Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fall foods are the best!

Fall is my favorite season, always has been. Fall foods are the best part! I recently had some amazing seasonal meals, my favorite came from Lightcatcher Winery (we had a bottle of their spiced red wine, too). Mushroom ravioli with a grape sauce and cauliflower puree, and a salad with toasted walnuts, gorgonzola, apples, pears and a maple-onion vinigarette.

Unfortunately, between work and school, I'm gone 50+ hours a week and never seem to have the energy I need to try new recipes here at home. When your routine is get up/go to school/go to work/sleep/get up and do it all over again, it sort of zaps your will to do anything at all.

Occasionally, however, I manage to pull it all together and cook something new. Last week I made this butternut squash soup from Cooking Light. It was good the first night, but I really didn't like the reheated leftovers. Make this for a crowd, or cut the recipe in half and decide for yourself if the leftovers are worth it. The spiced pumpkin seeds were AMAZING!

1 tbs powdered sugar
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs beaten egg white
1/4 tsp water
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of ground red pepper
3/4 c pumpkinseed kernels

Combine everything but the seeds in a bowl and stir well. Add the seeds, and stir to coat. Spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and coated with a small amount of cooking spray or oil. Bake at 300 for 15 minutes, stir, and bake 15 more minutes. Once the seeds have cooled, break them apart (they tend to stick together).

Butternut squash soup:

3 1/2 pounds butternut squash, seeded and cut in half
1 tbs vegetable oil
1/4 tsp salt
4 c chicken broth
2 c water
1/2 tsp more salt

Brush the cut sides of the squash with the oil and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt. Place face-down on a coated baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Set aside to cool, when you can handle them, scrape out the pulp and discard the skin.

Place the pulp and chicken stock in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Use a stick blender to blend until smooth. Stir in the water and remaining salt, and let it come to just barely a simmer before you kill the heat. Serve with the spiced seeds on top!