Roasted Sweet Potato and Apple Soup

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So I realize “sweet potato and apple” seems a little fall-ish, at least to me, but this post has been in my draft folder since October, and I figured I might as well post it during a January “Soup Week” rather than leave it there until next fall (mainly, because I will have forgotten about it by then).  And altruistically, I thought some of you might want it sooner – there’s a good possibility that you have all of the ingredients for this soup in your house already, and could make it for dinner tonight.  In less than an hour, with zero trips to the grocery store.

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This recipe is courtesy of my dear friend Ellie, who is mom to one of my all-time favorite kids (Liam, age 4.5). Last fall Ellie subscribed to some sort of family-friendly recipe sharing service, where they would give you weekly meals that were healthy, kid-friendly, budget-friendly, quick, etc. I can’t really remember the details, I just remember I happened to be there for dinner the night that she made this and I got really exited about it – so excited, in fact, that I went home and made it for myself, and brought it to work for lunch for weeks thereafter. Turns out it’s not just moms that need quick and healthy meal ideas, it’s all of us.

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By “quick and easy,” I’m talking really quick and really easy. Simply peel and roughly chop two sweet potatoes, one apple, and one onion. Toss them with a couple garlic cloves, a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast them all together for about 30 minutes at 450 degrees F (stirring every 10 minutes or so).

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Something strange is happening with the lighting (instagram filters) in these photos, but they’re a before and after.  Once the veggies and apple are done roasting, simply dump them into a pot, cover with chicken or vegetable stock, and purée.   Garnish with a little greek yogurt and perhaps some chives and you have yourself a quick, healthy, and delicious bowl of soup. Bon Apétit!

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Roasted Sweet Potato and Apple Soup

Total Time: 50 minutes (20 minutes prep/30 minutes roasting)

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into medium-sized chunks
1 firm apple, such as Gala or Jonagold, peeled, cored, and quartered
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste (I used more)
1/8 teaspoon pepper, or to taste (I used more)
3-4 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
Yogurt, chives, croutons, and/or roasted pumpkin seeds (my personal fave), for garnish

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.  Put the sweet potatoes, apple, onion, and garlic in a roasting pan.  Toss them with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast, tossing every ten minutes or so, until they’re soft, about 30 minutes.  Transfer roasted veggies to a soup pot and add just enough broth to cover them (if you’re going to purée the soup in a blender, you can just add the veggies and broth to the blender).  Purée (using immersion blender or a regular blender or food processor) until smooth, adding more broth if necessary.  Warm the soup over low heat, or refrigerate for up to one day, or freeze for up to 3 months.  Stir in yogurt or sour cream just before serving for a creamier taste, if desired.

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Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Homemade Croutons and Roasted Butternut Squash Seeds

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Fall is my favorite season for many reasons, but one of the big ones is of course that fall means soup season is here.  If possible, I’m even more excited about soup season than I am about pumpkin season (and we know I’m pretty excited about pumpkin season). This soup makes a perfect weeknight dinner, as well as yummy leftovers for work week lunches. I found this recipe via a cooking show, and was pleasantly surprised at how simple and delicious it was. And the croutons and/or roasted squash seeds make it that much better (the best part about soup is that it can be a vehicle for so many fun toppings!).

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The only prep work you have to do is chop your squash, dice an onion, and grate some ginger. And of course you could always buy the pre-chopped squash if you wanted to save yourself some time, although I think you get better flavor if you start with a whole squash – plus that way you have seeds too.  I have no problem with a pre-chopped onion, however.

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The recipe calls for one full can of coconut milk and one cup of water.  And while it’s delicious when made that way, it’s pretty rich (and it would be so healthy but for the 700+ calories in that delicious little can). It also gets pretty thick once it cools.  Now I usually make it with light coconut milk, and/or extra water.

