  6. 1 cup soaked cashews
  7. 4 cloves of garlic
  8. 2 tbs butter
  9. 1/2 tsp of curry powder
  10. 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
  11. A dash of paprika
  12. salt and pepper
  1. Soak the cashews in a bowl of filtered water. Put water just a little more than to cover it.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Halve the butternut squash lengthwise and stick it in the oven until it's roasted. Roasting it makes it much easier to handle. *You can skip this step and peel the butternut squash and cut it into same similar size cubes as the carrots.
  3. Meanwhile, chop up all the carrots and onions into little one inch chunks. If you want to chop the butternuts instead of roasting it, do it now.
  4. In a sauce pan, heat the butter over medium and then sauté the onions stirring, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Salt as needed.
  5. Add in the carrot chunks and the squash if cubed. Add the stock, just enough to cover and bring to a boil.
  6. If you roasted the butternut squash, this is a good time to take it out of the oven, let it cool slightly and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Then, scoop out the flesh with the spoon onto the boiling pot.
  7. Lower the heat so that the soup stays at a gentle simmer and add the coconut milk, curry, and turmeric. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the carrots and squash have softened completely.
  8. Transfer the contents of the pot to a food processor or a blender and add handfuls of soaked cashews with the soup. Puree until smooth and make sure to do it in batches. If you have an immersion blender, you can blend it straight into the pot and add the cashews to your pot.
  9. Bring it all back into the pot and simmer a little longer to make sure they're all the right consistency. This is a good time to season.
  10. Serve: Pour soup into bowl and add a little sour cream or yogurt, olive oil, and pepper. Cumin and yogurt will go very well together and you can create cute little swirls in it too.
This soup is amazeballs. My husbands eyes popped out of his head when he tried a few spoonfuls. It's also really hearty because of the nuts and the coconut milk so you will feel full after just a small bowl of it. It comes out really thick but you can always thin it out with more chicken stock. Yay to Nutty Asians!

Carrots, Squash, Onions simmering in chicken broth

After adding a can of coconut milk, simmer until squash and carrots are soft

blend, puree, process in whatever blending contraption you have until silky smooth
do it in batches

I put it back in the pot and let it simmer a bit more 
to get all the batches to even out

Top with sour cream, creme fraiche, yogurt, whatever cooling white thing

I also drizzled some garlic olive oil and cracked some pepper

Make cute swirly designs. Thick.

Can thin it out with more chicken stock. I like mine thick.

Friday, November 4, 2011

LA Food and Wine Festival 2011

This year I got to go to the first annual LA Food and Wine Festival held at LA Live as a freelance producer for KCET Food. I covered the Red Carpet, HEAT (LA's spiciest after party), Grand Tasting 1, Rick Bayless Demonstration, and Grand Tasting 2.

Check out the KCET Food version on their website. At least for now, it's on their front page! Thanks KCET Food for letting me go and eat like a pig for a few days, interview chefs, connect with other food lovers, and be a part of something huge that I wouldn't have been able to take advantage of with my lowly film school student budget.

The video on here is the song I initially chose for the event to capture the energy of a celebration for a first annual event of this magnitude. Unfortunately, for copyright reasons, I had to change it.

My favorite food part of the food festival was, Roy Choi's subtle jerk chicken, David LeFevre's meatballs (no pics, just in video) and:

Ray Garcia's bacon wrapped bacon

 John Sedlar's corn flan with quinoa 
(I can't believe I got to have it again after eating it for the first time in Mexico!)
Another reason to visit Rivera asap)
Graham Elliot's foielipops (foie gras discs covered in pop candy)

Daniel Boulud's terrines and assorted meat jams,

 Mark Peel's mussels

Foie Gras Lollipop (thanks, Lexus!)

The Foundry's famous grilled cheese sandwich 
(won best grilled cheese last year)

Celestino Drago's truffle boar angolotti pasta
(check out those black truffles)

Wolfgang's WP Catering's Bouillabaisse aka amazing soup
You really have to see it in all the angles
(possibly the best thing I had)
FIG's biscuit and gravy
(the biscuits were heavenly soft, though in the pic it looks like it could be hard)

Stefan Richter's red wine lollipop

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