I made butter recently. One of the things that I have been enjoying this COVID era is hosting my pod members/friends to dinner in my apartment. Before the COVID era, whenever I was going to spend time with friends, it was usually done outside the house. A quick stop at the ice-cream place in the summer. Or a jaunt at the local thrift shop, Savers, to browse was generally my go-to friend hang out. With a raging pandemic, going out hasn’t felt as safe as staying in. So when I invited my friend B to dinner, we both knew that meant a trip to my apartment. The menu was pretty simple because I knew I was going to spend the day studying. I wanted to make sure that it was a stress-free day for me and her.Continue Reading “Making Butter”
The first time I had a variation of the Butternut Squash soup with black beans, it was such an unexpected treat. It happened a couple of years ago at the Boston Public Market.
The Boston Public Market is one of my favorite places to wonder in the winter. I love looking at the stalls of the local producers and buying donuts. Every once in a while, I stop there to get a meal. Usually, I either get a pastrami sandwich or I go get food from Bon Me.
On the day I tried the butternut squash soup, I got accosted on my way to Bon Me by an affable guy. He was offering me soup for free. He told me, “if you don’t like the soup, you don’t have to pay for it.” Unlike my normal self, I didn’t brush him off. I figured I had nothing to lose. Plus, I loved his approach. So I tried the soup and I paid for it. It was amazing. His was a vegetarian version that was tangy and spicy with loads of vegetables and beans with sweet potato. I love it and I ate every bit of it.
My version of the soup tries to capture some of the magic of that moment in a simpler version. The butternut squash soup with black beans starts with a mirepoix. Mirepoix is are so commonly sold in grocery store prepped vegetable sections. Buying the vegetable pre-chopped makes life easier but I usually make my own mirepoix at home because I don’t like carrots. Also,
The broth is definitely my homemade chicken broth that I have tailored to my specific taste. One special thing that I do with my soup is make cut my butternut squash into tiny cubes. Bigger cubes would work in the soup, they would just need to be cooked longer.
The magic spice in this bowl of goodness is the cumin. The cumin brings everything together and especially after the final squeeze of lime. Don’t skip out on the cumin or the lime. It makes such a huge difference to the way the taste plays out.
If there is one thing I am loving this winter, it is finding easy ways to eat my vegetables on the regular without it feeling like a chore. This butternut squash soup with black beans is such a joyous experience that I can’t help repeating it.
Butternut Squash Soup with Black Beans
- 2 Cups Butternut Squash
- 1 Can Black Beans rinsed
- 1 Cup Mirepoix
- 4 Cups Chicken Broth
- 1 Lime
- 1/2 tsp Cumin Powder
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 1 tbsp Vegetable oil
- This the perfect recipe to use the pre-cut butternut squash that is sold in the stores. It cuts down on prep time. Cut the butternut squash into chunks if you are prepping it yourself. I prefer smaller pieces to cut down on cooking time.
- Smash the garlic cloves. Add the oil into a medium saucepan. After heating for a minute, add the mirepoix and smashed garlic cloves. Sprinkle a pinch of salt. Stir frequently and allow the vegetables to sweat for few minutes until translucent.
- Once mirepoix looks soft, add in the butternut squash chunks and the cumin. Stir frequently for about four minutes, then add in the chicken broth. Bring it up to a simmer.
- Add in the black bean. Taste the soup to check that salt is at an optimal level. Let it all cook together until the butternut squash chunks are tender.
- Serve soup in a bowl with a wedge of lime. Squeeze lime juice over the soup before eating.
My darling Boston has been experiencing a warmer than expected winter, so far. The lack of cold has meant that I have developed a robust appetite for soups as I usually do. This week, we had a bit of a cold snap when the temperature dropped into the teens from the mid-30s. It was a wonderful opportunity to make this carrot curry soup.
The truth is that I don’t know if I really like carrots. I am a bit of a picky eater. There are certain foods I only tolerate in specific preparations. Carrots are one of those. I can only seem to eat my carrots in soup form. Any other preparation and I am not likely going to be a fan. Although, there are a few salad options I have tried and liked.
I, overwhelmingly, prefer to taste the full range of flavors on my vegetables. One of the things that
As the name Carrot Curry Soup suggests, the curry paste is an important part of this production. Finding a good red curry paste makes a difference in this soup. I usually buy a popular brand that I have used and liked for years. Toasting the curry paste a bit before cooking is something I learned from reading South East Asian recipes. It gives the curry a chance to develop a heavenly fragrance while waking up dormant oils.
There is a bit of a choose your adventure to making soup. You can make it as thick or as thin as you desire. I personally prefer this carrot curry soup so thick it feels like a mousse. The feel of air on the tongue is one that makes quite a difference when eating this.
I have served this carrot curry soup with an insanely flavorful Walnut Cilantro pesto sauce that is still in testing. Hopefully, I can get that recipe out to you soon.
Please try the recipe and let me know what you think.
Carrot Curry Soup
- 1 pound Carrot peeled and quartered
- 4 Tbsp Coconut Oil
- 3 Tbsp Red Curry Paste
- 13.5 oz Full Fat Coconut Milk this basically one can of coconut milk
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 inches ginger chopped
- Salt to taste
- The first step is roasting the carrots. Put the carrots on a baking sheet, add in two tablespoons of coconut oil and some salt. Mix it so that everything is well coated. Place in an oven that has been preheated to 400F. Roast for 25 minutes or until carrots is well browned.
- In a medium-sized pot, heat up the leftover coconut oil. Add in the chopped garlic and ginger. Sauteed at medium heat for about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the red pepper paste. Keep stirring and heating until the paste mixture is fragrant.
- Pour the coconut milk as well as 2-3 cups of water. Stir until the paste is well dissolved into the liquid. Add in the roasted carrots. Let it boil at medium heat for about 10-15 minutes.
- Let soup cool down a bit before attempting to blend, for safety reasons. Once it is cool enough to handle, blend soup until smooth. This can easily be done in a food processor or blender.