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Soups, previously: White Bean and Kale, Split Pea, Cream of Fresh Tomato, Pumpkin Black Bean. Hard to believe this blog has been around for almost nine months, and this is only the fifth time I’ve posted a soup! I’m sure we’ll remedy that in the months to come.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup, from The Chew

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced into 1/2″ cubes
1 medium white onion, diced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 two-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 15-ounce can coconut milk
1 cup water
For garnish: cilantro, lime wedges, Greek yogurt, croutons, or roasted squash seeds (recipes below)

Coat the bottom of a large soup pot or Dutch oven with olive oil. Add butter and melt over medium-high heat (you could omit the butter and just use a little more olive oil if you like). Add the butternut squash, onion, and a generous pinch of salt and cook until softened, 10-15 minutes. Add ginger and curry powder and cook for one minute longer. Add coconut milk and water and simmer until the squash is very soft, about 15 minutes. Purée with an immersion blender and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro leaves, a lime wedge, a dollop of Greek yogurt, and/or one of the delicious crunchy toppings below.

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Cut a loaf of bread into cubes (this is a great way to use up leftover baguette). Toss the cubed bread on a rimmed baking sheet or jelly roll pan with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and cracked black pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, stirring once or twice so that the croutons brown evenly. Stored in an airtight container or ziplock bag, these will keep for a couple weeks (if you don’t snack on them like I do).

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My new trick for squash seeds is to separate them from the squash flesh like pomegranate seeds – submerge the seedy flesh in water, then use your fingers to pull the seeds out – then drain. So quick and easy! Dry your seeds and then toss with a small amount of olive oil, salt, and pepper (you could also add some curry powder here, or any other spices you like). Roast at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently so they don’t burn.

Friday Faves

Hello again, Friday. It’s gray and rainy here in Seattle, and I’m loving every minute of it (I can say that only after confirming the forecast predicts a sunny 75 for my friend Jody’s wedding tomorrow). I fell asleep to a thunder and lightning storm last night, and woke up feeling more rested than I have in weeks. I know fall isn’t here to stay quite yet, but I love these first few hints of it. Between two weddings, Husky football, my fantasy draft (ESPN gave my team an A, if you were wondering), and the birth of my good friends Wes and Kyle’s new baby girl, there was a lot going on this week. A few highlights:

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{brunch at the Agua Verde Paddle Club on Lake Union}

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{beet and veggie juice at Tom Douglas’s amazing new “urban marketplace” downtown Seattle}

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{nothing better than the Sunday sports page after a huge Husky win}

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{gluten-free baking experiment from Love and Lemons}

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{nothing sweeter than a brand new baby – and nothing more fun than putting together treats for her and her family}

Happy Friday, everyone! No Husky game tomorrow, so I guess all I can say is Go Hawks!!

Friday Faves

So I realized last night that we’re halfway through August, and thus two weeks away from Labor Day. Can someone please tell me how that happened? Where did the summer go? Fall is my favorite season, so I’m not too sad, but it’s always a little scary to realize how fast time is flying by. It was almost dark at 8:30 last night – as excited as I am for sweaters and boots and football season, that kind of made me want to cry. Next week I might have to focus on more “summery” highlights, but for now, some randoms:

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Coffee and breakfast treats at my favorite Madrona café on Sunday morning, after dropping off my Glassybaby rental (let’s pretend that peach scone is a tofu scramble, Carrie Underwood-diet-style).

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Thank you gift from my friends Ellie and Charlie after our play date last Saturday night. Babysitting used to pay five dollars an hour, and I would do homework once the kids went to bed – this time I received a lovely “sussie” instead, and I got to pour myself a glass of wine and watch Mindy Project reruns after the babies went down.

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Falafel salad – my new obsession from Harried & Hungry, my favorite grab-and-go workweek lunch place. Healthy(ish) falafel recipe coming soon – such a great vegetarian (and gluten free!) option that I often forget about.

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Happy hour at Bottlehouse, my new favorite summer/deck/happy hour hang out in Madrona (where I spent a lot of time last week).

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Some of my favorite pics from my brother’s wedding last weekend (at least, from those that were on my phone) – clockwise from top left: terrible angle for me, but somehow the only picture I have of me and Joe; my hair, which I was obsessed with – after countless weddings with “meh” bridesmaid hair, finally a “messy side bun” that turned out like I wanted it to (and on a related note, anyone planning a wedding in the Portland area should call Portland Makeup and Hair immediately); the beautiful bride and groom; killing time pre-ceremony  with the adorable flower girls.

Happy Friday, everyone! Enjoy these last few weeks of summer while they last!

