Butternut and acorn squash soup

English: Cucurbita pepo (acorn squash). Locati...
English: Cucurbita pepo (acorn squash). Location: Maui, Foodland Pukalani (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Onions on a neutral, mostly white background
Onions on a neutral, mostly white background (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I decided that I would eat my still life, autumn display.  I had made a butternut squash soup before and an acorn squash soup, but never did I put the two together.  I started out with about 3 tablespoons or so of butter and melted it into a pot, I added 1 sliced, sweet onion with about 4 fresh sage leaves.  I let it cook for about 5 minutes or more because it was so tough cutting up my acorn squash and butternut squash.  I would advise cutting them up in cubes prior to cooking the onions.  I then added the cut up squash.  I let it cook for about 3 or 4 minutes with the onions.  Then I added about 4-5 glasses of water and two bouillon cubes.  I let it cook for a while till the squash was tender.  It was too thick, so I added more water, each time letting it cook together well.  This soup can be thick or thin depending on taste.  I like it in between.  I used the hand blender to mix it all up.  I cooked it some more.  I saw many recipes that added heavy cream, yogurt, or even cream cheese.  I had none of the above, but I did add about 1/3 cup milk, or one big pour.   It added to the creamy-ness and made the soup silky smooth.  It was delicious.  At the end add a bit of nutmeg.  I served this in my Japanese Ramen bowls which made it look nice, but the photo doesn’t do it justice.  The lighting was bad and we didn’t eat till 10pm.  My husband came home super late from work.  I served this with some french bread. I buy the – french small french baguette from trader joes.  I put them right in the freezer.  When I want them, I just heat the oven up to 350 and pop the frozen par-baked bread in for about 10 minutes. It turns out great.  No preservatives and the closest thing to fresh baguette I get in Rancho Palos Verdes.  This dinner is very inexpensive, filling and yummy.  Enjoy.

5 tbls of butter

1 onion sliced or chopped

1 acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cubed

1 butternut squash, same as above

2 bouillon cubes-chicken or vegetable

1/3 cup milk

4-5 sage leaves or dried sage

pinch of nutmeg and salt

Cucurbita moschata 'Butternut'. Original descr...
Cucurbita moschata ‘Butternut’. Original description: Courges butternut (Cucurbita moschata) Photo JH Mora, septembre 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Floating islands

Whisking egg whites
Whisking egg whites (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Crème anglaise made from milk, eggs, sugar and...

This was the most amazing and simple dessert I made.  During our stay in France, we were at a cafe eating lunch.  My husband and son didn’t want a dessert, fine for them, I was thinking I’m going back to the states in 4 weeks, time to eat up all the wonderful things possible on this visit.  I ordered l’ile flottante a lovely french desert.  It arrived at the table and my husband was curious and took a bite.  Basically it’s a big poof cloud on a liquid creme anglaise.  It’s so delicious.  He gobbled up most of my desert.  My son only 6 still scared of liquidy looking, strange things passed on it.  I decided I needed to try it at home back in Los Angeles.  I searched on line for many different recipes.  I found some that added corn starch or other things.  I knew it was a very simple desert, so finally I found one that just asked for 1.5 cups of milk, a split vanilla pod, 3 eggs separated and 115 grams of castor sugar.  Voila.  I found it and made it.

I did what they said.  Beat the egg whites, add a pinch

of salt until the eggs have firm peaks.  Continue beating the eggs while slowly adding 40 grams of sugar.  The eggs can be either put in boiling water or do what I did… 45 seconds in the microwave which is totally unheard of for me.  I don’t like microwaves, but I am a horrible egg poacher, I just couldn’t see how I could do egg whites.  So I thickened out, oh no, sounds bad while talking about eggs.  Anyway, I used the fast, microwave route.  They were perfect. I put them on a plate and in the fridge to keep.  I then made my custard.  Or wait, I made my custard first, but I don’t think it matters.  I heated the milk over a low heat with the vanilla pod slip in it.  I took out most of the seeds and added it mixing the milk.  Heat the milk till it bubbles a bit then remove from heat.  In a bowl mix the egg yolks and 75 grams of sugar.  Then pour the hot milk on this egg mixture.  Mix well.  Pour the mixture into a clean saucepan, add heat over low heat for 5 minutes stirring constantly.  It shouldn’t boil!  After a few minutes the custard will thickened a bit, but thicken even more in the fridge.  Place it all in fridge.  Try and find fun bowls, martini glasses, whatever you have to make the desert look wonderful.  Add the vanilla bean as a garnish.  This was too good and not bad for you.  The ingredients are so simple

