Most, if not all, of my posts so far have been about food. What can I say? Food is great.
Anyway, cooking seasonally is pretty important as far as the whole being-nice-to-our-planet thing is concerned. Our year is divided up into four neat little sections, each one bringing different weather and different crops. The more sustainable (and fun, really) thing to do is to buy what's in season. It usually tastes better, is cheaper, and is more easily available. To find out what foods grow/sell in what seasons, you can always Google it, but it also tends to reveal itself to you. Like, you know it's summer when there are massive amounts of corn at your local market for twenty-five cents a cob. I'd also recommend going to farmer's markets and trying to detect a common theme!
The common theme right about now seems to be squash. Squash and gourds and other silly-shaped produce. I can dig it. I figure it's one thing to tell you to buy and cook around the seasons, but it's quite another to help you out a bit. So, here's a recipe!
(serves 4-6? about?)
1 large butternut squash
1/2 of an acorn squash
1 large potato (or two small ones)
1 medium yellow onion
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1 small pear (or apple, whatever you'd like)
somewhere around 4 cups of vegetable broth
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme
(I should have put rosemary and sage in it so I could make a Simon and Garfunkel joke)
1 teaspoon of ginger
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 cup of creamer (I used coconut creamer, normal people could use heavy cream)
preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
before you start prepping the produce, gaze at the beauty of the vegetables. This is a crucial step.
all right, so when you're done with that, you need to peel and dice the squash, potatoes, pear, carrots, and onion. Don't dice the pear as fine as the others - just trust me on this one. The squash can be a bit tough to work with because, well, they're tough. I usually slice them into smaller sections and then just chop the peel off. If you do this, try not to loose much flesh. It's possible to peel a butternut squash, but pretty much impossible to try to do that with an acorn squash. It's kind of a trial and error thing. Be sure to leave out the fibers and seeds from the centers of the squash (you can always roast the seeds for a little snack, though!).
When you're done with all of that, the produce will not be as pretty as it once was. It's on its way to being tasty, though, so it kind of all evens out.
Okay, so transfer the squash, potatoes, onion, and carrot to a baking tray. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss it all around a bit so it's evenly coated.
Stick the tray in the oven and leave it there for ten minutes. After ten minutes, add the pear (or apple, I guess) and continue roasting for another fifteen minutes. You can use this roasting time to chop up your parsley and thyme.
When the vegetables, etc., are done, get out a pot. Put about two cups of vegetable broth in the pot and set the stove to a low heat setting. Now, stick all of the stuff you just roasted into a food processor or blender. Blend it until it's super super smooth. Sometimes it helps to throw a bit of broth in there.
So when that's done, scoop all of the blendy stuff into the pot. Mix it around. Add your herbs and spices and raise the heat level to medium. Add as much broth as you want to make it a texture that's good for you. Thick, but not too thick. I didn't measure everything exactly, but it's nice to just adjust it to your tastes.
So let it all heat there for ten minutes. Then you can add your creamer, reduce the heat, and let it simmer for about half and hour.
Lastly, you should mess with it a little. I added a bunch of cumin and didn't really measure how much. I just kept tasting it to see what it needed. I also stuck in a shake more of cinnamon and some salt. I added a little too much salt, so I put in some turbinado sugar. I think I put more black pepper, too. And a small shake of cayenne.
Serve with some toast or other tasty side!
It was delicious.
If people respond well to this post, I'd like to do more posts like this in the future, but it would be silly to put up a lot of recipes and the like if no one ever uses 'em.