Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fall Fun Extravaganza

My two favorite holidays happen to be ones that my family (of choice) and I have invented over the past few years. These are Fall Fun Extravaganza, held in October, and Christmas Extravaganza Preview, held in December. For my first post in weeks (I do plan to make this a regular thing!), I want to talk about this year's FFE, but first an introduction to the holiday.

The day can include many activities including my favorite, riding the cutoff school bus into the orchard at Strawberry Acres and picking apples.

It might also include carving jack o'lanterns.

And it always includes great food! This year Christina bought great cheese to accompany our bounty of apples, and I brought pumpkin dip, served with ginger snaps. For our entree we had krautnachlen (which i have no idea how to spell), fried cabbage and noodles. Yum! And I contributed corn muffins and a delicious butternut squash and apple bisque with a cider cream.

The recipe, which is adapted from butternut squash soup with cider cream on epicurious.com, originally from Bon Appetit, November 1998, appears at the end of the post.

Finally, we had great apple dumplings with vanilla ice cream for dessert. We also enjoyed each other's company and the fall weather. It was lovely.

Soup Recipe:

5 T butter

2 ½ pound butternut squash

2 cups leeks, chopped (white and light green parts)

One medium carrot, diced

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced

1 ½ tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried sage

5 cups of vegetable stock

1 cup apple cider

½ cup whipping cream (optional)

Prepare squash:

*Preheat oven to 425 degrees F

*Cut squash in half lengthwise

*Place face down in baking pan

*Roast for thirty minutes


*Remove skin and dice flesh

In soup pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium high.




Sautee for ten minutes.

Add squash. Sautee five minutes more.






Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium low and cover.

Simmer approximately thirty minutes, until everything is tender.

Cool slightly.

Puree soup, either in batches in blender or (preferably) with immersion blender.

Bring soup to preferred temperature for serving.

If you want to add cream, do so right before serving.

For the cider cream:

Boil 3/4 cup of apple cider so that it reduces to 1/4 cup. Whisk this into 2/3 cup of sour cream. Spoon this cream over each bowl of soup. I think this makes adding the heavy cream to the soup unnecessary. It's a very rich dish without it.

Even better, when Matt and I were ready a bit tired of eating soup leftovers, I mixed in a bit of cream and tossed it in a pan with leftover pasta, and it made a delicious sauce. I then shredded a bit of smoked gouda on top.

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