Something my family does really well is food. We like to eat it, talk about it, think about it… We live to eat, we don’t eat to live. Usually as we’re finishing up one meal discussion about the next meal begins.
As is the custom in many places, many of our events take place around food. Christmas morning means brunch. Birthday dinners mean a special meal to celebrate the birthday person. Watching a movie in the evening means popcorn and snacks.
While we were in town an aunt and uncle from Mom’s side were also visiting. So we got together with some of the extended family for a meal. Many in our family have dietary restrictions. So we just said we’d do it potluck style and people could contribute with something they can eat. All the diets were accounted for. We range from gluten-free to vegan. But, one thing that all of our restrictions can tolerate is veggies. So I made soup.
The summer veggies were on their way out. The lighter, less nutrient dense summer squash being replaced with the heartier winter varieties. I used both. I roasted them, along with some onions, and a whole head of garlic. It was simple – olive oil and a hot oven for all of them. An hour later I plomped the roasted veggies into a soup pot with some water and let them simmer for a while. Simple and delicious.
Let’s talk about the roasted garlic again for a second. I used a whole head. I wouldn’t have done that had it been raw (unless I wanted to be the only one to enjoy the soup ;)). Roasting garlic mellows out the sharp, strong flavor. It’s one of my favorite things. It’s perfect if you need something to spread on toast, to mix in to hummus, and to add to soup.
I like to add a bit of acid to most recipes. I add it near the end, or just after it’s come off the heat. It adds a bit of brightness and finishes off a dish really nicely. Lemon or lime juice works well, so does white vinegar.
The soup was a success. My family loved it (unless they were just being polite). Squash soup is one of my favorite ways to usher in fall and soup season.
- 2 large pattypan squash, halved, seeds scraped out
- 1 large summer squash (zucchini or any other type), halved, seeds scraped out
- 1 large spaghetti squash, halved, seeds scraped out
- 3-4 onions, peeled and halved
- 1 head garlic, top sliced off
- 10-12 C water or vegetable stock
- 1 t mustard powder (or 1 T grainy mustard or dijon)
- sprinkle cayenne
- 2 C (approx.) coconut milk
- 1 t honey
- to taste salt
- 2 1/2 t lemon juice
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Drizzle the squash and onions with oil and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Drizzle the garlic with oil and wrap in tin foil. Roast summer squash for about 30 minutes (or until tender and flesh pierces easily with a fork) and onions, garlic, and spaghetti squash for about 60 minutes (or until tender and flesh pierces easily with a fork).
- Let garlic cool a bit before handling. Scrape squash out of skin. Add veggies through cayenne to a soup pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 1 hour or so. Add coconut milk through salt. Heat for a few minutes. Blend until very smooth (using a hand blender, or in a blender with the plug in the lid removed and the hole covered with a clean towel). Add lemon juice. Taste for seasoning.