1.5 cups milk, 3 eggs, 115 grams sugar and a vanilla pod-easy and yummy

shrimp cilantro lime tortillas

English: Fresh Cilantro (Coriander) Deutsch: V...

food

This is a really simple dish.  Basically take a bunch of shrimp, toss them in cilantro.  Heat up a pan with olive oil. Toss in shrimp, garlic and cilantro, cook till opaque, add in diced tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes at last-minute, just to warm up.  Meanwhile heat up tortillas as you usually do.  We just heat one by one on a frying pan with nothing in it, note, be careful, you could ruin your pan as we have.  It beveled under the heat but we also have an annoying electric stove top.  Anyway, add the shrimp, fresh squeezed lime wedge, a piece of avocado if you have one, some sour cream if you have, to your tortilla and voila, a lovely bite of mexicana americana Alla Karine and Paul.  Actually, I have to say this was Paul’s recipe he discovered from a friend while living in an artist loft in downtown Detroit.

 

18 or so shrimp for 2 people about 3 tortillas each

6 flour tortillas

2 limes

1 avocado sliced in 6 pieces-one piece per tortilla

a bunch of cilantro

a handful of cherry tomatoes or 2 plum tomatoes diced

2 tablespoons sour cream-preferable full fat!

you can add some hot peppers too

 

Baked tomatoes

Various heirloom tomato cultivars
Various heirloom tomato cultivars (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Deutsch: Parmigiano Reggiano in der Markthalle...
Deutsch: Parmigiano Reggiano in der Markthalle Stuttgart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Small tomatoes in Korea
Small tomatoes in Korea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is such a simple dish.  They are not stuffed or cut in half.  They are just simple baked tomatoes at 350 F for 30 mins then 375 F for 20 more minutes.  I love this dish.  I started making it over the summer when tomatoes were in season.  I just cut the tops off the tomatoes, enough to sprinkle salt, pepper and whatever herbs I have along with a good dose of extra virgin olive oil.  Sometimes I add chopped garlic, too.  At the last part of cooking, grated parmesan cheese is great on this, too.

The great thing about this dish is it makes a great accompanyment to just about anything.  It can be used as a sauce  as well.  Serve it on a big bowl of rice or pasta and it’s simple and delicious.  I could eat this everyday.  The tomatoes really make a difference, but it’s still good if you jazz up bland tomatoes with a bunch of garlic, basil, oregano, cheese… whatever.  Enjoy!

July's Tomato Haul
July’s Tomato Haul (Photo credit: statelyenglishmanor)

Snazzy fruit salad

Lime fruits and leaves, Dole Street, Honolulu
Lime fruits and leaves, Dole Street, Honolulu (Photo credit: Joel Abroad)

Mango, манго - дары тропиков

With just a title, fruit salad, I would over look it.  I am not a fan of fruit salad and don’t find it so exciting. I’m more of a sinful desert eater.  Anything with lots of butter, cream or chocolate is perfect for me.  But after going to the fish market and seeing there was no tuna, the mango I would have used to make my cilantro mango salsa would go to waste if I didn’t use it up.  So I decided to turn my mango into desert.  I could have just sprinkled some coarse sugar on it and grilled it, that would have been tasty, but instead I decided to make a salad.

I cut up the deliciously ripe mango, tossed in a few strawberries that were left over from making chocolate covered strawberries for a friend.  I also found a piece of watermelon that I was sure had gone bad in the fridge.  It has just been there over a week and it was time to do my weekly fridge cleaning.  Anyway, the melon was still nice, firm and sweet.  I added some fresh squeezed lime juice of one lime and sliced some fresh ginger as thin as possible.  I let it sit for two hours not really on purpose, just for the meer fact that my husband worked super late that night and came home later than expected.

I think the time it  marinated  was the key to my snazzy tasting fruit salad. The tartness of the lime and the spiciness of the ginger really soaked into the fruit.  It was great and far from boring.  I think it could be even more snazzy  with a bit of liquor , white wine or champagne.  Put it in a martini glass and garnish with a mint piece.  YUM a type of grown-up desert soup.

ingredients:

1 lime

6 strawberries slivered

1 inch of ginger cut into thin slices

1 cup watermelon

1 big, ripe mango

watermelon
watermelon (Photo credit: imagelane)