Classic Butternut Squash Soup

FullSizeRender-1Finally! Also, in Southern California at the beach we are getting some idea of what fall temperatures feel like. I mean it’s just slightly cooler, the sun hours per day have been decreasing, and it’s getting darker in the evening a lot sooner.

After being to Germany and Switzerland end of September for two weeks where it already felt a lot more like fall, this is kind of nice here too :-)

I always link the months of October and November to the good old pumpkin soup. While I was a child, my Mama would typically make a huge pot of soup for the guests at my birthday party (November 4th – coming soon…) which – at the time – I didn’t appreciate at all. Of course, there were other, kid-friendly dishes as well, so I was a happy and pleased birthday girl at the end!

In my teenage years and early twenties, I started liking the pumpkin soup at my birthdays… And then I finally started loving it and cooking it for myself, for husband, guests etc.

classic butternut squash soup

These days I am so glad, ’tis the time of the year again… And yesterday I cooked the first butternut squash soup of the season. This one is a “classic” approach using butter and half & half. Next will be a more Thai inspired version with red curry paste and coconut milk – so look out for it!

FullSizeRender

The classic butternut squash soup (with lots of fresh thyme) goes very well with slices of German Fleischwurst (a kind of ring bologna) which is very common in Germany to add cold cuts into vegetable soups. I’m happy to eat the soup straight as it is and vegetarian, but my husband loves the Fleischwurst slices!

IMG_0248

Classic Butternut Squash Soup

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Classic Butternut Squash Soup

I always link the months of October and November to the good old pumpkin soup. While I was a child, my Mama would typically make a huge pot of soup for the guests at my birthday party which – at the time – I didn’t appreciate at all. Now I absolutely love making this soup for myself, my husband and guests!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter (or cooking oil)
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and diced
  • 3 cups (20 oz. / 560g) butternut squash, cut in cubes (I used pre-cut)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 cups (~750ml) low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons half & half (or heavy cream, if desired)
  • salt
  • red pepper flakes
  • (optional for more thickness: 1 large potato, peeled and diced)

Instructions

Heat a large pot over medium-low heat and add butter. Once it is melted, add in the onions and the ginger and stir. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the butternut squash cubes and thyme leaves (and – if using – diced potato). Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the stock. Cover the pot and increase the heat to medium. Cook until the squash is soft, about 20 minutes.

Once the squash is soft, turn off the heat. Stir in the half & half and season with salt and red pepper flakes. Using a hand blender, very carefully blend everything until the soup is smooth and pureed. (Alternatively, pour the mixture into a stand blender to puree smoothly and pour back into pot.)

Cover and let simmer for 5 more minutes. Taste and season additionally if desired.

http://blog.realpeoplekitchen.com/classic-butternut-squash-soup/

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

photo 1This salsa is a delicious companion with anything from the grill… Steak, burger, seafood and grilled veggies!

It is so easy to make your own and so much better than the store bought!

photo 3On Labor Day, we had it with steak and a mixed green salad. Yummy!

What is your favorite condiment with steak? Salsa, ketchup, mustard…?

photo 4

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 1 cup

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

This salsa is a delicious companion with anything from the grill or the broiler. Very easy to make your own and so much better than the store bought!

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs tomatillos
  • 1 green jalapeño pepper, halved and seeds removed
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Remove the leaves from the tomatillos and wash them. Heat a skillet (without oil) over high heat. Roast the tomatillos and the jalapeno, turning occasionally until blackened. Just before they are done at the garlic clove for 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and grind everything with fresh cilantro, salt and pepper, in a food processor.

http://blog.realpeoplekitchen.com/roasted-tomatillo-salsa/

Avocado Cucumber Dip with Dill

photo 5

 

Most of you will know that avocado is full of healthy fats. Did you also know that it is a tree fruit? And that it is said to be the butter for vegans? ;-)

photo 3

Well, I am not vegan, but I just like plant-based dishes and options. And as my husband doesn’t eat dairy, this dip is a creamy non-dairy option! He likes it along oven-roasted potatoes – instead of anything that contains sour cream…

photo 2

 

It is wonderful with crudités or oven-roasted fingerling potatoes, but also as a spread on toast. You can even use it as a dressing on firmer lettuce like kale or radicchio!

The cucumber is great to balance out the creaminess of the avocado with some freshness.

photo 4

And dill pairs well with cucumbers anyway!

photo

When using it as a dressing, just 1-2 tablespoons of the dip (depending on how much salad you are going to make) and add more lemon juice. No need to add more oil – you will get enough healthy fats from the avocado itself already!

 

Ingredients:

1 ripe Hass avocado (or any variety), peeled and chopped

½ Hothouse cucumber (about ½ cup), chopped, peeled and seeded

1-2 Tbsps minced fresh dill

1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp pure maple syrup

salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Place all the ingredients in a mini food processor or chopper. Alternatively, in a high container and use your hand mixer – I did that, works wonderfully!

Add ¼ cup (60ml) and blend until mixture is very smooth.

photo 1-1

Season with salt and pepper.

photo 3-1

Et voilà!

And for you? Avocado – yeah or nay?

photo 2-2

Avocado Cucumber Dip with Dill

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 1 cup

This dip is wonderful with crudités or oven-roasted fingerling potatoes, but also as a spread on toast. You can even use it as a dressing on firmer lettuce like kale or radicchio, whisk some of the dip with more fresh lemon juice!

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe Hass avocado (or any variety), peeled and chopped
  • ½ Hothouse cucumber (about ½ cup), chopped, peeled and seeded
  • 1-2 Tbsps minced fresh dill
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • salt
  • pepper

Instructions

Place all the ingredients in a mini food processor or chopper. Alternatively, in a high container and use your hand mixer – I did that, works wonderfully!

Add ¼ cup (60ml) and blend until mixture is very smooth.

Season with salt and pepper.

http://blog.realpeoplekitchen.com/avocado-cucumber-dip-with-dill/