Friday Faves, Portland Edition

Happy August 9th, everybody! Today is my brother’s wedding day, so it’s an extra exciting day around here. I spent a lot of time in Portland over the past week, in preparation for the wedding festivities, so please enjoy some of my “Portland Faves” while I’m off to get my hair and makeup done (and have a mimosa):

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My all time favorite food cart, from the city that made food carts hip. My perfect lunch: “bambino” size Whole Bowl, hold the sour cream and olives, for $5. I’ve been saying for years that I wanted to bring WB to Seattle, but I recently discovered the “GFF” cart and its a pretty close second.

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Stumptown coffee at Petunia’s, my favorite vegan, gluten-free cafe in the Pearl – I didn’t realize when I ordered my Americano that “vegan” meant no half and half, just almond milk – only in Portland! (also: reasons I could never actually be vegan).

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Pre-wedding brow wax at Blush, my first stop whenever I’m in town.

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My Grandpa Nelson passed away fifteen years ago, but during his life he had the most amazing (and enormous) garden and orchard. Rows and rows of tomato plants, corn, carrots, potatoes, tons of berries, plums, apples, pears – I could go on and on. One of the saddest things to watch after his death was the deterioration of his garden. It’s only taken 15 years, but this year my dad planted his first tomato plants.  I even got to make a yummy pasta with the first red ones!

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Last Friday night I drug my mom, aunt and cousins to dinner at Simpatica, the restaurant where my parents hosted the rehearsal dinner for my brother’s wedding last night (blog post coming Monday, get excited).  I wanted to see the space, taste some wines, and do some last minute layout-planning for the rehearsal dinner, but as a perk we all enjoyed an outrageous four course meal. 1st: fried squash blossom stuffed with herbed chèvre on a buttermilk dipping sauce; 2nd: baby mixed greens, grilled haricot verts, blueberries, chopped almonds, red wine vinaigrette; 3rd: fennel-crusted Oregon Albacore, sautéed padron peppers, cherry tomatoes, corn, basil, green goddess dressing; 4th: peach crisp, crème fraîche ice cream.

I hope everyone is looking forward to something fun this weekend.  Wish me luck on (co) writing my best man speech – nothing like waiting until the very last minute! xoxo

Friday Faves

Happy Friday, friends! Can you believe it’s already August? It feels like this summer – this whole year, actually – is flying by. After weeks and weeks of perfect summer weather, Seattle had its first few overcast days this week, and I know I’m a true Northwesterner because the grayness, mist, and 65 degree temperatures felt heavenly. This girl is definitely ready for football season. A few highlights from the half sunny, half gray week: image Wine tasting at Two Vintners, my new favorite Washington winery. I joined their Wine Club this past weekend and can’t wait to go back – and to drink the Grenache Blanc that I purchased (featured on Canlis’ tasting menu this month, no less). image Peach shortcake for my friend Scott’s 30th birthday dinner – homemade Smitten Kitchen biscuits, fresh peaches tossed with lemon juice, cinnamon, and sugar (Scott: “are these like homemade canned peaches?”), and Ben & Jerry’s Peach Cobbler ice cream (Haagen Dazs vanilla bean on the side – no such thing as too much ice cream, right?). image Latest score from the (constant) Banana sale. The day I attempted to purchase these, they were 40% off of the first markdown – but they had to ship them from a different store, and by the time they processed the transaction the following day they were 50% off of a second, further reduced price. $130 shoes for $38, yes please! image Nordstrom Anniversary Sale “Beauty Exclusives” – $268 value for $128 – if you do the math (which I obviously did), that’s a 53% savings. Stock up before the sale ends on Sunday! image My half successful, half failed attempt at dinner last night – the all-over-Pinterest Martha Stewart one-pot pasta. I did one pot with gluten free angel hair (fail), and one with Smitten Kitchen’s farro version, which turned out delicious. I’m sure regular pasta would be fine – the rice pasta just got too gummy – but I think the fact that the farro takes 30 minutes really helps develop the flavors (the pasta only takes 7-10, so those onions still looked pretty raw to me). Wishing everyone a lovely, back-to-being-in-the-80s weekend. I’m having another peach dessert tonight (peach crisp with crème fraîche ice cream, how yummy does that sound?!) -trying to enjoy these last few summer weeks while we have them.  I suppose fall will be here soon enough.  xoxo